Friday, March 11, 2022

Shout It, Shout it Out Loud

Boxed Baby Spinach salad with Boiled Egg

A simple hard boiled egg was the missing link in my lunch salad conundrum.  At work, I need to eat lighter, not get weighed down with carbs.  But a simple salad often left me hangry in a few hours.  I added corn, beans, and cheese which really helps but it wasn't until I added a boiled egg, that I felt the meal was complete.  I'll sometimes add crackers or weaken to the vending machine bag-o-chips but generally, this is enough to satiate and satisfy.   A lunch to be grateful for.

The daily practice of gratitude is an amazing anti-depressant.  I was talking with my coworker about new AA programs in Williamsburg, that lack a higher power angle.   I thought that was interesting and had recently wondered when liberals would take God out of the popular 12-step program as well.  Actually, in AA they've always clarified you don't have to believe in God, just a power higher than yourself.  Basically, it's a tool used to render yourself defenseless against this force that you can't beat alone.  The humbling effect this has, is it's greatest force.

I think it's a mistake to change that and I worry it's another way the millennials will use the affliction to victimize themselves.  To me, the same logic in AA could be used to help with depression.  It's something to battle by changing your thoughts about thought.  Living in and practicing gratitude can squash much of the bleakness that comes over us like a cloudy day.  Considering for a moment how much better off you are right now then, say, a woman in the Ukraine.  Counting the things you have, the luxuries of your daily life.  A hot shower, enough food, time to reflect, friends, family, working legs, arms and lungs.  There are SO many reasons to be grateful.  In fact depression itself, is in a way a luxury that many don't have right now.  Spending any time on what you don't have or what others are not doing or doing wrong, is a complete waste of time, unless you are taking immediate steps to change it.  The most freeing 'free' tool we have at the ready at any time is our ability to stop and realize these are all just thoughts, passing through.  They say that talking about your spirituality is a sure sign you aren't getting it, so at the risk of going backward, I want to share one small trick.  So, you're feeling crappy, bad thoughts have infiltrated your being, maybe your body as well.  Instead of resisting them, take a moment to observe them, hear them out, accept them.  Notice, realize, that those thoughts, that bad juju is not you.  You are the perfect energy noticing this gloom, but you are NOT the gloom.  The funk is something passing through, trying to make you believe that it's what you are, and by acknowledging it's presence, by not resisting, you miraculously dissolve it.  You are left, as the observer.  This has been a lifesaver for me and I want to tell the world.  Of course for a more well thought out instruction and explanation, you could look to many spiritual masters.  To keep the atheist theme though, here  and here is one of my favorites neuroscientists with his take. 
My feelings on this can best be expressed in the lyrics from KISS's Shout it Out Loud from the Destroyer album:

Well, the night's begun and you want some fun
Do you think you're gonna find it (think you're gonna find it)?
You got to treat yourself like number one
Do you need to be reminded (need to be reminded)?

It doesn't matter what you do or say
Just forget the things that you've been told
We can't do it any other way
Everybody's got to rock and roll, whoo, oh, oh

Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud
Shout it, shout it, shout it out loud

If you don't feel good, there's a way you could
Don't sit there broken-hearted (sit there broken-hearted)
Call all your friends in the neighborhood
And get the party started (get the party started)

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Just nod if you can hear me. Is there anyone at home?