Wednesday, May 14, 2008

NPR - Finding Peace

On a forum someone asked if, and if so how, did we find peace in our life. Were we at peace with ourself and our life. After reading the responses, I wrote the following for myself.

"I haven't found peace with my life, but I do have days I'm ok with it. And surprisingly, I hope I don't find peace before I die. It's what drives me to do and be better, and to be concerned about the world and my contribution to it in whatever small ways I can do with what I have and who I am. It's the reality I know.

A few years after I turned forty I and went through some stressful times at work and in life and fell into my second major depression. Coming through it I decided every day you have two choices in your life. You can get better or get worse. You don't stay the same because you aren't the same and the world you're in isn't the same as yesterday. So, you have that choice.

That doesn't mean that every day is one or the other consistently, but it's the overall difference between the two that matters. And every year at my birthday I review where I was the year before and where I am now, and am I better and did I do better. A simple snapshot, but worth it to assess what I do in the next year.

Anyway, that's my view of it. There's more but this is a good summary."

Well, after some time after writing it, I still believe it.

And while I'm a lazy student of Taoism, where the road you're on is to find peace in your life and the world, I find times I'm comfortable with myself so far. It's not the best I could do, as having genetic Dysthymia, I all too often fail at doing much beyond existing in life and getting by in the world. Or at least I tell myself it's a handy explanation or excuse, which I haven't yet determined.

And folks have asked, if not just wondered and haven't asked, why I don't take anti-depressants, as there are several on the market which address the symptoms of Dysthymia, since they can't adress the underlying condition as the permanent structure of your brain. I explored them over a decade ago and opted not to pursue them for a variety of reason, meaning the side effects, lifelong necessity of them, and the frequent adjustments of dosage as the drug's effects wanes.

But mostly for two reasons. I wouldn't know if what I am or am thinking is really me or the drugs. And I find I do and think better when I'm mildly depressed, a clarity of thought I don't get when I'm happy. When I'm happy I find I get angry easier and faster when things don't stay well, but when I'm mildly depressed I understand and accept it better, and can better deal with it to find solutions.

When I'm mildly depressed I see the irony in life. I find the humor in the existence of both sides inside the whole. And in that thought I can instinctively find something funny. It's the nature of the humor I see, a hybrid of Gary Larsen, Robin Williams, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers, in my own small(er) way. I find peace in being that person, a jumbo of human emotions and feelings in constant change living in a dynamic world.

And as James Lipton would ask about going to heaven and meeting God at the Pearly Gates, what would you want God to say, to which I would answer, "Welcome. We're sorry we're fresh out peace, but would you accept some challenges?"

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