Emotional Wastelands...

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March 19, 2013

Emotional Wastelands….

I remember watching one of the many post-apocalyptic stories on TV where Denzel Washington was garbed in a gas mask and heavy fatigues.  He sat motionless barely breathing as radioactive ash fell softly from the muddy sky.  He was hunting during the day but you really couldn’t tell because the sunlight was obscured by the mangled dead trees in the forest he was hunting in.  He slowly gathers breath in his lungs, as he pulls his compound bow sighting his prey.  The scrawny, hairless cat doesn’t even notice his impending doom until the arrow pierces his bony body.  Denzel smiles under his air filter satisfied that he will be eating something this evening…

I love Sci-fi flicks but lately I noticed a theme with the latest block buster movies. They all seem to take place after some nuclear or natural devastation.  From movies like 2012 to Resident Evil, the plot of heroes and heroines battling evil overlords is overshadowed by the sterile scenery in the background.  This adds a whole new dimension to the challenges our heroes face, because the battle for basic needs has to be won before they can save that damsel or dude in distress.

As a story telling addictions counselor, I often use my imagination to explain theories and ideas to people about what they are going through and where they are heading.  The desolation of the environment in these futuristic movies makes me think about the barren landscapes within our own soul.  The psychological Armageddon some of us have experienced should not be minimized, discounted, or ignored.  The devastating trauma and drama that is recorded in our sealed files is not only heartbreaking but crippling.

I often ask new clients how they survived the near death experience of their dreams.  And some don’t answer, and I realize coldly that they didn’t survive…

Part of us dies when the world we know burns to the ground.  The white, hot nuclear fires not only incinerate everything we believe, but its radioactive content contaminates the soil and water of our core.  Burned, scarred, and infected we continue getting sicker and sicker every day learning how to survive within our own jaded world of Judgment Day.

This mental purgatory creates mutated perceptions as we view the world around us with apprehension and anger.  We begin to see monsters and muggers in the minister and mailman,  guarding our heart and wallet with a steel serrated blade.  Charity, love, forgiveness, and hope are outdated concepts in this emotional wasteland; it simply hurts too much to dream.  So we resign ourselves to exist as a shadow of our former selves hiding in the darkness, afraid of any other predators that may end our pitiful lifeline.

How do you come back from a spiritual decapitation?  How do you transplant a heart for those who have had their heart ripped out?  How do you breathe air into lungs that have been crushed?  To deny the desiccation of our hearts desires and dreams creates a poisoned punishment that weakens our will.  We can’t even admit we’ve been hurt; it’s like going to the hospital and lying about being shot in the chest!?!

I believe that when the landscape of our lives has been desecrated we need to move.  Like the lion of the jungle that follows his food, we need to go where the ground is fertile again.  We need to spiritually relocate packing our bags to travel to a place where the sun is shining and the grass is not brown with radiation.

The journey is not easy for it will take many miles to get us out of the dead zone of our mind.  We will run into many dangers along the way: Desert Dwellers who will try to steal your small canteen of hope, Zombie Mutants that will try to eat your brain and willpower, radioactive lightning storms that will have you seeking shelter with the self-absorbed, Psychotic Slavers that will have you trade your body for affirmations and empty promises.

The list of adversities is tremendous, but if you continue crawling, walking, running towards that land outside your box, you will begin to see green grass growing, people smiling, true friends that will offer help with no ulterior motive, food that feeds the mind body and spirit.  This new world is not a myth. It truly does exist,  but if we don’t believe we will never look beyond our own disease.

I use my imagination to tell a story, it could be your story but you get to decide if it’s a tragedy of self-destruction or an epic adventure of trial and triumph.  We all have a story to tell.  What will yours be?


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