The Sickness unto Death

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The real “sickness unto death,” includes angst, dread, fear, boredom, vertigo, and anxiety is at the heart of so much despair, especially since the start of the pandemic.  According to Kierkegaard, despair is not a suffering of the self, but is a misrelation in the self itself and, goes to the very core of an individual’s existence to not a physical death but despair—a kind of spiritual death, which stems from profound discontent, or a similar persistent debilitating malaise of the mind, spirit, or soul that produces a decline in mental, physical, or societal health and that may culminate in a dissolution of an ability to embrace one’s self. Emily Dickenson’s poem reveals-

The difference between despair

And fear – is like the one

Between the instant of a wreck-

And when the wreck has been-

 

The mind is smooth-no motion-

Contented as the eye

Upon the forehead of a bust-

That knows-it cannot see-

What is the difference between anxiety and despair?

Anxiety is the mark of human freedom and the condition for the possibility of despair. Despair is the wrongful use of freedom through the failure to choose to be oneself.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

Feeling nervous, restless or tense.

Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.

Having an increased heart rate.

Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)

Sweating.

Trembling.

Feeling weak or tired.

Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

What does despair feel like physically?

Despair is a very intense feeling of hopelessness. The feeling can be described as a mix of misery, discouragement, anguish, agony, and distress. For those with depression, this feeling is often associated with suicidal thoughts.

 Five ways to cope with anxiety that has led to despair:

1.Take your despair on a walk once a day, do your best to go out of the house for some fresh air.

2.Give your sorrow words.

3.Honor your despair.

4.Seek out fellowship.

5Avoid toxic positivity.

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting.”  T. S. Eliot

 

© Ozimkiewicz

It Is Not About What It Is About

“I exist as I am, that is enough.” ─ Walt Whitman

Sometimes a person will come into therapy with a presenting problem as their opening reason for showing up. After a while it will be revealed that the problem is not about the original presentation but about something else and they will state with a cynicism “and then there’s “that!”

Some of my clients will tell me about emotional trauma, their huge life events, and they might say to me, “That’s that!” Others have said, “and then there’s that, and that’s all there is or amen to that!” These statements, “that’s that,” etc., seems to imply a finality as an acceptance of their state of affairs or a particular situational event. It rings a mental bell reminding them of the fact that some things are unalterable in life. When a client states a “that,” they are saying it cannot be changed, and they have to accept it because this is the way it is. Emily Dickinson describes this dynamic in her poem: That it will never come again.

That it will never come again
Is what makes life so sweet.
Believing what we don’t believe
Does not exhilarate.

That if it be, it be at best
An ablative estate —
This instigates an appetite
Precisely opposite.

When there is the thought, or if it is said out loud, “that’s that” it is a ruse or a trick upon oneself. Because that phrase takes you back to exactly the opposite of acceptance and finality. The idiom “that’s that” implies that there’s nothing more to say about “it.”  Actually, there is more, the personal situation needs to be processed, digested, absorbed and assimilated with meaningful integration into one’s life. When a person says, “And then there’s that” they are saying that is the thing they are keeping away from themselves, as if it is out there and stands alone. There are various methods that can be used in therapy to integrate a life’s emotional situation such as sand tray, expressive arts, and EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. There is a way metaphorically speaking that readily accomplishes integration by doing the hokey-Pokey.

Do the Hokey-Pokey That’s What It’s All About

This is a song and a rhythmic circle dance for everyone of all ages. Many different parts of the whole body are isolated such as a hand and shook. The song calls out for each limb to participate. The dictionary said that the word hokey-pokey was taken from the magical words hocus-pocus thereby indicating trickery. This is a song and dance that get you to integrate your entire self as you shake yourself all up. The whole self magically becomes alive and invigorated.

Psychologically, through the participation in the song and dance there’s a magical effect that is an authentic movement. According to Occam’s Razor, this notion says that when it’s applied, it points toward all things being equal, that the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is the preferred one. As you move about there is a shift into a vibration that gives an energetic vitality to your life. Once you decide to take a step into something pretty soon your whole self can get immersed in it. Here is the verse from the song and dance from Robert Chambers’ Popular Rhymes of Scotland from 1826.

You put your whole self in

You put your whole self out

You put your whole self in

and you shake it all about

You do the hokey-pokey

and you turn yourself around

That what it’s all about!

