Spiritual Practice Success Story: “Desire Is Missing”

I have this friend who is really, really happy. Her name is Leta Hamilton. She’s a channel, an author, and a mom of four–and the perfect person to grill for answers about life. Her books include The Way of the Toddler and a four-book series called 100 Daily Messages.

Mollie: When you meditate, do you have thoughts?

Leta: When I am in a meditative state, which is to say, breathing with depth instead of shallow breaths, feeling connected to All That Is, feeling in a state of bliss, feeling “in the flow” and all the other ways we express the experience of being ease-filled … I discover that my thoughts and myself are two distinct things. I can be meditating and suddenly realize that I’ve been thinking thoughts the whole time, but that they feel as if they have arrived from an infinite field and are not a part of me (the essence of me) at all. It feels as if the “me” is infinite space and the thoughts are energy signatures that come from the outside in, but are not mine. They may, of course, have everything to do with this lifetime as I am experiencing it, yet there is a depersonalization to it. They are not the essence of me.

Therefore, the relationship I have with thoughts is that I have them, but they are not from me. They just are. They bounce in from the infinite field of consciousness and become personal to my life experience, but are not personal, nor are they “me,” nor are they “mine.” They just are. I have a distance from them. They occur, but they are not personal. They come and go, but it is like the bouncing ball, not an internal foundation of my being. I am the observer behind the thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves. I am distinct from the thoughts. No matter how personalized they feel (and of course they are very personal to what is going on in my life experience), they are profoundly not personal, not me at all. They have no relation to who I AM. They are. That is the best way I can describe it.

Mollie: In other words, while meditating, you are almost entirely separate from your ego? Can you describe that feeling a little more?

Leta: It is a very strange phenomenon. When I am feeling vast, I fall into that vastness and lose all dreams, ideas or hopes of being anything other than completely anonymous as a human. I go into this vast space inside myself and everything I need is there. I have everything. I have the impulse to disappear completely.

How this plays out in my life is that I have no desire to be present on social media. I cannot nor do I want to explain myself to anyone. There is no desire to even talk to anyone. I am here for those who want to talk to me, but I am not in defense mode. I only care to listen and speaking feels like a kindness I do for the benefit of all humankind as we do this thing together–as a species–of evolving. The thing that is missing from my life is the desire to be anything other than what I am right now or anywhere other than where I am right now. That is not to say I don’t have stress or feelings of overwhelm. However, I am grateful for them as I am experiencing them.

I don’t know how else to describe it. No explanation is ever going to be enough. It is felt, not explained. I cannot talk about it. I can only feel it. When I try to talk about it, like right now, it feels so inadequate and off-base. It is only an approximation of an approximation.

Mollie: I don’t think I’ve ever lived a single moment without desire. That must be amazing.

What is your greatest, most helpful spiritual practice in life?

Leta: NOTHING is what I insist is my greatest experience! Nothing is NO-THING. It is surrender and surrender and surrender until your heart is so full you encompass everything. You become no-thing and have room for everything. It is the galaxy I am talking about, the vastness, the opening up to galaxies and the whole universe. It is everything because it is nothing.

This admission feels vulnerable because I don’t want anyone to be denied the experience they are having right now, to ever think they are experiencing anything other than perfection every moment, no matter how unpleasant.

I want everyone to have their own experience, because it is theirs to have and it is perfect just as it is.

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

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Depression Success Story: “Matt Kahn’s ‘Loving What Arises’ Technique Is Simple and Profound”

Last fall, I was going through a rough time. Like, really rough. I wasn’t taking walks. I wasn’t eating healthy. I wasn’t hanging out with friends–even writing. The problem? I was pregnant.

And every day, all day long, I was nauseated.

It’s the worst thing, that nausea. I’ve had it four times for over three months straight, and it never gets any more enjoyable. It’s unfortunate, too, for my kids and husband, who want another little one someday. (I think they forgot how bad the bathroom smelled, and how infrequently I cleaned it.)

All right, enough pity. (Thanks, though. It was nice.) The point is, when you’re sick everything sucks. So you can imagine how badly I’d have to want to do something while in this condition in order to actually get dressed, get in the car, go somewhere and do it.

Yeah. Pretty bad indeed.

Well, I did that. I did that for Matt Kahn. And it involved a 40-minute car ride. There was an IV in my arm, and I puked on the street by my friend’s car, and I hated every second, but I went.

