Ep 6: One Caress – A Conversation For The Masses

This week I knew that I wanted to talk about one of the things I love about Depeche Mode so much, which is that when I listen to them, if I’m feeling depressed I feel more depressed and if I’m happy I feel happier. A band for all seasons!

I wanted to use that as a good example of how it’s our thinking that creates our reality and not our outside circumstances.

What I didn’t realise is that is that I would go down the path quite so far in talking about my depression and the kind of thoughts I have.

If you have ever experienced any type of depression and are open to looking at things in a new way, this episode could be very interesting for you. But if you might find it triggering to talk about depression and suicide then please do give it a miss.

When I wrapped up the episode I did wonder if I could put it out. I thought about asking someone to listen to it before publishing it. I was unsure both about talking so personally and about declaring depression to be an indication of good rather than bad mental health. On reflection, this is all my experience and there might be something here that could help someone.

I felt very vulnerable recently when I shared this show for the first time with someone who has much more experience than I do discussing these kinds of topics. I was wary of his reaction. But you know, what he said stunned me. He said “It’s from the heart. Authentic. No mask”. That’s what I’m going for. But in doing that and pulling so far away from the crowd (or so it seems, at least) I begin to doubt myself again. To hear that my intention shines through makes all the heart palpitations worthwhile!

James Altucher, a writer and podcaster (amongst many other things), says if he’s not scared he doesn’t hit the publish button. I’m scared of hitting publish every week, and even more so this week. But like I said right at the beginning: this podcast isn’t here to encourage you just with its content, but it’s in its very act of creation every week when I feel so inspired, yet so uncertain.


Full Interview Transcript

(scroll down if you prefer to download the transcript).

QUIETLY BOHEMIAN Season 1 Episode 6

One Caress – A Conversation For The Masses

Welcome to Quietly Bohemian the podcast for introvert, highly sensitive people and kindred free spirits where we look at turning away from your inner critic and towards your inner wisdom. So you do your thing your way in your own time and live life. True to yourself. I'm your host, Laura Li, a transformational life coach, and you can find out more about living life your way at quietlybohemian.com

Hello, Quiet Bohemians and welcome to episode six and confusingly number four of our conversations for the masses. This week's conversation centres around One Caress. Last week I explained that I don't choose these songs. The songs choose me. But this week it happened the other way round.

The topic came into my mind and I had to think of a song that could go with it, and it didn't take me long to come up with One Caress. And I was particularly pleased about that because last week I was really searching for a song that was not just written, but also performed by Martin Gore. And this week, that is exactly what we have.

And this song is from the album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, which was released in 1993 and my very first Depeche Mode concert was on this tour, the Devotional Tour. And it was just an amazing experience, a really spiritual experience. I'll never, ever forget it. And the performance of this song with the violins and I think, a cello, to accompany Martin Gore was amazing.

But let us dive in. I've sometimes touched on the inside out of understanding, and that means that we only ever feel what we're thinking, not what's happening or what the circumstances are outside of us. So we are creating from the inside out, not from the outside in. And I used to think Depeche mode were the perfect band, and obviously I still think that, but I used to think that they were the perfect band because whether I was feeling happy or sad, if I listened to them, I would actually feel more of that feeling.

I used to suffer very badly with anxiety and depression. So when I would listen to Martin Gore singing: “Oh girl, lead me into your darkness when this world is trying it's hardest to leave me unimpressed” I would absolutely love that because I wanted to feel enveloped in darkness and I felt this world was definitely trying to leave me unimpressed. And so if I was feeling low or down, then this lyric would complement that feeling perfectly and intensify it.

And talking about the darkness - can I just say what a great lyricist Martin Gore is? I don't understand, I don't think what he's getting at here, but most, which is to say pretty much all ordinary songwriters would say they would want the girl to lead them into the light and out of the darkness when the world was trying its best to leave them unimpressed. So I love the idea that he just switches that around on us and asks to be led into the darkness.