(The original author is unknown to me)

The heart wants what it wants, there’s no logic to this thing, you meet someone and you fall in love that’s that.” ─ Unknown

Ouch! That Hurts My Feelings

Many of my clients have worked on their hurt feelings. Wounds that feel as if they were stabbed in the heart. For some people their personal emotional disturbances have been distressing and hurting them for years. Sometimes someone will say I thought that wound was all over and worked through. It has just popped up again, and I was triggered by words that I heard that I remembered were said to me years ago. Then I had a huge emotional reaction. Often the wounds are about what the parents did or did not say to their child. A child can internalize a criticism that becomes an impediment or block to the unfolding to live their life.

Even if the person is grown up, a parent may say something to their adult child that can make them feel in “trouble” with the parent all over again. An example is in just the tone of voice the parent will use as they say your name out loud can do it. Sometimes the parents are blamed for their personal emotional pain since the person does not realize that they have decided to be re-hurt. It is important to know that everyone is wounded in some way. Many clients think that they are the only ones who are suffering. The people you meet may seem happy and appear as though his or her life is going great. If you really start talking to them, you would find out that they hurt. They are wounded too.

 Woundedness

Carl G. Jung and many others have said and written about the fact that everyone has a wound. Overtime it rubs and works them just as an oyster takes a grain of sand and makes it into a pearl. It is a wound that irritates and grates on their psyche and heart to become self-aware in order to integrate the problematic issue and heal. Sometimes it is a secret wound that accompanies them throughout life. They have kept it totally to themselves by locking it away metaphorically and symbolically in their chest. I have had clients come into a session and say to me, “I have a secret that I have never told to another person.” That personal secret is now starting to spill over and needs to be integrated, processed and used in a meaningful way for their personal healing. James Hillman the founder of Archetypal Psychology said, “Wounds and scars are the stuff of character.” The word ‘character’ means at root ‘marked or etched with sharp lines,’ like initiation cuts.”

Cutting Words

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way…As a man is, so he sees.”  ̶ William Blake

Emotional injury and hurt feelings result when a sudden verbal attack or comment, a cutting remark is taken personally. There is the feeling of having been stabbed in the back or heart. Critical words can cut to the quick. Sometimes you carry this pain for years never forgetting the exact words that were said as they are replayed in the mind over and over again. Every time the words are ruminated on the inner trauma and hurt is felt as if it is happening again. Many times, I have asked a client which feeling is wounded? This question can begin the excavation and exploration to uncover the root of the problem.

According to Taschen’s The Book of Symbols, the Old English word for wound is wundian means a laceration or breach in the psyche. The Greek word trauma means wound, hurt, a damage of things, a heavy blow or injury.  The Latin word vulnus means wounds that are like cuts, holes, rents, cracks, that are visible and invisible showing various vulnerabilities. Since antiquity, wounding has been seen as a gateway, an opening or a window for possible transformation, change, growth, and development in your life. Jung called these wounds “lesions to the ego” (CW 16 para.472).

The injury can be caused by words that damage or ruin a person’s name or reputation. A person’s pride can be wounded by hearing the word no or being turned down in some way. It is experienced as the feeling of rejection, not worthy or good enough. There is the inner feeling of wanting to lick one’s wounds or find a self-soothing balm to gain relief. The main problem that confuses many people is that they will say something innocently or as a fact, and the other person is wounded to their core. The person talking has no idea the other person is being hurt or wounded unless that person can speak up about it. Actually, it takes courage to express yourself. It is a risk to have a conversation because you have no idea how the other person has heard or received your words.

All wounds need to be attended to, cleaned up, looked at with tender care as they are explored because as the African proverb states “the wound carries the medicine.” Otherwise, the painful wound can contaminate and infect the whole life. Some of the ways to work with emotional wounding are to journal and write about it. Depth psychotherapy is an excellent way to work with hurt feelings and come to understand more about yourself. A very simple way to let another person know that your feelings are being hurt by what they are saying is to say, “Ouch” out loud. Subsequently, the speaker can think about what was just said. Then they have a chance to clear it up, explain or clarify. Ouches, wounds and hurts can be repaired because once there is understanding; letting go and forgiveness then can happen.

 “Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

 

Going from A to Z

Growth means change and
Change means risk, stepping
From the known to the unknown.  ̶ Author Unknown

Many of my clients are in such a hurry to get there from here as they might say, “I can’t wait for this to end or be over.” Some want to leap to their final thing whatever it is. I always say to them, going from “A to Z” will not work. I often ask what is their process since they cannot push the metaphorical river? What is it that they could possibly need to see along the way? What are they missing?

