One day I was talking to a friend when suddenly suicide thoughts came to my mind. I asked her if she knew anyone who was feeling suicidal. She dropped her head, and pointed to herself. “Yeah, me,” she said. “I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want to live another day.” I treated her to ice cream and we had a long talk. I shared with her how I struggle with depression and could relate to suicide wishes.
It is hard for most people to imagine that a person could be so desperate to even contemplate let alone commit an act of suicide. Most people are uncomfortable with the subject and prefer not to think about or deal with it. Some of us are not so fortunate as to not have to deal with it. I know how comforting it is to have someone else to talk to who shares our struggles. When I did a research paper in graduate school on suicide, I cried when I read the tales that drove some unfortunate miserable ones to such desperate and drastic measures. Then I would nod my head and give thanks and say, “there but by the grace of God go I.”
When I first met my therapist and later good friend, Elizabeth, in 1990, I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts. She encouraged me to talk about them. There was no hush hush with Elizabeth. She was blunt to the point of embarrassment at times. “come on, Michael, let’s talk about your suicide wish,” she would say, trying to edge me on so I would not hold things inside. “Let me tell you about mine. I was going to get dog drunk, stuff a sock in the exhaust pipe of my car and turn on the motor and let the carbon monoxide do me in.” That was how I was going to do it. Know what kept me from it? I had no garage. I feared I might take in just enough to go unconscious for awhile, fry a bunch of brain cells then wind up a vegetable on a crazy psych ward. Having no garage is what saved my life. Well, not really,” she went on, “at a deeper level I really didn’t want to die, I just wanted the hurt and pain to go away and those God awful deep dark depressions which you feel are going to eat you alive and spit your remains into the abyss.”
I sat mesmerized, listening to her story. I had never known anyone else to be as, depressed let alone, more, depressed than I was. “Most people don’t really want to end their lives,” Elizabeth continued, “they just want relief from the hurt and pain. Some see no other way out than drinking, gluttony, sleeping 14 hours a day, been there done that one, or becoming a sex, gambling, or shop-a-holic, been there done a couple of those too. I have certainly paid my respects to the porcelain goddess. I’d counsel clients all day. Lots of therapists have major issues and problems on the home front. Hell, I became a therapist, so I could acquire some tools to help myself.
Then Elizabeth would move a little closer and speak softly, “you know, Michael, there is a lot of power in rage and depression. They are great teachers. You have to learn to do battle with them and talk to them. Find out what they are about, how they tick and click and what they want from you. Just listening to the parts of yourself that hate life and don’t want to live is a tremendous step towards healing. Most people do the opposite and try to repress and shove the negative feelings away. It never works. Skeletons don’t belong in the closet. When left alone and unattended, they find ways to clamor, and shake and rattle until they get your attention. And your attention they will get one way or another. Take it from one who’s been there. I know what I am talking about.”
After going on awhile Elizabeth would tell me it was my turn to talk and she would listen and prod me along. When it got real emotional and tough, she helped me through it. I attracted Elizabeth in my life because I really did not want to commit suicide. When one wants to live one can always find a reason, just as when we truly want help we can attract it. Another time during another dark period when I wanted to end it all, I called my friend Janet. At one point I said, “I can’t die, I have never gotten through all the “Star Wars” movies or finished editing that book How to Develop your Intuition that I wrote.” If seeing a movie, editing a book, visiting a relative or even becoming a hermit or a drunk for awhile are what it takes to get through such hard times, then I say “may the force be with us.”
I have learned the hard way that Depression and Despair are demanding, difficult but wonderful teachers; ergo the reason for capitalizing them. Depression is one way that our soul is endeavoring to reach out and help us. We become depressed when our life is out of balance and we are not ‘doing’ what we are supposed to be doing. We have gotten off track and lost our way.
Our soul and our guides can help get us back on track but too often we shut the door and don’t listen to our soul or our guides. Depression is one result from such shutting out. We may be avoiding working out our karma and getting on with our lives. We may be holding onto unhealthy dysfunctional relationships that are not serving us. We often resist and fight what we know our heart and soul wants for us. But like the saying goes what we resist persists and Ole man or lady Depression will show up when we continually deny or neglect to carry out our destiny and work to fulfill and actualize our hopes and dreams. Depression and despair are blocked unharnessed energies that need to stir and move. They contain raw reservoirs of power which can move us forward in a positive direction They can also turn on and destroy us if we do not find out what they have to say and teach us. They intensity if we refuse to make necessary adjustments in our beliefs and thinking to bring about needed changes in our lives.
I have learned that our struggles do not always originate from this current lifetime we are living. I have had more than one psychic tell me that my last lifetime was as a struggling model and Impressionist painter in Paris, France. What I found most interesting upon hearing this is that several things relevant to me in this lifetime to validate the psychics’ reading. I never understood the meaning of this strange behavior until the psychics solved the mystery for me. The psychics knew nothing about me and I gave them no information of any kind.
