Jan T

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    Jan T

    Hello tontonyanou,

    I’m so glad you are getting so much from us that resonates with you! I am also enjoying Anita’s responses and your excitement that they are so on target.

    It’s so great that you see there is fear behind “all of your problems.” I teach a course on stress management, and one of my exercises challenges people to come to this recognition for themselves. They can usually identify individual fears, but they have a little more difficulty realizing that most of their problems trace back to one fear or another.

    One day I will write a book on fear because we are all fearful whether we realize it or not. It’s a big issue.

    I think you might also like one of my favorite Buddhist quotes: “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”

    So if we can find the happiness in “the way,” that’s the ultimate. It is definitely there.

    One time I went to a weekend event where three or four of us were put on the spot by the teacher. He was confronting our issues–bringing them to the surface–and helping us to deal with them. It might sound harsh, but he had a very good heart and a good way of doing this. We trusted him. He discovered with me that I never had a happy childhood. I never played as a child.

    Before one of the breaks, he said to me, “You need to go play during this break.” He gave me some ideas. “There is a plate of cookies in the kitchen. Go take a bite out of one of them and then put the rest of it back on the plate. Go outside on the swing and swing to your heart’s content.” I’ll never forget that. I started adding silly play to my days after that…then more adult play where I found friends who owned boats and we would go sailing on the water.

    Maybe you could try adding silly play into your life, too. Make sure it makes you smile!

    Back to fear again….your analogy with the sun and the clouds is very unique. I like that!

    There is a verse from “The Prophet” about sadness and joy that says something similar to what you said, “…fear, when we use it correctly leads inevitably to love, deeper and more wise love.” The Prophet says we can only feel joy to the same extent that we can feel sorrow.” That sorrow hollows out our cup and then joy can fill that same cup to the same extent. That is very comforting to hear when you are feeling sorrowful.

    And yes, it is true that fear (and other forms of pain) teach us. They motivate us to grow in order to move away from the fear and the pain. They get us moving.

    But I believe we can “identify with the outside world if fear isn’t there to make us reflect.” We can also identify with the inside world (within our soul) without fear. Fear is a powerful motivator. But I have often asked not to be motivated by fear and pain anymore….to be motivated only by positive things.

    On the yoga path, the end goal is total bliss–“ananda.” Sat, chit, ananda means “ever existing, ever conscious, ever new bliss.” Many yogis have achieved this state.

    I was trying to think of an analogy today. But it’s hard to think of something to substitute for fear in the analogy. It’s kind of like walking with a crutch and a cast when you have a broken leg. These implements allow you to walk somewhat well, when otherwise you would be unable to walk. But once your leg fully heals, you are able to throw your cast and crutch away and walk far better without them.

    So fear can motivate us to change for the better, and when we get to that state of happiness and contentment, we no longer need fear to motivate us.

    Returning to your analogy, when we can be the sun, why go under the cloud cover anymore when the sun is ever new bliss (it never gets boring)?

    At the same time, when we are experiencing fear or pain or illness, remaining emotionally unaffected by it is another yogic goal. This is because to be attached to anything, whether we label it good, bad, or neutral, is discouraged. This has to do with a belief in reincarnation. It is said that attachments are what require us to return to a next life so we can learn more lessons. But that’s a different concept than the one you are talking about.

    I think fear is not the same as love and pain is not the same as happiness. The intensity might be the same, and one can even lead to the other, as you say, if we use them correctly. But when we react to them, our reactions are opposite. Fear causes negative reactions and love causes positive reactions. When we truly love someone we don’t fear them. We are drawn toward them rather than running away.

    Also, if we are afraid of something and decide to face our fear, we can prove that it’s not real. If we’re afraid of deep water, like I once was, we can learn to scuba dive and completely overcome our fear, realizing that it was not real.

    This works with most fears. Now, you can say, “I’m afraid if I fall off a cliff I will die, and that is probably true.” But you can say, “I’m afraid if I get close to the cliff I will fall off,” and prove that you will not fall off if you learn to stop projecting yourself down the cliff with your mind and you learn to maintain your balance and gain confidence.

    Jan T

    Hi tontonyanou,

    I think you got to the source when you pinpointed fear as the issue. Getting to the issue is the first step to solving the problem.

    Fear causes us to want security. Wanting security leads us to seek answers to our fears, sometimes desperately. Fear is a negative driver.

    Just a few thoughts.

