10 January 2015

What I'm Not Trying To Do, What I Must Remember

I had a helpful conversation with friend and author David Hilfiker yesterday. It impels me to continue the theme of my last post - Desiring Peace Means Practicing Peace, in which I try to clarify my January 1 post about relinquishing inner peace to nothing and no one.

David reminded me that I have a diverse readership and that what seems obvious to me -- making the choice for inner peace -- can seem an insurmountable obstacle to another. Of course, that's the premise of my last post (Desiring Peace Means Practicing Peace, link above). But what David said prompted me to add another layer of clarification and reflection.

Yes, I've made the journey from chronic anxiety to increasingly present inner peace. Yes, there was a time when the tools I now use seemed so far out of my realm of possibility that though I knew about and wanted them, I could not practice them. And so, to a certain extent, I write as a means to shine some hopeful light into someone else's dark journey: I have been there, I understand, and here's what I have done to help myself out of that place.

David was not saying this is not a legitimate purpose for this blog. He was asking me to remember I have certain advantages that some don't have. As a person who lived sunk in clinical depression for many years, he knows that -- even though I attempt not to sound patronizing or as though it's all a simple matter of developing some good habits -- I risk leaving out those for whom just making a decision to try a new meditation or call a doctor can seem an insurmountable task.

As I reflect on what he told me, I want to acknowledge two things: one is that while I've had the kind of depression that naturally goes along with anxiety, I've not ever been as depressed as he was, nor do I have any of the other mental illnesses that can cause one to lose hope. The other is that I also have advantages of the material kind that others do not.

Photo  by William Marsh
The first is self-evident. I won't explicate. But the other is one that bears some discussion. I have a comfortable, safe place to live and a loving and supportive primary relationship. I don't work and it's a good thing my husband does because my disability payments, as grateful as I am for them, don't begin to cover the expenses of living in D.C. I have the immeasurable but unseen benefits of a life-time of good health care, good nutrition, economic security, a fine education, and an assured place in society due to my race and class.

My ability to choose inner peace today is in part predicated on these benefits. With my background in working for and with those less privileged than I and the compulsion I have to find a way to extend that background through my writing, it's only right that I remember and acknowledge this.

 Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.

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