By Vony Eichel / www.areasontocarryon.com
Little inflames the senses like the drama played out in a Crown Court as the atmosphere
becomes intense, supercharged with electricity, the moment of truth, the lip biting,
pulsating bodies packed into the court room vibrate, escalate to a crescendo, eagerly
awaiting the verdict on another man’s fate. The young man standing in the dock had done
some nasty things, he robbed a store and inflicted grievous bodily harm on the victims.
The intensity heightens as the guards move closer to the defendant, the blood
pressure of everyone in the court shoots up.
I can’t believe that same person was me, the angry onlooker wanting the Judge to lock up that hoodlum for a long time and throw away the key. How my perceptions and emotions changed, when I got to know people very much like the man waiting to hear his fate. It was only when I began to work with psychiatric ex-offenders and others whom life had not treated that gently, that my eyes and heart opened to the human side of these poor souls, their motivations, and the root of their behaving. They were raw, real people without the mask we wear in polite society in our everyday worlds.
Despite years of reading volumes of books on spirituality, following gurus, chanting
“Open my heart”, I deluded myself into believing I knew something about people
and life. Everything I previously felt about them was wrong. Nothing actually opened up
my soul as actually tasting a few morsels of their lives. I judged others before I stood
in their shoes. Dancing in the shoes of people from extreme corners of society, changed
me as a person.
Even then, I still fooled myself into believing I could change lives and save a violent psychopath from his own demons. My task was to motivate, even the most severely mentally, emotionally, and physically disabled with music and exercise and through my success and failures became an observer, putting names and faces to syndromes in textbooks. I only began to understand, the psychological and spiritual influences and tried to make sense of often, apparently pitiful lives, giving my best, and thereby, got a glimpse of that hidden light.
Henry walked with a swagger; he tried to come across as superior. It was a cover up for
deep insecurity. He was detached from his body, insecure and all alone. He wasn’t
aware there was anything else but his simple existence of pain, anger, fear and violence.
He only felt worthy when he had money in his pocket and a car. When I met him, he had
recently come out of prison and had nothing.
There was no one around with whom he could talk. His life wasn’t working, he was
in perpetual conflict with his environment and surroundings. He wasn’t prepared to,
or able to, just step back, wait, and listen to that small inner voice. He couldn’t accept
the concept of switching off, doing nothing, staying open, and wait for the answers
He could play the game for a little while; I wasn’t the first naïve do-gooder he knew
how to manipulate, to cater to his needs and try to help him. In his thirties, he could
neither read nor write. He was one of the many who wasted their childhood in
basic elementary education and came away with nothing.
Yet he wasn’t unintelligent or unaware, and I enjoyed listening to him talk about his life.
He told me how he laid on the ground in front of a pub, and someone put out their hand to
help him up. He became philosophical, he questioned the point of carrying on. He related
how he gets up, just to fall again. He couldn’t see the point. His solution was to
drug out the pain until it was all over.
How do I, an exercise therapist, enter this equation. Movement, body, dance, exercise
with music are the vehicles that can transport us to the higher dimensions.
It is there, we touch that inner being and enter the realms and dimension outside
of ourselves, our joy, our inner self; our very own evidence that there is something greater
than ourselves to reach out to.
For a while I was succeeding; he was more agreeable, helping others, seeking to better
himself. I went on holiday for two weeks and I returned to a monster; he was out of control.
I was warned by his psychiatrist to remove myself from what could be a very dangerous situation.
Many events in my life made me often wonder why I exist, but Henry compelled me to try to
seek the purpose of life. I do believe, we are each personally responsible for creating
purpose and meaning in our own lives, but not everyone is able to. I believe, to some
extent, we are predestined prior to our birth and there are many things we don’t and
aren’t supposed to know. It’s been said that faith moves mountains and to believe in
something you can’t hear or see is a real test.
The World Wars and Holocaust and fighting in the Ukraine, challenged a lot of belief
systems, making it more difficult to believe that there was a greater power, and we
just don’t exist in a vacuum. However, just as Eve, was put into the Garden of Eden,
and made her choice, people were put on this earth, and it is the human condition
responsible for those horrors, not the Universe or a greater power than ourselves.
In my family two cousins not just resemble each other but have countless mannerisms.
Add to the equation many studies of twins, separated at birth, oblivious to the others
existence, given the same names, married and divorced women with the same name,
as well as their dogs. They had the same hobbies, went to the same beach on holiday,
weighed the same, were both romantics, anxious sleepers, bit their nails,
ground their teeth, etc., etc. I had to accept that there is something
greater than we can see, even more than genetics. It’s a fact from conception,
children are stamped with their behavioural makeup and 50 percent of their personality.
Life isn’t fair when half the population of prisoners suffer from mental disorders and
by law, psychopaths are responsible for their acts, but can’t be treated successfully.
Many people can find themselves on the autistic spectrum, a form of mind-blindness
an inability to intuit from verbal or social cues. Ballet is my passion and I have attended
classes for almost half a century, but I finally accepted I have a sequencing disorder
and could never follow without copying someone else, no matter how hard I try, along side
my attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. Then comes nature and nurture. If you
were brought up in a violent family or were abused as a child, is it surprising when history
Like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner, whose redemption came through abandoning his
negative views to openly accept all God’s creatures, compelled to relate his tale to
the Wedding Guest who, “went like one that hath been stunned, and is of sense forlorn,
A sadder and a wiser man, I rose the morrow morn”.
A reason to Carry on by by Vony Eichel is available from www.areasontocarryon.com and from wherever books are sold.