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September 15, 2003

The Illness of Modern Life

I drove into Toronto today. The traffic jammed up and we were like sardines in cans stacked up in a long box. I found myself on busy streets surrounded by poles, wires, lights, vehicles, and the concrete blocks that make up the characterless plaza-land of modern North America. In a short while I would be back home with my tomato plants. What concerned me, however, were the people who are in that desert every day.

Many of the people who come to me for assistance are not just upset because of past traumas. They are also seriously damaged by the environments in which they live and work. Though I believe that past traumas drive us into these dysfunctional situations, facing these traumas does not magically make these situations go away.

Modern life is a recipe for depression, anxiety, and rage. Addictive behaviours and substance abuse are the painkillers for the reality of modern life.

Theoretically, primal work clears the dysfunctional patterns that keep us stuck on the wheel. But what if the pressures, debt, and isolation of modern life make it impossible to do the primal work? Which do you tackle first?

Both.

While you are finding ways to express yourself fully and honestly, it is essential to gradually adjust the draining, stressful, and depressing aspects of your life. Look at your marriage, your friends, your family, your job, your finances, your home, your furniture, your appliances, your vehicle, your clothes, your neighbourhood, your health, your addictions, your distractions. Is there anything you can change or remove? Is there anything healthy or inspiring you can add? Is there anyone else you can find to support you in this effort?

Although we do carry inner sadness, anxiety, and rage, we also allow ourselves to remain in situations that truly provoke these feelings. We are no longer little children. We are now adults. We can begin to say no to the illness of modern life.



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