Tag Archives: depression

Unpacking Under the Solstice Sun

Carole Lombard Twentieth Century

I believe in living in harmony with the Universe. At least trying. So today, the summer solstice, marks an important occasion. It’s the longest day of the year. The day in which we’re the closest to the sun. Today, the sun is giving us all it can give.

Its almost as if the Universe is giving us extra time to examine those things that are working and those things that aren’t. Its a time to look at what we are carrying forward. We are energy. Everything is energy. Every thought. Every action. All things slowed down to the extent that they become manifest into a touchable mass. And those things softly floating in our head. All of it collects. 

Our pasts hold energy. And we often carry it with us every day. If we did this with only those things that delighted us, then that would be one thing. But the human condition being what it is, we hold tighter to those things that have caused us pain. We stack and pack them; reflecting upon them often. Like luggage, we have pain and hurtful words neatly folded and stored away. Then lug those bags with us wherever we go. Convinced they’re invisible unless we choose to show them to someone.

The reality is, they’re always visible. Like attracts like. Those suitcases radiate an energy that is felt by those around us. Most importantly, its felt by us. Dimming the brightest day. Haunting the most peaceful of nights. Interfering with our view of the world. Interfering with our view of ourselves. 

Some people carry their baggage like trophies. Like a high maintenance diva rolling in with carefully crafted designer luggage. Others merely have a backpack with a few hastily stuffed items. They try to travel light. Although the latter is much healthier than the former, today is a good day for all of us to set the bag down, and release what’s inside.

So today, I plan to do just that. I’ve done so much self work I’m always a bit shocked when the Universe shows me something new. Something hidden in there that I’d missed. But something was shown to me. It made me cringe. But I will write it down, and burn it under the abundant sun on this longest day of the year. Then I plan to play, even if just for a moment. To take in the world like a child, with wonder and delight. Setting aside my worries. Just for today. Wherever you are, and however you can, I hope you do the same.

Sane

My Fellow Mariners

Greta Garbo Harpers Bazaar 1930

I’m convinced life is easier for those born with a smile on their face. Maybe I had one. I don’t remember. And with both parents gone, I have no one to ask. But, if I did, then fairly early on it faded. Conflict started early. Growing up with an alcoholic meant chaos was just a breath away. Oddly enough, even though that conflict has never left me, I’m generally highly optimistic. And prone to bouts of spontaneous laughter. I even laugh by myself. I really can’t stand seriousness. But I’m like the water. I also have waves. 

I’ve worked hard to understand and master the waves. But they are what they are; they can easily interfere with my vibrational frequency; my outlook; my ability to move forward. Instead of gliding over glassy water, I’ve often found myself manning the helm trying to make sure no harm is done as the bow plunges low. Its exhausting. But it has given me a deeper appreciation for life. One that can’t be found on still water.

Nothing really compares to the feeling of looking back at what I’ve gone through knowing I made it. And every time the waves appear I get better at navigating them. I can’t say its thrilling in the moment. But much in the same way sleep never feels so good as it does after a hard days labor or a meal more delicious than after having gone hungry, nothing makes you feel more secure within yourself than knowing you can handle it when things go deep and life gets funky. The smile afterward is hard fought. 

I had a wave catch me by surprise recently. It shouldn’t have. I saw the storm coming. But I was lazy. With all the chaos in the world, the last place I wanted to find it was within me. Yet, there it was. Once alone, the outward smile faded and the wave crashed. I think some of you know the feeling.

As much as I dread those moments, my life has always been made richer because of them. Perhaps its because during those times I am forced to shut everything out and use laser sharp focus. And when I do, I hear more. I see more. And afterward when I am able to smile again, I smile wider. I dance freer. I play harder. I linger longer at the glory of nature. And most importantly, All That Is speaks clearer. 

We are all living our own journey – unique to us and only us. All going at our pace. Growing in our own way. For some its profoundly slow. Those who haven’t been wet a day in their life or don’t even understand the metaphor within these words. For others, we’re launched forward by a hard wind. I tend to gravitate toward fellow mariners. Those trying to figure out why they’re here, how it all works. Those who had to swim when they didn’t even have a boat. 

