Tag Archives: Self-exploration

Happy 2014!!

Happy New Year, to my Blogosphere beloveds!

I’m fashionably late, as always, but let’s hope that my buoyant and well-meaning wishes bring you warmth. Know that I have thought of you all and miss the circumlocutions of your minds and words. You bring me joy, enlightenment, inspiration, humor and a world of differing perspectives at times when they are most needed. For that, I am thankful.

I look forward to 2014 with a renewed commitment to my writing and that means you’ll be seeing more of me in my ongoing quest for sanity in a world gone mad. Yeah!

I wanted to share the following poem which is a great source of inspiration for me and a perfect start to the New Year…

COURAGE

Courage not only means being able to do something new.

It also means taking steps to “be” someone new.

Some of us talk a great deal
because we are afraid we won’t be heard.

Others, never say anything
in fear of saying the wrong thing.

Some of us, are overactive and hyperactive
because we fear missing out.

There are those of us who are withdrawn,
lethargic, inactive,
in fear of messing up.

One of the first steps in developing
a courageous outlook and approach to life
is being able to look at ourselves,
our beliefs,
attitudes and patterns.

Courage enable us to examine.

Examination enables us to choose.

Courage is more than a forceful,
aggressive, bold outward action.

At it’s most infinite level,
courage is an in-depth,
inward examination
which leads to alteration and application
of a new way to be.

– Unknown

Wishing you courage, peace and passion!

Signed,

A member of the “It’s Too Damn Cold Committee”

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Tales From The Edge – Battling Depression

I spent part of this Summer caught in the mire of depression. It felt like I was drowning in concerns and worries. I can’t say that’s really like me, as sensitive as I am, but as there has been an overwhleming amount of change in my life in the past few years it is understandable. Even so, I did not expect or accept it. Amongst all the things I’ve adjusted to, I am still fighting with the bank to keep my home so it’s far from over.

Like most of us, I find it easy to suppress my fears under the mantle of busyness. When there is so much to do, there is little time to feel. When things slowed down in June, I stumbled to a crawl and stalled.

When I look back at my life, I can see that I have had four major go rounds with the monsters known as fear, anxiety and depression. They coincided with major life changes like breakups, miscarriage, divorce, and this time around the culprit was job loss and the resulting fallout. What makes this unique and dangerous is that I did not know that I was depressed. I just felt tired and after all the running around, planting, coordinating with clients and day to day tasks of running a small business that seemed normal.

My first clue came when I was driving and felt like I was falling asleep. A numbing feeling would steal over me and I would have flashes of myself in a car accident, and throwing up my hands to protect myself. I could see the mangled cars and it was scary. Each time it happened, I would open the windows and tense, grabbing the wheel harder to force myself to stay alert. Again, I chalked it up to exhaustion. I wasn’t deeply alarmed until an alien thought zoomed across my consciousness, “Maybe it would be better than this. It would be peaceful.”

I mentally shook myself not for me but for the thought of how the people I loved would feel at such an event was what gave me pause. Still, I was silent.

I got my second wake up call in the form of a good verbal thrashing from my fiance because he said I was not “acting” normal. Of course, I vehemently denied that but it did cause me to think. Reflectively, I could see that something was quite wrong but I was extremely resistant to discuss my feelings with anyone. I was afraid of all the typical things: shame, judgement, the perception of weakness, how this affects my view of self, and oddly enough, scorn and laughter. In my head, these ideas loomed so large that it quite literally glued my mouth shut. Yet, the more silent I was, the worse I felt.

In July, one of my friends said that she was coming to visit me and we could go out to lunch. I dreaded this as I had been spending all my time in doors with the blinds shut curled up with a book. When the day arrived, I tried to cancel but she knows me too well lol. The only thing I could say was, “I’m not feeling well..” Thirty years of friendship is hard to circumvent so it took only a short time for me to crack and all my anxieties tumbled out in a torrent.  She came anyway, of course, and we were able to have a long and very necessary talk.  Step 1.

I forced myself thereafter to get up and face things a little at a time, anything else would have been overwhelming. I talked to my friends and loved ones and surprise, surprise, there was no laughter. There was empathy and sunshine just waiting for me, literally. For me, that was all that was required to get me back on track and resume the fight.