    The opposite of fear is faith. Can you take a close look at each fear (list them and contemplate them), and for each one, cultivate faith that your fear is not valid? Can you list the fears and then beside each fear list the reasons your fear is false? Then when each fear arises, you can read what you wrote and focus on your reasoning instead of letting the fear run rampant.

    Also, what do you think about the concept of allowing versus grasping? Can you think about allowing whatever you are working on to unfold as opposed to grasping at it? Allowing is gentle. Grasping is harsh. Allowing lets things happen. Grasping pushes things away. Allowing feels calming and positive. Grasping feels restrictive and frustrating.

    I have also heard there are only two motivating forces or primary emotions…love and fear. And only love is real. Something to ponder.

    Jan T

    Hi Adam,

    You said you wanted a “kick in the a__.” What would it take for you to do that for yourself? There’s no need to wait for the year to end. Time is just an invention anyway. There’s no time like the present. Why drag out your anguish? It sounds like you really want to feel better, so take the steps you need to take.

    It might be helpful to seek some professional counseling (individual or group) if you are depressed. That can be very helpful, whereas taking depressants (like alcohol) only makes things worse.

    Would it help to have a “con” on your list for this woman? How about that she ran to another man when things got tough in your relationship? That is neither trusting nor trustworthy behavior.

    I feel for your situation–don’t mean to sound blunt–love is a tough emotion to sort out. I once wasted 5 years of my life on someone who couldn’t make a commitment to me. He broke my heart many times but I kept feeling like I loved him and I took him back every time he showed up at my door. I pined for him in the meantime. What a shame–a waste of time and such agony!

    I finally realized I was in love with a guy I hadn’t seen for 5 years. He changed his behavior toward me, but I failed to recognize or admit it because I was stuck on the intensity of the love I had felt for him that was established in the beginning.

    Once I realized he wasn’t who he had pretended to be in the beginning, it made it easier for me to move on.

    It may sound trite but it’s true, my life is so much better now that I left him behind. I had no idea things could be this good.

    I do wish you well. Why not give yourself the kick you need so you can start the new year with a good outlook having conquered (or at least started to work on) your depression? You deserve to be happy. Don’t beat yourself up. Do some juicing and be good to your body, too, while you’re working on this instead of burdening it. It will help turn your depression around!

    Take care! Jan

    Jan T

    P.S. I have a friend who used to give talks at Unity Churches all over the country. He always announced at his talks what country he was going to travel to. He arranged wonderful tours and anyone could sign up. I went to China and Hong Kong for two weeks with one of his tours and about 40 other people. It was the tour of a lifetime. He was able to go for free and was possibly paid a commission on top of that for arranging the tour with the tour company. Another idea for making money while traveling. Being a teacher, you could do research and be a great guide.

    Jan T

    Hi Karla, Have you tried speaking with any counselors at school or anyone else about this issue? Since you know you had depersonalization, it’s apparent that you spoke with someone.

    It would be helpful for you to find someone who can do something like EMDR for you. EMDR stands for “Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.” It’s a very simple process that helps people deal with past trauma very effectively. It actually changes your brain to help you change the types of things you are dealing with. It’s also very quick.

    It is often used for post traumatic stress syndrome, but the reason for it is to deal with trauma, which you have in your past.

    You can find some practitioners here: If there is no one close to you, you can google it to find other sources.

    If you do this, it can help you very quickly and take years off of the time it would take you to solve this issue by talking it out or figuring out an approach on your own.

    I wish you much luck! I know you can have success healing in this way! I believe it is the most direct route.

    Jan T

    Hi Luise,

    Everyone says and does things they can’t take back and wish they hadn’t said or done them. It would be perfectly okay for you to go back and just tell them you were having PMS and had some other things on your mind that day, too. You can just make a joke about it. Chances are they won’t take it so seriously–and you can put it behind you, too (I know it’s bothering you now).

    If you are afraid they will reject you and you’re not ready for rejection, then maybe it’s not such a good idea if you are still feeling fragile. You could wait until you’re ready or just not go back. I encourage you to do something about the problem to help yourself feel better.

    It’s funny how we sometimes feel like people aren’t paying attention to us (and we do want the attention). Yet what we do instead of interacting is to play out thoughts in our head about what must be wrong with us and why aren’t they doing this or that…..and we get jealous, etc.

    I’ve been through the same thing and I’ve watched others do it, too. Being pretty quiet in groups myself, I learned it’s really my fault if people aren’t including me–because people tend to just interact with those who are talking. That’s just how it is. I’ve tested it, and all you have to do is say something to get into the conversation.

