Mindfull

Line drawing of brain splashed with brilliant colorsIt’s been an intense week. First, the election, loaded not only nationally but locally, due to a corruption scandal. Then, ANOTHER mass shooting, also close to home given my history with country western dance bars and mental disorders. And to top it all off, the weather, after being mild and steady for months, suddenly went kerflui in a very extreme way. For days. Still is, in fact.

My motivation level is barely registering on the meter. OTOH, confusion is high, as I ponder for the umptee-millionth time where the line is between necessary downtime, and a slide into depression to which I should be responding in some remedial way. I was thinking my depression management plan isn’t effective enough, and researching things I could add. Then I was thinking I already had good tools, but wasn’t using them, so maybe adding more tools wasn’t the solution. I was thinking how I have longed to be living in the country for the past 30 years, and yet, I’m not.

In the midst of all of this, I found myself conducting “where are they now” web searches about people I used to know, which is something I do from time to time. This morning, they led me to the years-old blog of someone I had never met, who was the partner of someone with whom I was once (or rather, twice) close friends. She was having a transformational year, and as she blogged, it was transformational to me, too. Transformation isn’t something you can convey descriptively. It wasn’t what she said, it was the way she said it.

Suddenly I was wondering: What if these searches of past associations aren’t unhealthy stalking, or clinging to past relationships that didn’t work, or masochism (given the risk at my age of discovering they are dead)? What if they’re part of a continuous cycle of integrating new perspectives with previous experience?

What if my disinterest in certain parts of my working life isn’t the measure of my ability to create an optimal life for myself, or inability to take care of myself, but is just information?

What if I stopped judging myself, and just let myself be?
Seed pods on a dry stem with fuzzy filaments blowing in one direction

It is so easy to get caught up in setting goals and checking off mile markers on the road to happiness, though in the very act of doing that, we are putting it somewhere else than where we are. But happiness isn’t like that. If ever there was something you can’t hold, or store, or defer, it’s happiness. You are having it in the moment, or you aren’t. And that’s a decision we make every moment.

“Happiness” is a fraught, imprecise term, and yet something I think we all intuitively understand. Substitute peace, centeredness, flow, or whatever it is to you. You know what I mean. The second I realize it’s right there for the taking, I’m off again on a journey somewhere outside of it, analyzing the question of why I don’t then take it. Because I’m too busy worrying about why I don’t take it, that’s why!

My brain is stuffed with all these writhing, hopping, squirming, impassioned thoughts. Though I made them, and they are so, so interesting, sometimes I am exhausted by their noise and wish they would just shut up.

Once upon a time, about 40 years ago, I asked myself whether I was my thoughts, or my feelings. ‘Twas a puzzlement. I was equally invested in both, yet I felt a need to choose because they often disagreed, and then I didn’t know what to do. Which was the real me?

Neither, I eventually figured out. Identity is an underground river, that flows below all of that above ground scurriment, impervious to outside influences. It’s just there, a be-ing, not a do-ing. Hey, that sounds like a great meditation image. I’m going to go try it.
The Milly Way galaxy across a night sky

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