I also carried a tremendous amount of anger towards men for much of this lifetime. I know that some of it originates from my father being so abusive. But I was to learn that my struggles with men did not originate in this lifetime. This made me more determined to get to the root of my anger with men in this lifetime so that I could heal and move on. I have learned in my metaphysical studies that unresolved pain, hurt and karma will definitely bring us back to work the karma out in a future lifetime.
The mystery would be solved a few years later when I went to see a renowned astrologer and psychic at Camp Chesterfield Spiritualist Camp, near Indianapolis, Indiana. I had given her my birth information on the telephone and she did the astrological calculations for my natal birth chart as well as my karmic chart. One of her specialties was karma astrology. Needless to say I was very eager and excited about the reading. One of the first things that she asked me was if I spoke French. I told her that I not only spoke French but I was a French teacher. She smiled and continued.
“I had the feeling that you just might speak French. You are a very sensitive man who is endowed with a very fertile and creative imagination and a good mind as well. The first lifetime that showed up for you was a female lifetime as a model and Impressionist painter in Paris, France. As a matter of fact that was your very last lifetime.”
“No wonder I was so drawn to and learned French so fast.”
“That is true and since you are very in touch with your subconscious mind you should still be an artist at heart. Do you paint or write?”
“I love to write. I’ve written many poems and a few stories but I’ve never taken it very far.”
“Well you are going to. You are destined to write books, Michael. I am seeing spiritual, metaphysical, and self-help books that will help a lot of people. I can see you writing some novels as well.”
“I do get a lot of ideas for stories that just pop into my head. I have to admit that I’m not very disciplined. Being a full time graduate student at the university takes a lot out of me and I am also attending a spiritual center where I am learning psychic development and I take a lot of other classes, attend seminars and such.”
“That is all fine but you are destined to be a writer, Michael. Let me tell you why. Your last life time was no piece of cake or day at the park as the saying goes. You possessed talent and you desperately loved to paint but you were not respected by the Impressionist painters of the time. That was a time when most men were rather chauvinistic. You had a very hard way to go. You almost starved to death and you almost froze to death at one point. There was a man who loved you very much. He wanted to marry you but you were not interested in marriage. You did incur some karma with him and may have met him in this lifetime.”
He became very worried and concerned as France became more unstable and he wanted you to leave with him and go to safety. You told him there was nothing to worry or fret over but the truth was you did not want to leave the lavish courtly life to which you had become accustomed to living. You died at the guillotine and he died of a broken heart. What a sad life!”
“That is very interesting because I cannot stand to have anything near my neck nor do I like neckties.”
“And you knew him here,” she said, pointing to the karmic astrology chart wheel she had drawn up. “This was a lifetime in India. You were a monk safe in a monastery while he, your mother and a sister died of starvation from a famine. He came to you and begged you for food but all you could talk about was your high meditations and the spiritual life. Your lesson was to balance the material and spiritual life and that will be a lesson for this lifetime as well.”
“That’s interesting that you say this. I recall from the first time Chris came to visit my apartment he asked me what I had to eat. He always liked me to feed him and he just expected it. I remember thinking a few times I didn’t take him to raise.”
“Maybe you did,” the psychic said. “Now back to your life as the French painter. You wound up very disillusioned and you gave up painting and you pretty much hated men. You have to bond with your art in this lifetime and make whatever sacrifices it takes to become successful.”
“I didn’t do it then so I have to do it now kind of thing. Is that what you are saying.”
“Yes, and it won’t be easy. But it is one of your primary soul karmic lessons for this lifetime. Your karmic ascendant in the karmic chart shows what you absolutely have to learn in this lifetime. Yours is in Capricorn and you have to learn responsibility in all walks of life. Your tendency is to run out whether mentally, emotionally or physically when things get tough. You cannot do that in this lifetime.”
“I can relate to that.”
The psychic discussed a few other lifetimes and what I learned or didn’t learn and then the session ended. I later also had three other psychics (from different parts of the country) tell me I was killed at the guillotine in the French Revolution.
Learning I had been a struggling artist was very beneficial to me, but the psychic sure hit the nail on the head when she said it would not be easy to bond with my art in this lifetime. Knowledge that we did not complete a karmic agreement reminds us of what we have yet to do and accomplish but it makes it no less easy. I have started and stopped my writing so many times over the years I have lost count. I’d begin a novel or project and dive in wholeheartedly and write for hours or even days at a time. Then I’d be besieged by melancholy and sadness and I’d just quit. Like out of sight, out of mind, it was as though I had not written anything. I usually could not remember most of what I had written nor did I care to when I was in the pit of depression.
