It is sad to see how many people in our world are caught up in landslides of anxiety and depression. Everytime you turn around you see a new commercial for a pill that claims to alleviate the symptoms of one or the other. I have always felt that the solution is much simpler.
If you really think about it, “Depression” is just focusing on the past…
It is that simple, If I sat around and thought about all the mistakes I have made in my life and the opportunities I have missed and the bad gigs I have had. I could become depressed in an instant!
Now let’s take a look at anxiety;
If you really think about it “Anxiety” is just worrying about the future…
It is that simple, If I kept worrying about a gig I have next Saturday and I keep thinking that I am going to have a bad night with my voice because I am a little hoarse. I would become extremely “anxious” and be miserable.
To some extent a little sadness (depression) is normal, as is a little (worry) is normal. They can be motivators. For example; a little worry might help you get your taxes done on time.
I strive every day to live in the moment and be in the “present” that’s why it’s called the “present” it is a gift and to stay there is to be “alive” It is where the word “believe” comes from. It literally means to be alive. Here is a great story that reinforces the “Power of Now”
There was this monk who was walking in the woods. All of a sudden behind him in the corner of his eye he feels the presence of something ominous. He looks back and sees this gigantic bear that’s starts running towards him. In a panicked frenzy the monk starts running for his life! The bear keeps chasing and gaining ground on him. He can literally feel the heat of the bears breath and slobber on the back of his neck as he comes to the edge of a cliff…
He doesn’t even have time to think about it, he just jumps for his life!
As he is falling he looks down and sees a river full of crocodiles awaiting his arrival. Snapping their jaws! He grabs a branch that extends from the side of the mountain with one hand and hangs on for his life. He is able to stabilize and grab with his other hand another branch and he looks up.
There is the bear growling and licking his lips. He looks down and there are the hungry crocodiles.
Then in front of his face he sees a strawberry plant with a luscious ripe red strawberry right in front of him. He plucks it and pops it into his mouth and the moment is perfect!
You see the message in this parable is beautiful. Live in the moment!
They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” I agree.
I have always been super curious about life. Not long ago I was at a BBQ in East Texas with some very dear friends. One of the friends of the family I was visiting has been in the funeral home business for several generations. Standing around drinking beer and talking I started asking this gentleman question after question about the funeral home business and what it’s like.
So many people are afraid of death and we sanitize it so much in our society and hide it from everyone that I think that is a bit sad. I held my cat Battleaxe’s paw as she passed away and my vet left me alone with her body for awhile so I could just let go and find some inner peace at that moment.
I asked so many questions that this guy finally said to me; “Eric if you ever want to go with me to the morgue as I prep a body for burial you are more than welcome” I thought to myself “I want to experience this part of life up close and personal and I am going to take him up on his offer”
Subsequently a few weeks later I was visiting again and he got a call to pick up a couple of bodies of deceased people. I was there and he asked me if I wanted to go. I did.
Out of respect for the bereaved (I don’t know why but I love that word) and I have always wanted to type it. So there it is.
Anyway out of respect I won’t mention any names but I can tell you the entire process was one of the most serene and interesting experiences I had ever had in my life.
I watched as my friend washed the body, prepped the carotid artery drained the blood from the body and completed the entire embalming process.
You would think that something like this would gross me out but it didn’t. It awoke in me the fragility of life and how precious our friends and loved ones are. I was extremely in the moment during the entire process and I still remember the person’s name and everything.
I will as long as I live. It had that much of an impression on me.
The family brings the clothes that the person requested for burial and often they will bring a photo. This is so a makeup artist that works for the funeral home can do their best to make the person look like they did for the viewing process.
I am glad I had the curiosity and the courage to experience that and I have to be honest I always wanted to see what happens to us when we die. I am not content living my life “on the surface” and not living. In my opinion, If you are not afraid to die than you can live!
Check out this poem “Present Tense” this was written by a 14 year old kid named Jason Lehman.
I love this and have it laminated on my wall, here it goes:
It was spring, but it was summer I wanted,
The warm days, and the great outdoors.
It was summer, but it was fall I wanted,
The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.
It was fall, but it was winter I wanted,
The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season.
It was winter, but it was spring I wanted,
The warmth and the blossoming of nature.
I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted,
The freedom and respect.
I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted,
To be mature, and sophisticated.
I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted,
The youth and the free spirit.
I was retired, but it was middle-age I wanted,
The presence of mind without limitations.
My life was over, and I never got what I wanted.
Isn’t that awesome!
All the best and remember;
If you are not going to love yourself, who is going to do it for you?