Click the link above to listen to the recording of this blog.
I love how writers at times hit the heart of their subject matter by coining a new expression. Joseph Heller did this with his 1962 debut novel ‘Catch 22′. I never read the novel but have always loved to apply the meaning of the title
A catch-22, Wikipedia describes as
A paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations (…) ; a situation in which someone is in need of something that can only be had by not being in need.”
I had to think of this when I received yet another ‘big time personal development ‘ e-mail the other day, promising quick relief from mental suffering and poverty as well as profound healing. For that I would only have to become part of their community and buy their personal development packages.
New age has a big attraction one some Western entrepreneurs these days. They pose as Guru’s and make big bucks promising people their methods will heal phobia’s, depression and teach ways to become rich and successful without any real effort. Meanwhile their company profits the most, yet naturally this is never shared among the success stories listed on their websites.
It might well be I am jealous. All the personal development I have been involved in over the years never made me rich. In fact loads of what I do is unpaid voluntary work; which sometimes frustrates me because I feel entitled to be rich too. Having said that however; at the same time I regard designer clothes, all inclusive holidays, extravagant houses and especially ridiculously expensive watches, the epiphany of decadency that should be emanated from this world to make it a better place. O, and cars to me are a means of transportation that require three peddles.
In truth the ambition to be rich and successful is wasted on me. When I’m true to my Self, true to my Soul; I have to admit most of my actions and activities are based on the need to heal myself rather than others. I simply just share my finds along the way. While on my path I’ve often been very disappointed in the quick-fixes offered in the big business of healing. I find they resemble diets.
Healing is something you do over time; with loads of thorough dedication and practice, rather than consuming fast food solutions, seeking quick and easy ways to get rid of problems.
Taking a pill for the headache without wanting to explore what causes the headache, offers short-lived cures.
The Catch 22 of Misery is that constantly choosing its quick fix at the same time is also its source.
The mistake we often make, myself included; is that we think we can put certain techniques to good use to cure whatever it is we lack in life; meanwhile continuing to live in coherence with that same lack! Like doing a yoga class once a week ; preferably a trendy one that offers quick results; while spending the rest of the week living the stressful lifestyle.
I live in the fast lane, so I do Yoga.
Naturally one should seek a solution when living a stressful life and I definitely don’t want to put my fellow Yoga teachers out of their good work and yes at least doing something about it is a good thing; but curiously enough ; one hour a week of yoga will only point out the stress of the rest of the week even more.
A personal case study:
I have sustained quite some trauma over the years. I won’t bore you with the details ( though I might soon as I’m writing the book).
The reasons I am ‘in’ personal development, source from my own experiences. I am grateful for the people that stepped into my life to point out the way to me at times; but I certainly needed the time to implement their teachings and get where I am today. And still, even when I’ve come a long way ; there are moments where I am tempted to get a quick fix when something still – ‘after all I’ve done to avoid it’ – haunts me
So a few days ago I did an on line trauma dissolving technique on myself; EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing; a method that supports getting rid of repetitive thoughts and flash backs of uncomfortable (to put it mildly) experiences. I did that because I wanted a quick fix for matters that kept haunting me and blocked me from my favorite pastime : WRITING!
So I did some EMDR, thinking it would help me to quickly get back to work and and lo and behold; did it work!! I fell straight into the pit of going down deep. I cried my eyes out and spent 3 days draped indoors. Even my customary Sudoku to kill time and other inconveniences was too much to handle. This made way for the all too familiar emotional panic attacks I had been trying to avoid in the first place.
Sometimes though it is simply unavoidable to give in to the necessary experience of making space for things that need to be processed. While Material Blindness in the West tends to push aside spiritual development and forces one to go on and make a living; this does make the backpack we carry heavier with each step. To unload, to make it go away, to get rid of it we need to examine it’s content first.
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The Nan War Who Am I Card that goes with this is the 2 of Gifts ‘Emotional Bungee Jumping.
“2” because that number signifies the contradiction; the dillemma; the two sides to every consideration
It is truly a controversial gift of life to be able to be shattered in order to become whole.
It are these opposites we need in life; just like the polarities at play in today’s world open up ways for change.
Wishing you Meaningful Bungee Jumps,
The abridged spoken version of this spoken blog, features as end note on ‘Dutchbuzz’, the radio hour for Internationals every Tuesday from 10 to 11 pm on ‘Den Haag FM’ and can be found in the Programme Archive of the Dutchbuzz podcasts, dated May 14, 2019 or click the link below.