Currently at the age of 52 I am finally making some strides with my writing that the psychic predicted over twenty years ago that I would do. The saying goes it’s better later than never. I am sure there is some truth to that and I now I am a psychic who counsels people. In my psychic work I am constantly giving similar advice and past life readings have become a big part of my work. Still it does not take away a lot of the emotional suffering that we humans seem to like to put ourselves through. Why couldn’t I have accepted the past life reading from the psychic and just get on with my writing and my life? It’s not that simple for most of us. Old hurts, wounds and fears do not usually die or go away over night. At least I have found that to be the case with myself and many of my clients. Healing can be a lifetime process. I am grateful for the progress and the healing that I have undergone but I am not totally healed. I may never be.
I am still prone to depression and melancholy at times although I tend to deal with it better than I used to. I do have a much better understanding of depression than I used to and this helps me to deal with it and to help my clients struggling with it. Sometimes depression can become chronic (as it has with me many times over the years) to the point that we can feel or become immobilized and this can lead to thoughts or fantasies of suicide. This is not our soul trying to be mean or cruel to us. It wants to help us and show us what we are here on this earth to do, and believe me we are all on the earth for reasons that were planned before we were even born.
I have read that for every soul that incarnates and is born that there are at least (sometimes more) ten more souls waiting to be born. There are more souls wanting to be born to work off accumulated karma than there are bodies available for them to reincarnate into. We don’t usually have recall of those pre-planned meetings and sessions with our counselors where we mapped out what we want to accomplish in a particular incarnation. But this does not mean that our soul and our guides do not possess this knowledge. Sometimes a regression with a qualified hypnotherapist or past life regressionist can offer help. The subconscious mind is usually at liberty to offer some insight as to what the person chose to work on in the current incarnation. It can also give some insight to help explain certain phobias, challenges, fears, attractions, talents, and abilities that people possess. Our soul and subconscious mind know far more than the conscious person does at any given point. Sometimes it takes enough depression, despair and failure to cause us to surrender and reach out to God, a higher power, angels and guides. When this happens we are on our way to recovery and healing. For that reason depression and despair do serve their purpose.
When we speak from the soul, the doors to miracles begin to open. Sometimes we need to let out what I like to call “a big soul cry” so that God and our angels indeed do hear us. I let out one of those soul cries about a week before I met Elizabeth. I was so desperate that I told God I was even willing to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge if he would only give me a sign that was the right thing to do to escape all my pain. I added that I would listen to no voices of paranoia, self defeat or malevolent spirits. Those and all the other negative voices inside me would have to shut up. This would have to come from the head honcho himself. I begged God to bring somebody to help me. I just could not keep carrying the heavy load all by myself. I did not trust anybody. I was lonely. Life basically sucked.
There were many nights during that time that the old voices would whisper things in my mind like, “Come on now, just end it all. Take leave from this world. It will be nicer on the other side. The world won’t miss one little measly human being.” I might have been very depressed and vulnerable, but I am also strong willed. Part of me knew I did not really want to do myself in and I knew that suicide was not the answer. Still, during such times, many of us have contemplated ending our lives. The pain is just so unbearable at times that we see no other options. Now I tell others to let out a soul cry so that help is on the way.
It is partly my metaphysical and spiritual beliefs that helped me get through those dark times. I have learned in my studies and explorations that the soul is evolving its way back to Creator source or “God” as some refer to the divine. We willingly choose to undergo many experiences as part of our growth and evolution. We have lifetimes where we are pawns of the darkness and in other lifetimes we are servants of the light. Often we will exemplify qualities of the darkness and the light, or positive and negative traits and qualities. I learned that the law of cause and effect, or karma, is one of the universal laws ever in operation and each of us are subject to face up and work out accumulated karmic debts that we have incurred with various souls who we encounter. When the karmic debts are paid we evolve and our soul lights brighten and we move closer to our source. Most people spend many lifetimes on the earth as a part of working out their karma, which can be positive as well as negative.
Some souls have lifetimes on other planets, and worlds in other solar systems, universes, and dimensions. Learning such things gave me a sense of personal responsibility. I could not play ‘poor me victim’ as I did for years in my younger days. This knowledge did not make the ‘work’ or paying off the karma any easier, but it did help me to learn that there are no victims. We create it all! Yes, I know this can be hard to swallow but at some point each soul does come to this realization. My regressions and past life readings gave me insight about my past lives where I had abused free will and used my personal magnetism and power to manipulate and get what I wanted from others. In this lifetime I had to face several powerful people who manipulated and used me. I learned that it is not safe to die. There is no where to go like Sartre says in the play “No Exit.” Or as the reputed seer Edgar Cayce would say ‘it always comes back to self meeting self. Each karmic debt must be paid. There are no exceptions and what is not paid in one lifetime must be paid up in another one. So we might as well pay up no matter how much work, time and energy is involved.
