When Happy People Get Depressed, Part Two
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
In the middle of a dark thought, depression rarely feels like a welcome guest. It can be difficult to reach out a hand to the people closest to us, much less greet someone you’d rather kick out the door.
But, as I said in part one of this series, Don’t Give Up, sometimes it’s good to put space around the emotion to see what it has to say.
I decided to invite depression to have a conversation with me during its recent unwelcome visit. It went something like this:
Me: OK, depression. I don’t really want you here, but as long as you are here, let’s talk. What would you like to say?
Depression: Life sucks.
Me: Well, maybe sometimes, but it can also be quite beautiful. Why have you cast such a dark haze over everything?
Depression: Because it’s what I do best. Remember, the light can’t get in unless there’s a crack…and unless you go into the dark, you’ll never appreciate the light… and even flowers need to be planted in the dark earth before they can bloom.
Me: That sounds a lot like stuff you picked up from my Facebook feed.
Depression: Whatever works.
Me: Well, right now, it’s not really working. It seems you might have something more important to say.
Depression: How about this. I was sent to clear space for something new…and to show you where you are still holding on…and to remind you that what truly matters is loving the journey.
Me: Oh. (reflective pause as the layers peel back and heart begins to open)
Me: Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Now, please leave.
Depression: My pleasure. I’ll go call on someone else now. (wink)
I’m not intending to make light of depression, because it’s a very serious topic and when you are stuck in it, life is not funny.
What I want is to put some light around this topic since it’s something so many people are struggling with. Because it absolutely helps to be open about the less shining parts of life, not to get stuck in the story, but to feel we are together in addressing the difficulties of being human.
I was reminded this weekend that there’s a collective unconsciousness running most of our belief systems, and that the only way to shift from the unconscious beliefs that are ingrained in our genes, is to rise above them.
When I decided to welcome depression and invite it to speak to me, it was the opening my Soul needed to get a rise out of me. Which was another kind of conversation that I write about in Part 3 of this series: Meet-Play-Be Love.
For now, Rumi and I remind you to be grateful for whatever emotions come to visit.
Let them guide you toward even more of what matters.