Greetings! If you’re a regular reader, you know the past two weeks I’ve suggested some prayers that I’ve found helpful, and I continue to encourage everyone to write prayers and affirmations too. It’s funny, because almost as soon as the first post went up, I began to feel kind of down. And so I felt a little disingenuous posting something so chipper and optimistic when I myself was starting to feel depleted. I was disappointed in myself because I’d been doing so well. This mood may have started with a minor issue, but that was easily resolved. Nonetheless the feeling persisted.
Let me say here that I wouldn’t call this a depression. I have endured depression before, mainly due to menstrual cycle/hormonal imbalances, but post menopause, I’ve been very even. In some ways that’s what makes this a little disturbing. I know I won’t “cycle” out of this mood, because there is no cycle.
Finally I had to consider: am I just lonely? Maybe. Maybe that’s what this is about. I love my solitude, but even introverts get lonely sometimes.
Then my air conditioner went out!! During the first 100+ degree heat wave of our NorCal Valley summer!! If you ever want to explore your shadow side and learn your full capacity for self-pity, try going without air conditioning during a heat wave while sheltering during a pandemic!
Okay, time out: I’m very blessed in that I can afford a new heating/air conditioning unit and they’re on my roof installing it right now. I can’t imagine how awful this heat is for people who are homeless or poor, who can’t afford AC.
Anyway, I’ll spare you the melodrama but I have not been a happy camper this week, and the employees of the company who told me my AC unit was fine three weeks ago during routine maintenance have heard all about it.
So this week I just want to mention a few things that are helping me now as I sink into a darker mood.
First, the writing of Thomas Moore, who wrote Care of the Soul back in the 1990s. I’ve finished reading The Soul’s Religion (which isn’t really about religion), and now I’m reading his Dark Night of the Soul. Moore advocates a receptive rather than an active approach to soulful/spiritual life. This does not come easily to us western over-achiever types. Moore suggests letting go of intentions and goals. Can you even imagine that? He suggests waiting and watching for guidance. If there was ever a good time for such an idea, it’s now!
One example of his approach is in regard to dream analysis. He says although he enjoys thinking about and seeking interpretations of dreams, treating them as little puzzles, we might also simply think of our dreamscape as an environment where we visit. There, in this fantastic space, we might want to do all we can to learn about the native flora and fauna. I love this idea! It’s helped me view my dreams in a completely different, more accepting way.
Second, I’ve been enjoying the wonderful instructional guides on poetry written by the late Kenneth Koch years ago for children and teens. I bought Wishes, Lies and Dreams, and Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? decades ago when I was teaching elementary school, but I’ve also found them helpful seeking writing prompts for myself too. I also love Making Your Own Days. But my companion this past week has been the prompts in Sleeping On the Wing which Koch wrote with Kate Farrell. If you have ever felt intimidated reading poetry, this simple, wonderous book is for you. And it’s filled with great prompts for my writer friends too. I’ll post more about this in a week or two.
Third, I am in search of funny movies and TV shows. Fred Willard’s obituary reminded me to seek out some of those silly Christopher Guest mockumentaries, which Willard appeared in. I watched Best In Show the other night, and I’ve got Waiting for Guffman in the Netflix queue. My cousins recommend Spaceballs (I’ve not seen it yet), and I’m looking forward to watching Steve Carell in Space Force. Any other suggestions?
Anyway, I’m still writing wild pieces of flash fiction and you may expect a few of those as well as a poem or two in the next few weeks. Check in and let me know how you all are doing! Have fun, but avoid crowds. Stay safe.
Photo by Alexandra Gorn at Unsplash