Oh goodness. It was so good having Bryan back this weekend. Thank god. It had been so, so, so long since we were able to talk and it was such a good release.
In other news, Jamie has made just huge connections in his head recently and it has been amazing and so fulfilling to watch. Things like actually being able to communicate, seemingly nodding his head when I ask him something, using the sign language hand gesture to say I want food, climbing up on things and figuring out how to safely climb off of them himself, and really making the last final step towards walking that isn’t walking (sort of jumping from piece of furniture to piece of furniture and walking while holding my hands). It finally clicked in his mind where he’s going with the walking gestures and he is so excited. He just cackles as I hold his hands and walk with him. He has been extremely happy the past few days…just giddy with all the things he’s now able to do. He was getting a little frustrated for the past few months on a consistent basis just not being able to do the things that his body wanted to do. But now he just laughs all the time and it is incredible to watch him making this progress and to be able to engage with him in these new and exciting ways.
So many thoughts…so many things to chew on, to muddle through, to wade in. But ultimately I have come to peace about everything. I have come to the mindset that whatever is best is going to happen and even if that isn’t OBJECTIVELY true, it has really actively helped me come to find some peace with the anxiety of things that are unfolding right now. If I can just get myself to believe it, even if it isn’t the truth, it is making me clear. And for now, that is the most I can hope for.
Appreciation and gratitude. That is the essence of everything which can begin to flip the world upside down. If I engage in actively living inside of gratitude I can actually feel my mind clicking in to gear…settling down and my mood changing immediately. And not remembering, too, that is always something I find tragic. I loved Emlyn so desperately as a child that I used to literally count the days until I could see her again. We usually only saw each other once a year and I would literally be dizzy with excitement. Once when I got very annoyed with her or was tired of being with her at some week long stay…my mother sat me down and reminded me that if Emlyn were to just show up on some random weeknight during the school year I would be so thrilled and I would cherish every moment I had. And that appreciation was this really fundamental piece of my mind which clicked in and formed the basis for a lot of how I continued to interact with the world. When the class of ’07 was leaving or when I was about to graduate high school or really during any time that I didn’t want to end I would imagine if years in the future I got to go back and have one day again and how I would treasure it and cherish it and so I tried to live every day under that guise. And that really radically changed my experience, my patience level and my willingness to commit to the moment. And now I have to keep remembering that feeling of appreciation and remembering all of the time. I always thought it was the most heart breakingly sad thing that Max and I had spent years missing each other and wanting to be with each other and then after a while, once we were living together…after a certain amount of time…we forgot. And I wish we could have remembered and gone back to maybe just a year previously and remember the ache we had to be with one another and then be grateful for just having one day together. But we forgot. And we let the world get menial and stagnant and we let every day life walk all over us. And that seems like an unbearable tragedy to me. But it’s what we all do. All of the time. If I was ever with Conor I would want to remember all of this. Keep it awake and keep it alive. The feelings we have without. Because there is too much beauty in it to forget it, to cast it aside, and to let life run away with you.
When I was pregnant the only concern I had was just that he would be born. That I wouldn’t miscarry, or do something that would result in him dying or having a still birth or having him born with some deformity or disease or disability etc. etc. the list goes on. It plagues a pregnant mother, just naturally. And I just kept asking for just a healthy baby. A whole baby. And that if I could be honored enough to just actually give birth naturally to a whole, healthy baby…that would be all I could ever ask for. I don’t feel like I have ever taken Jamie for granted, I actually am very proud with the amount of devotion I have shown to him…but I do feel like I have allowed myself to get swallowed up in the struggles and obstacles of this summer and the difficulties of my current relationship with Jeff and I have allowed that stress to sometimes drag me down. That is not to say that I should just have NO feelings about impending divorce. It is just to say that it is a sweet and comforting thought that what I asked the universe for 9 months straight came true beyond my wildest imaginations. That I gave birth (naturally) to a healthy, beautiful, smart, incredible baby and that I love being a mother. And that in so many ways, I am so disgustingly blessed that I really can’t ask for anything more. I have so much more than so many people do. I am fulfilled in so many ways. I have creative outlets that so many do not get. I have horrible members of my family but I also have incredible ones. I have this difficulty but I also have opportunity for rebirth.
The whole time I was looking and looking and looking for some place to stay I was so desperate to find some place that I was just saying please god dammit, find me any place and I promise I will be so grateful for it. And the idea of actually getting to stay next to the farm was so exhilarating that I thought I could never deserve such a thing. And it’s amazing how easy to forget all of that is and to be disgruntled with this tiny aspect of your living situation or that and to just very quickly lose sight of that initial gratitude and get expectant. And keep raising your expectations and raising your expectations until they can never be satisfied. We do this in relationships too. But the key is to actively, consciously, jolt yourself out by actively bringing to mind all the things you have to be grateful for and appreciating them. Maybe this is what some people do with prayer or a blessing on a meal. Maybe these rituals can be secularized and made valuable to all in a different light. Or maybe we can just practice gratitude. It might be enough to transform about half of the world’s stupid problems. It’s difficult, and I don’t always succeed…but I have to keep reminding myself. I have to keep keeping myself awake and aware and appreciative for every tiny, slight breath. For the concept of breath and the in take of breath and magnifying out from there. In circles and circles and circles of endless things that I could be grateful for in my life. And then suddenly I am in a state of ecstasy when 10 minutes ago I was depressed.
Sometimes it’s good to wallow, definitely. But sometimes it’s important to drag yourself out to gratitude.