So to my fellow mariners, smile with me. You’ve earned it. Whether you are still underwater, making discoveries about yourself, life, and how we are all interconnected – finding your purpose. Or those who are, for a time, sitting on the bow enjoying a moment of calm. I want you to know, there’s a reason why you are here. You are moving forward quickly. You add to life because you navigate the waves. Every time you emerge, you do so with something more to offer. And if you can’t smile just yet, you are not alone. And you will again. 

Sane

Broken

Harpers Bazaar, Katharine Hepburn 1932

Good evening, dear reader. It’s been awhile. I hope you’re well. I hope life is making sense. I hope you are smiling often. And I hope when you look in the mirror – you appreciate what you see. I think that is why I’m writing tonight. I felt led to slide my work aside, and say something to you. I haven’t a clue yet what that is. So in many ways, as always, we will be reading this together.

As many of you know, I’ve always felt broken. For the longest time I saw this as a flaw. A deficit. Something lacking. It took years for me to view it differently. And I’d be lying if I said there weren’t still times when my view needs a readjustment; when I need to center and reconnect with the deepest and highest version of myself. And then as if someone cleared the grime from my windshield, I can see clearly again. And this is what I see.

Sometimes we need to break what is to allow for what can be. Sometimes we need to break old patterns of thought, beliefs, long held hurts and memories. I can’t say why life pummels us the way it does. But I do know it matters what we do with the broken pieces. I grew up feeling broken, which made for a rather rough start. Was it necessary. I can’t say. 

But I can say, once I decided to look at those pieces; to examine them and deliberately choose to create something out of them, something of my own making – life changed. I think everyone is a little bit broken. But I also believe some of the most beautiful things in life, are born from the space between those broken pieces. 

It takes courage to hold these pieces in our hand. They’re sharp. But they are also beautiful. They are you. They are me. I’m still building a mosaic from the pieces I find within myself. An exhibit piece I hope to craft until I take my last breath. Those pieces are what allow me to see deeper into the eyes of those before me. Those pieces are what allow me to hear the words not spoken; sitting quietly behind the words that are. If it weren’t for the broken pieces within myself I wouldn’t have half the compassion for others that I do – not to mention the compassion I have for myself.

Life reflects are beliefs. So tonight, as we sit with spring hesitant to take the stage, I ask that you use this moment to spread out your broken pieces. Privately, lay them before you. Stand back and examine all the jagged edges. Notice the irregular shapes. Some small. Some large. Some still holding much of their original shape. Others, reduced to pebbles. And run your fingers across them. They didn’t break easily. Not one broke on its own. Something happened. 

Life isn’t meant to be stagnant. You are meant to change. You are meant to morph and evolve and grow and become. It may hurt to hold some of these broken pieces. If it hurts, it means you need to heal, release and allow for something new. Allow that piece to be part of something new – Its waiting for you to transform it – Every piece is waiting for you.

I like to think of myself as a beautiful mosaic. I am all of my broken pieces, rearranged, and deliberately transformed. But also, I am the spaces in between. I am newly formed pieces born of my own creation. I am multi-colored and consist of every shape imaginable. And I wouldn’t trade one broken piece for smooth, flawlessness. This mosaic is me and its so much more than its original form.

Sane

Better Days

Myrna Loy Vintage.es

With all the fuss of the holiday season, or perhaps for you personally, no fuss at all, but instead dread and loneliness – I want to say, give yourself something this year. Meant just for you. Kept close to your chest. 

Give yourself the gift of optimism. I know, it sounds whimsical. As if nothing more than fairy dust. Its not. You would be wise not to underestimate the magic inherent to this most special feeling. Because there is magic within optimism. Truly.

If you are bold, share it. But what matters most to me is that you feel it. You can keep it all to yourself if you like. And if that feels best, do only that. Feel it within. 

Humans possess these most peculiar things called feelings. For what purpose. I’ll tell you. They represent where you are in the moment, and represent your vibration; emitted to the world around you and far beyond. The Universe responds to your feelings. You respond to your feelings. Your feelings – vibration – sets the wheels into motion. The essence of what you feel is then repeated in your life, over and over. So as you let go of this past year, and turn to face the one before you – give yourself the gift of optimism. 