Along your way to emotional regulation, impulse control and Ego strength one might consider starting at “A” recognizing that this is where I am starting from now. Then gently moving toward “B or be,” such as “being” present to oneself in the here and now and feeling at home in one’s own skin. Now relax by taking a deep breath with eyes wide open and arriving at “C or see” in order to see the next step in the progression of forward movement in life.

Below is an alphabet poem that simply demonstrates how issues and things can become confused, disordered, showing missing pieces of order in one’s life.

‘Twas midnight in the schoolroom
And every desk was shut
When suddenly from the alphabet
Was heard a loud “Tut-Tut!”

Said A to B, “I don’t like C;
His manners are a lack.
For all I ever see of C
Is a semi-circular back!”

“I disagree,” said D to B,
“I’ve never found C so.
From where I stand he seems to be
An uncompleted O.”

C was vexed, “I’m much perplexed,
You criticize my shape.
I’m made like that, to help spell Cat
And Cow and Cool and Cape.”

“He’s right” said E; said F, “Whoopee!”
Said G, “‘Ip, ‘Ip, ‘ooray!”
“You’re dropping me,” roared H to G.
“Don’t do it please I pray.”

“Out of my way,” LL said to K.
“I’ll make poor I look ILL.”
To stop this stunt J stood in front,
And presto! ILL was JILL.

“U know,” said V, “that W
Is twice the age of me.
For as a Roman V is five
I’m half as young as he.”

X and Y yawned sleepily,
“Look at the time!” they said.
“Let’s all get off to beddy byes.”
They did, then “Z-z-z.”
̶   Spike Milligan

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ─ C.S. Lewis

The Spirit of Fear

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2Timothy 1:7

Often, I work with people who are anxious, afraid, panicky and fearful about their life. Their fears are about the unknowns and the future. Consternation about fear can cause a state of confusion with an inability to decide because there is no guarantee. Some people can hardly seem to name, categorize or label their encounter with fearing their fears.

Judaism describes two ways of thinking about fear, Pachad and Yirah. Pachad, is about irrational and imaginal thinking or over reaction to worrying about the “what ifs” of life. Yirah, is about the fear of power, the sacred that might touch you or the presence of God in some way that produces an inner body shaking and trembling is felt as a reverent awe.

The Root of Anxiety.

A person might encounter anxiety through their physical response when challenged by a fear and label the sensation anxiety. Also, the experience of fear through fear-based thinking can produce anxiety. The ability to differentiate the two, fear or anxiety, can help you to process your experience.

There are many levels and types of fear. They run the gamut just like a bell curve starting with the vaguest to the most extreme panic attack that feels like it could kill them in a flash. Rational fears happen when there is a real imminent threat. Primal fear is the fear from the Amygdala that is programmed in our brain since birth. Irrational fear are the ones that are imagined and do not make reasonable or logical sense.

The word fear is the general term that is used to describe this dynamic and perhaps anxiety is a constant companion along with feeling afraid all the time. The spirit of fear can trigger a person to want to hide or contract them self as they meet an opposition, persecution, or a struggle. The spirit of fear feels like a force that comes over you and captures you in a state of anxious fear which is hard to lift and come out from under it to breathe free again.

Courage

“What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it.” Krishnamurti

The opposite of fear can be different things to different people. Some of the feeling states of mind needed to counteract fear might be faith, prayer, trust, peace, calmness, or courage. The root of the word courage is cor. It is the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. According to the dictionary the word courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Courage can be a quality of spirit inside a person that harnesses bravery, guts, and daring to face their fear and move through it instead of avoiding it. The use of courage is a spiritual quality that can be used to overcome fear such as having the courage to drive again after an accident, to be successful or even to be disliked.

When there is any type of feeling of fear a very simple exercise to meet the fear is to feel your feet on the ground, and as you breathe in say “here” and as you breathe out say “now.” This is a grounding exercise that can quickly bring you back to the present moment in the here and now with a feeling of steadfastness.

Another way to know more about a current fear is to say, “When I am scared that_________ then I am afraid that__________.

 “If we had the luxury of certainty, we wouldn’t need courage.” ─ Robert J. Furey, PH.D.

 

Is “It” Ever Beyond Repair?