I knew that I did not want to have to come back in a future lifetime and work off the mistakes I did not correct in this lifetime. As difficult and heavy my emotional burdens were I put out the thought and plea to my guides and the universe for some help. About a week after my soul cry Elizabeth came in the jewelry store where I was working. We struck up a conversation since there were no other customers at the moment. At one point she looked at me and said, “can I be blunt with you?”
“Sure,” I said, “intrigued, “lay it on me.”
“You laugh and play the clown a lot, Michael, but I think you are depressed a lot. I have observed you many times in here and I can tell a lot about people from watching them.”
As she went on I let down my guard and confessed that she was right. I was good at playing the clown and few people knew the real me. I didn’t even know the real me. Although I laughed and joked a lot I was really very lonely and unhappy. She then went on to say that she was a lot like me. We talked for an hour. A few days later she called and invited me to lunch. After that we talked on the phone and began doing other things together. Soon thereafter, we began “our graveyard” sessions as I call them. We would walk in the Spring Grove cemetery/park and have our sessions. I told Elizabeth about my soul cry to God the week before I met her. She said she had not been to the store in a few weeks because she always wound up spending lots of money on gifts for her friends. That was one of her addictions, she admitted.
Her inner voice told her to go to the store that particular day when we met. I was still amazed at how magical it all was. When we truly surrender, then our soul can intervene and bring us help that we need. Too many times we let our fears and doubts keep the magic from happening. I could have gone on about not having any money to pay a therapist as many people do. But part of my nature has always been that of the trusting child who believes in magic and miracles. I was truly ready to get back to work on me again, and I was open to help from anybody. My guides knew that and I believe they sent Elizabeth to me. She never charged me for a single session because she said I was a good friend and counselor to her as well.
Although she moved away after a couple of years, and I think of her often and sometimes miss her, I know that she stayed as long as she needed to stay in the Cincinnati area. She had said that my friendship, encouragement and support helped her end her unhappy 26 year old marriage. I like to think that I did help her. Now she is gone but people do enter and exit our lives all the time. May we cherish, appreciate and enjoy them while they are with us and learn all we can from the relationship and bless them when they move on.
Elizabeth was a big gift in my life, a reward I felt for the inner work I had been doing. The inner work is important and there is much we have to do alone, but there is also a time when we need help from others too. I am totally convinced we can attract that help when we need it if we do not place limitations and restrictions on who is meant to be our mentors and helpers. Help can come in any way, shape or form. We will feel it in our guts if someone is good for us or if they are not. I remember telling Elizabeth one day that therapy sucked. She snickered and said that she agreed, but that unhappiness and misery sucked more. I have said it before and I say it again. Therapy works if we work with it. This takes time, effort, and beaucoup de patience as the French say.
The inner work on self continued, but I was reaching out to others more. I befriended a couple of other psychologists whose approaches were entirely different from those of Elizabeth. But, hey, variety is the spice of life. I learned a lot from them. I also met a few social workers who helped me too. I have always had a tendency to attract such people. I think it is because I have so much respect for people in the helping professions. My dream at age 14 was to become a psychiatrist and to fix my mother. Then I changed my mind and decided to become a social worker then a minister. I finally realized that we cannot fix anybody; that fixing ourselves is a big enough task, and I wound up majoring in French. But my love for Psychology will always be there and those books I collected so long ago are some of my greatest friends. I still read them and get a lot of help when I do. We change and grow every day. There is always something different to get out of a book, a new, a broader or more enlightening perspective to acquire, another idea to illuminate us in some way it did not before.
It took awhile for me to accept that rage, despair and depression are our teachers and possess many gifts, but as I worked more with Elizabeth, it began to make more sense. “The more anger and hurt you can feel, the more room there is for love and joy,” she’d insist. “You just have to get to the pain and rage before you get to the love. You got to go down before you go up!” And that anger and rage can originate from more than the present lifetime we are currently, I learned. When we visited,” she often laughed and said, “Is the elevator going up or down today?”
As I became more sensitive to my own wounded inner child and began listening to my fears, hurts, and insecurities along with my hopes and dreams and the things that excited him about life, I noticed that my self centeredness diminished more and more. “Egotists are really insecure children in adult bodies,” Elizabeth said one day. “They are so emotionally wounded and hurt that the only way they think they can survive and get anywhere is to put themselves first at the expense of others’ feelings, and needs. When they hurt others they are also hurting themselves. And that is a real pity and shame.”
I encourage all who are living miserable unhappy lives to begin to explore the metaphysical and spiritual realms. The exploration cannot work off your karma but it can give you knowledge which is power. That alone will make the working out of karma more understandable and in some ways less difficult. For at this point of our learning we have come to release the victiom or ‘poor me’ mode of thinking and living and begin to take personal responsibility for our life, and our past lives. This will help bring positive change and lead us to a happier more fulfilled life.