But what if I was happy when I was listening to that? So then what happened? Well, then I can tell you if I'm happy listening to this song, I feel joy. A soaring, expansive joy. I honestly, I really do. Every single time I listen to it, I feel connected to Martin Gore, I feel connected to Depeche Mode. I feel connected to God and I love life. It is the exact same song, but I have different feelings and those feelings are being generated from the inside out, generated by me and my thinking. Not, as much as I hate to admit it by Martin Gore.

In talking about this inside out, understanding before I know I mentioned Michael Neill who wrote the book Inside Out revolution. He is a transformational life coach, and on the 27th of October, 2017 I saw him speak at the Conway hall in London and he talked about this inside out nature of life.

And it was as if I was looking at the world with new eyes or as if up to that point, the world had been black and white and somebody had turned the color on. It was a Friday and all that evening and for the following weekend I was, I remember I was really hyper. I was telling anyone who would listen I’d discovered the secrets of life and I was so excited because I thought I'd cracked it and just like Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses. I was thinking this time next year I'm going to be a millionaire. Except I wasn't, and it didn't take a year. It didn't take a month. It didn't even take a week for me to come back down to earth with a bump.

I can vividly remember being in the library the following Monday. I was sitting in my favorite seat and I can remember looking out the window and thinking life would be much simpler if I was dead. I should just kill myself and get it over with. And it wasn't the first time I've had thoughts like that, and sadly it wasn't the last.

These thoughts come and go for me all the time, but since coming to an awareness of this understanding, there is a difference now in how I relate to these thoughts. And it's interesting. I've never actually really looked at it this way before. I do have thoughts like that, which are called suicidal ideation, but not really in response to, Oh, life is so bad I want it to end. It's quite often thoughts are just so persistent. The thoughts of, Oh, I'm a failure. There's something wrong with me. I'm just not good enough, and I can definitely remember a time when those thoughts were so persistent I would have them night after night after night, not able to sleep, and I honestly thought I might go mad if I couldn't get rid of this thinking.

And you know, that was when I thought the only way to stop this voice is just to end it all. And obviously I didn't, I chose another path to deal with it. But as I say, now, I deal with those thoughts in a very different way. Before I would actually believe those thoughts and in that belief, I would attach some meaning to them.

I suppose I would believe them. I would focus on them. And in doing that, I would just get further and further down and sort of sucked into them. That's why the lyric meant so much to me. Lead me into your darkness. I mean, that was exactly kind of ironically in a way, I just wanted to be more and more in that darkness.

Whereas now whenever I have those thoughts of I'm not good enough, and the accompanying thoughts of, Oh well that means you should just stick your head in the oven, I can observe those thoughts now and see them as something separate from me and something that I don't have to take any notice of and don't have to pay attention to.

I say I don't have to pay attention to them, but actually what I mean is I don't have to believe them because if I do pay attention to them, I know now that those thoughts are telling me something not about me, they're not telling me anything about who I am, about how worthy I am as a person, but they are telling me that there's something I'm not doing.

Maybe there's a difficult conversation I'm not having, or maybe I need to stop eating so much junk food, or I need to be more organised about my finances. It could be one of any number of things, quite honestly, that I'm not doing.

Maybe I should clarify. The depressed thinking doesn't come from not doing those things. It comes from the situations that give rise to those things. So it would come from the fact that maybe I'm being bullied or I'm in a situation I don't like with a person and I'm not speaking up for myself, or it will come from. the fact that I am overweight, I'm not happy, not only with how heavy I am, the way I look, but also the fact that I cannot get myself to stop sitting on the sofa every night and shoveling popcorn into my mouth.

Or it will come from the fact that my finances are wildly out of control. I'm in debt, I've got money coming in, and yet at the same time, there's things I want to do that I can't afford.

And crucially, they will always be some thinking underneath or behind that. Even some judgment about my behavior or my situation because there have been plenty of times sitting on the sofa eating the popcorn or looking at my bank balance and not being able to afford to go on holiday and yet I haven't had depressed thinking.