I learned something this time, or perhaps I should say I was viciously reminded. Sometimes, you can’t go it alone.

Weeks later, I watched The Beaver, a movie about depression and the lines which struck me most were:

“No matter how bad it gets there is always one person in your life who is willing to stand up for you, fight for you, take care of you, accept you, love you, pick you up and dust you off, bandage you up and uphold you until the storm has passed…”

I have paraphrased, of course. I felt the need to write this because I have listened to the fleeting reports about just how many people are silently suffering from depression during these tough economic times. We turn inward when help is outward, you just have to find the courage to reach for it. If not for you, then for the people who love you.

 

God is here….

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When I was a little girl I fell in love with trees. I have a picture of 7 year old me sitting on a tree trunk, swinging her legs, eating some pie and smiling at a boy. Dare I say that this remained for a long time my own personal version of heaven?

My love of trees naturally lead me to parks. I am a NYC girl after all. I recall 10 year old me hanging out in Van Cortlandt Park. It may be interesting to note that I had apparently skipped school that day to do it. Why I really couldn’t say except that I had a lot of issues in school when I was young because I was constantly teased for being the tallest girl in the class. My nickname, because kids are oh so literal, was, you guessed it, Tree. Maybe that was a reason for me to find them lovable. In retrospect, such teasing makes today’s bullying episodes look like a walk in the park but I digress…

That day remains magical for me, surrounded as I was by a literal castle of green. I played at the water’s edge and made tea in a discarded can that in my mind was a kettle. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I think that would be my first experience of the word serenity.

Time moved onwards and I discovered the NY Botanical Gardens. Walking under the Tulip Tree Allee at the main building is still one of my favorite things ever. Even better, I loved it in the Fall when leaves added their dancing mystery to the quiet symphony of sound that is Mother Nature. I escaped my life there on many a day.

I always dug the ocean but never so much as when I began to travel. I have spent many idle hours staring at the Caribbean Sea in Mexico, puzzling over the Indian Ocean in Bali and contemplating the gorgeous Atlantic stateside, courtesy of my Northeastern upbringing. 

I have had the glory of traveling alone. It was not my first choice but in retrospect I realize that these were some of the best trips I ever had because I got to listen to Me uninterruptus.

I spent 7 days in Antigua and on the second day, I found myself walking up and down the small beach fronting the hotel with my Walkman in hand. Back and forth, a slow sashay that was backed by The Roots playing “Love of My Life” which has remained my favorite song ever since.Only when I stopped and sank to the sand exhausted did I become overwhelmed with awe and a surfeit of emotion as I took in the unparalleled vision of the sea and the horizon unbroken by any man made thing. The thought which rang in my head was, “God is here.” 

In that moment, I felt completely at peace and joyful. Never was I so happy as I was when I was on that trip. I felt as if I was on a constant high, loving everyone I met, feeling absolute clarity and writing with sincere ferocity – pure. I was happy in my skin and felt a groundedness that I hoped to find again and again.

For me, certain places evoke this feeling and I have learned to take advantage and hone in on self and spirit when I am there. I am always on the lookout for more but like all the best moments in life they are rare.

Interestingly enough, I am both terrified and fascinated by deep water. 

It was after Antigua that I came to realize that we each find God in our own way. Church and Bible are not the only way. In fact, polluted by man, they may be the worst way. No insult to those who feel otherwise.

Is there a place that makes you feel this way?

Intrepid Sinner

From labyrinths,

light and
bloodless,

I lay my eyes

upon the sky.

I sense a heat,

immense and
glowing,

am pelted by rains of fear,

while radiant rainbows

writhe hypnotically

around my head.

Nameless emotions

turn to icy tears,

plop unheeded,

scoring skin

with an infinitesimal weight

that only souls can feel.

I ruminate and ponder,

afraid of motion,

ignorant of fate.

Bound and helpless,

to await inevitability

with the blind eagerness

of newborn babes.

I lie my lips

upon your heartbeat,

seduced anew

by the beauty of its rhythm.

A willing prisoner

enwreathed in fragments

of broken dreams

which ever beckon.

Here,

unhinged,
unfettered

and
fused to Love,

I come to know

of my demise.

An intrepid sinner

poised to greet

the final surprise.

7.11.11