“If you are filled with anxiety, fear, depression and disturbance, there is no space for the Spirit…You have to risk letting go of the things that do not work for you in order to gain the things that will.” ~ John Roger, “The Tao of Spirit”
So many books that I read make it sound so simple — “Just let go.”
It’s like letting go of a leach attached to your leg and expecting it to slither away.
Someone might say that faith in God and prayer are the answer. Another person might say meditation and yoga are key. I prefer to throw all of them into my “Go To” self care recipe topped off with a bit of wine and chocolate.
Some days I think, “Wow Maery, you are really depressed.”
Other days, I think I am just disillusioned and exhausted.
Many days, I think I’m just old.
Disturbance: the interruption of a settled and peaceful condition; the breakdown of law-abiding behavior; the feeling that comes from life simply not going as planned.
I look happy, don’t I? And that’s the confusing thing. For the most part, I am. Or I should say I am when I’m outside doing the stuff in these photos or sitting on the sofa with a good book and a couple dogs cuddled beside me.
But I’m just as likely to break out in tears off camera because of a difficulty at work, a sad song on the radio, because I feel cutoff from friends and family, or simply because I haven’t been able to sleep and that’s putting me on an emotional rollercoaster.
I’ve heard that happiness is a decision. Each day is a gift and everything depends on how you greet each day: with dread or with delight.
No matter how wonderful I think such a way of facing life is and how much I admire such people, try as I might, I can’t seem to incorporate this view of life into my own brain. At least, not by force of will or by doing things like writing down three things I’m grateful for at the end of the day. I’m grateful for a lot, but that doesn’t seem to mean that I’m happy.
This summer, I wanted some quiet time to think and to do the things that are most important to me without distraction. I wanted to find what I needed to do and what I needed to stop doing.
I wanted to stop running from here to there and then turn to run back again. But my mood hasn’t miraculously lifted as a result. And THE PURPOSE for my life hasn’t magically appeared at the door and thrown its arms around me in welcome.
It doesn’t help that I’m geared to be anxious. “Just let go,” they say. And I say, “I do,” about a hundred times a day, every day.
But what I know about this way of feeling is that it can’t be changed by trying to change my attitude. Because the ‘disturbance’ is telling me I need to change my path and that means action, not thought. Action, especially action you know you should take but you don’t want to, makes you feel anxious.
It’s strange to look onto yourself, watching your body turn against you. I pull out my usual bag of tricks to try to level my chemistry back out again. Usually that means getting busier so I don’t have time to think too much. I thought I’d try something different and slow down instead. That hasn’t exactly worked but I don’t think getting busier would have worked either.
It feels like my body is caught in a loop that is etching its way in like a stream cutting a groove into rock. I need to break the pattern as it will only get harder the longer this lasts. At least I can be logical about it. I’m still frustrated and worried, but with a dollop of calm that comes from a belief that I can figure this out. I always do. And I hold on to that faith like a lucky penny.
Plus I’m giving St. John’s Wort and a cup of Kava tea before bedtime a try. I’ve even cut back to only one cup of caffeinated coffee in the morning. These things seem to be helping, along with listening to mellow music and being silly and finding those laughable moments (having dogs helps).
There are a lot of photos here as a sampling of what I’ve been up to while I’ve been taking a blogging break. It’s been a great summer really, thus making it even more difficult to explain where I’m at. If you suffer anxiety, I don’t have to explain.
I do think things are leveling out for me. I have a plan and I’m working it.
I do miss having a record in photos and words as time marches on. It is a good way to relive and treasure the goodness of life so I hope I’ll be back to blogging more regularly again, even if it’s only for myself. I have a lot going on that may take priority, so we’ll see.
FYI – If you hover your mouse over the photos, additional comments appear about the photo.
Camping Trip to Beaver Creek Valley. I loved seeing the trout swimming in the creek and watching Java enjoy laying down in the water to cool off. Did not so much enjoy the narrow, slick trails up the hills that I thought I was going to plummet to my death from. A warning about the trail conditions would have been nice. Even the dogs were losing their footing. Thankfully I had walking sticks to help keep me upright but since my hands were occupied, that meant attaching Java’s leash to my waist. Coming downhill, I put her behind me so she had to stick to my slow pace. We did a lot of work on commands like “Woah!” and “Easy!”
Rides on Luke. The heat and humidity of this summer hasn’t been great for horses or riding. Not to mention the storm that flipped the run-in. Most of the time we’ve been riding inside where the riding arena insulation keeps it cool and dry.
Bike ride to Stillwater. We rode on the Gateway State Trail for the first time and loved it. Gorgeous views and a well maintained trail. The trail ends at Stillwater, a place I love to visit for the restaurants, view of the river, and to watch the old lift bridge go up and down for the boats.
Walk with the dogs in the park. The bridge to King’s Island and trail across it is complete. It’s a mixed blessing – it will be nice for road bikes and to connect up trail systems but the increased traffic could be rough on the wildlife and it’s taken away the rugged fun of off road riding. Although I think it will continue to be a challenging ride in the winter.
Backyard Garden, Pond, & Clothesline. There’s been quite a change from early summer (first two photos) to now (the rest). I seem to have a jungle going. I love the new clothesline Steve built with it’s Morning Glories and wind chimes on one end and a ledge to put the clothes basket on the other. Thank you Carola for giving us the inspiration for this on your blog! I have a lot of tomatoes, kale, and lettuce growing right now. Thankfully the zucchini and cucumbers are winding down. Still waiting for the squash and hot peppers to ripen. And spending time sitting on the patio reading and listening to the waterfall in the backyard pond.
Wow, it does look like a great and busy summer. Makes me realize how sedentary my life is. Truly, you are such a great role model of living. But I also know what you mean about anxiety and the grip it can take. So many people I know seem to be in its grip right now. Is it our age?
It could be age — the panic of nearing retirement or at least nearing the time you had hoped you could retire and feeling that hope slipping away. The recent stock market downturn does not leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. There are not all those years ahead of us where we can turn things around. As for you being sedentary, that’s not the image of you that I have. You seem to always be going somewhere I’d love to go. It must be that grass greener on the other side thing.
I really loved catching up with you here, looks like you are having a good and busy summer. Your backyard and garden are so lovely and you guys did a great version of the clothes line!
Life and reality get pretty weird most of the time, I think getting enough sleep is very important, seems like you have plenty of activity going on, especially with those gorgeous pets, so just keep doing your thing and hope for the best … I’m always rooting for you!
Thanks Susan — for the note and the rooting. Not getting enough sleep is huge! It effects a person in so many ways. I need to learn how to turn the brain off at bedtime.
Wow…you have been BUSY! Your back yard is amazing and just look at those tomatoes!
If you are having trouble sleeping…ah the curse of women of a certain age, (yep, it’s happening to me too…an acupuncturist told me to try applying lavender essential oil around my navel area…and for fun, get a friend to do it…of course now that make me depressed that I have no friend to do this : ( ) that can be the entire culprit. Additionally, I feel that, if something makes me cry, I’m just experiencing it at a deeper level…and maybe I should be grateful that I’m not a robot. Maybe…it isn’t how it feel though. Take care.
I don’t know about applying lavender oil. But, besides the Kava tea, I have a tea with lavender that’s supposed to be soothing. Loneliness is tough. So many friends are busy being grandparents or already retired and “living the dream” that finding ways to connect can be a challenge. Everyone being “busy” gets in the way. So I don’t know what the answer is. I’m still working it out. Having something to focus on, like my book and some classes I’m taking, helps. I hope things get better for you too.