To say I’m a fan of Kahn is an understatement. I once offered to ghost write a book of his. (His office person rejected the idea. No hard feelings! Emoticons!) He’s a Seattle local, which gets him a few points, but mostly he just has a great take on spirituality. It’s jovial. It’s fun. It’s super insightful. And it’s just non-friggin-uptight. He’s not a comedy genius or anything–he’s just relatable. Honestly, a pretty normal dude–yet awesome.

And then there’s his message. His message is the thing. It’s unique. It’s a blend. There’s nothing copycat about it. He talks about karma, about the law of attraction, but in a totally different way. A real treatment of his message is far beyond the scope of this piece, but do check out at least one of his super popular YouTube videos. It’s required.

With that, we come to Kahn’s spiritual practice, and my assessment of how well it works for depression–and for just getting more inner peace and stuff in general.

So let’s get to it.

Matt Kahn is a spiritual teacher with second-sight abilities. In his book, Whatever Arises, Love That, which he seems to claim was channeled (though possibly not word-for-word?), he shares how one day a spirit entity or entities revealed to him his greatest teaching (so far) in the form of the four words that are the title of his book:

“Whatever arises, love that.”

Taking the directive literally, he began repeating, “I love you” to whatever got his attention—a flock of birds, a construction worker using a jackhammer. What followed was an awakening, as he calls it, that caused sounds of gunshots in his head and a sense of his Self “oozing out of my ears like warm liquid light.” Sounds like something I want to experience. Maybe.

And that’s it. That’s the practice. So simple. So of course, I had to try it. Here’s what I found.

Does this spiritual practice work against depression?

Yes, but only to a point unless used with great commitment. Just saying a few “I love yous” every day won’t get you out of a bad slump. Though it wouldn’t hurt, either.

Have you tried it? For how long?

I tried the technique for about one month during that pregnancy I was describing. Not the first trimester, of course–spiritual practice? what’s that?–but later when things weren’t so … entirely crappy. I was convinced I’d stick with it for at least a year straight as one of my main practices. However, it was not to be. Soon afterwards, I discovered Byron Katie’s The Work, and loving what arises has been relegated to the Definitely Will Do That Again, Hopefully Soon list in my OneNotes.

What were your results?

My results were great. Thing is, as hirpy-chirpy ridiculous as the technique sounds, in practice it’s very profound. When things are swimming along, feeling good to you, it’s just an extra “thank you” to the Universe, but when things get un-fun, the technique really gets interesting. It’s not about pretending to have feelings of appreciation and love for what you actually hate. For me, anyway, it’s about reminding myself that this–even this–is fine. Not great. Not cool. Not awesome. Not de-lish.

But fine. Really, really fine.

My kids both pooped on the floor? On the same day? It’s fine. It’s really fine. I love you.

I’m feeling depressed but too lazy to go take a walk? It’s fine. It’s really fine. I love you.

My body is forty pounds heavier, and my ears hurt from the sound of whining? It’s fine. It’s really fine. I love you.

Because, here’s the deal, you: You’re what I get when I ask to become a better person. You, Poop. You, Depression. You, Fat. You’re my gifts, my teachers, my best friends.

Even you, Whining. All of you.

So, I love you. For teaching me how to train my kids to clean up after themselves. For bringing me back to spiritual practice after a few days’ absence. For reminding me how lucky I am to have a healthy body. For teaching me patience. For making me stronger.

I love you.

Here are a couple of amazing quotes from the book.

Note that it was really, really hard to choose; there were tons of great ones.

  • “No matter what seems to trigger you, each reaction represents the releasing of cellular debris collected from lifetimes of experiences.”
  • “Throughout this process, it is important to remember that a sensation only feels like a barrier for as long as you refuse to feel it. As it is invited to be felt, a willingness to experience each moment as an opportunity to heal clears out layers of cellular memory to make room for the emergence of heart-centered consciousness.”
  • “Instead of using this practice as a cosmic fire extinguisher to merely resolve the flames of personal despair, I invite you to treasure your heart on a regular basis, until the world you are viewing reflects back the light that your love reveals.”
  • “While moments of transcendence are incredible to behold, the true benchmark of spiritual maturity is how often your words and actions are aligned with love.”

On a scale of 1-10, how effective was this technique is against depression, in your experience?

As a technique to deal with depression, I give it a 9 on a scale of 1-10, if used with consistency and during one’s hardest moments.

