“Everybody wants to know
Why I sing the blues
Yes, I say everybody wanna know
Why I sing the blues
Well, I’ve been around a long time
I really have paid my dues.”
BB King—“Why I Sing the Blues”
In clinical diagnostic terms, there are different levels of depression. For people who are having trouble functioning and who have suicidal ideation, they will want to seek immediate medical help. The one wonderful thing about clinical depression is that it can be treated.
For the purposes of this blog and from the perspective of a coach, I wish to write about very mild, existential, or even transitory blues. Often the blues come from feeling that we want one set of experiences and in actuality, we are experiencing another set of circumstances. Whenever we feel “distance” between these reference points often results in the blues.
For example, if we desire to be journalism superstar, a distinguished and prolific household name, but we’ve just been turned down from the best journalism schools, the hope for what we want and what we are experiencing may seem to be at opposite ends of the continuum. The perceived disparity between these points of reference might tempt us to sink into a mild depression.
When we concentrate on embracing the now and all of the experiences inherent in this moment, we eliminate these two aforementioned reference points—including the distance between them. We no longer think “I need this” but instead “I have this.” We simply allow ourselves to experience what is. If we want to develop even further, we may go so far as to actually embrace what is.
My friend Lauren often reminds me that whatever my experiences are in my life that they are perfect for me. In the moment, I am often tempted to resist this idea. In hindsight, she is always right. When she affirms my life’s perfection, she isn’t being trite or flippant; she is honestly observing that the organic patterns in my life are perfect for me. In my mind’s eye, the metaphoric imagery of perfect organic truth is represented by the sun. For example, the sun is always shining in the summer, but it is we who turn our back on it, not the other way around.
Most of us will relate to the experience of thinking ultimately we are glad that the experience we wanted so desperately at the time (sometimes to the point of madness) didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. Maybe it involved a job we really wanted and didn’t get that was a blessing in disguise. Perhaps it was a called-off engagement that with today’s perspective we wonder, “What the heck was I thinking?” In those instances, we were taken care of by the wisdom of Universe.
Several months ago, I was watching the movie Enter the Dragon starring Jeet Kune Do master Bruce Lee with my mother. I’m still laughing about the fact that my mother turned around to me wide eyed and exclaimed “He’s very attractive!” In any case, in the movie Lee affirmed that, “There is no opponent.”
When we are feeling blue, we have perceived our opponent as an idea about how we think things should be or how we think we should be. If we embrace what is, while keeping our hearts and minds open for possibility and alignment, we will probably be able to eliminate much of our low-level angst.
Embracing what is doesn’t mean doing anything that puts you in physical or emotional danger or is soul numbing. However, if you stop fighting with or resisting things you can’t change, you might be able to chase those blues away.