Posts Tagged ‘depression’

failure & redemption

Indeed, Gentle Reader, life of late has been like HELLBOY meets Alice Starmore.  Without Hellboy’s help.  His hands really are way too big to knit with, I’d think, but I feel sure he’d understand Alice’s patterns, and one could always wind yarn on his horns.

Anyway.  It turns out that among other things, my hospital interlude left me with heart failure.  Which they knew at the time of my discharge and somehow omitted to mention.  Thus, I’ve had six weeks of that stuff where you wake up after being asleep for a while and feel you’re suffocating.  Among other things like not being able to pull weeds for five minutes without running out of breath and being totally at the bottom of the barrel moodwise.  Another six plus hour trip to the emergency room (ha!ha! that’s an oxymoron, G.R.) where I never did get seen but finally tottered out knowing I didn’t want to be there until midnight.  Instead? We went to a restaurant in town, where I always seem to be a bit tattered.  The first time, I had a black eye (beam from yurt roof fell on my forehead) and THIS time I was covered in bandages and hospital bracelets.  They take it in stride here, however, because EVERYONE looks more or less like a wreck, and after some shockingly good food (a REAL New York steak sandwich) and an Actual Cocktail (bourbon, thank you), survival seemed likely.  And whaddaya know- I’m still here and even perhaps improved.

In the meantime, things have been floating up in my mind.  The wound, as Rumi wrote, is indeed where the light enters you.  That light can reveal some things one might rather not examine, like how old patterns still form a big part of the operating system.  What’s my father doing in here? one might ask.  More pertinently, why have I been racing around my whole life thinking I had to do,do, do, do more, do more again- when really that isn’t it at all in life, and also? It’ll kill you.  Of course, there is a bit of a concerted effort to keep us all doing precisely that, rushing around and not thinking.  Just accepting it when it seems that you must work (for someone else) until you drop meanwhile saving some impossibly vast sum of money so that when you get cut loose by your benevolent corporate sponsor you don’t starve to death.  Using weed killer on the lawn, not thinking about what that’s doing to the ground and the water.  Letting your phone tell you what to do and where to go.  Believing them when they say that all the poison that got dumped/inadvertently mailed/put in your food poses no threat to public health.  Finding a place to stand in the midst of all this is indeed the work of a lifetime, and it’s a pity more of us don’t start earlier.  Or perhaps, more successfully- I THOUGHT I’d started but it turns out I was a foolish and deluded bear.

The thing of it was that I didn’t really accept the way things actually are.  It was just too depressing to acknowledge the evil and harm in the world, and I had a rather large set of matched emotional baggage to cart around as well.  It’s taken a long time to get even the bit of clarity I have now, and one thing seems clear at least.  One must remain calm.  It sounds silly but when you think about all the times you get stressed and disoriented, just in the course of a day or a stroll down the grocery store aisle, it illuminates the fog we (yes, I) walk around in far too often.  Calmness isn’t a matter of repressing what you feel, either.  It’s more a matter of feeling what you feel, looking to the source and putting it in perspective.  Like, that was then, this is now.  What can really be done at any given point?  WHERE THE HELL AM I? If I am in fact in the grocery store there’s no need to panic, seriously.  The other big part of it is acknowledging the World around you.  Look at and speak to your fellow humans and animals.  Look at the sky.  This alone goes a long way toward clarity because it eventually does show you you are NOT alone- others are slogging through all this stuff too and the odds are that one of you will actually make it and be able to deliver a cogent report about the lay of the land.

Last evening we looked at storm clouds on the horizon.  (And we could do this because we had on our handy dandy mosquito and bug repelling bracelets! Yay!)  They were an incredible slate blue, behind the varying shades of grey and olive green of the trees, and there was a strange kind of alertness to it all- a soundless sound.  The finches and titmice and woodpeckers and hummingbirds were  busily eating their dinners and taking baths, the lizards and frogs were bustling around (we have BABY frogs at present, and they’re PINK).  We’d spent the workable part of the day (the non-broiler setting on the temperature that is) weeding and digging our raised beds up, the Partner and I (albeit slowly in my case).  Everything was quiet and the soil seemed to be thanking us for our work as it laid there tilled and breathing, happy with its new rock dust and peat and seaweed.  Our seedlings have sprung up luxuriantly and of course, even though I did a drawing of what seed was where….naturally, it is now all a mish mosh and it will be a revelation to see which tomatoes are the giant yellow Ukrainians and which are the San Marzanos.  Will it be cayenne or bell pepper?  We’re clear on which melons are which but that is about as far as it goes right now.

