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Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Finding beauty (when there is none)...

When St. Lawrence was martyred by being roasted to death, he found humour in his torment, uttering: "Turn me over, I'm done on this side" to his executioners.  Though it can often be a challenge for me, this is the kind of attitude I try to take on when confronted with suffering that's beyond my personal control.

Certainly, I try to fight and avoid needless suffering... anything that I can do to curb suffering that is unnecessary and can be avoided, I fight to rid that from my life.  I live a simpler life due to the fact that, because of my struggles of the past 12 and a half years, I have had to take it easy to recuperate, so I don't take on too many challenges, like obtaining more sophisticated employment, as an example.  I am also as dedicated to my spiritual growth at this point as a monk on a mountain, except I live a more urban, social equivalent.  That eats into the time I would need to spend working on my life in other ways.  It is not a chore, it is as natural as eating and breathing, it is a craving.  Often when a quiet moment comes over me, my brain just naturally slips into meditation, as if I'm having a glass of water, if time allows it.  I would suspect that, after a while, this would become the norm for a mind along most paths of development.

But if suffering comes my way, in a way that is beyond my power at the time, I have come to learn that the best approach, for me, is to simply surrender to it, and find any humour or even beauty I can therein.  When CAMH was abusing me as an inpatient, there was no escape from this, because of my legal issues, the fact I had no home to return to, the system having taken that away from me, having slashed my benefits to restrict me in society.  So, while working to reduce the amount of abuse I would experience by curbing behaviours that could lead to it, I would find pleasures in making my comics, going out to the garden area to appreciate nature, trying to see peace in having a more simple way of living enforced upon me.  I'm not even sure if the abuse they inflict on people with mechanical and chemical restraints and all that is designed to get patients to "smarten up" by scaring the living crap out of them, or if they honestly see it as in a person's best interest, but it did lead to an inner maturity in me, that I could then work to avoid it when possible.  I made comics and blog articles to point out how atrocious this treatment is, to generate attention to the hypocrisy of CAMH and their "Transforming Lives" slogan by addressing their abuse issues... my way of doing anything I could to reclaim my power, and to perhaps change this policy in some way.  I don't think my mild attempt at activism did too much in that respect, but at least it got noticed in the press.

As I have discussed in my article on "toughening up", there comes a point after much suffering comes to a person where one simply adapts to it, and can suddenly handle it, should they seek an inner strength I feel we all have, as humans.  In my case, I had to find it by reaching out to the Divine, and I had to realize I had to keep praying for more strength, and in different ways to different sources, to really get somewhere with it.  On my own, without Divinity, I was no match for what I was confronting, but with the Divine, I could handle unimaginable levels of pain.  This leads me to find stories of saints, mystics, and martyrs fascinating to read, considering some of the suffering these historical figures have had to endure.  St. Joan of Arc, another one of my faves, certainly suffered a dreadful martyrdom, as did poor St. Lucy, who had her eyes plucked out.  Where do these martyrs find their strength?  I believe most of us have it in us, it can just be hard to find sometimes.

Also, relating to the theme of seeking beauty where there is none, this is not to say I romanticize extreme suffering, only that it is a means of coping with it while it's present.  I suppose that also makes me quite Catholic in the way I go about things?  Now that this suffering is pretty much over, at least in this form, as I reflect, I see great humour in much of it.

They say time heals all wounds, there are some in me I have yet to fully heal from, but I suspect that overtime the pain will fade completely.

-Saraƒin

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