Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Am Lifting My Heart Toward Heaven...

"Refuse to fall down. If you cannot refuse to fall down, refuse to stay down. If you cannot refuse to stay down, lift your heart toward heaven, and like a hungry beggar, ask that it be filled, and it will be filled. You may be pushed down. You may be kept from rising. But no one can keep you from lifting your heart toward heaven."

~o~ Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Est├ęs ~o~

Dear Ones,

Today... today I have needed to lift my heart toward heaven. This is the kind of entry I don't usually like to write but more and more I find that this is the kind of entry that helps my readers the most because they may be in this place and this is when they feel most alone. When the world is full of those who don't like to talk about depression but how to find joy -- and I do that myself, and I know that it exists, and I feel it and celebrate it -- depression is the step-sister that gets hidden in the closet. In the last 13 years I have had to come out of a succession of closets, both to myself and the world. And every time I found my heart pounding and wanted to run and hide, those were the times that the most people stepped forward and said thank you when I have written honestly about it.

Today I am feeling the weight of depression so heavily that I can hardly breathe, and it came on suddenly, mid-day, and while it is softening a bit since I walked outside in the garden with the dogs, and came in and fed them, and the five parrots, I still feel as if gentle hands are holding me down. This is what it means to live with bipolar disorder, this is a mood swing, and I have Bi Polar Type 2, the depressive side of things. I am not complaining, I am not sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I am sharing the facts that exist in this moment, and also the knowledge that they will pass. I have used essential oils that help enormously, oh yes, I just took a deep breath in and the blend of bergamot, neroli, sandalwood, rose, and other oils in a blend called "Present Moments" (From Rocky Mountain Oils, and I am not prescribing or suggesting this for anyone, and no I don't sell it, I am simply sharing what I am using. Each must find their own way with what works for them.) are already helping my body relax. I have just taken a full breath, easily, for the first time in hours. That is a break in the pattern, but it will likely be some time yet before it lifts entirely, and only if I am diligent about self care. I have learned to do that with decades of therapy, medications, and, becoming a healer myself, I have the tools to help even these energies even out, slowly, but it will be a lifelong process, bi polar disorder is treatable not curable, but it is, even with all of this, an interesting thing to live with.

I sat on the couch reading with my small blind pug in my lap and the others crowded against me, and I had this visionary moment, a moment of, perhaps some kind of clarity, when I saw, felt, that depression opens and softens the heart, and that if we let ourselves feel it, and not run from it, it will wash over and through us more gently, and, softer, the heart is more porous and lets thoughts and feelings in that we might not otherwise see. If you are out there feeling this you are not alone. Put your hands over your heart, feel your precious heart beating, know that this, too, will pass, and I promise you, it will.

I am leaning on my desk, this long, very old farmer's table with nicks and scratches but worn very smooth with a lovely patina. Many people have sat at this table. Now I am one of them. I am looking out of the studio windows at the birds landing lightly on the feeders, just before dusk now, when most of the trees have fallen in shadows but the top of one of the trees in front of me is still sunlit and gleaming. I can hold onto that light, even though there is so much darkness around it. We have to find something to hold onto, there is always something. 

If you are in this space find something to hold onto. Go outside and pick up a leaf, a rock, a wildflower, make a bouquet from your garden. My animals help me. If you don't have any take that bouquet to a neighbor, perhaps an elderly one that feels alone. Sometimes the very best thing that we can do to lift our spirits is to engage with someone else. Call a friend. I know this will sound corny but I have gone outside and wrapped my arms around a tree, one with rough bark and so big around my fingertips would not reach each other, but it was solid with roots deep in the ground and leaves and branches reaching so high in the sky I could not see the top. Sometimes I have cried into the bark, sometimes just held on and breathed. A tree is very alive and will support the weight of your sadness. I will hold on until I can stand alone, as tall as the tree, and I reach my hands up and stretch my fingers as far as they will go. The trees in my yard are tremendous healers. I am blessed by their presence. 

I'm not sure how anyone lives without animals because they are life-saving for me, but then we all have our different ways of living and being in the world. Just now my little Penny, tiny, blind, but persistent, is woofing her little woof that says, "Pick me up," and Scarlet the near featherless grey parrot is woofing like Penny and just said "I love you," and I smiled, I really did, I smiled, and I just laughed out loud. And I think that it was because I made myself write this blog entry. I think it is because I am here with you. Scarlet just said, "Hey Suggg-arrr, I LOVE you..." How can you not smile at that. I just breathed again deeply. I did not know that I would start this entry near tears and end with a smile on my face, but so I have. I should know this. I taught a very healing journal-keeping class for 30 years and I know the power of the written word, it has saved me since I was 9 years old and hid under a stand of forsythia bushes with my little spiral notebook. Tonight writing has helped this cloud lift, more than a little. I want to thank you. I want to thank you so much. 

Scarlet just said, "I love you sooooooo much," and so I will say it to you... I love you soooo much. We are kindred spirits, walking this path of life together. You don't have to be bi polar to feel it, we all have hard days and sad and complex times. Sending love out into the world to others is a way of connecting too, and so I am sending it out to you this evening. 

I love you soooooo much. I really do


Emily said...

this is nice..well. depression.. nobody knows until one have it too..

Cheryl aka Shaddy said...

I've had problems with depression although I'm much better than I was many, many years ago. It's not fun but I try to believe that I have it for a reason.

I'm a loner because of my lack of self-confidence and lack of assurance. I can socialize but it's often quite exhausting.

I admire you for persevering in spite of your challenges. Keep on keeping on. OK?

Maitri said...

Emily, thank you for writing. I hope you are feeling better and you're right, depression is something hard to understand when others have not had it. Everyone has hard and down days and often try to compare that to clinical depression and it's not the same, but we have good treatment options these days and we do what we can in our own lives to move forward. I wish you peace and blessings and a lovely week ahead...


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