Anyway, as everything breathed in unison it seemed to me that the truth is, redemption is always possible, and always happening.  There’s a wonderful line in a poem by Robinson Jeffers about how the heartbreaking beauty of the world is there, whether or not there is a heart there to break.  Our hearts generally do break, of course….but perhaps that is what they are made to do.  If they don’t break they don’t open, and we never grow and flower.

migration

The geese have been ribboning their ways through the sky the past several days and in the spaces between downpours the small birds cover the ground all around us, chatting while they dash intently from bug to seed back to bug.  As long as I stay with THAT, it’s OK.

But of course one strays from pastoral joys, doesn’t one?  The world is an ever stranger place now and the Partner and I often wonder whether the sense of dislocation and unreality we feel is just the way it is now.  More so, even, than the sense of exile we used to think of it as being.  It is still a surprise to us both when we go off this hill how blazingly strange this place seems.  Or perhaps more correctly, how strange the social aspects of this place seem.  The land itself seems to have a mind of its own, not really related to what’s been built on it or the humans muddling about.  This mind from time to time speaks, and it does so in a way one doesn’t really experience in a city.  It is overpoweringly strong.

So the truth of it, I think, is that yes.  Everything is changing and we do appear to be headed for an armageddon-ish sort of result.  At the same time there are stirrings and a larger movement in another direction.  This direction may simply be what cosmic development through time creates; we’re along for the ride.  The ride can be either more or less liveable, depending on (yes. again.) how we think as we’re going through it.

The Partner says I am someone who needs a VERY simple life.  I wouldn’t have thought so if you’d asked me at some other point in time.  But now I see he is quite right.  As long as I can stand on the actual earth, look at the actual stars and skies, smell the ground and the plants- that is enough.  It reminds me that in fact there is a larger “thing” going on here.  Our purpose then may be more getting ourselves in line with this movement than anything else.  It isn’t really about tangibles somehow, but about how you FEEL and THINK.  That creates the reality that you move within and accordingly, the things you create or manifest or do or whatever word you want to use.

For example.  Lately I have been in a rather deep hole, and one way I recognize these locales is that nothing “talks” to me.  It becomes really difficult to do anything such as, say, cook dinner. Or work.  The ingredients for either activity sit on the butcher block, inertly, and reveal none of their secrets.  In terms of work, it spells time off which has an associated drop in moolah.  In terms of cooking? There was some very unappealing broccoli that came out of this iteration and I was beginning to wonder if I’d just finally shorted myself out for good.  But then!  Suddenly murmurings came through my head again and there were intriguing sandwiches (ham, lettuce, green onions in a lavash with cream cheese, a bit of dijon mustard, mayo, and second batch cranberry deliciousness from Thanksgiving) and even a batch of cinnamon rolls that came out perfectly.  Although I had a moment of horror when, having been distracted, I returned to the work table and realized I couldn’t remember if I’d put the salt in with the sugar or not.  Vestiges of the Deep Hole Space.  But somehow it dawned on me that the two white granulations in question were actually different colors, shades of white.  Crisis resolved.  I hadn’t put the salt in yet, as I saw when depositing a few crystals next to the sugar in the bowl revealed their visual dissimilarity.  Contact restored.

The big thing, in the end, is staying with yourself so you understand what it is you are really experiencing.  Then, you can either build on it or let it go.  It’s not easy but it is, in the end, a matter of remembering that however bumpy this ride gets, the primary mover in all of it is grace and love.  Our regular minds don’t allow themselves to go into the vast space required to see how tiny and integral a part we are of everything.  But it can be done, you can learn, and you can heal.   Then comes the project of going outside.  More on that later.  Meanwhile, greetings to all in this season of change!

creatures and habit

Well.  Monday really WAS a pretty uphill, perhaps even truly awful, day, wasn’t it?

Getting in touch with the reality of how we all suffer and experience pain is probably not anybody’s first choice of what to do today, but there it is.  The feelings we have, what we think about things- all such a mystery in terms of Other People.  So when someone, Another Person, does something we find unexpected and shocking, everything gets thrown up into the air.  It’s amazing that it takes the pain of experiencing that to show us that we really are all deeply connected.  Obviously I am referring to the death of Robin Williams and the rolling heartbreak that has followed. A brave soul, continuing a journey that we can no longer see.  It’s not hard to understand.  It’s just hard to live with.