    Sometimes there are certain groups of people I just don’t feel comfortable with, so no matter what I do I can’t seem to get into the conversation. That’s okay, though. There are other people I feel totally comfortable with and find myself wishing everyone was like that. It’s inevitable that no matter who we are, we’re going to feel like we fit in more with one group than another. I’m sure the others you are talking about (the intern and the kids) find the same situation when they are with different groups. We’re all pretty much the same in that way.

    If I take more of an initiative to be involved when I’m feeling left out–to offer my opinions–peoples’ attention does come in my direction. It doesn’t take a lot. But it does take self-confidence.

    It’s really great that part of you (and it sounds like a big part) knew the thoughts were “all in your head.” It would be helpful for you to look inside and ask yourself why you had this particular dialog running. If you know the cause you can take steps to heal your wounds or bolster yourself to act differently in the future.

    For instance, do you have any feelings of insecurity at all? Are you shy? You can find a lot of information on how to deal with those thoughts. You just need to learn to value what is good about yourself and challenge the negative thoughts that aren’t true. We all have equal value in this difficult world we live in.

    You said you think the girls don’t like you and you said you’re not good with kids. Do you wish you were? If so, don’t be afraid…try out some things to see what works. Kids can sense when people are uncomfortable just as well as adults can. Maybe it’s not that they don’t like you…maybe they just feel uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. Or maybe they just don’t see what you have in common. For one thing, you have baking in common. If you have some flexibility, ask them what they’d like to learn to bake and then take steps to get them more involved in the process. If that doesn’t work, try something else.

    Try treating them just like another adult and see what happens. Kids love to be spoken to as adults.

    You could also do some searching on the Internet or get a book on how to get along with kids if you’re really interested.

    Learning new skills and overcoming this challenge could be a great experiment for you. If you don’t try to challenge yourself, the situation will more than likely arise again to give you another chance. Learning and growing is a lifelong thing. I think I’ll still be doing it if I reach 85!

    Why not be kind to yourself and try to put these uncomfortable, perplexing “in your head” imaginings in your past? You’ll feel great when you succeed!

    Jan T

    Hello Jerris,

    You have received some wonderful input here. I just want to add that it is absolutely possible to get paid for traveling. Nothing is impossible. And believe me, jobs for corporate America as well as the education industry are totally over-rated.

    Just google “how to get paid to travel” and you will see.

    If this doesn’t suit you, try googling how to use your teacher credentials in other ways. Do a little research and you may find something that surprises and delights you.

    Never give up!

    Jan T

    I, too, feel for your losses, snap38.

    You never know what the future will bring, and someday you will look back on this time and be glad that you were able to successfully work through it because an equal set of good things will come to you.

    Have you ever read Kahlil Gibran’s philosophical book “The Prophet”? In it, he has a wonderful verse about how sorrow and joy balance each other. You will only be able to feel happy to the same extent you can feel sadness.

    When I was going through a sad, depressed period, this wisdom used to make me cry because of the understanding and light it provided. There is a reason for our pain. Here is a link:

    Often when we hit bottom it comes right before a period where we find ourselves able to emerge from the depths and find our way again. It is time to surrender and start seeking answers to life’s questions. It’s the way humans learn to progress through the tests you are facing now.

    Take long walks and ponder your questions. You will be able to find answers if you give yourself room and permission to seek.

    Climb out of this and you will be able to help many others climb out, too. Perhaps you are being prepared to help your patients better than many other doctors can. You will have great empathy.

    Here is another thing that helped me greatly and still does. It’s a Servant’s Prayer put to music by James Twyman. It will give you some of the best advice available (and you don’t have to believe in anything for it to provide a message):

    Here is a Buddhist saying for when you are beginning to feel a bit better: “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.”

    May you find peace soon. Take some time off for yourself. Try to carry a lighter load of classes for awhile until you get your depression under control. You don’t need the work dragging you down further…seeking answers is better!

    Counseling also helps, but make sure you find the right counselor.

    You are being challenged to grow. You will see it will turn out well if you look in the right place…seek within. You have all the answers you need already. You just need to be reminded.

    Very sincerly..

    Try to find some great philosophies to follow. We are all alike. Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” It is the human condition, and the reason for it is to encourage us to seek our true fate.

    Please keep us posted on your progress. You are not alone.

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