Day 286 of 366 Blog Challenge 2012

Hello all

I’m back on track today folks! On Wednesday I wrote about Mental Health Week and I discussed what I called “functioning depression” where people who are depressed continue to function.  Speaking Out (Part 1).

I also told the story of how a cloud of depression hung over my family on my mother’s side and how it took me many years to break free of it. I left you with this thought:

“Life is difficult.

This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult and we truly understand and accept it, then life is no longer difficult.”  (The Road Less Travelled: M.Scott Peck).

Peck says that we moan about life being difficult as if life SHOULD be easy! Oh, I know that I have been one of those people. In fact, life is a series of problems. So, do we moan about them or do we try to solve them? And what’s more, do we teach our children to solve them also?

Today folks, we live in a society that wants things easy don’t you think? You know, the ‘take a pill and it will go away mentality?’ Why else would a Prime Minister of this country tell us all during the 1980s (in frustration obviously) that: LIFE WASN’T MEANT TO BE EASY! How we laughed at Malcolm Fraser when he said this; and we still use that quote as a means of ridicule. Poor Malcolm, he meant well but it riled up a lot of people.

So now, after all this time do we now have to take Malcolm seriously? The idea of suffering and discipline is not marketed well is it? Peck says we need discipline to solve our problems: so if we didn’t learn it from our parents, we need to learn it as an adult in order to confront and solve our problems and difficulties. Wow!  And how exactly is this going to happen?

Peck says we do not like the pain that difficulties present and so, instead of confronting them head one, we procrastinate, hoping they’ll just go away. Well yes, I have been guilty of this one in the past. And since life poses an endless series of problems, “life is always difficult – full of pain AND joy”.

Therefore we want to avoid problems … and this causes us emotional suffering. Surprisingly Peck says:

“This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional  suffering inherent in them, is the primary basis  of all human mental illness.”

An interesting statement? And because most of us have this tendency, all of us – to a greater or lessor degree – are lacking complete mental health to a greater or lessor degree. Hearing this is a challenge isn’t it? But I do understand what Peck is saying and this is what I am talking about when I speak of ‘functioning depression.” Varying degrees of mental health.

So what are these tools of DISCIPLINE that help us experience the pain of problems constructively? Here is what Peck says:

  1. Delaying gratification: for instance when we learn to eat our vegetables before dessert; put first things first eg do the hardest bit of housework first and the easy ones later.
  2. Accepting responsibility for ourselves: not blaming everyone else for why we are as we are! Instead ask how we can change.
  3. Balancing: learning flexibility in life eg we may have to let go of some destructive habits in order to be happier and healthier.

Now I know this may be deep and require a bit of thinking, but there is a way to learn how to suffer in order to work through and solve our problems successfully. Of course, I am giving you a simplistic view taken from Scott Peck’s book but it is a beginning and something to explore and think about further yourselves …

Perhaps we may need to seek professional help as I have done at various times in my life, or find wise friends who will listen and help us through. So folks, you can see why I said this was a serious subject but I wanted to share with you the insights that had set me on a new road in my life.

I continue to learn and to grow by reading, self-examination and I am always helped by my faith and the people of faith that I am privileged to know. On that note, I will leave this topic as Mental Health Week comes to an end tomorrow.

So as I conclude my blog today I must give you the weather report here at Cabarita Beach. The sun came out brilliantly this morning, but it is still cold and windy with huge amounts of snow down near our capital: Canberra. Still, we sat and lazed about in the sun, eating, drinking and reading and isn’t that exactly what a holiday is about?

There has been so much happening here at Cabarita Beach Caravan Park that I can’t wait to share more with you all tomorrow. Come on folks … come with me on holidays again …