Hello, Neale. It is truly an inspiration to see that you are touching lives with your books and with the CwG movie. However, what brings me here today on your website and why I am e-mailing you is that I am severely depressed and I am going through some tough times. I don't know what else to do.
I am constantly looking for advice as to how I can start living my life. I had established a relationship with God 4 months ago and I've been learning a lot. I want to be able to experience the joys of life and just live my life and fulfill my purpose that God wants me to do. Any advice is appreciated.
My Dear Alex...The best advice I can give you about how to start living your life is to do just that -- start living YOUR life, rather than the life that someone else has been wanting you to live. This could be your parents, your present life partner, your boss, even your religion or your society in general.
In his wonderful play Hamlet William Shakespeare wrote: "This above all: To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night, the day, thou can not then be false to any man."
It has taken me most of my life to learn that, and even until most recent times I had not practiced what I had worked so hard to learn. Perhaps now and then, but not nearly as much as would heal my wounds, make my life effective, stop me from hurting others, bring me to inner peace at last.
Being true to myself used to be fearful, you see. The fear was that, by doing so, I would lose you. You, capital 'Y', whoever you were that I didn't want to lose at the moment. The cast changed, but the plot remained the same. Don't Leave Me, the play was called -- and the opening speech? "Whatever you do, don't leave me. I'll do anything to stop you from leaving me."
I am now, finally, making a real effort to put that script down. I am finally going to the keyboard of my life and writing a new scene in this life play of mine. I am finally willing to learn how to be alone.
This has taken me all of my life. I have been playing out the same plot from the same script since I was two-and-a-half years old. My mother failed to come to me when I really needed her, and I felt utterly and totally abandoned -- and helpless. I remember the moment to this day. And to this day I have been petrified at being alone.
The fear of being alone is not mine alone. It is a natural fear, in a way "built into" the human condition, for we, all of us, understand that We Are All One, that Unity is the Essential Nature of our being, and that Separation is the falsehood. And so the experience of separation sends us reeling, reeling, like someone who has fallen into an Alice in Wonderland world, where everyone is saying that what is "so" is not so, and that what is not "so" is so. We have dropped down the rabbit hole and we don't know how to climb out.
Unless we do.
God is the way out. Ultimately Reality awaits us there, in the arms of God. Yet to embrace God, we must embrace ourselves -- for we are One and the Same. We must love ourselves exactly the way we are. We must tell ourselves that it is okay just to be us; just to be who, and how, we are. We must tell ourselves that we are perfect, in the very way we are "showing up" today. There is nothing to be fixed, nothing to be corrected, nothing to be improved. We must understand that the path we are taking, and the way we are taking it, is perfect.
This is what I have been told in my Conversations with God. This is what I teach. Yet these can feel like empty words in a world in which everyone rises up all around us to tell us exactly what it is that we are doing "wrong."
Oh, and we so want to please them, all these other beings who people our lives, who know better than we about almost everything. So we give up our inner calling, step away from our inner truth, abandon our inner desire, question our inner wisdom, and reject our inner feelings as unimportant, unhealed, or ill-informed.
We tell ourselves it is WE who "don't get it," WE who "don't know," and THEY who have all the wisdom, all the understanding, all the answers. If we would just listen to THEM -- to the spouse who knows the right way to do everything, to the friend who holds all the insights, to the boss who has all the power, to all those OTHERS who seem to have it all figured out -- we would at last be happy, because we would at last be doing it right.
I had long ago learned to be true to myself on unimportant matters. I had long ago ceased to worry about what others thought of my clothes or my house or my car or the person on my arm or my politics or my religion or my income level or, really, any of the stuff that occupied my thoughts and my time when I was so very young.
Only recently have I found the pathway to my highest courage, which could leave me to even search for, much less know, understand, and live my inner truth about the smaller things -- which, of course, turn out to be the largest things of all: What do I really want for my life? Where am I "settling," where am I receiving what I desire, where am I abandoning my dreams? Am I able to be myself, fully "me," in the spaces in which I have placed myself? In my relationship? In my work? In my physical location? In all the situations and circumstances in which I now find myself?
Having placed myself right where I am, am I happy with where I have placed myself? If not, why don't I get the hell out? Literally. Why don't I get the "hell" out???
How much more energy am I willing to give, how much more time am I willing to spend, trying to make things better when none of the makings are there?
When will I be willing to choose Me?
These are the questions that Polonius raises in his wonderful speech in Hamlet. To thine own self be true, he advises. Ah, easier said than done, we might grumble. Yet that is the challenge, that is the invitation, that is the path.
I have found that I have hurt more people than I ever imagined I could or would in this lifetime, and almost always it was because I did not, in the first instance, tell my own truth. I did not, as soon as I could identify them, reveal my own agendas. I did not, even as my heart pounded wildly with awareness, unveil my own hopes, fears, wants, desires, and intentions. I made them all a secret, and I made myself a prisoner as a result, isolated in a jail of my own devise.
Then, angry with myself for doing such a thing to Me, I lashed out, broke out, busted out of my self-made cell, hurting anyone who stood in my way -- and who had no idea that they were IN my way, since I never told anyone anything about how I was really feeling.
The irony is that I did this, I hid all this, because I didn't want to hurt others. But when all my "stuff" came boiling over, when it all came rushing out and pushing out and knocking everything over, all the scenery that I had carefully propped into place was destroyed anyway. All the people I was trying not to hurt got hurt anyway. Worse than they ever would have, had I just come clean to begin with.
Only lately have I understood this, really understood it. Only recently have I realized in fullness the impact that it has had on my life and on the lives of others -- others who I said I loved. I "loved" them so much that I hurt every single one of them. I darned near "loved them to death." I almost killed them with my love. I began to feel as if I needed to wear a sign around my neck: "Befriend with extreme caution. I'm dangerous."
So now I've chosen to risk it. I've chosen to risk losing everybody and everything, by looking for, in every moment, my own truth; by creating, in my own way, my own joy; by embracing, every chance I get, my own desires; by following, without fail, my own wisdom; and by granting myself and acting on, without regret, my own authority to choose what I am choosing, be what I am being, do what I am wanting, wishing, and yearning to do!
Now, Alex, a lot of people claim that they don't know what they want to do or to be. Yet I contend that they really do know, but that their awareness is buried under years of denying themselves, of not telling their truth, or of not living it -- or both.
The first step here, as I see it, is to begin living your truth today, in small ways. What do you really want to do tonight? What do you really want to eat? What do you really want to wear?
Then go to the larger stuff. What are you really thinking? What you are really feeling? What are you really afraid of? What are you really wanting right now?
Finally, step fully into that. Move into the living of those truths, large and small. This is one sure way to get your life going, to get things moving again. Give yourself this gift.
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