January 2011

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So, I’ve been in a bit of a funk these past few months, mostly depressed with a chance of mild gloom and occasional laughter and smiles.  There have been ample examples of feeling the sadness switch come on a hair’s breadth after a moment of sincere joy, bursting into tears in public for no good reason, and spending long spans with my eyes squeezed shut against the world.

Some of it is a sincere longing for accomplishment in my life.  I want my novel published!  I want to contribute financially to our household without doing crap work I don’t like.  Is this ever going to happen?  Anyone?  The rest, I blame on genetics, as the melancholia, like the Force in Luke Skywalker, is strong in me.  Thankfully, it is at its menacing worst only every few years, but dang, when it is here, it’s H-E-R-E, no matter what I do.  Just in case you’re wondering about medication to get me through, no thanks.  I’ve been down that road, and it was pretty awful.  The side effects distracted me from my sorry mental state, to be sure, but certainly were not worth it.  I lost hair, felt sick to my stomach much of the time, saw spots in my eyes, felt like I was on a merry-go-round every time I sat down, not to mention the literal and rather unpleasant taste in my mouth.  It took my liver years to recover, and that, mind you, was before my fondness for whiskey!

Now, for a bit of cage rattling (like not posting a spotlight today – they’ll come when they come) and my friend Camus.  I got to thinking about myself as Sisyphus and my gloom the rock.  It should be punishment, right?  The rock is heavy and burdensome and only comes rolling back down.  But what if, like Camus, I didn’t see it as a burden but a struggle worthy of filling my heart?  That’s life, isn’t it?  It is my job to keep the rock going.  I can do it with appreciation and joy at being given another day to do it, or I can focus on poor little me pushing a fucking rock.  My choice.  I choose happiness, whatever version that may be.  A glimmer seen at a distance, a whole day of sunshine, or a fully belly laugh, I’ll take it.

I also choose to nourish myself with good habits.  Instead of beating myself up for being depressed (so helpful!), I’m really trying to just acknowledge its presence and keep moving forward.  Though the photo shows me about to indulge in a Beef Wellington (our delicious Christmas meal), I am eating healthier than ever – less sugar, less junk, more goodness.  As well, I am shaking it up physically.  The hubster and I are off to a big-band dance tonight (gotta love the Norse Hall), and, as of Monday, I started the Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge – practicing every single day.  I am eager to propel my body and mind to a new level of fitness, grace, and ease.  Who knows, maybe I’ll push that rock right over the top!

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Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Marcus Aurelius

I know it sounds terribly cliche, but this is a brutal tour de force, a story of the rare variety that is so horrible, yet so captivating, it boggles the mind.  Loosely based on fact, follow the roller coaster ride of a very few brave men searching for the truth behind the vicious killings of the Yorkshire Ripper and the disappearances of young school girls over a fifteen year period.  At the center is a police force beleaguered by ineptitude, beastly violence, greed, and corruption, where truth and justice are secondary to maintaining an unwritten code of honor.  It is shocking and abhorrent, and there was much covering of the eyes and ears in disbelief, disgust, and fear.  We stayed up late and stole moments where we could to see it end and mercifully so. Well written, beautifully filmed, and vividly portrayed, I don’t think you can ask for more of a thriller.  Well worth the five hours!

In yoga, much like an ice cream cone or a stiff drink after a hard day, postures are followed by counter poses to maintain equanimity.  A series of back bends without inversions (my favorites!) or forward bends and I am smarting with tight muscles and discomfort the next day.  With that in mind, I bring you It’s Kind of a Funny Story, for there has to be something light after the creepy darkness of the Red Riding Trilogy.  Seriously.  Though this story isn’t without sadness and fear, it is hopeful and left me smiling.  To borrow the title, it is kind of a funny story (there were some tears shed) about a high school boy battling depression, a whole lot of stress, and a strong desire to end his life.  Rather than do that, he checks himself into a psych ward and learns, through the lens of others’ pain, that his life, however mired it might be, could be a lot worse.

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And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.  Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

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“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, ‘Too late.'”

It is Martin Luther King Day, and those are his words.  Words of a wise man, who is so often in my heart and mind, inspiring me, guiding me, providing the gentle voice of encouragement and strength.  And so it is today, a brand new day.  Each one is, yet sometimes I forget how marvelous that simple fact is.  Yesterday is exactly that.  I am alive today.  Right now.  Now is the time for abandoning the insane repetition of the old ways, to shed all that doesn’t serve me, to rattle the cages, to sing at the top of my voice, to dance, love, create, and move forward.

See the light, and be it, too.  Won’t you?


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