despair

This too shall pass

This too shall pass

May 9, 2020
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There was a king, and he once said to the court sages: I have a ring with one of the finest diamonds in the world, and I want to hide a message under the stone that can be useful in a situation of extreme despair. I will give this ring to my heirs, and I want it to serve faithfully. Think of what kind of message will be there. It must be very short to fit in the ring.

The sages knew how to write treatises, but did not express themselves in one short sentence. They thought and thought, but did not come up with anything.

The king complained about the failure of his venture to a faithful old servant who raised him from infancy and was part of the family. And the old man said to him: I’m not a sage, I’m not educated, but I know such a message. For many years spent in the palace, I met a lot of people. And once I served a visiting mystic whom your father invited. And he gave me this message. I ask that you don’t read it now. Save it under the stone and open it only when there’s no way out at all.

The king listened to the old servant.

After some time, the enemies attacked the country and the king lost the war. He fled on his horse and his enemies pursued him. He was alone, his enemies were many. He rode to the end of the road. There was a huge deep cliff before him, if he fell there, it is the end. He could not go back, as the enemies were approaching. He already heard the clatter of their horses’ hooves. He had no way out. He was in complete despair.

And then he remembered the ring. He opened it and found an inscription: “This too shall pass.

After reading the message, he felt that everything was quiet. Apparently the pursuers got lost and proceeded in the wrong direction. Horses were no longer heard. The king was filled with gratitude to the servant and the unknown mystic. The words were powerful. He closed the ring and set out on the road. He gathered his army and returned his state.

On the day when he returned to the palace, they arranged a magnificent meeting, a feast for the whole world – the people loved their king. The king was happy and proud. The old servant came up to him and said softly: Even in this moment, look at the message again.

The King said, Now I am a winner, people are celebrating my return; I’m not in despair, not in a hopeless situation.

Listen to this old servant, the servant answered. The message works not only in moments when everything is bad but also in moments of victory.

The king opened the ring and read: “This too shall pass.

Again he felt a silence fall over him, although he was in the midst of a noisy dancing crowd. His pride dissolved. He understood the message. He was a wise man. And then the old servant said to the king: Do you remember everything that happened to you? Nothing and no feeling is permanent. As night changes into day, so moments of joy and despair replace each other. Accept them as the nature of things, as part of life.


This is the parable I referred to in the post on What makes you not a Buddhist. What thoughts or feelings arise in you upon reading it? Do you recognize yourself, your thoughts and feelings? Or is it far removed from you, something you’ve not given a lot of thought to?

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Time travelling

February 2, 2018
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I sit here, headed home by train, after being away for a night and a day, on assignment for a new client. The sounds and movements of the train help lull me into an experience of timelessness; the sense of time passing, and yet… not. I’ve ridden a lot of train in my days, and I gather all those memories weigh in, to awaken the sensation of being outside time, somehow.

Perhaps I’ve also been influenced by the fact that I’ve travelled through time while the trains have been taking me first north, and then south. Time travelling through a multitude of episodes of the second season of Outlander, this favorite series of mine. Season one is my absolute favorite, and I recently viewed it yet again, for the umpteenth time. In season two, which I just finished re-watching, there’s more sadness, more sorrow, more darkness. A series worthwhile watching, definitely. Especially if you, like I, have a taste for the ways of the past. A few weeks ago I watched the third season for the first time, and now, that I’ve finished re-watching season one and two, I will revisit the third season once more. I already look forward to it, a smile not far from that of the Cheshire cat upon my face.

Season 1, episode 9 The Reckoning

Season 1, episode 9 The Reckoning

Nowadays it’s easy for me to experience the full spectrum of available emotions, from deep love, to the most wondrous joy, to dark despair and heartwrenching sorrow. Place me in front of a clip from Britain’s got talent, and I cry my eyes out – from joy, from pride, from the nerves so visibly strung, sometimes breaking, sometimes making the sweetest art. So watching Outlander most definitely has me on an emotional rollercoaster, let me tell you. And I love it. As I get to f e e l.

I am not afraid of feeling, of experiencing emotions, from the darkest to the lightest. I relish in it. In the experience. In having my heart constrict along with my throat as my eyes well up… to laughing out loud revelling in the humor of the moment at hand… to sensing my blood heat up and rush to erogenous zones spread out across my body as I watch a hand stroke a thigh, a chest, a breast; as two mouths meet up in a kiss, be it soft and tender, or hungry and desperate for more.

I know it will pass, as all emotions, feelings and sensations do – but as they pass through me, I get to f e e l them. And the more I enjoy the actual feeling of them all, the less afraid I am of experiencing whatever feeling comes to pass. It enriches my life, making it easier for me to acknowledge what I feel as I feel it, to stand up for myself and what I sense, while at the same time, not take myself too seriously.

Because that is not a contradiction – feeling it all, all the while not taking myself seriously -, though I fear many believe it is? I know the sensation in the moment will pass, and my old-time companion – the query “Is this serving me?” – helps me to act when it does serve me to, and to refrain from acting when it doesn’t. Except for then I say bugger all, and act full well knowing it is not serving me (whatever it might be!), just because I stubbornly want to. Deliberate and intentional, not blaming my actions on anyone but myself. Taking full responsibility, knowing full well, that no one else can make me feel anything, that’s my prerogative, solely.

