If we imagine that our body is a violin whose strings are the talents and capacities granted by our Source and Creator, the role of musician is played by our soul whose intent and purpose is to play that piece of music unique and special to us over the course of a lifetime.
Depression starts when we find ourselves playing someone else’s music, singing someone else’s song. It is as if our soul scratches its head and wonders, “What is wrong with this instrument? What is being played here? I want to sing my song. Why won’t this violin play right?”
Isn’t it possible to be medically, physically, and mentally depressed?
Yes, certainly. Some of us are genuinely genetically predisposed towards depression; but so many of us go so long without our self-expression that our depression becomes somaticized. Over time we convert a depression into physical symptoms that, if not treated, will inevitably grow into the very structure of our bodies and make us very sick.
What do I do now?
What there is to do is stop playing someone else’s music before doing so makes you sick-and then sicker. As soon as you can, you will need to distinguish that which is special and unique to you and start to do that, whatever it is. Begin to sing your heart’s song, now.
How do I find out what is special about me?
There are three steps to uncovering who you are and putting yourself into daily practice; awareness, exploration, and lastly there is commitment.
a) Awareness: Your first clues will come from asking yourself, “What it is that would make me glad and excited to get out of bed each and every day?” Write your answers down; tell others what you see for yourself, and make a list of all the dreams you once had and then forgot. Add your new dreams and wishes, and goals. Remember that dreams live badly in silence; you are taking your first steps when you share your dreams with someone else.
b) Exploration: next, tell your thoughts to others ask them the same question and explore your dreams together. Look for the many ways you could express yourselves. If art is what interests you, ask which medium; if it is that music takes their breath away, which music, what instrument; if it is scrapbooking, where is the nearest scrapbooking store? Go on a shopping trip together, gather materials, and begin.
c) Commitment: lastly, take your first small steps and try out what you have just explored; see what fits you best; and begin to structure that into your daily living.
Hint: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel on your own. Once you have narrowed down your area or areas of self-expression, find where you can learn more about it. If you can, find yourself a teacher, join a class or a support group. Ask yourself: “Who do you know who is familiar with that area that already has some experience?” Go to them and permit them to share their experience and delight with you.
A word of advice: remember that pretty much everyone falls off the bicycle the first time; be aware that it takes thousands of hours of practice to master any new skill. In addition, it will serve you better if you avoid comparing yourself with others with many more hours of experience. For example, if art appeals to you it probably won’t look like it belongs in a public gallery- but it might look great on your wall. If singing or playing a musical instrument appeals to you it almost certainly won’t sound like a professional recording-but it probably will sound just fine at home, in your shower, in your living room, and to your children. If you light up they will, too.
The bottom line: once you get going, ask yourself: “Did I enjoy doing that? Did doing that make me feel good?” If your answer is yes, you are on your way. Your only wrong answer is not to begin at all.
Can I make my living following my heart, singing my soul’s song?
It may work out that way, but not right away. It is challenging to do what you love and economically supporting yourself at the same time. It most certainly won’t happen right away; and you must be prepared that it might never happen.
However, not to do anything at all, compromising your heart song even before you start to sing it, well, you’ll never find out if you could have succeeded. Worse, you will be on the road leading to depression and soul suicide.
What there is for you to do is find some time, any time, to permit your soul take a breath, expand, spread its wings and sing the song you we born to sing. Begin with one single hour and grow yourself onward from there.
Remember that depression and self-expression are two sides of the same coin that cannot come up at the same time. The reward for self-expression is more light and life; the consequence of failing to sing your soul’s song is walking down a road to darkness and depression.
As the Morgan Freeman told us in the movie Shawshank Redemptions, “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
Offers: Paul @ RelationshipLiteracy.com