I just heard about the death of Gabi Shoshan, an Israeli singer I used to know when I lived there years ago. He was one of the main stars of the production of “Hair” in the late 60’s in Israel, and will always be remembered as part of that exciting time in my life. Gabi died at age 66 after hitting some hard times, and “It looks like he took his life”, said the announcement in the Israeli paper Haaretz.
This news came to me at the end of a weekend that I’ve been feeling particularly vulnerable and yet grateful to be alive. On Friday morning I suddenly felt a sharp & paralyzing pain in my neck which I thought was a stroke… It was so scary & unbearable, that it took all my coping skills not to lose it. Simultaneously, I turned it over to the breath, and kept breathing-love-in-2-the-pain, until about five minutes the dread was gone & the pain subsided. (The ultimate dread is – “It will never go away” -:).
I felt so grateful that I decided to celebrate & take a trip to the SPA in the mountains I hesitated about just one hour before. (Funny how relief from pain & despair can make you feel generous & blessed -:).
During the whole weekend I appreciated the alternative-Self-care-default-practice I have developed and that I’ve been practicing, particularly when my “inner-refugee” gets triggered by pain, fear, challenges & set backs, which can escalate to depression & suicide. If you’ve ever considered taking your life, and/or have attempted it, you could understand what I’m talking about and would have compassion for this dreadful state when going on living, can feel so unbearable, that the only solution left in your mind is killing yourself.
Suicidal ideation is linked to depression & mental illness, and its been with us since the beginning of time. While its very important to reach out for medical help, it doesn’t end there. There is a component to it that’s addictive like a drug, promising to take you out of your misery and provide you with the ultimate relief. While right now it feels like the last thing on earth I would consider, I can remember too well, being obsessed with it as the only power I have left to keep my dignity as a human being, when the pain of depression reduces me to feeling like an non-person. I feel that it should be treated with a ‘one day at a time’ recovering approach. If you’ve experienced that kind of despair before, it’s wise to develop a daily practice that helps you detect & manage symptoms of anxiety & depression before they can escalate all the way into suicide.
My practice is living-in-sacred-celebration. Bearing-witness to struggles with myself, breathing-love-in-2-the-pan, listening-2-music, massage, movement, laughter & dance. I teach it to others but primarily do it for myself. If you know anyone who suffers from suicidal depression, the most helpful thing you can offer is to first bear witness, listening & have a heart 4 their situation before offering any advise. Nothing feels worse then when friends, family & health care professionals tell you that they know how you feel, and you knowing that they have no clue. Kindness, empathy & compassion can help soften the shame & the isolation, and like breathing, can love & heal you in the present, moment-by-moment, breath-by- breath.
May you be blessed with a loving, compassionate & kind heart, that you can share with others & breathe in 2 your own precious Self. Rest in peace Gabi Shoshan… “Ata Achi” – You’re my brother….
Here’s Gabi Shoshan singing in Hebrew “You ain’t heavy, you’re my brother….”
Samuel Jakob Kirschner
– Voice of The BREAZE