Thursday, July 17, 2008


In an article I just read about the now infamous New Yorker cover, the writer was going on and on about how addicted Americans are to anger.

OK. There's yet another addiction to add to the already long list of suspected American addictions. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are up at the top of the list of course, followed by less intense substance abuse: coffee, chocolate, sugar, Coke, junk food of all kinds.

Some people are addicted to sex, they say. Some of us can't get through a day without tranquilizers, cold medications, nasal sprays, pain killers, cough syrup, sleep enhancers.

We're addicted to TV, our cellphones, Blackberries, ipods, computer games, the Internet. Gambling, jogging, getting tattoos, even compulsive cleaning, even meditation, for God's sake, has been listed as potentially addictive behavior.

What I want to know is if there's anything fun and pleasing that's NOT addictive. Well? Is my photography an addiction? Because if a day goes by when I can't walk and take pics, I'm very disappointed. Is my habit of prayer addictive? I do it every day and it does bring me pleasure as well as a sense of connection, so ... do I need to go to prayer rehab?

Here ye, here ye: I'm letting go of the storyline that says everything is addictive, because it doesn't help me to think that way. The idea that we're all addicts only increases a tendency towards species-wide self loathing. Instead, from now on I'm going to regard human compulsive behavior as a quest for pleasure that's gotten out of balance. The human being is a curious animal who always has a number of itches that need scratching; it's not our fault. Framing it this way is just as "true" as the theory of addiction, but so much more humanized, at least it seems that way to me.

And yes I do think that a person can pray too much. The way I've been going at it lately, trancing with my spirit guides and power animals, sketching the ritual schematics for soul retrieval on huge pieces of butcher paper taped up all over my room - well, as fun, pleasing and possibly creative as it has been, I admit the behavior had gotten a bit out of hand. Oh well.

Luckily for me, I have the Sufi acupuncturist on my team. Every week he teaches me a little bit more about balance and harmony, helps me temper the seductions of psychism and spirituality as well as corporeal imbalances like allergies or indigestion. Oh yeah. The metaphysical impact of these treatments is a sense of connection to divine mystery minus the energy of obsession.

I am so grateful for the Sufi acupuncturist. Wow.


Reya Mellicker said...

Forgot to mention workaholics. The list goes on and on.

Reya Mellicker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynne said...

please don't sign yourself up for photo rehab. :)
yes, it's definitely an addiction, but a good one to have.

Rebecca Clayton said...

For me, too much of a good thing is inevitable. I'm lucky to be able to recognize when I'm poisoning myself with substances, and stop (although I sure would like to make another pot of tea...), but life presents things to us in binges. Whether it's way too many cherries on the cherry tree, or more zucchini than anyone could possibly eat, foods (and wine and other things we harvest or cook up in batches) come at us in their seasons. There's too much, and then it's just a memory.

We learn new things and have to practice them a lot to make them our own--reading, meditation, jogging, painting, prayer. I don't think you master anything without overdoing it, at least for a while.

I wish I could see your roomful of "ritual schematics for soul retrieval." Wow!

Lynne said...

is blogging an addiction?

Barbara said...

Some addictions are actually pretty healthy. I think that would include prayer and maybe even photography. But I suppose anything to excess throws life's balance off. I'm sure Blogging is an addiction and one that I often succumb to.

I was just wondering if addiction is correlated to economic development? Whether in a country where people must work all the time to survive and have very little money, there are fewer addicts. Any thoughts on that?

Merle Sneed said...

We've made the definition of addiction too broad.

deborah said...

healthy addictions--exercise? organics? vegetarianism?

I don't think about addictions, I attempt to notice when my behavior is out of balance

does your person know someone in KC?

love the pics, love the thinking/feeling/philosophy

love you with all my heart

Reya Mellicker said...

Rebecca, THANK YOU!! Of course! This is exactly how nature works - too much rain or too much heat or too many cherries - oh yeah. It all comes at once, so the trick is to take it on, but also let go once the biggest surge passes.

I'll email some pics of the soul retrieval schematics to you. I love schematics, another thing the Sufi acupuncturist has pointed out to me (never knew it, but I do!)

Deborah I love you, too! Addiction to exercise is not healthy. I have clients who keep running even though their feet, knees and hips are a wreck. When I suggest swimming or some other exercise, they freak out.

Lynne I'm sure someone has decided blogging is addictive!

and Barbara, I was thinking about how you have to be privileged in order to indulge in lots of addictions. Of course there are very profound addictions among the poor, too, but it's harder to pay for these addictions if you're poor.

edward said...

variety is the spice of life little bit of everything yeah!

my human is a readaholic. I have already put teeth marks on some library books.

dennis said...

Dennis says he knows a cat (calls her Saint Fluffy behind her back) who prays all day. He knows another cat who is addicted to napping--and it beats working !

Dennis is addicted to napping.

Janelle said...

oh INCREDIBLE pics...! hmmm love love your writing too...have always considered myself an addict of anything i love...which includes people. it scares the hell outta them and usually sends them running away to china or timbuctou or out of the way places...hah. these pics are OUTRAGEOUSLY GOOD! THANKS! xx bisous xx janelle

Janelle said...

me again..after reading more...its all terrifically fascinating...and fave soul book was journey of souls which made so much sense..reflected tibetan book of living and so interested in what you are studying now..any links would be deeply appreciated...xx bisous xx janelle

tut-tut said...

I find myself meditating on your images and reflections. I hope that's allowed!

Janelle said...

reya thanks for popping by!~ yeah its good to be back to my blogging life...god. so busy. real life, dream life, blogging life. whew. and REALLY interested in your spiritual when you are ready to impart or share,...please let me know! lots love. x janelle