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Spiritual Practice Success Story: “After Doing the Byron Katie Method, My Boss Started Listening to Me”

Contributor: Travis Thomas. Travis is a corporate trainer and performance specialist who created Live Yes, And. In 1999, he found improvisational comedy and it changed his life. Since then he has used the principles of improvisation as a tool to help individuals, companies and teams with personal development, culture, mindset and collaboration. He is the author of the book, Three Words for Getting Unstuck: Live Yes, And!

I learned about Byron Katie for the first time from a friend. I tried reading a book of hers but the concepts didn’t click until I listened to an audiobook and could really hear the coaching. I have been doing her method, The Work, on and off for about eight years. My other spiritual practices include meditation, prayer, and listening.

I wanted to share an example of how The Work helped me in an important way about seven years ago.

I just finished the first year in a new job and I spent most of the year feeling under-appreciated and under-valued. I saw my immediate boss as inflexible, obnoxious, and wrong most of the time. I disagreed with how he went about things and it seemed he never really cared about my opinion.

As the year came to a close and we were preparing for summer break, I realized that if I wanted to last another year at the job I needed to do The Work. I filled out a “Judge Your Neighbor” worksheet (I know, it sounds strange; see TheWork.com for more information) and landed on the statement “My boss (I’ll call him Carl) should listen to me more.” It was clear to me that this was true because I knew I had a lot to offer and a lot of expertise, but it was also clear to me that Carl didn’t really want to listen to me.

I took the statement to the Byron Katie questions. I answered Question One pretty quickly. “Is it true?” Yes. Moving on to Question Two: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true?” Well, I thought I could, but for the sake of this exercise I chose to be open to the possibility that maybe it wasn’t absolutely true. So okay, no, I couldn’t be absolutely sure it was true. Question Three is “How do I react when I think that thought?” That one was interesting: When I thought that Carl should listen to me more, I wouldn’t listen to him, either. I would disagree with everything he said and did, never giving him the benefit of the doubt or credit for the three decades of work he had done in this field.

I wanted him to value me more, but I didn’t value him. I wanted him to respect me more, but I didn’t respect him.

Ouch.

This was a huge eye opener for me. It was so clear that I had shut off my willingness to see any value in him, so of course I wasn’t going to feel any in return.

Then I came to Question Four, “Who would I be without that thought?” I knew the answer: I’d be an awesome team player. In fact, I would be his biggest cheerleader. I would be patient, enthusiastic, positive, selfless, and compassionate–the person I really wanted to be.

The turnarounds were also interesting: “I should listen to Carl more.” Yes, I clearly wasn’t doing that; what would it look like if I really listened to his ideas? The next one was a biggie, too: “I should listen to myself more.” That is the one that stung most. What all of this angst really boiled down to, I realized, was me not valuing my own ideas and having enough confidence in myself to present them without fear, oversensitivity and intimidation.

But it was easier to blame Carl instead.

The following year, I decided to change my attitude towards Carl, to be his biggest cheerleader and genuinely love him for all of the love he brought to the job, even if I disagreed with some of his choices. I worked on being open-minded and patient, as well as just liking him as a person. It should come as no big shock that our relationship changed quickly. Almost overnight, Carl started asking for my ideas all of the time. Soon I became his go-to guy, and we developed a wonderful friendship.

I ended up staying at that job for two more years, and enjoyed a wonderful and harmonious experience there. I remain friends with Carl to this day.

Travis

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Depression Success Story: “Forgiveness First. Then Positivity”

Contributor: Katie Harp of the blog Resilient. At Resilient, Katie writes excellent articles about depression, including this one, in which she shares the full story of how she overcame her depression

Mollie: Can you tell me when your depression began, as far as you know? Was there an event that brought it on?

Katie: My depression started as a teenager because I was bullied for being weird and different. But many years later, these were traits I slowly learned to love for how they caused me to break the mold and not always follow the status quo.

Mollie: What were the turning points for you?

Katie: Discovering the world of personal development was a big turning point for me. I discovered personal development when I started looking for the answer to the question, “How can a person be happy?” and realized that you have to create the changes in your own life that lead to happiness. I started reading books from people like Jack Canfield (The Success Principles) and also developing more of a spiritual practice and incorporating new things into my life like meditation, mindfulness, and teachings from the Dalai Lama and Pema Chodron.

Mollie: What was your most effective strategy when starting out? Did the results last? What did you try after that?

