One difficulty of writing a blog is the way my conditioned mind will lock into a particular image of itself that it needs to present, then hijack my writing so that it conforms itself to that image. To be confused, unsure, afraid, or depressed is unacceptable to this conditioned part of my psyche and such states must never be revealed in the blog. The story seems to say, “People are looking to you for encouragement so you must keep yourself centered and confident. For heaven’s sake, don’t write anything if your can’t be positive and wise.” Yet, why communicate at all if I can’t communicate the full range of my experiences of life? Without that freedom my writings, my books, and my essays over the past 30 years would be a waste of words – mere facades woven with language to cover rather than reveal my soul.
At the moment I am discouraged and depressed. I acknowledge that both Nancy and I have been sick with a severe cold for the past week and we all know how that affects mood and outlook. Yet this current discouragement, though it will pass, is real and should not be dismissed by that part of me which is so terribly concerned with image.
I feel as if I have foolishly stepped off the edge of responsible behavior. I am assailed by the very voices I wrote about in a previous blog, Do You Know What You’re Doing? I reread that particular blog and found encouragement from my own words. Yet the feeling remains that I am somehow a foolish and naive man who, at age 74, is throwing away his life in Quixotic tilting at windmills. We have very little money. Our motor home is “docked” at my son’s home but we can’t remain here indefinitely. I have no idea what my contribution can or should be to the healing of the Earth. I am judging myself by all the standards that I actually don’t affirm to be true, but they feel true right now.
I write these discouraged thoughts because they are real to me at the moment. They are not the only reality. They are merely conditioned thoughts firing through the synapses of my brain. I write because I believe that a full-on acceptance of the transient moods of life is far more healthy than the effort of trying to pretend they do not exist. Acknowledging depression and discouragement is the first step toward moving through and emerging into the daylight. Our conditioned mind uses depression as one of its major weapons to resist transformation. It also hits us with the double-whammy of, “You’re depressed? What’s wrong with you? You shouldn’t be depressed? Buck up?”
“Buck up!” is a common refrain in life, but there are times when we long to hear, “Buck down for a bit.” There is nothing wrong with depressive and discouraged moods. Life is full of challenges and we are not always at our physical and emotional best to face them. That’s OK. We’ll find our way through. Compassion and acceptance, despite the insinuations of the conditioned mind to the contrary, are the strongest forces available to the human soul.
Lao Tzu remains my most compassionate guide, reminding me that, “The only step necessary in the thousand mile journey is the small one right in front of you.” It is raining and the Huachuca Mountains just south of us still have a bit of snow on their peaks. Nancy is napping. Kleenex tissues form their own small mountains by the chair, bed, and couch. I’m going to, “buck down,” and take a nap myself. That’s the next small step. It will be enough.
Bless our hearts, all of us.