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    Into The Mouth Of The Demon

            Three of my most formidable inner demons are depression, anxiety, and self-hatred.
            Sometimes, I will deal with such demons with humor, in varying degrees, as part of my overall strategy. Sometimes, however, I can find no humor, whatsoever, anywhere in the space between myself and my demons. So I often go into battle mode, where I fight the depression, the anxiety, and the self-hatred. How I choose to fight them depends on how threatened I feel, how ashamed I am that I'm even visited by the fuckers, and other circumstances. 
            How do I fight my demons? Sometimes by denial. Sometimes by anger (I get mad at them and, not surprisingly, that gets me mad at myself and the whole world - not very effective). Sometimes by self-medication (numbing myself to their presence). The problem is, fighting my demons, no matter how I choose to fight them, never works. I always lose. And that just makes me feel worse, like I'm a failure. It's a horribly debilitating cycle that has robbed me of far too much of my life.
            My first time at Kripalu, I did a mediation workshop with Jonathan Foust (incredible teacher and healer: He read a poem that I rephrased and posted whilst I was at the retreat that I called "Demon Tea". The poem basically says that instead of fighting your demons, invite them in for tea. Converse with them. Get to know them. Befriend them. That's how to find peace. Not by battle. But by getting to know them.
            Now, that strategy seems to go against Good Old American Macho Male Football Psyche Wisdom (of which I am often guilty of). You don't befriend your demons, you don't make kissy face with your adversaries; you annihilate them. You square them up like a free safety, time it right, and deliver a crushing blow right as the ball is delivered. You knock your adversary's block off. That's how you play defense against the enemy. That's how you win. 
            The problem is, my demons are not my enemy. My demons are my teachers. Or at least some of my teachers. They show me where I need to work on myself, where I need to grow, where I need to focus to be a happier, healthier person. 
            I have completely forgotten that for a while. And it has caused me, and some people I love, great pain. I used to box in college, and I love the game of football, so The Fighting Spirit is in me. The Warrior is embedded in my DNA as a man. But you have to know when to employ that spirit, and when to employ something different. Like having tea with your demons. 
            Today, I'm going away for a while to once again learn, or re-learn, to invite My Demons in for tea. I'm going to take it even further than ever before. I have to. Because if I don't, I'm going to die fighting the fuckers. And when I say "die" I mean it, literally. Because fighting them, in all the ways I've tried, is killing me. I'm out of options. Which is where I guess I had to get to in order to surrender to this more gentle method of dealing with them.
           The positively transformative book I'm currently reading, "Radical Acceptance" by Tara Brach ( recants a story from the teachings of the Tibetan yogi, Milarepa.  When, meeting his most persistent, bad ass motherfucker demons, Milarepa pulls a positively brilliant and radical move; he actually puts his head into one of the Demon's mouth. Lo and behold, not only does that Demon vanish, all the other Demons vanish too. The book quotes Pena Chodron, who says; "When the resistance is gone, the demons are gone".
           So, starting today, I commit every cell of my very depleted body, every neuron in my hyper-active mind, every beat of my giant, sensitive, tremendously loving (yet currently broken) heart, and every wisp of my precious spirit, to getting to the place where I can put my whole fucking head into the mouth of every one of My Demons. 
           I'll see you, hear you, connect to you, and love you, on The Other Side.
    © 2017 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All Rights Reserved. 


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