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I suddenly started looking up John Lennon quotes on Goodreads the other day – which helped inspire me to write this article. I didn’t know then that it was the anniversary of his tragic death – I only found that out a day later when I started seeing posts on Facebook that made it obvious that a lot of my friends had also been looking him up and replaying his music. I don’t think it was just a co-incidence that I made that connection, I do think that his spirit is still very much with us in our attempts to find better ways of being at peace with ourselves, and living more in harmony with the planet.
As I co-administrate a Facebook open group called ‘Back to The Garden’ some of his quotes were particularly relevant – such as “I’m not really a career person; I’m a gardener, basically.” Also, “The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.” Our group is already named ‘Back to The Garden’ because of the 60s song ‘Woodstock’ which says “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”. Our aim is to share information to help us try to live sustainable lives by creating supportive local communities, and to participate in global meditation link-ups to help influence the collective consciousness towards achieving this. We also share creative inspiration to help express our ideas.
So, back to my original article – which basically shows why I think John Lennon is such a great example to us all – of how to truly be ourselves.
John Lennon was such a thoroughly REAL person. His quotes reflect all sides of human nature, from the sad and withdrawn, to the desperately painful, to the angry, to the loving and celebratory, and from the arrogant to the humble, as well as from the serious to the exuberant humour-filled sheer absolutes of expression. We all have many sides to our nature but we tend to try to pretend that we don’t, mostly because we are afraid to show some of it. Does society make us think that if we remain on a bland even-keel we are more agreeable to others? Surely we are more interesting if we share what we truly feel? It’s perfectly possible to be honest without being horrid. Why can’t we just accept all of it and be this real? Okay, we don’t all need to be huge public characters, but we can be quietly firm about who and how we choose to be.
Another quote of John Lennon’s which is staggeringly beautiful in its stark honesty is “When you’re drowning, you don’t think I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I’m drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream.”
If you are facing a period of ‘depression’, why not allow that to simply be for a while? I generally have 3 days of it every now and again. I learned from a very early age to manage it. You could say it was artistic temperament, but it isn’t just that – we all have natural cycles energetically and physically, which affect us emotionally, and I believe we are better off listening to these than trying to deny them. (Of course, you should look after yourself with good nutrition, exercise, and the right amount of sleep, because imbalance in these areas can exacerbate or oven trigger such periods.) I give myself permission to let it happen and actually explore it – I write or paint myself through it. I don’t do anything I don’t want to – I just live with it. Okay, so I don’t usually publish what I’ve written at such times – but I do learn from it – and I am well aware that I am processing emotion, dealing with it – not trying to suppress it. I know that after the 3 days it will go again because I have given it the space to play through. Often, I make positive changes in my life after these stages – so they are like transition phases. I seem to gather strength and insight from actually allowing them to really work through, and somehow grow from the experience. Perhaps by allowing the darker side its space, I then get recompense by gaining access to more of the light, because sometimes it is straight after one of these periods that I produce my best work. Maybe if we looked at it as if we are like snakes shedding skins so that we have room to grow some more, we could learn to process these phases naturally, we could all deal with them. Maybe they wouldn’t hang around then – we could trust ourselves to get through them – not let them overwhelm us, or leave us stuck half in half out – we could go into them fully and come out the other side. I think it is healthy to allow one’s self to honestly explore all sides of your nature, as that is probably the only way you can truly get to know and trust yourself. I think that is why I love John Lennon so much – he trusted himself to be real – and he told the truth.
Art of any form – music, writing, painting, are the most obvious ones, but there are many more, (and we don’t have to be ‘artistic’ to express ourselves, you could just write letters you may never post, or notes to yourself) – any of this helps us to truly face the world and explore it and the human psyche. We may begin with ambivalence, but we soon become fearless if we explore thoroughly enough. We become powerful in ourselves because we are learning to understand ourselves. We can’t ever really hope to understand everything around us, but we can learn to understand ourselves in relation to anything else. If we know what we stand for and how we feel about things – then that never changes no matter what else changes around you – you become like a rock, yet at the same time feel floatingly free. (Of course if you do learn from new information and experiences or learn to respond differently to situations, your outlook does evolve, but you are still the floating rock that is you growing as part of the conscious universe).
You know we need variety in life to make it interesting. There has to be variety to even enable us to exist as individuals. So you stop blocking it off – you accept your curiosity and begin to explore, and the more you do this, the more you tend to then celebrate and appreciate the variety. You also accept your vulnerability, yet at the same time feel incredibly strong because you have opened fully to life. Life feels magical – even in its madness and confusion – it is staggeringly intoxicating.
So let’s grasp the bull by the horns and dare to be real – you’ll be amazed how great it will feel…. Not to be sucked in any more, not be afraid any more. You will feel powerful, filled with energy, draw yourselves up, and take control of who you want to be.
