Monday, February 15, 2010

Drama and the Addiction to Intensity

"Drama, however, disastrous, can be exciting and stimulating. But the trill of pandemonium eventually begins to frustrate the soul and rain the energy of all who embrace it. To halt this process, we must understand the root of our drama addiction, be aware of our reactions, and be willing to accept that a serene, joyful life need not be a boring one....When you confront your emotional response to drama and the purpose it serves in your life, you can reject it. Each time you consciously chose not to take part in dramatic situations or associate with dramatic people, you create space in your inner being that is filled with a calm and tranquil stillness and becomes an asset in your quest to lead a more centered life."     Excerpted from Dispelling Drama,  The Daily Om

The addiction to Intensity is, in the shamanic perspective, one of the 4 world addictions which include intensity, needing to know, perfection, and what isn't working, all of which are supported in our society. We confuse our natural desire for connection with the thrills of intensity, seeking faster, higher, and more exciting experiences which in fact are not creating intimacy but are creating drama. "I feel so alive" might be the mistaken mantra when we become embroiled in life dramas, taking our attention away from center and toward something or someone outside of ourselves. Every day the internet seems faster, responses to emails and calls need to be immediate or even "yesterday" and life can take on an almost frenzied pace.
We become accustomed to speed, to exhilaration, to activity and in some cases, the dramatic.

We get a phone call from a friend who has a problem. Over the course of the next hour, we listen patiently at first, remaining compassionate but soon find ourselves being drawn into the chaos. The next thing we know, we have agreed to drive our friend across town to retrieve her things from her now ex boyfriend who has left them on the porch of the house they share. We pull up in the driveway and there he is, the yelling begins, we attempt to be the peacemaker as she throws her things into the back of the car. Next thing you know, your friend is sleeping on your couch, tears and all, bringing full form chaos into your life.

Or what of the angst filled lovers who meet ongoing in a clandestine affair, intensely longing for their once weekly hour alone? We become addicted to the intensity of intrigue, desire, passion, all of which are energy surges, many of which are rooted in fears including abandonment and loss of connection with the Divine.

Addicts, whether they are addicted to drugs, alcohol, people, gambling, racing or any other substance, are seeking intensity which comes with the first "hit". It's a vicious cycle and one that is never enough. 

So what's the solution? Begin to recognize how you may be creating intensity in your life and rather than turning towards it, turn towards yourself instead. Take a walk, sit in the garden, play music, be loved and loving, all of which promote joy and true intimacy. Notice the triggers which lead you toward intensity and choose peace instead. 

Photo by Daniel O   "Whirlwind"

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