Then we have Missouri.  Jesus God, people.  How long is it going to be before people finally wake up and smell the coffee in this country?  We have a militarized police force which, in many areas, doesn’t  even do things like respond to burglary calls or do basic protect and serve stuff.  I watched apologists on PBS saying things like, well, smaller municipalities don’t have this issue (of police beating and shooting unarmed civilians).  Clearly, they haven’t been HERE, because if they had been they’d know that the police in these parts often shoot first and forget about taking the names.  A former mayor of Ferguson said in what seemed almost word for word lockstep with George Wallace that they really had tried to recruit African Americans for the police department but those people just wouldn’t come to the Academy- it was hauntingly familiar language to what we’ve heard forever about why inequality (which is an inadequate word for this stuff) persists.   There was some talk about how surprised people were at seeing the tear gas and shooting and unrecognizable authority figures in battle dress taking aim.   Again, I just had to wonder where they’ve been for the past fifty years.

Another opportunity to take a deep breath.  The only thing for it is to keep trying, I decided.  Keep putting love first, and understanding.  When I’m thinking in the old way, it’s frightening looking out at the world.  When I come from a place of letting go and taking in to let go again, it’s still frightening but at the same time the possibilities are visible.  Dimly, yes, but visible.  Non-violence takes a long time, as the Dalai Lama remarked.  A good bit of non-violence resides in not adding more fuel in the form of one’s own negativity, fear, and opinions to whatever is swirling around us.  Fuses are short all around, which means we need even more to make the effort to see the common threads in things and try not to set them on fire.  Today’s challenge.

chihuahuas. again.

Or, focus on dependent arising phemonena.  Life is taking yet another turn- one which we’re experiencing on two out of four wheels, dangerously close to the edge of the cliff. This appears to be the only way we make these turns.

It’s all well and good and one thing to read about how to cope with things, practice shifting focus and all that, when you’re not out in the field so to speak.   But when you ARE out in the field and just like that, Massive and Monstrous Stuff Arises That Must Be Dealt With, and it’s stuff that you think you simply cannot do?  What’s next?  Lots of breathing.   I realized this week that really is almost the most important thing, besides being necessary.  The body is an energy system, breathing in and out, and energy coming up the back and down the front.  Ascending and descending.  The pathways through the body of all this are designated with particular organ pairs, in much of traditional Asian medicine.  Each pair of organs so designated also has one that ascends and one that descends.

The particular pair I’m thinking of are Stomach and Spleen.  Spleen is kind of like the pilot light for your body.  Stomach is how things get processed, digested, analyzed, used and discarded.  Spleen ascends, stomach descends.  So when, for example, that panicky feeling starts? Or suddenly something large appears in your throat?  It can mean that the energies are reversed- the spleen heads down and the stomach heads up.  In physical terms, this can produce diarrhea and nausea, respectively. Undesirable, to say the least.  These two energies manifest quite often in stress related issues, and I only recently just found during an especially intense few days that, through breathing, I could actually stop the progress in the wrong direction and get it going the right way again.  This works all the time if one does it, and has a corollary above and beyond avoidance of “ill-ness.”

The corollary is that once you get the energy in your body going the right way again, you’re breathing properly, and whatever it is that’s hit you like a bullet?  It seems clearer.  You can actually take another step and another and another.  Then comes the part where you gotta have faith, faith that if you can just get out of your own way, the larger way opens up- in fact it’s waiting for you, always.  You have to have faith that the pain you feel will pass and new things will be revealed and most often, whaddaya know, things are better when the dust settles.   It requires trust, and that is a hard thing I think because….who can you trust? What can you trust?  What the heck is trust anyway?

For me it boils down to this.  Trust, faith, all those things, come up in a person once the focus on me-me-me and the ego’s reality are moved to their proper position at the end of the line.  There is a bigger picture, we’re all part of it, and on some level that bigger picture has a mind of its own, a trajectory that, if you move with it, can carry you way farther than clinging to your “thinking” and habitual patterns.  Even when a person thinks they’ve got things understood to a certain extent, and may think they know how they’re going to respond to things, there’s always another lesson that exposes just that particular part of the equation that hasn’t been mastered.  At this point I’m tackling what seems like a PhD thesis I forgot I had to write.  Maybe the particulars don’t matter, but what does matter is how this particular wildfire in my own life causes growth even while it destroys things.  More later with helpful tips and tool suggestions.

sands of time

To do, or not to do?  That really is the question.  So much has happened and it seems that unlike Ren and Stimpy we ARE affected by the journey.  Our heads did appear to explode.

