Современный уход в гедонизм и наслаждение каждым моментом не оставляет места грусти, сомнениям, боли, горю.


Современный уход в гедонизм и наслаждение каждым моментом не оставляет места грусти, сомнениям, боли, горю.

Country Olga Nechaeva
Olga Nechaeva Country

No matter what you practice — yoga, orthodoxy, shamanism, per- sonal coaching, or psychotherapy — you cannot manage without self- acceptance. There are so many instances of people sincerely wanting to change their lives, seeking in vain for a way to avoid the stage of loving oneself. And it is very difficult to find anyone who manages to accomplish that mission, because the process of reconciling one’s own weakness, anger, hopelessness, defeat, proves to be a vast and difficult step. It’s almost impossible to do it publicly. Olga Nechaeva, though, has ventured to write about this challenging and intimate experience of the soul.

It happened at night. I was sitting in the kitchen, grieving. The children were sleeping. Darkness. Silence. I am 38 years old. I have achieved a great deal: I am living in London, I divorced my husband, I opened a business, and my career is prospering — I’m writing and getting recognition for it. In my daily flow of life, there’s no time for sentiment. Only when the world around me calms down can I permit myself to fall into my routine dark period, so to speak.

I can see how absorbed I am by the black hysteria of my mind, how it gets caught on things and begins to drag in different directions. I’m becoming an embittered, closed, frightened being. I do not see a way out of it, and so decide to endure, to await a second breath. This is how I wish to view myself, how I wish to feel.

The modern escape into hedonism means that, in the enjoyment of every moment, no room is left for sadness, for doubt, for pain and sorrow. What we have come to consider “living in the moment” often implies that all moments should be soft, cheerful, in pastel colours. There is no “living in the moment of anger and self-pity.” All of the senses are divided into good and bad, and the good ones should be constantly exercised, while the bad are treated as if they shouldn’t exist at all. Better yet, don’t feel at all, as I am told whenever they say, “Don’t be jealous,” or “Why are you angry?” or “There’s no use in taking offense” — people really seem to believe that simply saying “Don’t worry” will cause grief to cease. But, if they tell me, “Don’t be ill,” I won’t suddenly recover from heart disease.

Young children are a wonderful illustration of how intensely and enthusiastically we rejoice, and how intensely and profoundly we grieve. Such coexistence of feeling is entirely natural. A child, fervently crying twelve times a day, remains a happy creature, so long as his mother refrains from singing, “Don’t cry, don’t cry.”

The wolf doesn’t doubt, doesn’t hesitate, and observes disdainfully, from a distance, the warm glow of affection. Inside, it weeps for nothing and it pities no one.

I do not like spiritual practices, in that they stigmatise emotion. In accord- ance with their religion, adherents regularly deprive themselves of the right to feel angry, spiteful, despondent, envious, and so on.

Wise forms of pain can parry us from the poison, melancholy can pull us out of the strain, anger can mobilise us, bitterness can guide us by the hand through intolerance, offense can withdraw us from conflict, rage can launch us into it, intolerance can steer us away from trouble, and impatience can drive to action. Try not to be afraid of such moments, and allow yourself to declare: “I’m sad today. I’m out of sorts. I don’t want to do anything. I’m feeling mali- cious, and you’d better leave me alone. Why bother at all? I’m feeling sorry for myself, and, yes, I’m ashamed of it.”

The extent to which we deny the negativity in ourselves becomes inversely proportionate to our willingness to take responsibility for our lives. So we carry on as captives of our terrible little secret, which is in fact no secret at all, and which assures us, “If I let myself remain in this bad mood, I won’t be able to stop myself.”

And here’s the paradox — to be negative is like a dive to the bottom. It’s uncomfortable. To be in dire straits, or in poor health, to be lost, doubtful — it’s unpleasant, and even more so, if displayed openly. And, at the same time, what for?

Weakness is pathetic, naivety is ridiculous, credulity and openness are punished.

So why is it that I’m sitting here, alone at night, letting myself slide into this sticky swamp?

Because my children deserve to be loved by their mother.

It’s impossible to love and respect children if we consider their immaturity, innocence, and dependence merely shameful imperfections that must be extinguished as urgently as possible. It is impossible to love someone while regarding their very essence with loathing and shame. The children will always be able to sense that they aren’t really loved, that what is loved is the idea of what they should be. And that they, wrong and burdensome, remain not fully seen and not fully wanted.