I want you to actually, deliberately give it to yourself. You deserve it. And no one is going to give you this gift, except you. I don’t know what is before you. I don’t know what has happened over the past year, two years, or decade – or for some – your whole life. I do know that many have endured hardships that’ve made it hard to find the joy in life. I know this feeling. Oh dear reader, I know it well. And I would be lying if I said I don’t still struggle to find the joy, every now and again. It happens to us all.

Joy exists. It’s on the path. Getting there starts with optimism. It starts with hope. It starts small. Its the first step. Take it. Within everything, find something that is going well. And if not well, then not horrible. And if that’s not doable, if what’s before you is void of any hope – shift your gaze. Please. 

Look to nature. It always possesses optimism. It never fails to show what can be. It never fails to show the promise of change. Out of tough times, buried under the cold hard ground, can spring life. How a magnificent flower can possibly push through the dirt is beyond me, but it does. And so can you. 

I like to think that little seed buried under all that weight, is optimist. It wants to see what rests ahead. It is hopeful that if it follows the urge to move forward it will, one day, see the sun. Often, I feel like that seed. Buried. But, I’m moving. And eventually I will see the sun. And more often than not, I have and do and will. 

So together, let’s let go of this last year. Regardless of what went down, let’s send it off with love and light. And together, give ourselves the gift of optimism. And with that, turn our gaze upward – to better days. 

Sane

Dig a Little Deeper

I think it’s becoming inescapably clear, something is going on. Of course, science said we were going to be in this boat. This level of a pandemic. But I’m talking about more than that.

Sometimes when I’m walking, looking up at the trees – listening to them speak – I’m reminded that its not all about us. We’re just one of the many inhabitants on this glorious planet. And as remarkable as we can be, we can also be absolutely loathsome. Everyone and everything matters. And I think something is trying to remind us of that. Something is giving us the opportunity to care not just about ourselves, but for one another and everything around us. To care for what’s under our feet, as well as who’s standing next to us.

I don’t know when mankind abandoned humanity. I’m not sure if it was ever in fashion. From all my research it seems we’ve been a pretty inconsiderate lot since early on. We live in a world where kindness is seen as weakness and hurting one another is seen as strength. Not to me. I’m still digging and mining for the best in mankind; the gold that runs within the hardened rock. It’s there. It’s malleable, its allowing, and its more valuable than the hardened substrate around which its surrounded. 

What if all of this awfulness were an opportunity given unto us to do right by one another. An opportunity to respond. Do we hoard or do we give. Do we step forward or run away. Do we strike out or embrace. Are we kind or indifferent. Do we follow through or do we ignore. The prompts are continual.

Mankind has always had to endure calamities. We do collectively. We do individually. Thats nothing new. And yet, it’s how we respond that shapes what unfolds next. How we respond shapes how we see the world. And the world responds. We have a beautiful symbiotic relationship with the world, which includes the earth. And, those around us.

I can’t say I’d blame the planet if it simply shook us off. It’s given us ample time to respect it. Like a negligent partner, we haven’t listened. And the Universe has given us more than one chance to care for one another. So if like a dog with fleas the planet decides to rid itself of us with a thorough shake, I think I’d understand. And yet, I want a chance to say…

it’s not easy being an individual with individual thoughts and feelings and history and dreams, while living in a world surrounded by other individuals. It’s just not. But some of us really do try. We love the smells you offer. We love the darkness with its stars. We love the sun with its warmth. We love smiles from strangers. And our hearts fill when we see people helping one another. And they do. And as heartbroken as we are for the behavior of some, it’s not the behavior of most. Most care. Most are strong enough to be kind. Most want to see everyone thrive. Yes, we have some horrific bad apples out there and they are doing a lot of damage to the collective. But, I ask that you listen beyond the loudest and look past the most demonstrative. Dig deeper for those who are nestled between. Because within those hardened layers you’ll find gold and precious stones; the kind, the unselfish, the jewels of what humanity can be. Still flawed, in need of polishing, but we’re doing our best. 

Sane

The Sun is Still There

Did you know dear reader, that regardless of how dark the skies may appear sometimes, buried under thick clouds, the sun is still shining. It’s easy to forget that. Its easy to forget most anything we can’t readily see with our eyes. And yet our eyes are so terribly deceiving. 

