A Day in the Life

“Today, like every other day, we wake up empty/and frightened.”   I woke up with that heavy grey, tired feeling.  I felt disappointed and discouraged to be waking up like this again again.  Then I remembered that my work is to be with it.  This isn’t despair or grief, it’s depression.  How does that feel in my body?  Heavy, grey, dull, like concrete.  Can I bring compassion to it?  There, there, it’s so painful waking up like this again.  There, there, it’s not your fault.  You have no control over brain chemistry. “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”  Now I feel the tears and the sadness.  I love life, and I love the earth, and it’s so painful not to be able to engage with them.  Now there’s a sharp cold pain in my chest.  Completely accept.  Compassion, compassion.  Now it’s tightened into an uncomfortable cramp.  I can feel myself wanting it to go away.  How about some compassion for the one who wants the pain to go away?  There, there, dear.  I’m so sorry this is how your day begins.  You are a good person, and you have a lot to offer, and yet every day you wake in this frozen hell.
Well, I could do some tonglen.  Think about all the people who are waking depressed this morning.  I feel a wave of compassion and sorrow.  I want to comfort them all.  Breathe in depression, breathe out warmth and kindness.
Chickadees coming to the suet feeder.  I’m glad to see them.  Lynelle suggested that — she actually gave me the feeder and the suet to put in it — so I wouldn’t have to scatter seed on the ground which brings the mice.  She also suggested putting seed on a tarp that I could fold up and bring in at night.  It functions pretty well, but it’s a lot of work, and I can’t put it out right away in the morning, I’m too tired.  and it makes too much noise so I can’t do it before Lynelle puts the ribbon out that tells me she’s awake.
Do I feel good about myself that I put so much effort into helping my friend?  No.  At least I’m not doing it because I think I “should” — that would bring up resentment.  I’m doing it because I want to.  But I miss the chickadees.  I suppose I would feel better if my sacrifice actually accomplished anything.  But Lynelle hasn’t been able to sleep more than 4 hours a night and it’s not because of the mice.  Dear Jenny, you are a very caring person, and you really love your friend, and you want to help her as much as you can, even if it’s a sacrifice.
So now I can put in the disclaimer — look!  I’ve spent this whole time turned inward.  what a waste of time.  And I say no.  This is how I heal.

Typing this up, I gain a little perspective.  I remember the winter of 2008, and how much worse I felt then than I do now.  And although I complain about “missing the chickadees” they are there now, it’s just that it was easier to toss out seed than to struggle with the tarp.

Today, like every other day we wake up
empty and frightened.  Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading.  Take down a musical instrument.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Rumi, from Open Secret, translation by John Moyne and Coleman Barks.

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