Katie: Forgiveness work was very helpful for me. I have a post about that here.

I still do forgiveness work regularly. It’s like having a regular practice of gratitude or any other positive habit. Sometimes forgiving can be difficult, but you can remember the quote, “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Healing your past is a good place to start, and from there you can add more positivity into your life.

Mollie: Do you believe that you were or are wired differently from other people? Meaning, do you have depression due to a chemical imbalance that is part of your DNA? Also, do you believe your depression can be healed completely?

Katie: I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer that, but I do feel that depression has both biological reasons and reasons caused by situations and circumstances in your life. I also think your beliefs, attitude, and thought patterns can have a big impact on how happy you are.

Mollie: Final question: On a scale of 1-10, how effective is forgiveness for healing depression?

Katie: I’ll give it a 7. It depends on what factors are contributing to the person’s depression, though.

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Would I Rather?

Today I’m asking myself the following questions:

1. Would I rather have clean carpets but constant carpet maintenance and a strict no-shoes, no dirty feet policy … or would I rather have stains on my carpet and a lot less hassle? (Or is there another solution, like dark brown carpet?)

2. Would I rather have a clean house with constant maintenance … or would I rather have a messy house but be able to let my kids do arts and crafts inside; let kids get head-to-toe dirty outside then track it in; not have to nag about chores all day; get less annoyed by kids being kids; let kids learn how to prepare their own food; let kids learn how to feed themselves; and not to mention spend a lot less time cleaning. (Or is there another solution, like teaching kids to do chores and exchanging chores for privileges?)

3. Would I rather have a nicely manicured lawn that I have to maintain weekly … or would I rather garden and rake when it brings me pleasure and exercise, and have lots of pine cones, leaves and dead grass in my yard, all of which are pretty in their own way? (Or is there another solution, like moss and clover instead of grass?)

4. Would I rather keep all bugs out of my house at all times but have to constantly nag the kids to shut the door … or would I rather leave the door open all day in the summer without a screen so that the kids are encouraged to go outside more often throughout the day? (Or is there another solution, like a screen with a magnetic closure that automatically closes behind you?)

5. Would I rather save time on cooking by going to a restaurant, then spend time driving, parking, ordering, waiting, paying, and driving … or would I rather spend the effort to throw together something at home, then linger after dinner at the table with the family?

6. Would I rather spend $30 extra for a restaurant meal … or spend $20 for an extra hour of housekeeping or nanny time?

7. Would I rather spend $1,000 on French doors for my patio … or use that money to buy 50 hours of household or nanny help?

8. Would I rather spend $3-5,000 on a family vacation to Mexico for a week … or $1,000 on a nice staycation for a week that includes long evenings with kids at the babysitter’s?

9. Would I rather buy and store a gas-powered lawnmower … or would I rather use a small push mower that I rarely need to sharpen and never have to buy gas for, and is much quieter and more pleasant to use and gives me some exercise?

10. Would I rather have a large variety of appliances that make various tasks easier and faster … or would I rather have a smaller kitchen with less cluttered cabinets and save time and hassle finding what I need?

11. Would I rather have a large, expensive house with high heating, cleaning and repair costs … or a house in a prime location with just enough room for the family to live closely and with less stuff?

12. Would I rather have three kids and spend more quality time with each … or would I rather have four kids and bring another life into our family and the world?

13. Would I rather make sure my kids go to several sports, clubs, or classes each week … or would I rather let my kids figure out how to overcome boredom on their own at home?

14. Would I rather clean up the food my kids spill under the table and move on to the next thing more quickly … or would I rather teach them how to clean up after themselves by taking away their food and waiting for them to clean it up before their next meal?

15. Would I rather drive my kids to the library … or would I rather walk them there?

16. Would I rather let my kids have three hours of screen time per day … or would I rather sit with them in the living room while they play and I read a book, not allowing them to interrupt me unnecessarily?

17. Would I rather buy a new fire truck for my child … or give him a box of recycled materials and help him make one?

18. Would I rather pick up all of the toys one by one when I need to clean the floor … or sweep them all into the corner with a push broom?

19. Would I rather spend an hour a week driving to and from a playdate that I don’t particularly enjoy … or would I rather find an activity for my kids that is within walking distance?

20. Would I rather pack the kids up in the car and take them to the park every day … or would I rather sit in the backyard for an hour to encourage them to join me?

