The other day Sophie reminded us of the tiny perfect seagull tale Richard Bach spun for us forty years ago. I love that story; read it so many times from the library that I purchased then wore out a couple of paperback copies, gave away another couple, and am now holding my hardcover copy. With it is a perhaps lesser known tale he penned seven years later; Illusions: the adventures of a reluctant Messiah. Within that book exists a collection of ideas Bach called the Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (published separately in 2004, by Hampton Roads Publishing).
These volumes are companions along the way for those who search for meaning.
I follow along with so many bloggers out here because they tell their stories, and just as Richard did in these books of fiction, they share insights; ideas that work for them, right now, in their present circumstance. What we write here are not universal truths. Nobody is pretending to be writing a survival manual.
Every now and then an idea is just too relevant to our own current situation. As an example for my situation, yesterday from Veronica:
“Years ago, I learned something from psychologist Martin Seligman. He says that the optimal psychological state is optimism tempered by realism. People who are depressed aren't unduly pessimistic. They're simply too realistic. We need to see things in a better light than is actually there. We need to overestimate our own strength and abilities and attractiveness. That's how we move forward. That's how we thrive.” Always Something There To Remind Me – Life Right Side Up
Veronica has been there, and done that, and continues to examine her and our (and by that I refer to the human) condition. Right now, for me, it should be about listening more, especially to those of you who have traveled the road and report so well on the condition of our segment of humanity.
I should have recognized the strengthening of the symptoms of depression. As soon as possible, I will use her advice to move myself forward. I know I can do better, and will.
Bach’s last entry in his “Messiah’s Handbook” is the most important one of all. Please feel free to apply it to everything I have written.
“Everything in this book may be wrong”
Re: “Years ago, I learned something from psychologist Martin Seligman. He says that the optimal psychological state is optimism tempered by realism. People who are depressed aren't unduly pessimistic. They're simply too realistic. We need to see things in a better light than is actually there. We need to overestimate our own strength and abilities and attractiveness. That's how we move forward. That's how we thrive.”ReplyDelete
I read the above on Veronica's blog, and I've had a hard time wrapping my head around it. Is it truly blissful to not think too realistically about things? Isn't that the very definition of a Pollyanna?
When I was still working, I was on a safety committee, and we were in a meeting once, discussing "unusual job procedure" permits, for jobs that would be too difficult or time consuming to do by following the standard safe job procedures. I voiced a troubled opinion, that it seemed to me that an unusual job procedure permit, was simply a way of circumventing the existing safety rules, for the sake of convenience. The supervisor in charge of the group said, "XXXX, you know what your trouble is? You think too much." I took that as an insult. Didn't God give me a brain so I could think?
Its hard to strike a balance. I don't want to be perceived as a Pollyanna, but then I don't want to be thought of as a Casandra either.
Yes, it's good for me to remember too: everything I write might be wrong!ReplyDelete
My standard advice about depression: start by making sure that you're eating well, getting enough sleep, and getting enough exercise. If that's not enough, seek help. I hope you feel better!
@Melissa: A Polyanna has only the optimism with none of the realism. So you're right about a balance. That's what Seligman wrote about. And sometimes, we need a Cassandra too. Don't stop thinking!
Were it not for the writing of my sisters out there, I would be a mess...or perhaps even more of a mess than I currently am.ReplyDelete
Your blogger friends write from the heart. We all learn from, and support, each other.
I hope all is well, Halle.
@Melissa, " We need to see things in a better light than is actually there. We need to overestimate our own strength and abilities and attractiveness".ReplyDelete
I see this more in terms of using our understanding to see the bigger and likely brighter picture that also exists. Being realistic often seems to just involve seeing the problems. I used to begin a lot of sentences with "The problem with that is..."
So, I don't consider optimism to be equivalent to 'a dose of soma' to relinquish critical thought, more an expanding of my awareness of the situation.