Neale Donald Walsch said “You are all in the process of defining yourselves. Every act is an act of self definition.“
Ralph Waldo Emerson said “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
And Shakespeare said “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
John Lennon also said “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”
But wait a minute, just as with Lennon (and many others) – those in power don’t want us to be real do they? They want us to go on consuming their goods (with poisons in them), and watching TV (with all the pap they’d like us to believe). They want us to feel powerless so that they can continue to lead us blindly into wars and other money making schemes, and so that we accept their laws and judgements, instead of questioning them or standing up for ourselves and our rights. If we are real then we become a threat to them, and they feel a need to deal with us – exactly, you got it – but now there are too many of us, and things are going to have to change. If we stop listening to them, if we stop using their systems, and simply walk away – that is all that is needed.
Then we will look after each other at community level – ensure we are can access healthy food, work together at projects that sustain us – not them – keep things local – it makes much more sense. Trade our skills, make things that last, that don’t waste raw materials and fuel, things that are truly useful – not junk to make profit out of others. We can take back everything they have been trying to take away from us completely, bit by bit, over centuries, sneakily.
Marianne Williamson said “Do you really not know what to do? Or do you just lack the courage to do it?”
Ghandi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Van Morrison said “You can’t stop us on the road to freedom, you can’t keep us ‘cause our eyes can see.”
And John Lennon said “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.”
Another thing John Lennon taught us was never to be sucked into trying to fight those trying to exert power over us at their own game. He said “If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.” And “There’s no separation. We’re all one. Give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace. All you need is love. I believe it. It’s damn hard, but I absolutely believe it.”
So don’t allow yourself to be diverted – firstly it infects you with their level of thinking, secondly it takes your power away. Save your power for doing the good stuff, dismiss the rest as insignificant. As long as you remain complete in who you want to be, you will keep your absolute power. The minute you slip into something else – you lose some of it to them. Don’t give it away, keep you power quietly to yourself, and you will always be free, they cannot defeat you. No matter what they do, your power remains yours – they do not get a jot of it. Look at how we remember the great people like John Lennon – that’s because they never lost anything at all. He has become untouchable, and yet we can all touch him and his dreams, and help make them as real as he believed they could be. He said “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, a dream you dream together is reality.” And “Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are…..”
More notes regarding depression.
Cognitive Dissonance might arise when you begin to realise there are things wrong in the world but can’t see the whole picture so your bits don’t fit or make sense, or you might be disappointed by the difference between your expectations and what has happened, or of people. As Lennon said “The more real you get the more unreal the world gets.”
So you need to re-adjust. Surely allowing ourselves the time to do this rather than try to fight it is actually healthy? Look closely at how you are feeling and thinking. Express how you feel through safe means – artistically, or by speaking to a friend, therapist, or to an inanimate object or imaginary person, or by writing letters or notes. Even ask rhetorical questions, or ask for what you want to happen – it helps you clarify things and you might even find answers. Recognise your autonomy – you can seek clarification in your understanding, or you can actually just choose to change the way you want to feel or do things. Medication obviously is useful in that it can give you the break to rest and steady yourself, before beginning to explore what is happening. If you view it as a tool to get back up a few steps, not as an excuse to just lie down at the bottom – then it is a positive and empowering act rather than something you are succumbing to. You should ideally always have a plan with your doctor to ensure that you are helped to withdraw carefully and gradually as you take back your power. You do sometimes need to be firm with your doctor about this, take responsibility for your own best interests, but never try to do it completely on your own.
Khalil Gibran wrote that “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
Plug into the umbilical cord of power through meditation and recharge yourself. Connect with the beautiful energy of the planet too. You are a rock between the earth and the reeling stars. Stand there feeling it deeply. Reach out your arms, dance if you want to, swim in the moonlight, sing or shout. Feel the processes in yourself re-adjusting, and renewing – and you will emerge with magic keys – re-enter life in the next stage of growing.
Remember your connection with the harmonics of the universe. You are one aspect of the one life force, manifested as human consciousness – everything else is a distraction. Focus on your relationship with the life force and yourself – who you are being – how you want to be. Other worries often pale into insignificance when you look at the bigger picture. You begin to realise that none of that small stuff can stop you from choosing exactly who you want to be. When you appreciate the astonishing variety of life around you, you tend to just find it easier to allow other things and people to just be as they are. Reasoning doesn’t matter so much anymore, even forgiving doesn’t matter much anymore – because you see that there is no need, you just let go of the small stuff and walk on deep into the wonder of being fully alive.
As John Lennon said: “Limitless undying love – which shines around me like a million suns – it calls me on and on across the universe.”
He left us a great legacy – an example to follow – and the power of his honest to goodness words, actions, and amazing creativity lives with us still.