We tend to only see what we expect to see. And depending upon how we feel, the lens through which we view the world gets shaped. So, imagine if you will, that you are not in a good place emotionally. Your world will represent that. There is no other way. Your lens has grown narrow.

There are two things going on: one, of course, is the half full half empty perception. That lovely trap where instead of seeing our glass as half full – we view it as half empty instead. Its easy enough to do. Humans are so flawed when it comes to certain things. Appreciation being one of them. Instead of seeing what we have, we see only lack. Quite quickly, that energy becomes us. We vibrate lack. We see only lack. If someone were to place a feast before us, or friends around us, we would only see the things that are missing. Life gives us our vibrational match. It works no other way.

The other thing that sometimes happens is, life has beaten us down to the point where our skies are dark. Something is moving through. We keep trying to see the sun, but can’t. And its not from a lack of trying. Its just in the moment, things are rough. Life gets rough. So if you are going through that right now, my sweet, dear reader, I want you to know – it will pass. And during that darkness, know this: the sun is still in its place. It’s still shining. It hasn’t gone anywhere. Those clouds are temporary. This moment, this situation is temporary. Hang on. Dig deep. Breathe. Take comfort knowing that as quickly as those clouds entered, they will leave.

Take this moment to nurture yourself. Find the light within you. Go deep. Get still. Repeat: this too shall pass. Because it will. And remember, the sun is still shining. Like everything, this moment is just temporary. Don’t be afraid to look out with a wide angle, even when its dark.

Love to you.

S.

The Stories We Tell

Lately I’ve been thinking about the stories we tell. The ones we tell others. The ones we tell ourselves. We do it so naturally we aren’t even aware. And yet the stories we share reveal the frame through which we view our life; our past and possible future. 

The truth is, we aren’t the stories we tell. We aren’t our past. We aren’t what has been to us or what we have done to others. We aren’t our occupation, or lack thereof. We aren’t defined by numbers; our zip code, bank balance, years of life or size. We aren’t any of these things. We are, however, how we view these things. Often its the very stories we tell that keeps us from living the life we desire. If everything possesses energy, and we know it does. Then when we tell stories that no longer honor us, we keep ourselves in bondage to what was. A place we don’t want to be. Maybe its where we once were. But that was then. This is now.

Our story is for us to write. And every day we are granted a blank page. Each of us is here with purpose, with something to contribute. Granted, many don’t know it. So let me share what I feel it is.

We are joy. We are meant to feel joy. We are love. We are meant to feel love. We are meant to rise above limited understandings and narrowly framed beliefs. We’re here to see those around us; and to do so with compassion. We are here to smile broadly and feel deeply. To stand in our truth and understand how we got where we are. No blame. No shame. Then move ahead. Always moving. Always crafting an ever evolving storyline that fits our designed narrative.

Today I am not who I was yesterday. Not really. Close. But not exact. Today I choose to see myself in a better light. I choose to make more time to find my joy. And if I fall short, I’ll start fresh tomorrow. I am the author of my life. And if I don’t like how its reading, I change it. I am not meant to hand over my power or pen. I am not meant to let those around me decide my worth. Instead, I am to find it myself. I fail often. But I’m getting better. I keep changing and moving forward until I notice that I’m smiling more, I laugh easier. And when I see those around me I know they too are on their own journey, at their own rate, on their own level. It’s not for me to judge. I’m not to look down. I’m not to put them up high. I stay in my lane and work on me. Love myself. Love my neighbor. Fail. Start over. Fail less. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

These are the chapters I’ve been scripting as of late. Its the perfect time to decide who you are. Every day is. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life, dear reader. But I’ve also gotten a lot of things right. I can’t say I would do a lot differently, as I really enjoy how all those ups and downs have created the person typing these words. I am not my past. I am me. An ever evolving soul who wants you to know that you are what you decide. Decide well. You are worth it.

Sane

Creatively Speaking

There’s something I want to say, but for the life of me, and regardless of how long I sit here, I’m still unsure what it is. It’s an absolutely frustrating-to-the-core feeling. One thing’s for sure, being a Creative, isn’t easy. 

When I was young that word wasn’t used that way. When I was going through my formative years, ripe with possibility, I had no clue who I was or what I should or could possibly do. It took all I had to manage my every day life. And school was no help. Sadly, I hear this is often still the case. Please know, if you were or are aimless or unsure your place, you are not alone.