21. Would I rather commit to doing a favor that doesn’t feel good to me … or would I rather take the opportunity to practice saying no?

22. Would I rather buy the new furniture that we supposedly need … or would I rather let the kids continue to destroy the old stuff and wait to get new stuff when they’re older?

23. Would I rather leave my cell phone in the bedroom till evening and miss a few messages … or would I rather be tempted to check my messages or to-do list several times per hour during family no-screen time?

24. Would I rather prepare all my kids’ food every day and prevent messes and wasted food … or would I rather teach them how to open the fridge, get a cup, pour the milk and put it away, then help them clean up the mess later?

25. Would I rather continue to change poopy diapers every day … or deal with potty misses a few times a week?

26. Would I rather help my kids resolve their every argument … or would I rather help them only when they ask me to and they are choosing to use their words?

27. Would I rather keep the family on a strict bedtime schedule and hectic morning routine in order to get them to school … or would I rather homeschool them and keep the schedule we choose?

28. Would I rather make my young kids do homework every night at the expense of family and free time … or would I rather let their grades slip a bit and let them play more?

29. Would I rather keep everything in my garage that I may need someday … or would I rather risk having to rebuy an item–either a new one or a just as good or better used one off Craigslist–in a few years?

30. Would I rather stand underneath my children on the monkey bars every time … or would I rather relax on the bench and let them fall once in a while?

These are just some of the ways I have rethought my cultural upbringing in the years since having children. Just an off-the-top list; I’m probably missing some big ones. The important thing isn’t how I answer these questions, of course. The  important thing is that I ask them.

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. (In some posts, I rate the practices on a scale of 1-10, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.)

These Are the Books I Want My Kids to Read Someday

Kids, here it is. Have at it.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Depression Success Stories

Meditation works for overcoming depression. It’s a fact. A proven fact.

There are studies.

Sometimes, though, we don’t want more research. We want stories–real stories, from real people who’ve tried this stuff.

Well, as a Type A doer/fixer/planner/mild OCD-haver, I’ve pursued a number of spiritual and other techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. I’ve even written a few books about doing so. And guess what? Not all of them worked. In spite of those aforementioned studies. (And it can’t be because I was doing them wrong. Obviously.)

Thus, our dilemma as people with depression: hundreds of spiritual practices. Only some that work. But which? Which are worth our limited time and emotional effort?

Well, here you have it, folks: my gift to the world. A collection of stories about the practices that I believe do work for depression. Or at least, did work, for the people that wrote them. Some come from guest contributors, some come from me. Each and every one of them is true.

Most of my stories focus on a single spiritual practice, detailing how and how well they helped me with depression. I end them with my soon-to-be-patented, super-accurate Depression Effectiveness Rating.

I know, I know–it’s spiritual practice. You’re not allowed to rate them on a scale of 1-10. But the way I figure, what’s the point of being a New-Agey type if you don’t let yourself pick and choose, cafeteria style?

That’s basically my whole religion: picking and choosing.

And that’s what these posts are meant to help you with, too. My hope is that among them you’ll find a helpful spiritual practice that you may not have otherwise heard about or tried.

One last thing: Depression Success Stories is an ongoing project. Check back here and on the Welcome page of my blog anytime to find this list, with updates.

My Depression Success Stories:

Depression Success Story: “Matt Kahn’s ‘Loving What Arises’ Technique Is Simple and Profound

Depression Success Story: “Positive Thinking Is a Bit Overrated. But Just a Bit

Depression Success Story: “Mindfulness Meditation Isn’t What I Thought It Was. It’s Better

Depression Success Story: “Joe Vitale’s ‘Zero Limits’ Method Is Great. But There Are, In Fact, Limits

Depression Success Story: “Sitting Meditation Is Just a Requirement for Life. I Know. I Asked People

Depression Success Story: “Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’ Seriously Works for Me

Depression Success Story: “Mantra Meditation: On a 10-Scale, I Give It a Seven

Depression Success Story: “I Can Be Happy About My Sadness

Depression Success Story: “I Altered My Subconscious Beliefs Using the Byron Katie Method

Depression Success Story: “I Let My Bad Feelings Run Free. They Ran Away

Depression Success Stories from Guest Contributors:

Depression Success Story: “Depression is Like Alcoholism

Depression Success Story: “Art Heals the Body, Mind and Soul

Depression Success Story: “Forgiveness First. Then Positivity

***

In the year 2081, Francie lived in a small village called Gallitia. It was simple. It was peaceful. It was beautiful. But there was one problem.