“The defects of the mind are like the wounds of the body. Whatever care we take to heal them the scars ever remain, and there is always danger of their reopening.” Francoise de la Rochefoucauld 1613-1680

Ouch! That Hurts

Many of my clients have worked on their wounds, their personal emotional disturbances that have been distressing to them for years and years. Sometimes someone will say I thought that wound was all over and worked through. It has just popped up again, and I was triggered by words that I heard that were said to me. Then I had a huge emotional reaction. Often the wounds are about what the parents did or did not do to or for a child. Even if the person is grown up, a parent may say something to their adult child that can make them feel in “trouble” with the parent all over again. An example is in just the tone of voice the parent will use as they say your name out loud can do it. Sometimes the parents are blamed for their personal emotional pain. It is important to know that everyone is wounded in some way. Many clients think that they are the only ones who are suffering. The people you meet may seem happy and appear as though his or her life is going great. If you really start talking to them, you would find out that they hurt. They are wounded.

 Woundedness

Carl G. Jung and many others have said and written about the fact that everyone has a wound. Overtime it rubs and works them just as an oyster takes a grain of sand and makes it into a pearl. It is a wound that irritates and grates on their psyche and heart to become self-aware in order to integrate the problematic issue and heal. Sometimes it is a secret wound that accompanies them throughout life. They have kept it totally to themselves by locking it away metaphorically and symbolically in their chest. I have had clients come into a session and say to me, “I have a secret that I have never told to another person.” That personal secret is now starting to spill over and needs to be integrated, processed and used in a meaningful way for their personal healing. James Hillman the founder of Archetypal Psychology said, “Wounds and scars are the stuff of character.” The word ‘character’ means at root ‘marked or etched with sharp lines,’ like initiation cuts.”

Cutting Words

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way…As a man is, so he sees.”  ̶ William Blake

Emotional injury and hurt feelings result when a sudden verbal attack or comment, a cutting remark is taken personally. There is the feeling of having been stabbed in the heart can cut to the quick by hurtful words that can leave a person psychologically disturbed. Sometimes you carry this pain for years never forgetting the exact words that were said. Every time the words are ruminated on the inner trauma happens again.

According to Taschen’s The Book of Symbols, the Old English word for wound is wundian means a laceration or breach in the psyche. The Greek word trauma means wound, hurt, a damage of things, a heavy blow or injury.  The Latin word vulnus means wounds that are like cuts, holes, rents, cracks, that are visible and invisible showing various vulnerabilities. Since antiquity, wounding has been seen as a gateway, an opening or a window for possible transformation, change, growth, and development in your life. Jung called these wounds “lesions to the ego” (CW 16 para.472).

The injury can be caused by words that damage or ruin a person’s name or reputation. A person’s pride can be wounded by hearing the word no or being turned down in some way. It is experienced as the feeling of rejection, not worthy or good enough. There is the inner feeling of wanting to lick one’s wounds or find a self-soothing balm to gain relief. The main problem that confuses many people is that they will say something innocently or as a fact, and the other person is wounded to their core. The person talking has no idea the other person is being hurt or wounded unless that person can speak up about it. Actually, it takes courage to express yourself. It is a risk to have a conversation because you have no idea how the other person has heard or received your words.

All wounds need to be attended to, cleaned up, looked at with tender care as they are explored because as the African proverb states “the wound carries the medicine.” Otherwise, the painful wound can contaminate and infect the whole life. Some of the ways to work with emotional wounding are to journal and write about it. Depth psychotherapy is an excellent way to work with hurt feelings and come to understand more about yourself. A very simple way to let another person know that your feelings are being hurt by what they are saying is to say, “Ouch” out loud. Subsequently, the speaker can think about what was just said. Then they have a chance to clear it up, explain or clarify. Ouches, wounds and hurts can be repaired because once there is understanding; letting go and forgiveness can happen.

 “Tears are words that need to be written.” – Paulo Coelho

© Ozimkiewicz

 

Imposter

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”   ̶ Confucius

On occasion a client will tell me that he or she feels like a fraud, an imposter. The individual is concerned that this fear which is often attached to an imposter syndrome will be exposed and discovered. The person will feel anxiety all the time because at any moment there will be a disclosure revealing their true identity. The feelings of self-doubt and/or a lack of self-confidence seems to be internalized just as real capabilities and talents are not personally owned. One does not identify or be aware of their own success and accomplishment but might use words like “faking it” or “winging it.”

A person might constantly make comparisons to others as they weigh their success through self-criticism and self-judgment, fearing an imminent exposure as a failure. Thinking errors and irrational thoughts are often involved because the person cannot own their own success. When negative thoughts are ever present in their mind that are blocking rational facts that support their own ability. The following poem by P. Bodi describes this inner world experience.

Feeling out of place,

Like you don’t belong,

Like others will find out

You’ve been “faking it”

All along, but confidence is not a

Given, it is grown, keep

Building it, step by step,

Until it is your own.

