I'd like to think of occasional depression as akin to a virus--something about which we can do little but bundle up and let it ride. And maybe that's not so far off the mark. Perhaps some of us are simply more susceptible to "viruses of the heart," to put it (questionably, admittedly poorly) poetically. And, perhaps, like "real" viruses, some times of the year are better breeding grounds for them.
Maybe, just maybe, if we could give these dark moments that much legitimacy (i.e. virus-like rather than an intangible manifestation of our psyche) and that much of a compassionate approach to healing (i.e. wrapping up on the couch, hot tea and good book in hand), these moments wouldn't be so fraught, so feared, so dismantling. Maybe.
At the very least, compassion-toward-self and a mug of hot tea certainly couldn't hurt. Here's to warmth, petals, on our darker days.
How we got here is important information. But it's how we move forward, gathering what we've learned, cradling our empathy and carrying our compassion on our backs that dictates how we (all) will live from here.
Self-love is the hardest thing on earth, truly. We are so ugly to ourselves over so-called flaws that, while no doubt glaringly hideous to us, go unnoticed by absolutely everyone else. And the thing is--we know that. We know that, and we both don't believe it and can't help ourselves, even if we could believe.
So what's the answer? I have no idea. I have no idea, except to turn the critic on her ear and offer *her* compassion. Because, honestly, that shrill, judgmental voice is simply an angry, frustrated little soul with no other way of expressing her grief. Throw love at her. Let her vent, but throw love. Have both, for now, and eventually (I think), find love.
Beauty is not exclusive to youth, and while I think this is something we're accepting as mainstream, we seem to believe that we can't maintain the old arbitrary standard without a lot of work. And I wonder, if that's the case, is it worth it? Is the label itself worth the time, the effort, the money, the advertising-induced psychological damage?
They're trying to sell us something we've owned since our first breath. Our definition, were we given time to formulate one before being invaded by theirs, would most likely look quite different. Gone would be the agony of comparison and, in its place, the peace of that same reaction that arises when unexpectedly coming across a field of wildflowers, a forest clearing, a glacier-arranged assortment of rocks, a waterfall.
Nature does not hurry or worry or agonize over this bit or that. It adapts. It takes its time, and it puts on the best show it can, for its own survival, with what it's got that season--wind, sun, rain, early fro...
I feel like I've been phoning it in with the Satyas lately. Not that they're any less true, any less sincere, any less born of a moment, but that, maybe, I haven't been fully present.
This morning, for some reason, I decided to call myself out on my perceived slacking, when I realized both the futility and the unfairness of whatever chastisement I had set up in my head. That small, cowering bit that so rarely stands up for herself finally spoke up--Hey! I was here. I showed up. I lived the moment as it was handed to me and I did the work. What else do you want?
And, you know, I couldn't help but give a small cheer for that small soul--she finally found her voice, and she is finally unafraid to use it.
However you show up today, know this: you're here. You've arrived. And today? That's more than enough.
Everyone wants you to make it--the plants you tend, the animals you caretake, the earth you walk, the sky you tune into, the spirits you believe in (or don't), the beings who guide you, the beings you guide--we're all here, not simply to survive, but to learn and to love and to unearth the spontaneous joy alive in every moment.
That is enlightenment--to find contentment, to find joy no matter the circumstance. The darkness is something we've learned and though it's pervasive, it can be unlearned. With time and a brimming over of loving kindness for your sweet self.
I have to assume that we're perfectly whole. We arrived a complete package--we did! And I know I keep coming back to that--that perfect arrival of a perfect being. If only we didn't have to be hampered by judgments and life, circumstance and all those moving parts over which we have no control.
But maybe that's our problem--that control bit. I know it's much of mine. What I can't control binds me like a corset (way too tight and lacking all the lacy things that make corsets so--temporarily--delightful) until I can't wait to cut the damn thing away, say the hell with it, and live out my life in my oldest flannels.
So what if we were to assume that wherever we are now, it's because it was perfectly timed--by us, by fate, by the goddess, what-have-you? Could that relieve some of the pressure? Could we then live full-color, knowing we've arrived exactly where we were meant to be, peanut gallery be damned?
In the past year, my hair has been thinning and it seems, every day, I lose more and more of it. I hadn't planned to put that in the blog, but it's been bleeding into the Satyas for quite awhile now, and since everything else is worked out in this space, I might as well add this, too. It's a horrible thing, for those of you who have been here. I have no idea why it's happening and, despite my best efforts, despite numerous consultations with experts--holistic and allopathic alike--I can't find an answer. The most hopeful one I had was from my dermatologist--"Most likely, within five years, it will be back to normal, and it won't get worse from here."
But won't it? It feels like it's getting worse every day. It bleeds into my sleep, into my meals, into my working and waking lives, into my joys, and it feeds and feeds and feeds my sorrows and my ever-expanding, seemingly endless capacity for anxiety. (And yes, I see the irony--anxiety and stress have a direct relation to hair loss; it's...
We don't give ourselves enough credit, I don't think, for waking up every morning and getting on with it despite and despite and despite. That is a gorgeous act of bravery, an illuminating and heart-breaking testament to how much we value this life, this world, and all the creatures in it. We could so easily sit this one out, draw the covers back up, and hibernate until we waste away to nothing. The effort--the effort!--it takes to pull up our socks, to move our sweet souls through a culture caustic with assumptions and double standards, wariness and downright spitefulness.
The air is polluted with the fetid breath of those who wake up just to shout, just to hear themselves speak, just to hear their targets fall beneath the fire of their own hot air.
Well, my doves, we are the antidote. We are the sweet green creatures who hold our tongues until the moment arises to lash out. We are trained to watch, to listen, and to strike--quietly, effectively, and with purpose. There are no ca...
We absolutely take ourselves for granted. It's the same thing with siblings, with partners, with parents--there's a reason you can fight with your sister (for example) in such a way that if anyone else took that tone with her, you'd kill them, all without losing your fierce love for her. It's a special kind of bond based in both the joy and the terror of knowing this person will always be around and will always have to love you (and vice-versa). There's something beautifully heartbreaking in those old, old bonds.
In theory, we have that same relationship with ourselves, but more often than not, we see the contentious side, the I'm-so-sick-of-you side, the why-can't-you-change side. And no one's sticking up for you, no one's got your back. When you're fighting with yourself, there's no sister to step in and beat the ever-living shite out of the bully.
Part of it is about old expectations, old traumas. Part of it is an addiction to external approval. But part of it is a deep self-loa...