Many clients have been talking to me recently about their feelings of loneliness. Of course, this isn’t particularly uncommon. The desire for interpersonal connection, intimacy, and companionship are an intrinsic part of what it means to be human. Indeed, no one enjoys feeling lonely. Consequently, the question of how to transform feelings of loneliness is certainly an important one, which is why I decided to give this topic some extra attention lately.
Love itself does not conquer all; it is the marriage of love and wisdom that leads always to triumph.
I was residing at Wat Pah Nanachat (the “International Monastery” originally founded by the beloved Thai monk Ajahn Chah) outside Ubon Ratchathani, a medium-sized town in Thailand not far from the border of Cambodia. Although I wasn’t a monk at the time, my lifestyle was similarly austere. I slept on a bamboo cot placed in the middle of the jungle with nothing but a mosquito net above me, no ceiling, no walls, no electricity, just a thin blanket and a small backpack’s worth of belongings–a change of clothes, toothbrush, miniature flashlight, journal and a few pens for writing.
Many people come to counseling for help making a decision about the fate of a particular relationship–usually involving one’s romantic partner or current employment. Inevitably, they have doubts about staying, for sure, along with similar doubts about leaving. They’re at an impasse, stuck, grappling with the vital question, “Should I stay or should I go?”
Because no one wants to make a decision they will later regret, it makes perfect sense to thoroughly evaluate a relationship before making a determination to scram. But what’s the most effective way to evaluate a relationship, so that you can know for certain you’re making a wise decision? I can answer this in a single word.
Sound insane? Trust me, I’m not off my rocker, nor do I endorse suicide. I value life and consider the act of someone taking his or her own life to be among the greatest of all possible tragedies. Nonetheless, I fully understand how suicide is, despite outward appearances, a tremendously bright idea. Here’s why.
Life lessons can be found in the most unexpected places sometimes. This particular one comes from a cooking show on The Food Network called Chopped.
In each episode, four chefs compete with one another to impress a panel of judges. At the start of each of the three timed rounds that will ultimately determine a winner (appetizer, entrée, dessert), the chefs are given a basket containing four “mystery ingredients”. Once the clock starts, the chefs open their baskets to see, for the first time, which—usually quite peculiar—ingredients they must somehow include in their dishes. Thus the culinary improvisation begins, as time steadily dwindles.