Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Little things

You know, all the books on mindfulness, on positive psychology, on the law of attraction and happiness being a choice, they tell you to just shift your perspective, change your self-talk, just think happy thoughts for God's sake. I'm here to tell you that when the ache is upon you, there is not a damn thing you can do but ride it out, sit still with the desolation for as long as it lasts, watch the obsessive thought loops wind through your brain, put your head in your hands and cry.

I am thinking about inspiration, how it can ensue from the smallest, most unexpected things. I remember one night when I was visiting my cousin in Columbia, Maryland. Everyone but the two of us had already turned in, and I was alone in the living room, browsing through a magazine as my cousin cleaned up the kitchen. I looked across at one point and was struck by the sight of her wiping down the counters, cleaning and shining everything, her face meditative, filled with devotion to her task. The house was quiet and mostly dark and she had no idea she was being observed. She was patient and thorough, fully engaged, taking such loving pride in what she was doing that she literally had a light around her. I've never forgotten it, and now, every morning when I clean my kitchen, I remember her in that moment, and I make the work a moving meditation, a service of love.

It helps a little.

14 comments:

  1. Oh my dear- I am so sorry all of this is going on with you right now. I know, I know, I know.
    And how I hate all those self-talk things. If you wake up and you can choose to be happy, you already are happy. That's the truth. When I am deep in the ache, the pain, I can no more choose to be happy than I can choose to be an 18-year old Asian dude. I can choose, yes, to try and be mindful, to keep moving, but that's as far as it goes.
    Until it passes.
    I am loving you.

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    1. Thank you, darling Mary. I know you get it.

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  2. You are so right. All that positivity stuff can cause us to forget that it is important to acknowledge our sadness, depression, heaviness of spirit. That's all a part of life and we will never reach a point of ceaseless happiness. But I am sorry for the heaviness of your spirit right now. Your life is going through such whirlwind changes and it's crazy to think anyone could just ride that out without some difficulty. I am sending all my love. Pursue that artist's space. You need it.

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    1. Vesuvius, thank you friend. I imagine ceaseless happiness would become boring anyway. How would we even know we were happy if we didn't have its opposite? xo

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  3. As Ms Moon said, I believe we can no more choose to be happy each day than we can choose to be gay or straight. It just IS what it is when it descends upon us. I am thinking of you and listening.

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  4. cling to anything that helps, even a little. Even if you find yourself laughing at an old joke in your head (like I do).

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    1. Candice, that's an idea! jokes! I am so bad at telling them, tho.

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  5. Whatever your mood or however distraught you were feeling, when you wrote this, you were INSPIRED. I am so grateful to have read it. Thank you.

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    1. Elizabeth, I'm glad. It's a small moment that is so bright in my memory of it. Life can be so odd.

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  6. We DO have to ride out the aches -- but as you said, focusing on the task at hand, whatever it may be, and being "fully engaged" is one way to lessen them. It works for me, anyway. Sometimes. :)

    I think the key is not pretending the ache isn't there, because that NEVER works. Acknowledge the ache but see it as a part of everything else you're doing and feeling at that moment, and know that it will pass. You know?

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    1. Steve, it does pass. I opened my eyes this morning and the ache was mostly gone. I felt, dare I say it, normal.

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