The opposite of an imposter syndrome is the Dunning-Kruger Effect. This is the false belief that we know more than we do. Typically, real experts under-estimate their level of expertise; while people with low ability over-estimate it. For example, have you ever been overly optimistic when planning your day? Someone might map out every second of their day as they plan to maximize productivity, and then discover that they have overscheduled and can’t accomplish all that they had set out to do. This might be partially due to the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which one believes that they’re better at certain tasks and can accomplish them faster than is possible.

The following Aesop’s Fable describes this dynamic.

The Imposter

A certain man fell ill, and, being in a very bad way, he made a vow that he would sacrifice a hundred oxen to the gods if they would grant him a return to health. Wishing to see how he would keep his vow, they caused him to recover in a short time. Now, he hadn’t an ox in the world, so he made a hundred little oxen out of tallow and offered them up on an altar, at the same time saying, “Ye gods, I call you to witness that I have discharged my vow.” The gods determined to be even with him, so they sent him a dream, in which he was bidden to go to the sea-shore and fetch a hundred crowns which he was to find there. Hastening in great excitement to the shore, he fell in with a band of robbers, who seized him and carried him off to sell as a slave: and when they sold him a hundred crowns was the sum he fetched.

Do not promise more than you can perform.

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”  ̶ Shakespeare

© Ozimkiewicz

Intuitionism and Decision-Making Style

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.”  ̶ Lao Tzu

Decisions are scary and difficult especially if a person is afraid to decide something for fear of making a mistake. There isn’t a guarantee about a choice someone might make. The final outcome may not be known. Waiting and observing may not be helpful either. For many of my clients personal or individual decisions that are major or minor are hard to sort through.

Choice, Decision and a Course of Action

Usually there is a method used to pick the best direction as the way to go forward. A person recognizes that a decision has to be made. Some type of thought process ensues about the subject or issue. The person might do research, enquire of others or start a google search to gain information to have a better grasp about the nature of the subject in question.  There are many types of intuition such as medical, musical, mathematical, and artistic to name a few. Sometimes the question might become, “what are my options?” When the pros and cons are considered as one looks at all sides of the topic then a person might start to ponder their alternatives. After reflection, with a review of possible consequences, as everything has been taken into consideration and mulled over a decision is often made.

Another way to make a decision is by using one’s intuition. Intuition is the ability to know something without knowing how you know. It is an impression or a direct knowing. The word comes from the Latin intuitus, a look, from past participle of intuērī, to look at, contemplate.

Intuitionism

The American Heritage Dictionary describes intuitionism in three ways:

1 The theory that certain truths or ethical principles are known by intuition rather than reason.

2 The theory that external objects of perception are immediately known to be real by intuition.

3 the view that the subject matter of mathematics consists of the mental or symbolic construction of mathematicians rather than independent ad timeless abstractions, as is held in Platonism.

As an intuitive myself, I help my clients with the ability to distinguish and utilizing their own intuition. Many of my clients are interested in the various ways that they can recognize their own real intuition. Perhaps you will find the following helpful in understanding and listening to your personal intuitive guidance.

Your own Intuition is oftentimes very confusing. It sometimes has a feeling of rightness; it’s not always logical, or even has a voice of reason. Yet this quiet voice sounds like a whisper or a gentle breeze of a thought. It is through using your own intuition that you gain the experience to be able to know it. It’s quite easy to misinterpret intuitions, or confuse something else to be your intuition. Here are a number of ways to measure your intuition with your rational mind.

1 You still feel the rightness of what has been decided even if everybody else disagrees with it. Intuition does not use social wisdom or common sense. It will remain the same and will not let up until you follow it.

2 You still feel that the same way after sleeping on the decision. That’s why it is important to learn to sleep on important decisions. An Intuition stands a test of time. The intuition appears the clearest the first thing in the morning, before various thoughts start invading your mind.

3 You still feel that way when you are happy. When we are under duress to make a decision, often wants, needs, fears and desires can enter the thought process.

4 When you see yourself decide to take or follow that intuitive action, relief and breathing free can be felt. It is not intuition if you feel resistance and hesitation. The decision makes sense.

5 When the decision inconveniences you it may be about effectiveness. Intuition is not always about what is efficient or practical but what is right for you. Sometimes one is afraid of their intuition and the direction it is wanting you to go.

