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    “My life looked good on paper – where, in fact, almost all of it was being lived.” ― Martin Amis



    good thing I don't get frustrated when ignored 🙂


    • This reply was modified 2 hours, 57 minutes ago by  Peter.


    You certainly have a challenging job and the frustration is understandable however my not be helpful.

    I suspect if you think back to your student days you would remember how unlikely it was to seek out advice let alone listen to unsolicited help from an adult. Even if you were of the personality type that did listen it is likely you didn’t have the skill set to implement the advice in the moment. Change takes time then happens all at once and it can take years to learn how to deal with anxiety.

    Take the above as an example. I could rationally explain to someone that is feeling frustration for advice that is not received as hoped is an unskillful practice. That this feeling of frustration is more about them then the students they are trying to help. If the person the are hoping to help senses the frustration they could feel at a subconsciously level that the problem had been highjacked (no longer about them) and stop listening. They may even feel anxiety about being the cause of that frustration.

    Depending on your personality type you might hear the above advice negatively and so pay it no heed 🙂 (If you read on I hope to explain myself as I intend no offence). Even if the advice was heard learning to cultivate a skillful practice is going to take time

    As a counselor, I think you must embrace the serenity prayer –  change the things you can change, accept the things you can’t and work on gaining the wisdom to know the difference.

    You can’t change others but you can be the change you want to see. I know that might not sound like it applies but I think it does.

    I loved watching the Dog Whisperer.  It amazed me that time and time again it was demonstrated that the dog’s behavior originated from the owners. That for the owners to get the change they wanted in their dogs they had to learn to become the change they hoped to see. If they were calm their dogs were more likely be calm. (kind of like the law of attraction).

    The dog whisperer talked about being calm and assertive. (the assertive word got him in trouble with dog community which equated assertiveness with aggression but they miss-understood) So I would use calm and intentional.

    At the heart of being calm and intention is the ability to listen and respond vice react in the moment.  I would bet that if someone cultivated the practice of being calm and intentional they would have greater influence with those they engaged with. I don't think its advice that is going to change the situation but how you listen that will create space for change.

    Another lesson I learned by watching the show was the problems with dog mind is that it becomes fixated on what it ‘fears’ and can’t look away. In such a state, often all that was required was a nudge on the leash to distract and create space to disengage from the ‘fear’ and see it for what it is. (almost always False Evidence Appearing Real)

    I suspect a student experiencing anxiety is more likely to listen to a person that listens in a calm and intentional way and that “knows” when to nudge in order to create space for the student to disengage from the issue they are fixated on and find there own way out.

    • This reply was modified 22 hours, 18 minutes ago by  Peter.


    I’m sorry that your experiencing depression and feeling that you want to die and for it all to end.

    Often below thoughts of wanting to die is a hope for change.  Which I know seems like a contradiction but isn't. Life is a process of change a cycle of  birth/death – Birth and death not two sides of a coin but existing within each other.  We cannot change without also letting something go. Every act of creation is also a act of destruction, every act of destruction is a act of creation. Every choice we make also represents the choices we did not make and some times we get stuck mourning the choices not made and so lose sight of where we are.  Often a wish to die is a resistance to birth-death cycle. Wanting things to change while everything we actually do keeps things the same.

    Anyway, I found your topic title ‘I want to lose hope’ interesting. It made me smile because of the contradictions such a statement contains. Contradictions that may be influencing the disappointments you have experienced and why you might not be able to let them go and move beyond them. It seems to me that your real hope is to see what might lie beyond your past experiences and where you might go next.

    Your saying that your hope is to lose hope – you hope is to die (change) but before you can“die”, you need to lose hope???

    It is my opinion that hope is a skill most people suck at. Unskillful hope is hoping for things that aren’t possible like going back in time to do something differently, or hope for things we have no intention to work towards, hope that change might magically just happen – without having to “die” or let go. (The First Nobel Truth is that all life is suffering, pain, and misery. The Second Truth is that this suffering is caused by selfish craving and personal desire – in my view resisting birth-death cycle that is Life and hoping that that reality wasn’t so)

    When hope is unskillful a hope to lose hope just may be the correct path out. Unskillful hope can only lead to depression and becoming stuck.