Everyone I speak to  is exhausted, barely had the energy to crawl out of the pajamas they’d been in for days when it was time to Go Back To Work, Now.  Planning?  Not so much.  Control? An old idea that popped like a soap bubble.

It takes a fair amount of fortitude to keep riding the wave, Gentle Reader.  It is true that we’re here to learn.  Understanding that means we don’t take things as personally as we used to: either you pass the course or you retake it, no harm no foul in the INCREDIBLY LONG RUN.  In the RIGHT NOW SHORT RUN? Well, St. Augustine, who I’ve never much cared for, said the reward of patience is patience, and that is where we find ourselves in the short run.  Being patient.

At times like these all you can do is keep breathing and paying attention.  Unlearning a lifetime’s dictates takes a minute and when one of those dictates was keep moving! all the time! something IS gaining on you! it can be quite the endeavor to sit still.  Still, the Partner always says that if everyone would just stop for a while, things could change.  I think he’s right but the stopping bit is not as easy as you might think.  The constant endeavor to make things “better”, to “fix” what’s askew, to keep dust and clutter at bay, to remain above water…..it becomes habitual to the point where one may not see that in fact, progress is not occurring but the hole one is in is definitely getting bigger and filling with an uncongenial substance.  The cognitive uproar creeps in (they’re saying it’s white but really? it’s black) and you just might start to realize that since you aren’t asleep or anywhere close to it, it is time to stop believing in the..er…American Dream.

We saw Three Days of the Condor yesterday and I found it rather deeply disturbing.  Not only did I wonder just what has actually happened to Robert Redford’s skin, but?  For a movie made in 1975- a long time ago no matter how you slice it- it was about as up to the minute as it could be politically.  In short- it’s been the same old shit FOREVER.  It’s about oil and power and even in that hoary old chestnut of a movie the US was invading Venezuela and middle eastern nations.  JUST LIKE TODAY.  Not about cooperative world progress or even, heaven forfend, proper THINKING ABOUT THINGS, you know? Thinking? Problem solving? Who said the entirety of everything has to be about making the world safe for petroleum?  The people who have been making the decisions for the world turn out to be not much smarter- if any at all- than you and me.  They just had a higher spot on the legacy totem pole.

Notwithstanding the personal stuff of our lives which for many is larger and more challenging than ever, there’s this other gargantuan thing taking up all the air in the room.  Namely, what appears to be an epic, titanic looming struggle to the death, between those who operate on the sole basis of capitalist self interest and those who do not.  I have to wonder how such an aggregation of seeming morons as we have at the top of the world could have done what they have, in fact, done.  No regard for truth or compassion.  Lying and hypocrisy are the order of the day.  When you hear the talk about unemployment and job creation?  What do most people think?  There’s no way on earth enough jobs could be “created” in this country to meet the needs of its people.  An aging population gets shoved on the conveyor belt to poverty as the upcoming younger group realizes there is no future for them, either.  Free trade? means free for the interests at the top and prohibited for the small person at the bottom.  It leads to the expansion of “black” markets and segregated communities.  The health care situation in the US is completely ridiculous and the new “affordable Health Care” act is just another way to make the world safe for insurance companies even above and beyond how it was before.

So, yeah.  It’s January and I’m depressed.  But hope springs eternal, and I have an excellent stash of duck fat now. Hope it lasts.

uranus transits, hummingbird brain

You’d think, with my astrological awareness, that it might have dawned on me that the past few years’ high test, high impact, knock the crap out of you altogether occurrences were largely due to my never to happen again (thank you very much) but still ongoing Uranus transit.  Whether or not you “believe” in astrology, it’s like aspirin.  It works no matter what.  So, a Uranus transit?  It’s like someone coming into your life at 3 a.m., turning every single light on,  and just throwing everything out the door.  Everything.  Out.  It all must go and good luck finding what stays.  Especially since there may have been body parts thrown out that might have at one point seemed critical to functioning.