Do I have the right to be lost, foolish, inconsistent, to live through this time without condemning myself ? Do I have the right to cry out in pain, to be sad, hurt, unproductive, harmful, petty, or angry? If it’s inside of me, I’ll pass it on to the baby.

That’s why I go here, into the noise of my head, and stay for a while.

The girl inside screams: “It’s not fair! I didn’t do anything! I’m little! Poor me, everything’s so hard, nobody loves me, everyone has abandoned me, I’m alone in the world, I don’t want to make any decisions! I don’t want to do anything at all! It’s all your fault! Someone, hold me!”

I can’t stand this helpless and hysterical crybaby.

A strict mother demands, bitter and cold, “What is it you want? You don’t deserve it! Look at yourself! Who needs you?! What a wimp! Stop that whining! You don’t see anything through! Nobody cares about you! Enough already! Come on! Get over it!”

I hate this voice, everlasting in its judgmental and mentoring tone, impossible to silence.

“I won’t allow it,” the Wolf roars. It has a calm, steel stare, is strong and merciless, and, carried on the back of its cold rage, I am driven away from troubles. It is full of contempt for human foolishness and delusion, and of violent, animal passion. It doesn’t doubt, doesn’t hesitate, and observes disdainfully, from a distance, the warm glow of affection. Inside, it weeps for nothing, and it pities no one.

This creature scares me, and so I conceal it, so that no one suspects anything. How can you admit that there is a soulless wolf inside of you?

My warrior is quiet. It is tired and feels unacknowledged. It has been victorious in many wars, persistent, painstaking, and stationary wars. It has accepted its defeats, taken some steps back, learnt some lessons. It has then gathered its strength once more and plunged into new battles. It has never asked for mercy or com- passion, never rested, nor awaited relief. It has conquered and pushed ahead, throwing itself again and again onto impregnable frontiers. Its armour is covered with chips and scratches, its heart ready to receive the sword’s blow, but not to give up. It is ascetic, stubborn, humble, and lonesome.

In front of my warrior, I am ashamed. Ashamed of my silence, for never looking back, and for its perpetual solitude.

It happened at night, an ordinary night. I had been listening for some time, to the array of lonely voices in my head. And then, some- thing changed.

It was as if I noticed that each of them was conducting a futile search for something that was already there.

As if they didn’t know that there, inside, they have each other.

I told myself, “Hey, you know how to do everything! With children, you can be patient, considerate, honest, supportive! You are the best Mum ever, right? And that’s what the girl inside really needs. You’re a warrior, brave and daring — does that wolf really frighten you? Isn’t it that very force of nature, strong and unstoppable, which saved you, which pulled you up, when your strength abandoned you? The wolf is your friend, my brave warrior.”

And, somehow or other, they took notice of each other; they recognised each other.

The little girl revealed how scared she was, how desperately she needed love, and how she strived to attain it with everything she had. And Mum said the words, so necessary, of the greatest importance, and certainly long awaited, “Forgive me. I didn’t realise you needed help. I didn’t realise how much you were hurting. I’m here with you; I’m here for you. I’m not going to let anyone cause you harm.”

And then the little girl calmed down a bit, and she replied, “Don’t worry, Mum. I understand. You were just worried.”

And then Mum relaxed a little and said,” You know, when I’m afraid, I scold you. I don’t always manage to be sensitive.”

And then the girl grew up and answered, “I know that. Sometimes I blame you, but I realise that’s mostly because of fatigue. I don’t always man- age to be independent.”

Mother’s face was then somehow youthful and rejuvenated, having seen how smart and mature her little girl had become, how she was managing on her own. And the warrior sighed, rising up for another battle, because it is easier to conquer new lands when you know everything is all right at home. And the wolf stretched out, preparing to sleep, carefully keeping one ear alert, lest danger approach. But everything was safe; danger wouldn’t dare approach a porch guarded by a wolf.

That night, I promised myself something. I declared it aloud in the empty kitchen: “I am at once my own child and my own parent. I am all of you. I’ll never betray you.”

Thus, they became friends. They are distinct in many ways, and yet there are overlaps. They know that, together, they will always make it through. Sure, sometimes they fight, but then they carry on.

And when they say something good to each other, the voices resound as if from a single source.

Warm. Calm. Mine.