    It seems to me that there is a part of you, an inner wisdom, that Knows you, and knowing you, pushing you to let go of the past and seek out what is beyond the next curve in the road or top of some hill.  (Maybe this will to see what lies beyond the bend, what you can’t yet see or know with certainty, isn’t hope but faith in the birth/death cycle). Your authentic self needing you to have faith in the birth/death cycle, faith in your story and that yes, though you will experience disappointment their will also be experiences of joy… Regardless your story will be an interesting one. So maybe let go of this hope to lose hope and instead let your self hope for what you really seek. Trust this inner wisdom that wants to you to experience what happens next. I have no doubt that you are going to have a story worth telling. (Your story is already worth telling)

    Hope is paradoxical. It is neither passive waiting nor is it unrealistic forcing of circumstances that cannot occur. It is like the crouched tiger, which will jump only when the moment for jumping has come. Neither tired reformism nor pseudo-radical adventurism is an expression of hope. To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime. There is no sense in hoping for that which already exists or for that which cannot be. Those whose hope is weak settle down for comfort or for violence; those whose hope is strong see and cherish all signs of new life and are ready every moment to help the birth of that which is ready to be born. ― Eric Fromm –  The Revolution of Hope


    “We say that flowers return every spring, but that is a lie. It is true that the world is renewed. It is also true that that renewal comes at a price, for even if the flower grows from an ancient vine, the flowers of spring are themselves new to the world, untried and untested. The flower that wilted last year is gone. Petals once fallen are fallen forever. Flowers do not return in the spring, rather they are replaced. It is in this difference between returned and replaced that the price of renewal is paid. And as it is for spring flowers, so it is for us.” ― Daniel Abraham, The Price of Spring



    I’m sorry to hear about your depression and hope you find a way to let go of the anger and disappointment your feeling.

    My feeling is that as long as we continue to try to do better when we know better no lessons we learn from are wasted so no point beating ourselves up.  Its all just part of path that got us to where we are.

    Though I have also left the Church, doing so has allowed me to know that the reality of every breath we take is a birth, betrayal, death and resurrection. Not a something that happens once at the end of life (or after life) but is every moment. I often wonder if Christ call to follow him was a call to make that truth conscious and being conscious able to say Yes to Life as it is, the good and the bad, and know that that is ok even ‘good'.  I found that when I can get there the tensions I feel about living by the rules, doing everything right, having the world work the way I want it to…. dissolves.

    Anyway I wish you well and remember that religion and church are not the same as spiritually. Ending your connection to a church or creed does not end your connection to your spirit.

    “We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

    “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.” ― Joseph Campbell




    We have a great deal in common. In my opinion the philosophical implication of the parable of the talents when taken literally are horrific. I can’t tell you the fear I felt as a child wondering if I was living up to my potential and hiding my ‘light’ and the punishment I would end up facing for my failures.  And that was before ever questioning why one person would be given more talents then another.

    Like you I  attend church out of respect of my family. I no longer have the energy to ‘translate’ the teachings into spiritual language and separate the organisation from the goal.

    I agree the words within the bible when viewed literally through the eyes of certainty strips spirituality from them.  That can change when one reads religious tests as poetry and symbolic language but one must be open to symbolic language. Symbolic language can be difficult because it is necessary to let go of certainty and become comfortable with the idea of doubt.

    Within the organisation of Church doubt is something to be feared and symbolic language a danger in undermining the organisation. Thus in my view that mar many spiritual growth – the reported goal of the organisation – means that there will come a time where one must leave the organisation.

    I was taking to someone the other day who mentioned they had lost their faith yet continued to pray which seems a contradiction. She went on to talk about how she found a different spiritual path.  I suspect that see never lost her faith but had lost her certainty in the words she was taught.   Her experience forced her to acknowledge doubt and that it was in doubt that her world view opened and where could ‘see' her faith – Faith as in what she leaned on when she didn’t know, when she doubted. Doubted G_d, doubted life, doubted herself.

    I know asking such questions will not make you happier. Ignorance is bliss and often its better not to ask the questions. If, however you are like me, once a question has been asked, it can’t be unasked and so you will find yourself continuing to seek out your truths. Like you I was angry abut that, but that’s like being angry that my eyes are brown a waist of energy.

    You might find the work of Joseph Campbell helpful. Maybe ‘Myths we live by’. His study of symbolic language and the stories/myth/religions may help you reconcile your experience and anger.



    I found the following book helpful:  When the Past Is Present: Healing the Emotional Wounds that Sabotage our Relationships by David Richo

    • This reply was modified 3 days, 1 hour ago by  Peter.


    Recognizing that you are depressed is the first step, so you’re on your way. A part of the issue seems to be related to your conciseness fixated on the past and imagining a future that can not be. This tends to be a function of the id or instinctive component of personality. The mind can be like a dog fixated on something barking and barking. Only by diverting the dog’s attention will it stop and often a quick tug on a leash is enough redirect the dog’s attention. Conciseness is like training a dog in that we must learn how to direct it. We need to learn when to let it run and when to have it heel. A part of your recovery will require you to “tug on the leash” a little when your conciseness becomes fixated on unhelpful/unskillful thinking.