I grew up in a town so small it took two minutes to drive from one end to the other. It was beautiful. And still is. But small. And unless you excelled in math, science or football, well… you were invisible. You had to find your own way. And I did. Many years later. 

Being a Creative, as it’s now termed, isn’t an easy path. In fact, its profoundly irksome. Just as much, its profoundly rewarding. But it’s also who you are so to do otherwise is akin to repeatedly shoving your foot into a shoe that’s two times too small. It won’t work. Many do it, of course; resigning themselves to a life that never feels right. Life is all about feeling to me. And I’ve spent many years living a life that didn’t feel right. It’s a slow death that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

I used to dream of being a writer. Spinning captivating stories. Most likely with a decanter of expensive Scotch perched beside me, slowly slipping into giddy madness. I never did live out that fantasy. And I still don’t like Scotch. But my idea was based on a limited concept. I only knew what I knew. And my education never bothered to show me how to utilize my very individualized skills. I spent much of my early years feeling as though I was somehow spectacularly unintelligent as I had no interest in much of what was being taught. Aside from one or two classes that left an indelible impression, the rest was a bore. But it wasn’t because of my lack. It was because it wasn’t meant for me. 

Life is about finding our way, discovering who we are and what fills us with passion. Even if that passion is mild and calm or wild and enthralling. It doesn’t matter. It’s our passion, our definition. For many of us, we unwittingly forfeit our first couple of decades before we stumble into discovering our niche and place in the world. School should be a time of discovery, not rote. I don’t give a flying flip about formulas, unless it’s the formula for happiness and self exploration. Because those formulas are necessary to us all.

I’m sitting here on a leisurely afternoon, surrounded by flowers with soft music playing in the warm breeze, grateful for this life of mine. But it shouldn’t take decades to find one’s place. So whether you are young or old, and feel lost and wondering your place, don’t despair. If I can do it, so can you. And if people seem wildly unhappy out there in the world, it’s because they are. There are a lot of people living a life that feels like an ill-fitting shoe, wishing for something better. 

If I were to create the world. I would spend a lot more time cultivating one’s ability to think creatively and critically. I would make sure they knew they were smart. It takes strength to find your way. I’d make sure they knew they had that strength. And if they decided they wanted to live the life of a Creative I’d warn them that it won’t be easy. There will be days when the desire sits like an itch. But also too, there will be days when they click the final key, make their final brush stroke, design the final piece or make their final edit, and it will feel so deeply gratifying. Either way, which ever path, I’d make sure they know to live it fully.; unabashed. Embraced. I wish someone had taken the time to tell me that. Well dear reader, at least I’m here to tell you. 

Sane

Just An Observation

Hedy Lamarr, 1940s

I’ve been an observer all my life. Often it feels like there’s a thin veil that separates me from the real world. Through this veil though, I can see more clearly than those who are standing on the other side. It has been the single best thing about being me, and the single worst. Its made me feel like an outsider, and yet, on a broader scale, it’s allowed me to feel more in touch with the world; to see beyond the illusion of day to day life. A true double-edged sword.

Today while walking back from the market, my sack filled with the essentials: salsa, craft beer and Panda Puff cereal, I noticed the vibrancy of the grass, I breathed deep the smell of green. I watched a Monarch butterfly flit across my path. I noticed the root that poked itself precariously above the sandy ground, and wondered to which tree it belonged. And upon entering my home I smelled the fresh cucumbers resting on the counter, and was instantly transported to when I was young, and our home smelled of cucumbers and my mom’s fried chicken. No one knew how to fill a house with the smell of good food better than my mother. 

My life has been spent in observation. It’s made me a better writer; noticing the nuances help to paint a better picture. The way Radio Shack tech smelled. The peculiar cool chill that used to fill the air on a July 4th night in northern Michigan while waiting for fireworks to light the sky. The way a friends’ face lights up when they see you arrive. The way people often move like ants in a busy downtown. The comforting sound of an airplane flying in the distance.

