I went to a therapist in 1999, when I first started experiencing depression. She told me I should get up each morning and draw for 25 minutes.
Get up early and draw before anything else.
She told me that – and other things.
I tried to do this for a while and failed at it. And things got a lot worse.
Not necessarily because of me stopping the drawing-routine, but I have always wondered.
Now, recently I started drawing again in the morning. I have an idea for (another) graphic novel …
But the point is that I feel really, really good about this routine.
And it wasn’t so difficult – the first week at least.
And now I can see results!
So I will go on. And see more results.
And feel more good.
… to remember that when you feel despair about something, then it can stop that feeling long enough for you to take constructive action, if you ask yourself a question:
‘Does this help me change the situation I despair about – that I continue feeling despair?’
(Hint: The answer is never ‘yes’.)
That somehow seems to shake me enough to feel up to acting.
I have to accept it’s going to be back and forth emotionally from now on and I have to show that to others and remind them of that as well – especially my mother. Both experiences are okay and natural, but we have to – have to – continue to move between them. Never stop. Especially not in the valley.
So … just timing out and stopping to relax and have a cake. Is that really a cure for such gloominess?
Sometimes, apparently, it can be.
How the hell can you gain anything by not focusing on it?
How the hell can you make something real for you that you badly want by constantly criticizing yourself for not having it?
How can you arrive at a place without setting a course?
I can’t change clothes. I can’t get into shape. I can’t just magically impose order on the thousand uncertainties in my life right now (again).
But I can sit down and think. Slowly. Precisely. With care. Much care.
And regain some sense of being ‘up there’. I don’t know how else to describe it.
So here it is then, the start:
A poem …
So maybe this is odd, but I swear – it has made me feel more alive than what I have felt in a long time.
Just thinking, talking and acting slower – much slower – than I usually do. This is how to do it.
This is how to get that quality – that presence – that mindfulness – call it what you want.
This is to get what I longed for, but didn’t know that I longed for until I felt really, really empty inside for months on end… And I have.
But it is over now. I will keep this way of being here in the world up this time. This time I will be here – with every part of my self.
This is one of my list posts – with actionable advice on a given topic.
I have to tell stories to feel alive, it is that simple, and I know it and I am deeply regretful about the periods when I have forgotten it, for all sorts of ‘good reasons’. Or when I have doubted my ability to do it, to ever bring my storytelling out into the world in any meaningful form and therefore have stalled.
I have to keep fighting that and so the only way that makes sense is to do it one fight at a time, a few hundred words here and there – but regularly. Please let me not forget.
The eternal makes you urgent.
Then it struck me, after having asked my higher angels for a bit of aid, that I felt incredibly … grateful for all my stuff, all the beautiful important useful things I have with or without histories.
Even the shampoo in the bathroom …
Or an old DVD I have to get rid off anyway to create shelfspace for babystuff …
I. Felt. Grateful. For my stuff. All of it.
No matter how messy it was.
No matter that other people have more stuff and many other people have a lot less. I didn’t compare at all, up or down.
I. Just. Felt. Deeply. Grateful.
For my stuff.
That was also not the worst of feelings.
In fact it was very beautiful, even if it was gossamer.
There are many ways of giving.
Perhaps we can measure our feeling of being blessed in direct relation to how aware – and how appreciative – we are of each.
That’s what a friend’s letter feels like, no matter how it is written. It has more than one dimension in it, and each and every one of them feels like a special surprise party that your friend had arranged just for you.