    You may find talking to a professional helpful. Someone who can view your situation from a impartial perspective.

    “We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” -Seneca




    One of the purposes of relationship is to heal our past.  This means that subconsciously we will create ‘drama’ in the present in which to replay and recreate hurts of the past so that we might heal them. That you have done the same thing with past boyfriends certainly indicates that this process is in play.

    The first step in healing this issue is noticing and naming the issue. The next step is to take ownership of it. This trust issue is your issue and is not about your partner.  This is about you.

    You might find talking the issue out with a third party not involved on impacted by your relationship helpful.  it might be enough to stop insecurity just noticing that your doing it however most people need to understand where issue of insecurity originated from so that they can better deal with it the present.  The key is making the problem conscious so that you no longer reacting to the triggers and instead responding.



    We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality. -Seneca

    Reading your post a riddle came to mind – what comes first the chicken or the egg. With regards to depression: Does the story we tell ourselves influence and create depression or does depression influence and create our story. Both?  My observation is that we tend to live the story we tell and depression often starts with the story (conscious or unconscious story) but that we can cross a tipping point were our brain chemistry changes and works against us stopping us from changing the story we tell ourselves and live.

    I think you might find talking to a third-party professional helpful in determining how much of your anxiety is a result of the depression and how much is a result of having your conciseness fixated/stuck on your story of a horrible future.  Learning the art of directing your conciseness so that you can be in the moment may also be helpful. The first step is coming to terms with your depression.



    Have you ever not met a task that was assigned you?

    We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality. -Seneca

    The fear and worry you are experiencing is often based on wanting to be certain and in control of everything.   We can be come addicted to worry and the fear it creates. You noted that much of your fear is based on future that has not yet happened but that you are living in the present.  I suspect that if you had written down all your future fears and cross off the ones that never happened most items on the list would be crossed off. For those items not crossed off you will likely notice that you dealt with them in some way.  Still you worry, even though your history shows you deal with everything that comes your way. You may not have liked having to deal with them which is feeding into your fear but not liking and being afraid are not the same thing.

    When we worry so much we can get to a place where we take every opportunity to worry and become addicted to it. I know that sounds strange but that is what your doing when you allow yourself to be worry, and worrying become afraid of a future that has not happened. To change this you must accept the idea that you are allowing yourself to do this.

    Worry is wasting today's time cluttering up tomorrow's opportunities with yesterday's troubles.

    Worry is the product of feverish imagination working under the stimulus of desires… It is a necessary resultant of attachment to the past or to the anticipated future, and it always persists in some form or other until the mind is completely detached from everything. (Meher Baba)

    If you're doing your best, you won't have any time to worry about failure. (H. Jackson Brown, Jr.)

    Oh soul, you worry too much. You have seen your own strength. You have seen your own beauty. You have seen your golden wings. Of anything less, why do you worry? You are in truth the soul, of the soul, of the soul. (Rumi)

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 2 hours ago by  Peter.


    You have not ruined your life. You are not your Past. You are not your memories, You are not your thoughts.

    As a recovering over thinker with a tendency to fixate on what I’m afraid of I can relate to what your problem.

    I found the process of learning to redirect my thoughts took time and practice.  My first step was examining the idea of fear so that I was not fearing fear. The purpose of fear is to get our attention and provide the body with a burst of energy in-order to deal with the immediate threat.

    There are three responses to immediate threat fight, flight, or freeze. When the threat is not immediate we still might react as if the threat was immediate and run away or freeze. When the threat is not immediate we can choose to respond to it however if we are not conscious of what we are doing there is a tenancy to use the burst of energy to fixate on the fear where we can’t stop thinking about it, and in this way, get stuck in our fear or Freeze.

    The reactive mind does not distinguish between what is an immediate threat and what is not so the first step when one is afraid is to make that conscious. Is what you are afraid of an immediate threat requiring immediate attention. In most cases you will find that the threats and worries are not immediate so there is time to breathe and respond instead of reacting.

    The next step is to identify the worry or threat by naming it. What is the worry? What is the Threat?

    Fear is often False Evidence Appearing Real (F.E.A.R) and more often then not the things we worry about and fear never happen so naming our fears helps us sort out the real from the imagined.

    Once you have named your fear and identify what is real and what is imaged you can take steps to deal with it.  There will be times when you “fight” and time when you accept that you have done what you could, changed what you could and move one “flight” (you’re not running away from it but letting go having the wisdom to know what you can and cannot change) In this way you avoid “Freeze” and becoming stuck and fixated on freeze. (for an immediate danger freeze is a valid option but seldom helpful when the danger is not immediate.)


