Most of my life has been joyful. When the inevitable bumps came I had energy to overcome the depression and rise to find life exhilarating and fun. But lately it has not been that way—not for a long time—two years and more. Last week I decided I needed to take charge of these feelings and do something about them.
My first plan of attack was to pull out a book by my latest guru. His name is Daniel Amen. He is a psychiatrist who has devoted his career to working with the brain. He describes our brain as the hardware of our soul. With modern technology in imaging techniques he takes pictures of peoples’ brains and has learned that when the brain is healthy and in good running condition the person is healthy and in good running condition. I looked into his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life and turned to the chapter “Looking into Love and Depression—The Deep Limbic System.” He describes in detail ten ways to enhance the health of our deep limbic system.
Among the many suggestions, I picked one item to work on. His advice is to list ten happy times of your life. To my surprise I could think of only three. With my family’s help I found a few more, and then sorting through old photos I found even more. According to Dr. Amen the next step is to describe in detail one of the experiences.
The first moment I picked to describe was when I was on a tour of Western Turkey. We were spending a couple of days at a hotel on the Mediterranean shore. On this particular warm summer afternoon we were all on the beach in our bathing suits. The sun was a huge blazing circle just above the horizon. The air on my body was warm and my skin was tingling from the salt from my swim in the sea. The colors of the sunset in the sky were brilliant red and orange, and the clouds above echoed the sun’s rays up higher in the sky.
The Gypsy quartet in a tiny pavilion was playing Turkish dance music for us. On a table next to the pavilion was a spread of food—breads and dips of hummus and aubergine. Fresh cucumbers and tomatoes were cut up for finger food. The music switched to a dance that we all knew. My dear, dear friend, Lew Smith took my right hand to draw me into the dance line, and on my left the lead male dancer from the Turkish National Dance Ensemble took my left hand. There at that moment I looked out on this beautiful world, holding hands with two wonderful men, watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, and dancing to the sensuous music from the Gypsies, and thinking to myself, “It doesn’t ever get better than this.”
Last night I shared this experience with close friends. Two of the women were tuned into similar experiences and told us about them. What I found was that the pathway to my deep limbic had developed. When I relive these thoughts I again feel those same wonderful glowing feelings vibrate within me.
My hope is that by my sharing this with you, I will continue to feel the ecstasy of those moments in my life. And perhaps it will awaken in you a call to ecstatic moments in your life.