So.
Time travel is up, for now.
The train rolled in to Malmö Central, I got off and got on my bike, and am now plonked in ”my spot” on my sofa, with Pop the cat cuddled up beside me, the soft and melodious sounds of
Myrra Ros accompanying me as I finish writing this.

Long. Rambling.
Not especially coherent.
As blog posts go, far from a master piece of mine.

Don’t really give a hoot though.

Getting back on track with daily blogging will likely have me ship stuff, that could – should? – be improved upon. But hey – sometimes there’s a point to that as well. In Lund there’s even a museum dedicated to it, a museum of sketches, called the Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art. I’ve never been there. Think I might go visit it soon. Get inspired by watching ”the birth of a work of art”, as the founder of the museum intended.

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#blogg100 – It is unrealistic.

March 31, 2017
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I’ve seen enough change in my lifetime to know
that despair is not only self-defeating, it is unrealistic.
– Susan Griffin

I believe this to be true.
Not necessarily on an individual level, but most definitely on a collective level. I mean, an individual may be in a hole so deep, there is no perceived way out. Despair is a most likely, and probable choice, in a situation like that. It is still a choice though, meaning that it’s not a default setting. It’s not the only possible way to be, when one finds oneself deep down in a dark hole. But perhaps we are more used to people despairing in such situations, than staying in high spirits, enjoying the little things in life. And even those people will likely fall in and out of the feeling of despair, as hopeless thoughts comes and goes, which they do. All by themselves.

But despair is self-defeating. For the individual.
NaughtAs I close my eyes, and feel my way around, and into, the feeling of despair, tasting it, smelling it, feeling the texture and size of it…. it opens up a void within me; unfathomable depths of nothingness.

And from that place… nothing sparks.
Nothing can live. No initiative, no interest, no connection.

There is simply… Naught.

But we are not all there, in despair, at the same time. Not if there’s enough of us to make up a small group. And that’s why, on a collective level, self-despair is unrealistic – because we are a social creature, meant to be together, connected, intertwined, helping and being helped. When one of us is down for the count, the rest of us will – must! – step up and rise to the challenge, doing what needs be done.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 31 of 100.
The book “Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection February ’17

February 27, 2017
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It’s been an odd month. A lot of hopelessness and despair, frustration and fear, surrounding me. So what have I been doing to be gentle to me, under these conditions? Well… I’ve let myself off the hook, in many ways. I’ve let up on some of the requirements I normally meet, have let my confused and muddled mind be. A lot of knitting, which for me is a very relaxing activity, where my brain can simply let go. A lot of The Good Wife on Netflix, which works perfectly together with the knitting. I’ve not had the wherewithal to read, so no books. I’ve not been able to make myself focus on some aspects of work, so less of that as well. I’ve done the top priority activities, but cut back on the rest.

Wellbeing picking up againAnd now?
Well. The wellbeing is picking up, on all fronts, mine as well as for those in my surroundings. And it makes it easier to start to focus again, to get into the aspects of work that I’ve not been able to make myself sit down with in the past month. The items that require a bit more from me, a coherent thought, an arc of intention, that demands my full attention. And today, for the first time in a few weeks, I finally truly felt that again. So I enjoyed it, getting into the flow of things, of digging around in a system, searching for the common thread, pondering the best way to recreate it, into a new system, utilizing the best from the old, and trying to let go of the less good bits.

And throughout it all – this underlying knowing that it’s not forever. It will not last, the sense of hopelessness, the lack of energy due to despair. It cannot. Nothing ever does. The flux of life will pick up it’s frequency again, starting to swing back and forth, back and forth, providing me with high’s and low’s. Coupled with the knowledge that whatever it is I am not doing, is noting that won’t keep, the worst case scenarios of me not giving it my all – for a month – simply aren’t that bad, even if I use all of my imagination.

So. Being gentle to me this past month has been about cutting myself some slack, allowing me to recharge my batteries and giving me space to simply Be.

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A day of despair

February 7, 2017
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Yesterday, a day of despair. Hard to have any feeling of hope. At all. Darkness all around, people in pain, severe pain, and nothing I can do to alleviate the pain. Except to be there. And now and again, “to be there” makes me feel inadequate. Even though I know it’s a gift, not everyone get enough of. But it just seems too little, too ineffective, when pain is all around.

Today. not a doorUpon aking up, I picked up my copy of Rebecka Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark, and met hope. Again. It seems to come and go. And that’s fine. All other human emotions do the same, so of course hope would too. And when I am in contact with my sense of hope, it is much easier for me to be present, to be compassionate and hold a space of love, for those around me in need.

I don’t know where the door is, for this particular situation that grieves me so, but today, I am connected to the sense that we just might be able to find it. Somewhere. Somehow. And I am not alone. I am supported by family and friends, holding me – when I need it -, pushing me on – when I need that -, assisting me in reaching out to those who are in the know – and you bet that’s precisely what I need right now!

So. Hope. Here again. I can see the darkness; the failings, the misery, the utter and total despondence. But I also see the light; the generosity, the outpouring of love and willingness to make an effort for a fellow human being. It’s not either or, total darkness or blazing light. It’s both. At the same time. All around us. And that’s hopeful!

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