Francie couldn’t leave.

Oh, and then there were the people that wanted to bring electricity and change everything. And the boy with the very red hair, who Francie suspected was somehow part of this change. The question, then, became: Will Francie change, too?

Get Being Good on Amazon for 99 cents, or on Smashwords for free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Depression Success Story: “Sitting Meditation Is Just a Requirement for Life. I Know. I Asked People”

best-books-for-mystics-5

Recently I read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. In it he talked about one of his early memories of another yogi who couldn’t stand working anymore, so he quit and just meditated all day long from then on.

Damn, I thought when I read that. I still love working.

I have a long way to go.

Turns out I’m not a yogi yet. And let’s face it: I probably never will be. In spite of many past efforts–most of them enjoyable, even–sitting meditation just isn’t my thing. Working is. Doing is. Moving my body, getting stuff done. I know it’s not what spiritual people are supposed to say, but … I think I was meant to be a doer.

I think it’s my calling to be non-Zen.

And when I look hard enough, I find a little bit of encouragement for this seeming flaw. In Anita Moorjani’s Dying To Be Me, she makes an impassioned plea for people to find God in doing things they love–mundane things, sensual things, unusual things. Whatever makes you happy. And in several of Eckhart Tolle’s audio recordings he discusses this idea, too, saying that it’s actually better to live life and bring stillness to the living of it rather than becoming a monk somewhere. Life gives us plenty of opportunities to grow, he says. No need to seek a special kind of pain by sitting uncomfortably on an ashram floor. Unless you really want to, that is.

Finally, in In The Presence of A Great Mystery, another audio recording of Tolle’s, he makes another interesting statement. During the question and answer session a man asked him how to not fall asleep during meditation. First, Tolle answered that this is normal, that he’s seen many a monk sleeping during their 4 a.m. meditation session. But then he adds that what’s important in forming a meditation practice isn’t how long you stay in the state of no-mind, but how often you return. In other words, it’s better to hold short meditation “sessions” all throughout your day. “Even ten seconds is enough,” Tolle says.

Ten seconds.

I can do that.

All this to say that if sitting meditation is your thing, please, please don’t give it up. It helps so many people, in so many ways, and one day I will likely return to this practice (though maybe not in a totally committed way). But it’s not for everyone. Not for all times and seasons of life.

And it really doesn’t have to be.

And now, the questions.

Does this spiritual practice work against depression?

Of course it does. Can’t argue with science.

Have you tried it? For how long?

I did sitting meditations for about two years, though not daily. There was a time, though, when I sincerely wanted to attend a local meditation class every day of the week–I couldn’t get enough. These days, with three kids instead of one infant, I am unable to go to meditation classes at all, which is unfortunate; I greatly prefer the experience when I’m with others. It keeps me from jumping out of the chair.

What were your results?

I loved sitting meditation while I was doing it. It did bring me inner peace, though it’s hard to say how much.

Does this practice change your mood right away? How so? What do you feel?

Sometimes it does. When meditating, I usually feel quite happy, particularly if I meditate on a pleasant mantra, which I love to do. An example: “All is well. It is good.” Try saying that to yourself in silence for an hour, and you’ll feel pretty good, too.

What’s the downside?

Time. It takes time. And Type A people like me struggle to keep their commitment to it for long.

What’s the upside?

Huge upside. Benefits too numerous to list here.

How long did the effect last? Did it taper off after a few weeks or months?

For me, my first few long sitting meditation sessions were the best. After that, there were good days and bad days–though, as any dedicated meditator would tell you, any day you sit is a good day, no matter how you feel during or after.

How does it work? What do you do, exactly?

Sitting meditation isn’t just one kind of meditation–it’s many. The focus (breath, a sound, one’s thoughts, a mantra, etc.) can change. So can the body position and more. In my experience, most types are roughly equal in effectiveness, though personally I never focus on the breath as it always causes me to lose my breath. (Weird, huh?)

Is this practice scientifically backed?

Yes. Read The Mind’s Own Physician for more details.

How effective do you think it is against depression? What is your overall rating?

As a technique to deal with depression, I give it an 7 on a scale of 1-10–for the right person.