    When I find myself fixated on my fear I remined myself of the following quotes which remind me to redirect my awareness away from the fear and change perspective so that I don’t become stuck

    “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tires break free will regain control of his vehicle.” – Garth Stein


    “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage



    I think you answered your own question: “I want to do something and not able to do because of my thought”

    You must practice changing your thoughts.  Take small steps.  You do not have to replace one thought with another. For a start it might be enough to notice your unhelpful thoughts and then in a non-judgmental manner stop thinking about them.  Eventually you will learn to stop fixating on unhelpful thoughts.



    The thought experiment of changing the violin strings is interesting. The first thing that struck me was the nature of the question and what was being asked.

    Its not possible for an individual to change all the strings of a violin at once so the question needs to be clarified. Is it better to change one string as required or replace all the strings when one string needs replacing? And that is a totally different question and brings up questions on how we view change.

    Regardless of the answer in both scenarios, with all strings replaced or not, all the strings would need to be adjusted.  I also suspect that there is an optimal order in which the strings are replaced and adjusted so being knowledgeable and having a good ear (aware) are necessary requirements to making the change successfully.  And of course the strings need to be constantly adjusted to stay in tune so change is a process that does not stop.

    In the way the question was asked there was an assumption what was understood by stating that all the strings could be changed all at once.  Depending on where one perceives the change you could equate the process of change as multi tasking. However if we were to watch someone change all the strings of a violin we would see them changing one string at a time. This to me begs the question what is change and how do we perceive it.

    My experience of change is that change happens slowly then all at once. Meaning we are not usually aware of all the micro changes that have to take place before we notice change.  Many also have the experience of everything changes and staying the same. Once a single or all the strings were replaced on the violin did the violin change?

    With regards to multi tasking I personally don’t believe ego consciousness is capable of it thought the unconscious is. (in the unconscious there is no past, present or future, everything happens in the same moment.)

    Ego consciousness is linear where each moment appears to be the product of cause and effect and that this creates the experience time and movement or change. Ego Consciousness divides experience into units of time and process them in that way, one at a time. Instead of multi tasking Ego Consciousness more likely does something like time division multiplexing. Meaning we direct our consciousness on a number of tasks one at a time. We may do this so quickly that it appears we are multi tasking however we are not. We are still focusing our attention on one task at a time, we are still changing one string of the violin one at a time.

    I think being conscious of the illusion of multi tasking is important to the process of making changes in our lives. If we have a tendency to focus our limited attention on multiple tasks we many not notice that the first string we attach to the violin is flawed in some way. As well we may not notice that below the surface at a subconscious level many things are occurring that might influence what we hope to change. Its possible at a deep level we might really want to pick up a guitar



    i'm really scared. i don't know who i am, what i like or have the motivation to pursue what i do enjoy… i often feel like dying is the easiest path now.

    Often thoughts of wanting to die are really about wanting to change but stuck.  The reality is that change always requires a dying of the self so that the new can emerge. You say dying is the easiest path now, and yet as you are experiencing, dying as in becoming, is extremely difficult. We hang on to what we ‘know' and tend to fixate our consciousness on what we fear so end up holding on to everything we hope to let go of (die)  Though you want to change a part of you is also afraid to change so at this point of the process (and it is a process) you are stuck maybe because  you are not able to take your eyes off the fear. Most of the F.E.A.F you are fixated on is False Evidence Appearing Real but you must face it honestly to see fear for what it is.

    You wrote: i'm really scared. i don't know who i am, what i like or have the motivation to pursue what i do enjoy. You don't know what you like while not having the motivation to pursue what you like. In other words you do know what you enjoy/like, and who you would like to become and the loss of motivation is likely due to the fear. Your task is to look at idea of fear. Why does fear have a hold over you? Is it real? (The purpose of fear is to get our attention and provide a quick boost of energy in order to deal with any immediate danger. Today most fear that gets our attention does not present a immediate danger yet most of us don't pull back our attention from it and the boost of energy is used to remain fixated on it = STUCK and tired.

    You have always faced everything that has come your way. I'm sure somethings you wish you could do over, or handle better but even those were handled. There is no reason to believe that you cannot deal with future issues that come your way. I suspect if you address the issue of fear you will have a a lot to write about that many people might want to read what you have to say about it.

    Each of us leaves in multiple worlds. The world in which we work to pay the bills but that does not have to keep you from a world in which you write.

    The good news is that if you are truly wanting to die there is nothing to left for you to fear so you might as well go after the changes you hope to become. If something continues to stop you from your becoming its not because you want to die its because you don't want to.

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