You know how sometimes you just happen to click on something on-line and it ends up having such a wildly profound impact, you can almost hear the angels singing in the background? Okay, that rarely happens to me, but it did happen today and so I want to share this man, Stephen Murphy, reading his poem about mental health (and so much more) at a small pub in Ireland. The first time I saw it, I had tears in my eyes by the end. And then, when I shared it with Roy, the tears came streaming down my cheeks. So powerful. So passionate. So eloquent. So screamingly “wow”. I have a wise friend who recently said, “I’ve spent the last ten years learning how to feel what I’m feeling.” I could relate. Hearing this poem, I’m so heart-poundingly grateful for the ability to feel, to be moved. Please read and/or watch the video. He’s amazing and the poem deserves to be read & shared.
I’m very much looking forward to dancing with you tomorrow.
Blessedly, we have the heart-poundingly wise, funny, & talented Davida behind the deck.
Here’s the link to the poem: https://speakola.com/ideas/stephen-murphy-before-you-push-the-chair-2018
And here’s the text:
Before You Push The Chair
I want you to know that I've been there
In those moments when it feels as though every wall's a prison When the whole world kneels upon you and the darkness of your vision Has encompassed all before you and turned your whole world black And it feels as though you'll never get to see your old world back.
I've been labelled with depression, and branded with disease And given the impression that for anyone who sees Past this great deception that's been sold to us as fact There's a template for expression as to how we should react.
But I've come to see despair as a product of control That's embedded in our psyche by the forces who patrol What we read within our papers, or see upon our screens As deliberately tapered to tamper with our dreams
And for all that we resist it, it's there on every surface From our buses to our bodies, all designed to fit the purpose To remind us that for all we have, it's still never enough That there'll always be that void to fill with other mindless stuff
And though some still cling to God to bring some structure to their lives And others seem to need to be destructive to survive There's a whole new generation wandering aimless and confused Who were born into an age that never had a God to lose And in their quest for validation they turn to the machine 'Cause they've come to know the world through the comfort of a screen.
And I've seen the way we've gone from being socially adept From a people who were strong to being totally inept Where anxiety and loneliness are living side by side And everyone's just saving face for fear of losing pride As the constant threat of homelessness and risk of repossession Has come to manifest itself as clinical depression So we medicate the masses just to keep them from the rope And eradicate the last remaining evidence of hope Just to sell us back the superficial versions of our selves From the sacrificial altars of our supermarket shelves And then tell us that 'A problem halved is just a problem shared' But thus a problem doubled is a problem that's been layered 'Cause so many now despair because to paraphrase Voltaire; They see who rules who suffers, yet still they're running scared.
But before you push the chair, I want you to step down from there And be the light you're born to be To understand that those who see things differently Are those who reshape history That the prophets in the scriptures were the poets of their time And everyone you'll ever meet has struggled with the mind But one true friend will always trump a million friends online
Where reality's distorted and contorted to obscure Designed to isolate us and to make us insecure But for all our social networks, our net worth is obsolete When we need the praise of strangers to make us feel complete
But beyond our echo chambers, when we lift our eyes we'll see That around us lie the embers of our own humanity And as day is why we name the night so too we'll come to see That the they we like to blame in life is only ever we And for all we try to justify the versions of our truth They will always be perversions to another's absolute 'Cause no matter where the roots lie, the one thing guaranteed Is that the plant will always come to bear the hallmarks of the seed.
And I don't have all the answers, and I'll never say I do I've just as many doubts and insecurities as you But a friend of mine once told me that I showed up in a dream And I'm not exactly sure what any of it means
But I was walking through a desert with my back towards the sun In a crowd of other people but for every other one Their shadows fell before them but for me it fell behind And he said that he just stood there and watched us for a time
'Til at last I took an hourglass and smashed it with a stone Then poured the sand upon the sand as there I stood alone And when he asked me why I did it, I turned to him and said; 'That was simply just the way that the universe was made.'
I know that may sound clichéd, but I've been thinking about it since And the more that I've been thinking, the more that I'm convinced That maybe all of us are only pouring dust upon the dust And it's not us killing time but more just time that's killing us
But when two people every day here now are taking their own lives And countless many others are struggling to survive At what point do we acknowledge that this problem's epidemic And not just a polemic of some college academic?
'Cause we're so intent on carrying this intense collective grief That we seem content on marrying our lack of self-belief To a greater sense of victimhood that always comes across As a symptom of the dogma we've adopted from the cross
But I'm tired of trying to find the words 'I'm sorry for your loss' When that loss could be avoided for a fraction of the cost And I'm tired of the statistics, 'cause the numbers can't uphold The stories of the victims that will largely go untold And I'm tired of the stigma that still surrounds our mental health As if for simply feeling is a failing of the self But I'm mostly just exhausted 'cause I'm all too well aware That right now someone else is just about to push the chair.
And I wish that I could tell them, for however dark their plight That through the shelter of each other We can learn that love is light.
Enjoy, Sweet Beings.
Sending love & squishy hugs,