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Depression Success Story: “I Altered My Subconscious Beliefs Using the Byron Katie Method”

Contributor: Mollie Player

The story of my depression starts way back in time, back to some of my first childhood memories. Since then I’ve made a great deal of progress–more than I once thought possible. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still have it.

Daily, there’s a routine: Get some exercise, some alone time. Take time to read and write and be with friends. Meditate as much as possible all throughout the day, and never, ever forget to be grateful.

Sleep well, and a lot. Eat healthy. Take medication. Stay busy. Get outside if you can. Take vitamin D, a multivitamin, a cold shower. Then get some more exercise, and meditate again.

Most of the time, this works. It’s work, but it works. So I continue on, and make slow progress. But recently I discovered two techniques that are speeding up my results: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Byron Katie’s The Work.

Elsewhere in this blog I tell more about these techniques for overcoming depression–how to do them, why they work and how well. For this story, then, I’ll just add a few personal examples–particularly difficult thoughts the methods have helped me overcome.

Keep in mind that these are just some of the beliefs, not all, that have altered over the past few months using these processes.

  1. My kids require too much attention. After doing The Work, this thought became: My kids require just the right amount of attention for them. And I require a lot of attention, too–and I get it. Also, much of the day I’m doing other things–cooking, cleaning, hanging out with friends. Things I’d do whether or not the kid were present.
  2. I am sick of breastfeeding. This changed to: I am not sick of breastfeeding. It’s good for the kids. It’s nice downtime for me–I often get to read at the same time. Plus, it helped me lose my extra baby weight. It is a blessing for us all.
  3. I am exhausted. This thought became: I’m not exhausted. I am not depleted of energy. There is a great deal of energy in my body for everything my body needs to do. I am thankful that my body notices when it’s time to sleep, and lets me know.

It’s an interesting process, this thought-altering work. Sometimes I can feel the change in my perspective right away. Other times, though, I only notice the change later, when the situation comes up again.

Every time I do it, part of me doubts it will work. Most of the time I’m surprised.

Byron Katie told me this would happen. I love her so much.

If you haven’t tried The Work yet, start here.

Much love,

Mollie Player

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Finally, it happened. After ten years thinking about it, I attempted, as the Apostle Paul once wrote, to “pray without ceasing”–to communicate in an ongoing way with the Divine.

Interested in my results?

Get You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends on Amazon. It’s free.

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

Depression Success Story: “I Let My Bad Feelings Run Free. They Ran Away”

Contributor: Mollie Player

Early last year,  I took a break from spirituality for a while. Have you ever done that? I stopped trying to meditate. I stopped saying my mantras.

I was just sick of it all.

Spiritual practice is wonderful, when it’s wonderful. Other times it just feels like one more obligation. And then I got pregnant, and was sick for three months, and my only unnecessary activity was watching TV reruns. I took care of my family. I ate and slept. But I didn’t exercise or see friends, much less meditate.

Needless to say, this convergence of events brought on a depression relapse. Then November came. My first trimester sickness was over, and I was ready to take up my self-improvement efforts again. So I did something I’d never done before.

I started seeing a therapist.

When I called to make the appointment, the woman asked if I was suicidal. At first I didn’t answer; I just started crying. “No,” I told her. “I don’t want to kill myself. I just don’t really want to live.”

Apparently, that’s what three months without exercise or prayer will do to me. Oh, and dehydration and constant nausea.

In any case. My first appointment was in December, and I left it feeling quite hopeful. Julie told me that depression may be a temperament, a chemical imbalance, something that’s considered permanent. But many therapists believe that it’s not that simple, that there are other factors, too.

“So long-term relief is possible?” I asked. “Is that what you’re telling me?”

“It is,” she said. “A better question, though, is: Is it possible for you?”

She couldn’t tell me for sure if she’d be able to help me feel significantly better for a significant amount of time. “What I can say is that the things we’ll talk about have helped a huge number of other people in your place.”

“So what’s the plan?” I asked. “In a nutshell, what’s the strategy? Do you have some techniques in mind?” Partly, I was curious. Partly, I needed hope. And partly, I was doing a mental calculation, a cost-benefit analysis. With two kids at home, even insurance-covered therapy is a luxury.

Julie laid it out: We’d delve deep into my emotions. We’d analyze incidents that brought up feelings I’d rather not have. In doing so, I’d learn how to face them rather than stuffing them down. I’d also learn to be vulnerable.

“Studies consistently show that the happiest people are those that don’t push down their emotions,” she told me. “Letting yourself feel is the first step.”

