How to not give up upon ‘losing the passion to live’
I watched a movie called Louder than Bombs (2015) and without getting too much into the plot, the character of the mother/woman that was a war photojournalist was the one that caught my attention because of how she dealt with her personal life and her job, being in the war zone and dealing with the impact that had in her.
The character is complex in terms of how she presents her work to others and how it seems she lived it ‘within’, but there was a point that really ‘struck a chord’ within me considering that she had this very diligent commitment to her work with having to go to all of these war zones to take photographs so that they could eventually be center pieces to stories/journalism about such situations, which I had considered at some point doing as well because of also considering that: this helps to open people’s eyes and change the world. I didn’t end up doing it, but I am profoundly grateful for all those documentary film makers and photojournalists that enable us to see what we would hardly ever get to see firsthand in this world. At least to me, being informed about ‘what goes on in this world’ has benefitted me in expanding my ‘world view’ from only focusing on my life and personal desires to learning to care about others in this same planet as myself.
So in the movie there was one moment where she’s at the airport with her husband, waiting for her next flight and one of her photos shows up in a New York Times’ article to expose the refugee camps in Afghanistan – or something around that – to which the husband tells her – paraphrasing -‘Hey, this is a great job!’ and she smiles or maybe sees it as ‘mission accomplished’ or as part of her work and who she is, but on the table across she sees a man that looked sort of the ‘business type’ that is also holding an issue of the NYT and when he gets to the page where her photo and report are, he passes on to the next page without even hesitating to read at least a bit into it – or watch the picture closely if anything – and in that moment that she was overlooking at this situation, one could see her eyes suddenly becoming watery or I could imagine her heart going into a knot so to speak for realizing that maybe a lot more would do this, maybe this is how it is with all of her pictures and this kind of articles, showing or proving that: no one really cares.
This is my entire reading I got from these few seconds that the moment in the movie lasted. Suffice to say that she plunges into a depression, about many things in her life and ends up killing herself.
After watching the movie, I commented to my partner how that moment resonated with me a lot whenever I go into this experience of ‘no one really cares about what we do’ or ‘no one even watches it/reads it, so what’s the point?’ and within that allowing myself to go into this ‘plunging’ point of seeing no point in it. Yet one thing I reminded myself in that moment and the solution I saw was that If she would have done her job as a principle for herself, because it mattered to her, regardless of how many see it or attend her exhibitions, this could have become a point that she gives ‘life’ to, instead of allowing herself to be continually be abased by the situations she encountered or by losing a meaning to it all. When I allow this to take over myself is mostly when being located in the position of the ‘result-demanding’ character so to speak, where I am looking at wanting to have an effect on others, to ‘change the world’ through what one can produce or place out there, while in fact forgetting it is not about ‘others only’ it’s about myself and the decision I’ve made to for example share some audio recordings with a personal perspective I’ve found more supportive when ‘finding my own two feet’ related to the atrocities of ‘world events’ we get to be aware of in the media.
I also saw the potential of myself at some point becoming like that character that plunges so deep into seeing no meaning in anything: her personal life, her work, while witnessing and being sucked into the events she took photographs for, that she ends up killing herself where ‘committing suicide’ is usually seen as a way to ‘end the suffering’ when in fact it is mostly a way to give up from redefining the life that we want to live and instead of seeing ‘no way out’ rather focusing on creating new ways to re-load our lives so to speak and continually be creative to stand in the same principles yet explore new ways in which one can express and live this change or importance that we see in making of this world a better one to the best of our ability, starting with How we live our lives.
Here for those that get to watch or have watched the movie, a practical way in which the photographer could have gotten herself back on track is by stopping her photojournalist trips as she had decided and promised she would, and then focus on getting support to establish better relationships and communication at home, to learn how to deal with her depression. Because, her depressed state eventually affected both of her sons, in turn affecting the kind of decisions that they made in their own lives based on having been affected by seeing their mother in a sad state when she was at home and seeing the problems that the parents had as a couple. Maybe by rekindling the relationship at home, her sons would have had more stable lives, taking the example of not plunging herself into a state of depression or anger or frustration, but rather focusing on getting oneself back on track and so being an example to others around us about it, much could have changed if this was a decision lived by the woman.
