Monday, October 6, 2008

Let Your Life Speak (Part 2)

As I mentioned on Friday, Parker J. Palmer's book, Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, is one of my favorite books. Palmer's path to finding his true vocation hasn't been an easy one. He has suffered through a few debilitating depressions, and yet he is one of my favorite role models.

The reason is because it would have been easy for Dr. Palmer to have settled for careers that were prestigious but not satisfying. Instead, he kept on pushing himself to find his true purpose when others undoubtedly would have settled for less. The following quote is a continuation of the passage I quoted earlier.

"But before we come to that center, full of light, we must travel in the dark. Darkness is not the whole of the story--every pilgrimage has passages of loveliness and joy--but it is the part of the story most often left untold. When we finally accept the darkness and stumble into the light, it is tempting to tell others that our hope never flagged, to deny those long hours spent cowering in fear.

"The experience of darkness has been essential to my coming into selfhood, and telling the truth about that fact helps me stay in the light. But I want to tell that truth for another reason as well: many young people today journey into the dark, as the young always have, and we elders do them a disservice when we withhold the shadowy parts of our lives.

"When I was young, there were very few elders willing to talk about the darkness; most of them pretended that success was all they had ever known. As the darkness began to descend on me in my early twenties, I felt I had developed a unique and terminal case of failure. I did not realize that I had merely embarked upon a journey toward joining the human race."

8 comments:

Gianna said...

Darkness is our training ground...

every truly purposeful life has a "Dark night of the soul" I think.

It is what frees us from superficiality. And until we're freed of that we cannot see clearly...

and part of that process, I believe too, means we must embrace the dark.

then we can also be compassionate...those who fear telling of the dark perhaps have not learned all they should have.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Gianna,
For me, it was knowing I could survive darkness--again and again, and still flourish--that had given me the confidence to overcome anything.

Susan

P.J. said...

I enjoy coming to your blog. I don't click on your page until I have time to read it and process what you took the time to write that day.

Today is no different.

I have often said that I would LOVE for those older than me to mentor me and tell me about things they've gone through in their live. I think that is so important. We live in a time, though, that we hold the bad things in and just pass on the good. I think we are not only doing ourself a disservice, but also our children, grandchildren and anyone who can learn from our dark times.

I believe it is our duty to share our life with others so that they can learn and we can heal. The human race has spent too much time holding in the things that could set us free and change the world.

KJ said...

"...it was knowing I could survive darkness--again and again, and still flourish--that had given me the confidence to overcome anything."

- Susan this quote that you wrote to gianna was so powerful to me. I was going to say that another book that you suggest to add to my reading list but then I read your words and it is just what I needed as I have been feeling such despair lately over Joe's illness. That you for words that made me look again for hope!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear PJ,
I couldn't agree more with what you've written, and since you've said it so eloquently there's really nothing for me to add. Except thank you!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
You're welcome. And if you ever want advice about Joe's illness--that you would prefer to be private--you can always leave me a comment with your email address. I won't print the comment, but I will email you back.

I can't imagine how difficult it is to live with someone who's bipolar. As I've said before, I'm not truly sure that I was properly diagnosed since everything about my situation seems different than most other people.

But the medication I took did produce all the symptoms of bipolar disorder so I do know what it's like to live with them, and try to survive.

And it would seem to me that if Joe is truly bipolar--then his doctor should be able to find some medication that works.

I know there are people like Marja who take medication and it works for them. And perhaps there are others.

It doesn't mean that Joe still shouldn't do all the wellness activities because I believe they're very important--just for a person's general health and in order to try and mitigate some of the other symptoms.

But, quite honestly, people like Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison who's one of the foremost researchers of this illness and is bipolar as well, has taken Lithium since her twenties and it works for her.

These days, one of the problems is that psychiatrists just pile on medication after medication without truly being clear what is effective and what isn't. And the side effects can be worse than the illness if that's possible.

But, know that I wish you and Joe the very best with all this--and I'm available to you.

Fondly,

Susan

Marie said...

I can relate a little here. Business is not the right career choice for me. I would rather be doing something I love!

I think I may have found what I wnat to do.

This post is truly inspiring!

Wellness Writer said...

Marie,
So glad you've finally found your calling!

Susan