So again, exactly the same situations, but a different way of thinking about them. So those thoughts are telling me that I should do something. What it's not is saying that there is anything wrong with me or frankly even that I'm ill or unwell, or that I have a mental health problem.

In fact, my thinking is working perfectly, albeit a bit dramatically, and it's letting me know there is something I'm avoiding and either I will end up doing that thing or the thinking does just pass on its own without me having to do anything at all. But I don't believe it means anything about me.

I wish I could say I didn't have those thoughts anymore. Even though I don't believe them they still keep me awake at night. They are still extremely unpleasant. But the difference is if I was still believing those thoughts, I wouldn't be speaking to you now. I wouldn't be having this conversation with you now, and I tell you 100% I wouldn't be calling it conversations for the masses.

Because that just sounds crazy to me. Every week I do this, and I think, I think this is, this is just madness. I don't know whether this is a personal transformation podcast or if it's a Depeche Mode podcast, but you know, those thoughts just don't matter anymore and that brings a freedom. I am living from a place of freedom rather than a place of, I am depressed.

I am anxious. I am stressed. Let me say, I am not a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist. I can't, I don't really want to talk about these in the context of how it relates to depression. I want to stay away from that in general terms, I'm very much speaking about my experience of this. It is what I believe can be the experience for people with depression. If I was going to talk about that, I might find a doctor to come on and talk to us about that. Who knows?

But as I say right now, I'm just talking from my experience and when I do talk to people about this and I, in my very clumsy way, talk about inside out and how we're living in the feeling of our thinking people say to me, depression is real. You can't just think your way out of it. You can't just snap your fingers and not be depressed. And you know, in the moment in that kind of introverted, highly sensitive rabbit in the headlights situation, I can never really think what to say.

But I am not saying that the inside out nature of life says that we won't ever have these types of thoughts. As I say, that certainly not been my experience, but what my experience is is that I wouldn't say that I'm depressed. Having the feelings that go with these thoughts is not wonderful, and having these thoughts does get me down, but I wouldn't say I'm depressed anymore.

I would probably describe it as having the same experience, but having a different experience of that experience. My message this week, the same as it is every week, is to encourage you to be more of who you really are. Bring more of who you are into your life and into your work and into your relationships.

To not hide behind a mask, to not have those feelings of not feeling good enough of insecurity, deter you from doing anything it is that you want to do. I'm a little bit reticent about talking about these thoughts and how strong they are. Not because I find it too personal and vulnerable to talk about, but because I think it can sound quite shocking to people who don't know me or to people who haven't ever had that depth of feeling.

The reason I do it is in the hope that you will see something new in how your thinking affects you and how you relate to your thinking. And I'm calling this new because perhaps to think of it as an understanding, to think of it as coming from the inside out seems like something we don't know. But I know that every single one of you listening can think of examples of where your thinking has affected how you feel about a situation.

Let's take that traditional British topic, the weather. Have you ever gone out in the rain and got drenched and been absolutely miserable? Maybe you’re going to a job interview or maybe you've just had your hair done, you've got completely soaked. You're really upset or annoyed by it.

Have you ever gone out in the rain and got completely drenched, completely soaked? Yet you have just had, I don't know, let's say a conversation with the man or woman of your dreams. You're kind of smiling as you've stepped out. You've got wet and you don't care because your thoughts aren't for the weather. Your thoughts are just of this wonderful person you've just met.

Perhaps the part where it feels new is the fact that this applies to every single situation we find ourselves in 100% of the time, but I'm not asking you to believe me, I'm asking you, I'm inviting you to think about these things for yourself, and we will leave here with another verse from One Caress. And Martin says, Take one more look at what you found old and in it you'll find something new.

And that's it for this week and our conversation around one caress. It got a little darker than I thought it would, but that's okay because I can talk about these things dispassionately now, and I really do hope you can look at some situation in your life, hopefully not quite as serious as mine, but even if it is, I hope you can look at something old and in it, see something new.

Thanks for listening. I really do appreciate it.


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