The current MIA happens to be my website.  HA HA HA HA.  Isn’t that cute?  First I have an internet based business with no internet.  I renew my services monthly because I am the poster child for low budget.  I called repeatedly to make sure everything was being paid for monthly like it said on the info page.  I had to change banks and THOUGHT I’d changed the payment options but the web host seems to have turned a blind eye…..and, voila! suddenly I am not there anymore.   A bit disconcerting to say the least.  But, holding steady to my fragments of sanity, I’m thinking, oh, ok.  A glitch! I eat those for breakfast!  Still, it means at least an hour on the phone with someone who probably won’t be paying attention which means:  armed struggle not to lose temper.  There wasn’t anything to be done online about it, so as I’m also trying to work on my meditation practice  when I find myself thinking things like: WHY ME?  ALL THE EFFING TIME? CAN’T THIS CRAP HAPPEN TO SOMEONE ELSE?  I immediately correct the thought to, let me learn from this.  AT LEAST LET ME REMAIN CALM.   The Partner is no help at times like this because, to him, computers and the internet are largely interchangeable with the devil.  So, so far, I’m clinging to the tiny bubble of optimism that arose when 2013 was finally over.

Meanwhile, we were in fact discussing hummingbird brains this morning.

ME:  I wonder what they think about?

PARTNER:  It’s all instinct.  They aren’t thinking about what color flower to go to.

ME:  Well, I meant, what do they TALK TO EACH OTHER about?

PARTNER: !!!@@@!!!!!!

We finally managed to get to the point where we figure they just see so much more than we do, in terms of color and energy, they’re often operating in that 97% area where humans don’t often go.  This led to dogs, the famous, but what about dogs?  Dogs don’t see color at all, which seems unfair, and combined with their inability to digest chocolate, practically a deal breaker.   But we agreed that seeing color on top of smelling everything they can smell would probably be just way too much.  There is, after all, order in the cosmos.  Just not in my life at present.

We’re not there yet, are we?

Oh, Gentle Reader.  My nerves and temper are both frayed, and I would like to suggest the following.  The Narcissist’s Convention, otherwise known as the Congress of the United States, needs to stop.  Now.  As in, right now.  No reconvening as currently constituted, either. Really.  People on food stamps in this country should “work harder” so they won’t need the pittance the Tea Party seems to think you can eat on?  After you, Congressman, give up your free meals- not to mention start doing the work you’re being paid to do and not doing.  Those lobbyists throw cash around, undoubtedly.  But what induced the memory lapse that makes Representatives think they actually work for those lobbyists instead of the citizens of this country?  Mr. Cruz, who is an insult to a perfectly good Spanish surname, needs to go to some sort of Ultimate Reptile Brain Rehab.  Neither he nor any of the other  Republican cohort have a frigging clue what “the American people want”, no matter how often they mouth the words.  I’m sure about this, too, because why?  I am one of those people. However embarrassing that may be, which it is.   What I know is I don’t want THEM running anything that has anything to do with anything.  They are incapable.  Poor Boehner, too.  His shoulders are inching up to his ears- definitely not a good thing.  Of course, Congress still gets paid no matter whether the Government is funded or not, right?  AFTER ALL, THEY’RE ESSENTIAL.   But everyone else?  Damn all.

Not to mention that we have, probably, about five years before the climate change that even the UN is absolutely sure was caused by humans becomes an irreversible disaster of pretty unimaginable proportions.  Ocean front property, anyone?  But since the world seems to be run on the basis of keeping everything safe for Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Chem (hello, Monsanto! goodbye, bees!) and however many rich people are dancing on the pinhead where they live,  on days like today I find despair hard to keep at bay.

Yet and still.  One must carry on.  The bluebirds came back yesterday and seemed to be happy with the new fence and porch arrangement: more places for them to land.  The lizards are liking it too.  They seem to have arranged a game where one will rush up on the ground below the porch and another will rush to the edge and become airborne for a few seconds, landing past the waiting groundling.  I think they keep track of the landing spots.

It all feels so overwhelming at times, one feels so powerless against all this…evil, let’s call it shall we?  It seems as though the legacy group will not be happy until every beautiful thing on earth is destroyed.  I just wonder where they think they’ll go after that.  I mean, really? No land? No water? No air?  Radioactive oceans? No fish or animals or trees or…..but wait! WE’LL HAVE FOSSIL FUEL.  And GPS!  And smart phones! Woo hoo.

My friend, who firmly believes in the long predicted millenial shift, feels that all this is simply the energetics of things separating and moving toward change and dynamism.  The eternal standoff between good and evil, minus the labels of good and evil.  Sometimes I can take that view and keep going, knowing that if I do the best I can it will be enough.  Other times, no dice.  It really is at the point where it hurts so much I can’t even cry any more.  But I do know I don’t want these people whose only value or concern is money destroying this world, this earth that I love so much.  And I don’t know what to do about it anymore.  Not about that, and also, not about my very own little life.  It is to be hoped that tomorrow is a day with more serotonin in it.  Now, in search of chocolate.  Any port in a storm, after all.