I am grateful to my mother for teaching me a very simple lesson, “People need something to do.” She explained this to me as a child. I was observing folks who had just come from a spiritual retreat. They were filled with energy and optimism but seemed not to know what to do with themselves. She explained that they needed outlets and meaningful pursuits.
I came to see that the same lesson applies at the opposite extreme. When folks are depressed, when there’s no reason to get out of bed or be concerned about what day of the week it is, we become stuck. This is not living. This is surviving.
We all need for our lives to have purpose(s). We need connection and things to look forward to. If we lack friends and support, if we have no one to challenge us, it’s all just lonely and stale.
Same shit, different day. – Those words give me hives. Tell me what you love. Tell me what you wish you could do. Tell me about the service you could be providing to others.
Tell me about the kind of people you’d like to meet. Maybe you’re like I was and you struggle to find your tribe. Come out from behind your walls and notice that an awful lot of us are lost too.
I’ve been (half) joking for years that I want to start Fucked Up People’s Anonymous. I have enormous love and respect for what my friends in AA and NA have – I just don’t happen to be an alcoholic or addict. I’d really like to have what they have – an organization of millions of folks who are very much like me and want to support one another in creating healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Our motto could be, “Join us if you’re fed up with being F’ed up.” It’s lazy and off putting of me to refer to myself as F’ed up. To me it means being a work in progress and it’s an acknowledgment that I’m a societal misfit. Most of all, I claim the title because I’ve found joy and purpose in my life by connecting to people who are F’ed up too.
Somewhere in my psyche is the sitcom Dharma and Greg. Dharma was a free spirit who went through life fully in the moment, unassuming, and without a plan. She started a business in one episode in which there was no design, no service, not even an idea. Folks showed up to her store front and in the absence of anything to buy, interacted with others who were confused about why they were there too. (perfect metaphor for life)
They ended up spontaneously bartering and exchanging services without cost. They applied the principle behind the Celestine Prophecy : What have I for you? What have you for me?
Spider Robinson wrote of a similar place in the Callahan series. Callahan’s was a bar, but only people who really needed to be there could find it. To all others it was invisible. It was a place where misfits found themselves welcomed and were encouraged to share their stories and release their burdens.
My place, Higher Ground is a lot like Callahan’s but without the alcohol. I got mine and here’s a suggestion for you getting yours:
The best way to can get out of depression/out of my own way is to be of service to others.
I’ve been reading lately about the needs of the amazing people of the Hammond Street Senior Center. Man, if you need a reason to get out of bed, if you need some purpose and passion, I can’t imagine anything better than giving those folks a helping hand.
If you do not yet know the joy of being of service, you now have something wonderful on your horizon.