I’m feeling funky
without any real reason.
I’m on vacation in paradise.
My family is here.
I had a good dinner.
Why am I feeling this way?
It must be my thinking.
Could it be I’m having
an unexamined thought
that is making me crazy?
It has something to do
with wanting connection,
wanting to feel seen, heard, understood,
longing to feel like I can relate,
longing to experience that my needs are important
in the eyes of others.
Also this could be PMS.
Note: Every once in a while it feels appropriate to write about the difficulties I experience in my inner world. One of the most common characteristics of depression is the belief that we are alone in this, we are the only ones in the world feeling this. When I write about the challenges I have with my mood, it is not to garner sympathy or to make anyone feel sorry for me. It is for those out there who are experiencing the same thing as I and who might benefit from learning that they aren’t alone in their suffering.
As my inner turmoil has intensified
I have found myself remembering
a glass of wine
or a mojito
or a margarita…
It has been years since I’ve had a drink.
I chose to stop
because I wanted to go deeper
and to be clearer…
but I remember
the soothing wave of inebriation,
and I ask myself if I’m being too extreme,
too ascetic, too prudish, too goody-goody.
I know many people who would say
I should have a drink
when I’m feeling this way.
It’s just a glass of wine,
it’s good for you
they would say.
Just have a drink,
it won’t kill you,
it will help you relax.
But I’ve chosen clarity,
and this means to stand and face
whatever arises with my whole self,
my real self.
How can I see what needs to be seen
if I have filled my head with clouds?
It was a personal choice,
a commitment I made,
and I feel honor bound to uphold it.
A quieter voice says,
Don’t look back.
This is your chance.
Summon your courage,
You are where you need to be,
and these feelings are real.
They have something to tell you;
Being able to hear this voice
is a taste sweeter than the finest wine,
more refreshing than
than the most perfectly mixed mojito.
Sure, these drinks might taste good for a moment,
but the inner longing would remain;
and after their sweetness receded from my tongue,
I would be still more parched,
the way drinking from the ocean makes you even more
desperate to find pure, clear, sweet salvation.
And so I dip not my hand into these waters.
Now I quench my thirst from a different source.
It began with multiple interruptions
to my morning meditation…
my son ran in the room
and my husband wouldn’t wake up
to get the lad some food.
And so it fell on mama
to rise early from her cushion,
as she was attempting to awaken,
as her husband was allowed to simply sleep…
The stories about
putting everyone else’s needs before my own,
so many stories in my head
contributing to a dark mood,
and the noise from the outside world,
enough to make the sanest crazy.
There is no vacation from one’s darkest thoughts.
I haven’t had mind altering substances for years,
and sometimes in moments like these
I remember why I drank wine and beer.
But no more,
I made this commitment to being clear,
and that means diving deeper
when the water is dark and frigid
when the foreboding depths
seem to conceal
a terrifying truth…
There is no end to this pain.
Of course, I could also reason
that the deeper I dig,
the more space I will have to welcome joy.
When the light of awareness
pierces the murky depths
I might discover
there is nothing to fear,
I won’t suffocate in my pain,
I might learn to breathe underwater.
I scrubbed toilets
with no gladness in my heart today,
felt overburdened and overwhelmed,
walked around scowling,
and when I wasn’t enraged,
I was feeling guilty and ashamed
for losing my temper with my kids.
I thought about people
who clean houses for a living,
what that must be like…
Keeping just one house clean
feels like way too much
for one person to handle alone.
And I thought of societal expectations,
what one woman is supposed to do
for her home, her family,
putting others needs before her own.
I thought of those who live
with more creative freedom than I…
do they manage to keep a clean house
and find time for the things they really want to do?
I wouldn’t have cared so much
about the dingy state of things,
but my in-laws are coming Friday,
and I have appearances to keep up.
If only I could vacuum the crud out of my brain,
the way I vacuum the crud out of the carpet.
First I ask for their forgiveness
and then I attempt to forgive myself.
I didn’t want to lose my temper
I didn’t want to jump up and down
and get red in the face.
But I’m tired, and sick, and human,
and sometimes I just lose it.
The critic said to me,
See? Five years of daily meditation
have done nothing for you.
You still lose your temper.
You are an imposter.
I said to the critic
If you think this is bad,
imagine how I’d be without meditation.
And then I forgave myself.
For listening to the voice
that told me I should have done better
than I was able to do.
I am, like everyone else on this blessed planet,
doing the best I can.
Without warning it returns
the depression, the rage
and my hormones betray me again
A friend reminded me
the last time that this happened
that it wouldn’t be the last time
that this happens
But knowing what it is
doesn’t make it feel
any less overwhelming.
I’m going to bed early
and trying to forgive myself
for all the times
I snapped at my children today.
I know this will get better;
it always does–
but it’s what I do in the meantime
(the MEAN time)
that really worries me.
Sometimes I’m a monster.
The hormones rage,
awakened by a child too many times
in the night
sleep deprivation depriving
me of insight,
cannot see the light.
Patience is gone,
replaced by rage,
I’m an animal in a cage.
I’m loud, I stomp, I slam,
I feel put upon, resentful,
Then comes the guilt
for not being better.
When it’s like this,
I often forget that…
Sometimes I’m a saint.
Most of the time
I meet my children
with tenderness and kindness
when they are grumpy,
resistant, messy, loud,
and mostly oblivious to my efforts
toward their happiness.
I cuddle and hold them close,
I tell them how important they are,
how special, how dear,
how glad I am that they are here.
I love from the deepest part of me
and forgive every single thing,
because I see their purity,
their absolute trust in me,
and I want to be worthy of that trust.
Sometimes I’m a monster.
Sometimes I’m a saint.
Always I’m a mother.