 “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”  ̶ Albert Einstein

Identity – Nobody

“It is clear that if a man has to become a nobody in order to survive, if he has to remain permanently invisible, he will have no identity, will never become socially integrated nor will he enjoy mental health.” −Joseba Achotegui

Sometimes my clients report to me that they are a nobody, or that they feel like a nobody. As a child, their parent would say something like, “Who do you think you are? “After me you come first,” or “you’re nobody.”  The people that have felt this way also experience many of the following symptoms:  stress, depressed mood, anxiety, fear, tension, irritability and frustration, self-deprecating thoughts, ruminations of worthlessness, body aches and pains, and a confusing fatigue. They come to depth psychotherapy to discover their own identity, who they are in the world as a complete and whole individual such that they feel they are not missing any parts and aspects of themselves.

Conversely

“You ask me my name. I shall tell you. My name is nobody and nobody is what everyone calls me (Odyssey, Song IX, 360).”

The poet Emily Dickinson describes an opposite point of view in her poem. She values her privacy. Her experience of being unrecognized, a nobody, gave her a spiritual and soulful quietude to contemplate and write. She did not want to be like a frog croaking about identity by always keeping a public profile that reminds everyone that one is a somebody. To become somebody is to know who you are in and of yourself, and your place in the world.

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

During this current Pandemic many people are ‘sheltering in place.” This means that one has to be within and be with him or herself. A person might need to start discovering who they are as they learn to feel at home n their own skin and be safe in their own body because there are no outside distractions to focus on except themselves. The questions that one might consider to ask of him or herself are:

Who am I now at this time?

What am I listening to inside of myself?

What do I see and envision for myself now?

Where is my life going?

When I am free again who will I be?

“Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choices.” ─Gerard Manley Hopkins

© Ozimkiewicz

Hope – Lost and Found

“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.”  –  Thomas Merton

I have recently seen some people who have lost hope and who are seeking to find their hope again. Many people have recently been suffering their current feelings around hopelessness. The word hope is about the future. Hope is a feeling that lives in your chest and is invisible. You know when you have hope and when you have lost it. Your hope talks to you about a particular desire and an expectancy of a better possibility to come in the future. Without hope, there is pessimism about the future with a lack of any kind of anticipation to restore hopeful feeling in your life.

Emily Dickinson’s poem inspires as it describes the invisible nature of hope.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

A symbolical, metaphorical, and imaginal psychological interpretation of Dickinson’s poem suggests, compares, and attaches hope, which is invisible, to a “thing.” Then this thing is compared to a bird, as if this thing hope is bird like. The bird as a symbol can represent lightness of being, soul, messenger, peace, and spiritual knowledge according to the Dictionary of Symbols. “Feathers” symbolize the freedom to alight or align oneself to something new by and with the movement of this invisible energy, hope. When the bird of hope “perches,” it has settled on and perhaps is resting on a branch as it “sings” without words. Therefore, hope always exists continuously producing a feeling, a resonance with a certain vibrational hum to it unless hope has been lost. Sometimes hope is lost or destroyed through anger, great negativity or self-sabotage, thereby, a person can abandon all hope. Hope is an energetic experience. You know when you have it, and you know when you have lost hope and actually feel hopeless.

At some time, everyone experiences metaphorically “stormy weather” where your feathery wings are deflated and there is no freedom to fly. For instance, you can recognize this emotional state when you have encountered a painful or angry feeling, and maybe suffered a stinging heartache. The glimmer of hope can begin to warm your heart. Your own warm heart is a feeling response that encourages forward movement out of tough situations into new possibilities.

The “chillest land” is a disturbing place of cold feeling, frozen in fear, with perhaps, a numbness to life. Water, “the sea” speaks about emotion and feeling; a strange feeling is seen that may be coming up to a self-consciousness from the waters of life. Yet, in the most terrorizing, menacing, and intimidating event, hope is available and doesn’t want anything except to be hope. The word yet implies thus far, up until now. However, yet is used to stress that it remains possible that something will occur in spite of the problems in the present. Hope springs eternal.

Exercise to restore hope.

Hope is free. It costs nothing, and it is available to everyone.

Sit in a quiet space and follow your breath in and out for a few minutes then allow yourself to remember a time you had hope, felt hopeful or full of hope. As you remember can you feel it at this moment in time as you call up the memory. Because the past, even though that was then and this is now, the past is contained in the present. Is there any resistance to feeling hope again and letting it live in you now? Keep remembering past times when you had hope. Each time let yourself feel it now, in the present, to enliven and restore your own hope

“I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.”
  ˗ T.S. Eliot

© Ozimkiewicz