Working at my job, I'm experiencing a fascinating combination of people: people who have simply gone too deep and are unable to pull themselves out of their despair, people who have a clear understanding of the choices they made to get the way they have and are fighting to change and maintain that change, and people who understand that they feel a sadness but don't at all comprehend why. Although I have been successful in gaining better clarity about what is happening to me and how I am being the person I am, I still connect with that frustration of not knowing why certain expression bubbles up. Or sometimes I feel as though I fully understand my emotions/actions, and still can't make a change when I feel it is necessary.
I was considering yesterday that perhaps I really just lack focus in all aspects- lack of focus in my physical body, leading to incorrect exercise habits, lack of focus in my learning, leading to being unable to retain details unless it's presented to me more than once, and lack of focus in my practice, since im having so much trouble stopping my left brain's manipulative usurping of control in my behavior. But I've been working on focus, and as a result, finding persistence and clarity.
My patients are also being given a different sort of opportunity to find clarity. I'm beginning to understand that there's a philosophical approach to self-awareness, and a scientific approach. The philosophical is the ideal but requires much more self-reliance and responsibility, so unfortunately a great deal of people aren't willing to unquestionably dive into their convoluted mire without proper equipment (which doesn't exist). In my job, these patients are being given a scientific jolt into their brain. This ideally creates space from which they can view their lives in a new light - a light they hadn't been able to illuminate for themselves previously - to take new steps towards their fulfillment and self-awareness.
An extremely difficult obstacle in this process, whether you are the philosopher or the scientee (my new word, because the scientist and the recipient of science can be different), is the role of the caregiver. Children are a choice made specifically by the parents (one hopes) with the timing and understanding of responsibilities in mind. Ailing parents, or unexpectedly deteriorating loved ones, however, are a completely different thing.
There are a few patients that come in here - wonderful people with great imagination and love of life - who have been unexpectedly entered into a situation where they must care for someone they didn't intend to, or before they intended to. As a result, this makes the struggle for their Self so much more devastating . We are always trying to create more space in our lives. Outside of the necessary tasks to maintain ourselves- make enough money to get by, pay the bills, clean the house, stay afloat - we want to relax, spend time creatively, spend time with friends and loved ones, etc. As if this doesn't already seem impossible in one human schedule, we still want to have some flexibility and variety on top of the above listed. Adding caregiving, which takes up a large portion of every day, to all of this - it's beyond overwhelm.
I know, given that my mind has been habitually resorting to tasks that are more tedious and 'necessary' than creative and truly productive, that those menial tasks have the danger of overriding the more self-healing ones. First it's a little time, and then it's a significant amount of time per week, and slowly but surely a person is suddenly not creating any time to play, to re-examine themselves, to see the change that is always happening in the person they are being. Before they know it, they don't know what makes them happy anymore, and they realize they are sad but can't clearly see why. They have lost the ability to see themselves since they've taken on such a heavy responsibility for someone else's life.
I see these people and I wish I could explain to them that they need to fight for themselves. Of course they may not be able to stop their caregiving position, but in the time that they aren't caregiving, they need to fight for quality. The necessary tasks have to be streamlined so space is opened up, and every second they can take to play creatively, go for a bike ride, get an ice cream sundae, or watch the sunset - they need insist on dedicating those moments to just that.
To exhaustion, at the end of handling all of the 'necessaries' - exhaustion can seem overwhelming, but many times I've felt exhausted and wanted to take a nap, but then I got into writing or playing guitar and I end up staying awake doing these things for much longer than I would have anticipated. The body gets exhausted quicker when it isn't being fed with the self-healing things it truly needs.
I've spoken with one of my patients specifically about this and he seems to hear me and understand - but i haven't seen him fighting for himself adamantly yet. But who knows? I've spoken with others who have helped me understand what I needed to insist upon, and still I resisted getting aggressive and fighting for myself for much longer than I needed to. But it happened eventually.
I'm not a licensed doctor. I'm a person who is simply trying to speak truths to these people and all I can do is hope that, like me, it will absorb and eventually emerge, in the time and condition that is necessary for that person.
We have to be willing to fight for ourselves. If in every other way we are peaceful in the world, being ready to risk everything for our full expression and understanding of Self is the only aggression I would condone. And truly, if done in this way, the aggression evolves into something much more powerful - it becomes passion.