I also have, and do, observe things that make my heart ache. We all have. Some feel it deeper. But, we all feel it. My youth was filled with things I didn’t want to observe. Feelings I didn’t want to feel. Many of those things have taken decades to unwind. But also too, they’ve helped me to develop a part of myself, an emotional muscle that has allowed me to go deeper – even during the worst of it. When I think back to an alcoholic father, I could see solely what rested on the surface. Please know, the surface provided more than enough to absorb. But, with time, I’ve come to see the man behind those eyes. The one that only wanted peace. I loved that man. He was a good human.

My son is a cancer survivor. There were moments, the residual of which, I still feel to this day like the light stickiness of humidity on a hot day. But also too, I remember his first words after brain surgery. I remember how the high arch of his eyebrow when listening intently remained even when he had to practice walking again. I remember too, how the birds chirped outside the hospital even when I didn’t know if he would live.

Life is tricky. It’s filled with everything, always. The true dichotomy of human existence. The good, the bad and everything in between. I used to rail against God for having ushered onto my existence so much bad. When your world crumbles, it’s hard not to. And yet, once the dust settled, the Universe spoke – as it always does – and it was shown to me that there was something else for me to see. I can’t say I always liked what I had to see. I didn’t always understand what I had to see. But I knew enough to allow in a different interpretation. And within that, I found peace. 

On that note dear reader, I want to say, that it is my deepest hope and intent, that you find peace with whatever it is that you see. And if you don’t, if you can’t, give it time. Look away for awhile. Notice the butterfly. Notice the green. Sometimes Life speaks to us only when we stop looking at what’s in front of us.

Sane

Expectations

There’s something magical about four leaf clovers. The finding of one. Knowing its a sign of luck. My lawn is covered with clovers, with their pretty three leaves standing tall. I was told that my aunt found a four leaf clover when she was young. I never forgot that. And over the years wondered if there was some truth behind the good fortune they bring as she sure seemed to be the one who landed a disproportionate amount compared to her only sibling, my father.

I, in all my fifty plus years, had never found a four leaf clover. I’ll be honest. I stopped looking. It was almost more deflating to look and not find one versus not to look at all. 

But my daughter shared something simple with me. And it completely changed my view of four leaf clovers. Well, I can’t say my view of clovers changed, but my view regarding finding them did.

Sometimes spiritual truths lurk in the most unexpected of places. Such as TikTok. Some wonderful soul shared with the world the fact that within the space of, oh a few feet, you’ll always find a four leaf clover. I wasn’t sure if such a thing could be true.

It was. 

Since then we’ve gone on to find numerous four leaf clovers, and occasionally a five leaf clover.  I now collect them and press them within the pages of a vintage book on word origins. Also too, I now linger in my lawn running my hand across the clovers, knowing I will find one with four leaves tucked somewhere. Sometimes in plain view. Sometimes hidden.

But they were there all along. I’m the one who expected otherwise. And I’m only certain of it now because I go into it knowing. I know I will find one. I venture out expecting it. And that is the spiritual truth that shapes much of our life – our expectation of it. I had to sigh at myself once I noticed the parallel. I will never stop learning. And for that I’m grateful. Sometimes, dear reader, I shake my head at myself. Its so easy to get caught within our stories, our certainties. And sadly, more often than not, they lean toward the negative. Which is a travesty and generally leads to a self fulfilled prophecy.

Most of us base our expectations based on our history. Historically I’ve never found a four leaf clover, therefore, I know it is nearly impossible. Or, historically if I linger long enough, I know I will find one. This is how we approach life, every day. This is often too, how we approach our future. 

Early on our expectations are formed by those around us. And of course, their life often unfolded according to their beliefs and expectations. It gets imbedded in us before we even know how to articulate what we are seeing; not to mention, understand it for what it is. Life equals expectations. Please know that this goes much deeper than just surface expectations. Sometimes the surface is only part of the picture. We need to understand our deeper beliefs. Our value, what we feel we are worth. It’s amazing how that will form our expectations as we move throughout our day.

I will end with these two simple truths. First, share what you learn. Had my daughter not shared that little video with me, I still would be holding a belief that, now, I’ve completely transformed. And two, expect good things. Know that everything is working out. It makes the natural ups and downs of life easier when you know that on a grander scale, everything is okay, and that better days are coming – perhaps hidden from view at the moment, but they are there and soon you’ll see them.

Sane