And immediately upon hearing this, I knew she was right.

Here’s the thing: Her plan wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. Nothing new or revolutionary. But for some reason, until that day, I’d never followed the advice. It wasn’t so much that I was afraid to feel bad. I just didn’t think it’d work. In the past, every time I’d decided to look at my pain, it just seemed to grow bigger.

So, I ignored them—at least as much as I possibly could. And then I tried to fix them, find a solution. But feelings, said Julie, don’t need to be fixed. They just needed to be felt.

A bell rang. A Buddhist bell. An Eckhart Tolle/New Age spirituality bell. All that “just notice the thoughts–don’t judge them” stuff kicked in, and I thought, Maybe the Universe is telling me something. So, soon after reading the books by Brene Brown that Julie recommended, I decided to delve into spiritual books again. I bought Matt Kahn’s Whatever Arises, Love That. And I read Pema Chodron for the first time. These books were all about accepting where you’re at–even when you’re in a bad-feeling place.

I was ready to be spiritual again.

Over the next few months, I resumed my meditation practice, along with my exercise routine. I went to therapy a few more times, too, and that helped more than I thought it would. I can’t say for sure which of these activities was the most significant part of my recovery, though I suspect it was the walking. But the spiritual practice I started with during that sensitive time helped a lot, too, and I still do it now sometimes.

I called it my “I hate this” meditation, and I came up with it one day at the gym.

I’d come there to exercise, of course, as well as do some writing, but I was feeling exhausted and just … bad. So instead of doing either, I sat on a comfortable chair and decided to rest for a moment.

I know what I’ll do, I thought after criss-crossing my legs and taking a few deep breaths. I’ll practice this vulnerability thing. I will think about my emotions. Feel them fully. Stop fighting my negative inner dialogue, and judging it.

I will let my bad feelings run free.

And so, that’s what I did. And not half-heartedly. If I was gonna do this, I was gonna do it right. I started a mental checklist of everything—every little thing—that I was hating in that moment. Anything that came up, I put it on the list.

The list got very long, very quickly.

I hated the gym. I hated cleaning the bathroom. I hated getting my kids ready in the morning. I hated the weather, and the way my pregnant belly felt.

I even hated my own pants.

Then something happened. Something I didn’t expect. The depression began to lift. The thoughts lost a bit of their power, their ability to produce fear. You might even say that by letting them run free, they ran away.

After all, I was facing them, and they weren’t that bad. They were just thoughts, you know? Most of them were unreasonable, many untrue. Some of them were even sort of silly. Suddenly I understood what some people call “the space between”–there was space between myself and my thoughts, like a cushion.

Half an hour into this negativity meditation, I moved past the initial lift and into an actual high. Or, not a high exactly—the depression was still there. But alongside it, coexisting with it, was some peace.

Breakthrough.

For the next two months, I continued my “I hate this” meditation until I didn’t seem to need it anymore. Soon after that, I discovered Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Byron Katie … but those stories I’ll save for another day.

You can read more about my “I hate this” meditation here.

Much love,

Mollie Player

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It’s spirituality for the rest of us

Eckhart Tolle is awesome. So are Byron Katie and all those Buddhist monks we hear about. Why, then, doesn’t their advice immediately solve all our most pressing spiritual problems?

Why are their results so difficult to replicate?

Get You’re Getting Closer and The Power of Acceptance on Amazon.

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More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.

So sorry! Here are the real links to my free ebooks

So sorry, guys! Here are the Smashwords links to my free ebooks, You’re Getting Closer and The Power of Acceptance.

Excuse: Amazon changed my price on me … or something …

If you’d rather buy from Amazon, just wait till you hear from me after they’ve gotten it changed.

Okay–no more book promo stuff for a while.

Much love,

Mollie

***

More Stuff to Read:

Some Spiritual Practices Actually Work. It’s Amazing.

There are hundreds of spiritual techniques for overcoming depression and increasing inner peace. Here, stories about the ones that actually work. In some posts, I rate the practices, too. Sort of like county fair pumpkins, but more spiritual.

There’s a Book for That, Too

It’s a great time to get suddenly awesome. So many teachers. So many books.

I’m a Partner, a Mom, a Friend, a Mom, a Sister, a Daughter, a Businessperson and a Mom. Here’s What Helps.

Don’t read this section. It’s nonsense, mostly.