Unhappy in your own way?

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” ― Leo Tolstoy


A number of people commenting on depression mentioned that they doubt anyone who has not been depressed can understand. And yet, there was WITHIN the group of people suffering (past or present) depression wide disagreement on what it feels like, what triggers it, and so forth.


So I have a theory.  “Existential individuation” is the essential reality that we are all alone, the fear that no one understands us or really “sees” us.    When we are happy, we may wish to share that happiness but we don’t NEED to.  So we don’t really compare notes, try to explain, seek understanding for our happiness.  If we did, we’d notice that no two people are happy in the same way, are triggered by the same things, behave the same when happy.


But when we are in pain we seek comfort, allies, support. The sense that we are separate from the rest of the world, that no one understands us is killing, because we have no sense that we can get out of this by ourselves.




Remember that?  And wow, even “ordinary” depression screws up that equation (little faith, nothing to feel grateful for).   So clinical depression has to be a disaster.  In the Hero’s Journey, “faith” is always faith in one of three things:


  1. Faith in yourself
  2. Faith in your companions
  3. Faith in a higher power (or cause)


When this is savaged so as to create a “zero” in this category, everything else “zeroes out.”   Nothing can be accomplished.   Drag yourself up to a “one” and you can manage to get things done.   It is fascinating to note that what most often gets people going in such a state is their love of someone or something else: children, dependent clients, even pets.  Your belief in your SELF is damaged, but you still see value in others, and the sense of obligation mobilizes you.  It is a human truth that we can do for our tribe things we cannot do for ourselves.


Use that.   Embrace the connection.  Extend your heart to good people (and pets!).  


I assume that clinical depression requires medical intervention. I don’t know what the dividing line is, or to what degree any personal actions have an effect, and know that the very conversation can trigger guilt and fear and feelings of worthlessness. So let’s just consider that to be like a broken leg.


But the other range of negative emotions can be affected by the Triad of:


  1. How you move your body
  2. How you focus your mind
  3. How you use language


This is why the “Daily Ritual” focuses on all three.    I personally use Tai Chi as my movement, and it works well in the “Perfect Template” sense. That is, the best exercise is one which makes you feel “If I could move like that, I’d be happy, healthy, and graceful.   Wow that would be great!”


Then, you simply acquire that movement.  It should cover not just how you look but how you feel. There are plenty of very “fit” people who are not healthy, and healthy people who are not particularly “fit.”


What are the qualities of “healthy motion” in this sense?


  1. Proper breathing. Learned correctly, this bullet proofs you against stress.
  2. Proper alignment.   Learned correctly, this saves massive amounts of energy which can then be re-invested in other areas of your life…or sheer happiness.  Also, it protects your back and abdominal girdle.
  3. Proper motion.  Learned correctly, this protects your joints and affects your mood and mental/emotional performance.


There are many “profound movement” systems, body/mind treasures that are not “merely” fitness (the ability to perform in thus and such a manner) but the radically more important “health” (how you actually feel, when you wake up in the morning, all day, and falling asleep at night.  Sex drive.   Frame of mind).  If I had to choose between one or the other, I’d take “health” in a heartbeat.   Not even close.


“Firedance Tai Chi” cheats.   It uses techniques from yoga, NLP, Transcultural Shamanism, and other modalities to accelerate the effect, so that in hours you can achieve results similar to what others require years to attain.  I developed it after teaching thousands of people at SF and other conventions and gatherings, realizing I had only a few hours to interact with them, and wanting desperately to convey some of the positive effects I’ve gained from my own lifetime of practice.


Watching pain held in body and heart, and seeking some way to help people out of their prisons.  Of course, it is also great fun to work with people who are already balanced, and seek to deepen that understanding and accelerate their progress.


And sometimes I get experts, and those are REALLY fun to play with.  Heck, I wish I could play hands for an hour a day, every day, with people who have some real mastery.  That would be a dream…


But now, I’m experimenting with the question: how much good can be achieved in a day?  A weekend?  We’ll see.  The April 17th FIREDANCE TAI CHI workshop in Bothell Washington is part of this continuing commitment, to give people tools that work, as efficiently and effectively (and affordably!) as possible.   We’re hoping that folks respond to this, and that it leads to conducting such workshops across the country.  But only you can decide this: it’s not for me to say how valuable my insights, experiences, and techniques are.


So…join us on the 17th.  I promise you’ll have an experience to remember!







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