May 7, 2008

Depression, or Correction?

(NOTE: I've been promising to release an eBook about living with and inquiring into depression for a couple of years now...but I kept changing my mind about the approach. I have done a lot of writing and I'm finally ready to commit. See the end of this post for a limited-time pre-publication offer.)

In spite of doing my "inquiry due diligence," I've been known to get quite attached to getting my way. Since reality hasn't cooperated recently, I've experienced a dip in my normal happiness lately that mirrors the current economy ("Down from the 52-week high"), if not its forecast ("Further declines projected.").

This has happened before. While it's no fun while I'm in the thick of it, it's nothing to be terribly concerned about; not a true bear market on happiness, just a reality check that sends me back to inquiry until I get right with myself and my world again.

When the stock market dips up to 20%, financial experts call it a "correction." The same holds true when home prices fall significantly; we can either see it as the bubble bursting, or a necessary adjustment. It means that prices were artificially high, and that the new values are closer to reality. It's probably not permanent, and it isn't a tragedy, unless you need to cash in on your stocks, or sell your home immediately, and you were counting on a windfall.

I have found it useful to see the dips in my emotional state (even the ones that feel like substantial drops) as a correction as well. To say "I'm depressed again" is to say that I'm a bear: not simply shying away from wanting to know the truth but buying into all of my old stories with the same pessimistic conviction as before. That's simply not true. "I'm believing what I think" is more accurate. "I'm having a tantrum" is truer.

Forest fires (other than those caused by arson or careless campers) are a natural phenomenon, and mood dips are too. A forest fire clears out deadwood, so that new growth may take its place. A return of depression for those who question their minds is also a natural occurrence; there's something here that isn't working for us anymore, and the dip is an opportunity to clear it out. This is why Byron Katie has included the "dreaded" Number 6 turnaround on the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet: "I don't ever want to" becomes, turned around, "I am willing to ___," and "I look forward to ___." If sadness and despair return, they are not our enemies, and we're not failures; they have come back because of some internal deadwood-beliefs that no longer serve, waiting for us to discover and attend to them, if we have the willingness. Doing The Work in the midst of depression reveals the exact nature and location of the deadwood, which gets burned in the fire of truth.

An emotional "correction," like a market correction, is a time to regroup. If you become depressed, and you already have the tools of inquiry, you have the opportunity to examine your situation, turn your thoughts around, and develop "best practices" that you may have previously overlooked. The Work reveals these emotional benchmarks; your answers are your own prescription for inner peace.

When reality kicks in and appropriate actions are taken, both markets and home prices rebound. With inquiry, depressed moods can too...perhaps not to the dizzying heights of the happiness bull market, for that too consists of unexamined thoughts...but to a balanced, comfortable, and realistic outlook.

©2008 by Carol L. Skolnick; all rights reserved.
TRANSFORMATIONAL INQUIRY: Working with Depression will, Universe willing, be finished by fall's end! Thank you all for your friendly reminders to "git 'er done." This will be the roundest, firmest, most fully packed of my eBooks, and as such, this labor of love be priced higher than the others: $24.95. However, you may pre-order it at my website for $19.95 by shooting me an email with the special discount code you'll find there. I'll respond with order instrucdtions This code also entitles you to a free collection called Three Realizations, good until June 30, 2008.

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