Posted by: Lotus Light | March 11, 2010

Natural changes

Winter seedpods

It is nearing the end of winter, leaves are all brown, seed pods dried and empty. This death and decay feels beautiful though. The colours are warm, and speak of natural processes, of nourishment and regeneration. When I see this natural process, I think of our own deaths, our future. Dying, surrounded by family, at the end of a long life, seems to be a gentle and almost beautiful end. New life, continuing on, makes the old life passing meaningful and supported.

But lately I have seen much younger lives, not just dying, but decaying. Some deaths that need not have been. Deaths that somehow accuse us silently of not supporting the life. These deaths sadden me, and make me more aware that we need to step outside ourselves to make contact. With these deaths, the only solace is that it was personal choice and a decision taken. A death chosen, a death to perhaps prevent a worse outcome for the person.

The decay of lives is so much worse. Watching lives deteriorate that had formerly seemed, if not shining with star quality, at least functioning. Seeing the decay of the personality, watching something that seems almost alien take control – this fills me with a deep pity as well as an impatience. Whether the decay is facilitated through drugs, alcohol or the twists of life is irrelevant. The personality changes, the ‘child’ self takes control and relationships seem to become only about maintaining the selfish focus. Anger, irrationality, demands for instant gratification, desperate attempts at control of self or others, a new version of the world that sites the ‘child’ at the centre requiring constant appeasement, constant feeding.

The only natural world analogy I can find is that of a parasite invasion. The parasite uses the good within, the relationships or networks previously built, the strengths formerly developed to support its growth, and while the host is strong there seems little effect. But gradually the parasite takes away those strengths, takes control, leaving the shell but filling the centre with decay. The parasite works so well that the life it takes over does not resist, does not fight back until it is too late, and there is little left of the original life form.

Some people can come back from here – take the heroic measures to attack the parasite. Some will choose health over substance abuse; some will look at their lives and see the ‘child’ controlling the adult and work to bring back maturity. But in all of these cases there has to be an acknowledgment that the parasite is there. And that it is not wanted, not the way for the rest of life, that it is causing decay. Without this, the parasite will continue to grow, the ‘child’ will maintain control and the life will continue to decay.

And friends and family have no choice. They will be lashed with the consequences. The substances abusers will follow that route, hurting all; the decaying personalities will sabotage treatment, fail to see their own personality changes, and continue to attack those around them. No parasite wants to be found out, purged forcefully. Family and friends cannot continue to support, the genuine relationships and respect breakdown, the new ‘friends’ support the parasite until they too are taken over by it.

The end result of this decay will be the same end result as we all face – our own death. But it won’t be the death that we can see in the forest, surrounded by new growth, nourishing the coming generations and other lives.

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