It’s a fine line, I suppose, between making excuses for shittiness and not allowing yourself to see the beauty in things. We shouldn’t dismiss everything and we should feel our way THROUGH things to the other side, certainly not avoid bad things or run away from them or just paint them as if they’re not happening by focusing on other things…but once we ARE through and can find peace, we should recognize the silver linings and hold on to hope and be grateful. There is a flow and oftentimes it seems a rhythm and reason for all of these things. I think people might be much more settled with some concept of things happening for a reason if we include this idea that sometimes the reason IS to fuck things up. But that all things ARE connected, are part of some larger gesture. That doesn’t mean that the larger gesture is all rainbows and puppies. What I have always pointed to is nature. That it is fundamental in nature to knock shit down, to burn, to destroy. That this force is as elemental as creation. That it is just as natural of a force to grow food as it is have a devastating hurricane. That within this beautiful world there are a myriad of forces and none of them are wrong or better. They all simply serve THEIR purpose. There are earthquakes and tidal waves and volcanoes in the same breathing organism that sustains birth and creation and growth of forests and plants and animals. The same earth that creates the forest will knock it down. And THAT is a fundamental feature of reality that I think a lot of people like to ignore. The inherent masochism of the universe which is NOT BAD. And is not wrong. And the inherent healing in the universe which is not wrong either. Clearly pain is a valid and vital part of this whole thing. Not even because it is justified by some larger karmic action that moves towards making it “right” or balancing it out. On some fundamental level there is ACTUAL value in pain itself. I mean, any artist knows this, on at least some fundamental level. It’s the place out of which creation comes. There is always some elemental force that is pushing and pulling and dragging light and darkness into specific hues to create a specific image. And you cannot discount that. There is value in all things. In all things natural and innate. How can you say they are wrong? And yeah, the whole thing makes life…the drama of human experience….EXIST. Without pain there would be no happiness and vice versa. Without any contrast it would not be happiness but merely the unarticulated state of all beings. The duality creates the existence of an emotional life. Creates the existence of meaning. And yeah, sometimes I think life knocks you down and heals you just so you can go through the whole fucking mind blowing, soul clearing experience. The amazing experience of being knocked on your ass, and the equally amazing experience of healing. And then after a while of equilibrium, we take another tidal wave. And this is how life retains any sense of intrigue. And this happens in nature as well. This is HOW a natural system retains its innately sustainable flow and balance. Through cycles, rhythms and waves. A lot of simplistic thinking discounts the dips as only springboards to the highs…and while that is valid and sometimes helpful thinking…I think we as humanity miss so much by not accepting the WHOLE cycle and seeing immense beauty in the whole thing. I mean we do, clearly, innately we do…why else would be continue to watch drama and movies and listen to emotional music and all other cathartic experiences we engage in. But I wish we could take that innate feeling we chase and actually acknowledge: pain is valid. The world is round and I love to feel it all.
And I think this is part of a larger conversation about mental health. The way we approach all of this gets very sticky to me. I don’t feel qualified to have a full, really well articulated opinion…because I know that a lot of people respond well to diagnosis, labels, therapy and medications. But I do believe that the human mind is a sacred and mysterious and organic thing that needs to be treated with much more respect than simply filling it with a variety of chemicals and implying some stigma of weakness in conjunction with some sort of “fault” of the way the brain is SUPPOSED to work. This seems faulty to me. Even to so quickly diagnose people I have a problem with. So many things can be healing and so much pain can be PART of a more profound journey inwards towards knowing yourself and your own mind. Recently I’ve been reading about how schizophrenia or people with psychosis or visions…in indigenous cultures this was the first indication of a shaman. Of a larger spiritual and mental journey that you were being jolted into that, with a mentor and a proper framing of within an accepting culture…you would make it through the other side stronger and with a grasp on your mental faculties and be able to channel these visions into shamanism and healing for the community. That is something really, really beautiful. And there are so many ways to heal, so many ways, so many real, embracing, invoking and enlivening ways to heal. Like dancing and art and music and a thousand alternative measures and yeah weed and breath and watching the sunset and engaging in nature and walking in the woods and chasing the land and strange and incoherent journeys that lead you to deeper places of understanding than you could ever know. If you go through it. If you allow yourself to go through it. And this sense that we are not giving each other the tools to make these innate journeys that people have been making since the dawn of time, these natural aspects of human development…and in a world without walkabout or initiation rites or rituals that speak to these parts of the human psyche…without these things…I think we are leaving a lot of people feeling pretty helpless and pretty numb to the world on antidepressants that maybe fight a symptom but don’t address more fundamental issues that are a part of this complex experience that is the human condition.
And that natural tendency towards dissipation. That concept has been depressing me lately. But tonight Bryan finally gave me hope. The new relationship energy. Finally he framed it in a way that was not simply that: inevitably, the butterflies wear off and after a couple of years you forget everything and you’re stuck in a relationship of gears and motions like SO much of popular media describes. That endless rhetoric that makes you feel sort of hopeless about relationships. Like this is the way they’re supposed to be. You’re just supposed to get to this place without passion or you’re some incredibly romantic person that still says they’re “in love” after all these years. It doesn’t have to be all these ways we describe it at all. We should change the conversation and we should change the way we frame these things and the way we look at these things. New relationship energy carries its own momentum to bring you up to a certain level of compromise, change and challenge that can get you to a place where you can have a SUSTAINABLE relationship and a comfortable relationship with different assets and more maturity than one carried solely by new relationship energy. You can ride the same waves I was discussing above. And feel the rhythms and rhymes of your life. And the pains. And there is no reason why you shouldn’t still be in love. IN LOVE. And cultivate that. The appreciation of one another. The gratitude for one another. And the stability of something deep. Something profound. Something intimate. Something that grows roots deeper in the ground and branches higher into the sky at the same time. And still allows you to run, and to fly, and to dance in the magical bliss of being in love. Yeah, that’s worth fighting for.