One aspect we tend to create is ‘caring too much about others’ and doing justice to others, or wanting to ‘protect’ something or someone out there, yet neglecting our personal lives within this. This is what happened to this character of the photographer in the movie, where she had problems with her husband, she was depressed and not talking about it or seeking solutions, getting to the point of being unfaithful in her marriage ending up just ‘losing it’ and crashing herself in the car. It was funny because in that moment of seeing this while in the movie, my partner timely said ‘remember it’s just a movie, they are just actors’ which was just what I needed to in that moment kind of ‘snap out of it’ and stopping indulging into this personal identification with the whole situation, essentially starting to ‘see myself in her’ and diving into that same ‘plunging’ experience. So definitely next time I’ll be more aware of this ‘getting lost’ into the emotional drive of the story and here to remind myself those words too and to continue watching yet still objectively, using the movie and stories as a point to reflect and introspect about myself and others in this world as well.
Reflecting on the ‘doing something to depict/portray or reflect state of the world’ – what I’ve found and this we also discussed after the movie is that there is much of an informational saturation these days that surely it is unlikely that one gets the ‘reach’ that one would like currently with common sensical perspectives and essentially non-sensationalist points of view, because that’s what ‘sells’ in this world for now. Very few people have developed a sense of living ‘care’ or ‘consideration’ to be informed about the situations around the world, yet there are some that do, and the more that we continue to participate and contribute to this ‘new culture’ of being informed citizens yet at the same time, learning to take the points back to self as in recognizing and taking our responsibility for the points that we see we can change within ourselves, our minds and in the way that we live, the more we will expand this new awareness or new culture of life that stops feeding the usual ‘conflict-fueled’ mass media.
So this is a practical consideration, a realistic consideration to many of us that may at times hit the ‘black hole’ of seeing ‘no point’ in sharing ourselves or not seeing the ‘desired effect’ of what we do, however if we become that point and reason as to why we do it and remind ourselves of who we decide to be in doing so, we become that 1+ point of change that participates and expresses in our current conflictive culture. Never to underestimate what we do, where we stand or the ‘effect’ one can have in others, but mostly to realize that what truly matters is not the amount of data and information one can imprint on others, but rather sharing how one has changed Within oneself, in our day to day living to align to principles that one wants to see as the new way of living, the new ‘norm’ of how to interact and coexist in this world. Within this I mean that what we do becomes an extension of who we are in it, therefore not falling into the role of the photographer in the movie that upon seeing her photojournalism and work as ‘meaningless’ or not having the desired effect, she took that entirely upon as ‘her definition/ her life’ and instead of stopping doing it and trying out something else, she stopped her profession and shortly after, she stopped her own life with it.
As much as this is a reflection upon a character in a movie, it is also a personal reminder of whenever getting sucked into the ‘black hole’ of ‘what’s the point?’ and seeing ‘no point’ in sharing one’s work or creations, to remind myself to be that one point for myself, to stand As It as a point of principle as a declaration of who I am, regardless of who listens/watches it, because this is a form of contribution of a process of change and new perspectives that I am aware and certain can be supportive for others at any point in their lives, where they may go through the same or similar situations and simply extend the support that I have also benefitted from when learning from others facing this and ‘bigger’ points of seeing no point in this entire existence, yet even today still seeing them standing in their decision to see the point in life and giving themselves a purpose to stand as the solutions in this world.
We can never really be short of ways to overcome the problems, what we can be short of at times is the will to create, the commitment to stand as the potential of who we can live and be in this world. And this is also a personal reminder whenever tending to focus only on the mayhem, the death, the destruction, the wars, the violence, the lies, the deception, the suffering and all that which we have yet to correct in our world, to not see it as this big black hole that sucks us all into oblivion, but to see it for what it is: a consequence that we have to understand in order to learn how to stand under the problem as a ‘fixed’ point, as part of the solution, from the root and cause of it, instead of allowing ourselves to be influenced by the consequences, the ‘tips of the icebergs’ we get in our daily news, and so decide to take the responsibility to understand how those problems ensued, what is it within ourselves that has contributed to the nature of the problem and rather spend the rest of our lives working with ourselves and assisting others in whichever ability we are able to, continuing sharing supportive expressions that consider the context, the people involved, their lives, the context of the world system and essentially learning to ‘trace back’ the problems out there back to ourselves, our human nature, who we have become within our minds and lives that has manifested as the world without and take responsibility for it. Easily said, but takes a continuous re-commitment to live this, no matter what, so that we can eventually make of our reflections and practical solutions ‘louder than bombs.’
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