I’m willing to bet that like me, all of you have been down in the dumps at least once; or maybe even full-fledged depressed. Can you recall that last time? Or any time? If so, can you remember how everything takes on huge proportions, far in excess of what is truly there in front of you?

When those low points come along even taking the trash outside seems like such a monumental task. That’s when you say to yourself: “I’ll take it out later, when I have some energy.” Next thing you know you’re hungry, or something else happens or you just keep hoping that more energy will magically appear and then you can take out the trash. But there it sits unattended for longer than it needs to.

Or do you remember the last time you had the flu and your body ached so much even thinking seemed to hurt? And how did that make you feel? If anything remotely like me, you start to feel like this will never get better. Ever. You’re going to ache for the rest of your life. Period.

I’m willing to bet that psychologists have a word for this, but I don’t know what it is. I just use the phrase “like everything is under a magnifying glass.” Because that’s what it feels like. Everything gets bigger, everything goes on longer, or the distance to resolution seems closer than in actual real time. Basically our minds go overboard, and this causes us immeasurably more grief than it should.

So that being said, is it hard to imagine how someone cast out and marginalized, like un-homed and homeless folks, might be feeling about their circumstances? Is it hard to imagine how much harder it might be for them to muster the energy to “solve” their issues when all they currently have is directed towards survival?

When you find yourself thinking logically about this, such as saying “but if they just redirected their energy they could do it,” remind yourself how you feel under the magnifying glass. That distorted view on life’s circumstances isn’t accurate to start within the best of circumstances. How do we expect it to work in the worst of circumstances?

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About the Author

  • Joe Bright
    Joe Bright is a graduate of Iolani School and went on to study art at The Cooper Union School of Art in New York City, and later Chinese medicine at The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco. Joe currently runs a small acupuncture clinic, Kama’aina Acupuncture in Kapahulu as the first dedicated low-cost “community acupuncture” clinic in Honolulu. Joe has a varied background that has included working as a bicycle mechanic, freelance artist, teaching calligraphy and Tai Chi, a nanny, and even a CEO of a small entrepreneurial company. He continues to create art, even having work recently appear at the Honolulu Academy of Arts as well the Bishop Museum. He also continues with entrepreneurial projects when possible and serves on the Board of Directors for a local Buddhist meditation organization, Vipassana Hawai’i.