September 18, 2003

Yep.  It's a new day.  I'm feeling much better and I think the last of the ick has left.  The good news is that the worst day of this week and a half depression wasn't nearly as bad as the best day in the time prior to a year or two ago.  I really feel like I was reborn in the time when Eric was laid off last year.  I think I went into the cocoon maybe around 1996 when Paul left for the last time (after almost 20 years of him coming and going and going and coming - and always too soon - *wink*) and I was working on growing and evolving and becoming and the finally it took something that would seem destructive to break me out of the cocoon and show me what I had become during all that time I was closed off from the world.  Before then, I didn't have any idea what I wanted in life, what would ever make me happy or even how to go about being happy.  I was a miserable person who made way through each day like a challenge to be surmounted or some infliction to be endured.  There were times when I thought I was happy, but it seemed as though Life waited for those times to knock me back down again and show me "my place" in the world, which was under the heel of whatever oppressor, be it a person or a situation, was my major nemesis of the moment.  During the time when it looked like we stood to lose almost everything, the things that are the most important to me came starkly into focus and a new way of dealing with the world revealed itself.  That's why I was fairly taken aback when this latest bout of depression hit.  I just wasn't used to it any more and had pretty well forgotten how to recognize it or deal with it.  Fortunately, it went away quickly and as I said, wasn't like "the old days."  I remember a time when Eric came to be and said, "Can you please think of one thing that would make you happy so that I can create it?  I'd just like for you to be happy for a few minutes even."  It seemed like no matter what happened to us, even the most wonderful things, I'd be cringing, waiting for the blow to come.  It wasn't within me to walk confidently into the world, knowing that whatever happened to us would ultimately be for the greatest good.  Faith and grace were qualities I couldn't understand or imagine, much less embody. 

One of the things that turned me around, and I can't even remember where the idea first presented itself, was the Lesson of the Grateful Child.  It says that if one considers their interpretation of Deity, be it God or a Goddess or The One or The Creator or Allah or The Source or whatever, to be something of a parent figure, then you follow it all the way through.  Even those who are not parents can think back on their own interactions with children and relate to the analogy.

What child is the most appealing?  Which one do you most want to please and which one exasperates you?  Which child has a look of delight on their face when you do something special for them and which one scowls and pushes it away?  Who won't even try a new food they might love because they've already decided they don't like it and who takes a tiny, adventurous taste and then enjoys the new food with gusto?  Who moves confidently through the world with delight and joy and who pulls and tugs and clings and constantly says, "I want... I want... I want... Gimme... Gimme... Gimme... Do it for me, do it for me?"  Who is the Varuca Salt of mundane children ("I want a golden goose NOW, Daddy!!!" and who is Charlie Bucket? 

How many times does God (for the purpose of using a commonly accepted word) show us a road less traveled or a plan that doesn't match what we had in mind, only to have us balk and complain and shrink away, refusing to even try?  (But complaining because they're stuck in the same mess they were in last year and the year before that)  How many times do people begin to beg and plead for their personal Deity to help them out of a situation and make things right before they even try to tackle the situation on their own?  How many times to people pray for a certain thing to happen rather than going out to make it happen?  How often do they expect the answer to find its way to them rather than creating paths for it to follow to get there?  Why do we make God work so hard to help us? 

Doesn't a parent enjoy pleasing a grateful, loving, joyful child rather than doing what it takes to shut up the one who whines and complains and begs constantly? 

One thing I have learned that is reinforced to me almost daily is that unlike the natural, physical world, in the spiritual world, like attracts like.  What you put out there is what you get back and what you draw to you and your world.  We have to be proactive in creating around us the world we want to live in rather than waiting for it to manifest.  The fastest way to be disappointed is to hold your happiness ransom based on the action of others, the very thing you CAN'T control.  If you depend on others to feel a certain way or act a certain way, then they have that much power over you.  That means you have then lost another chunk of the ability to create your own destiny.  If you wait for someone to change into a different person in order to facilitate your happiness ("I know some day he'll appreciate my faithfulness and stop cheating on me."  "I know some day my friend will stop taking advantage of me."), you're going to continue to have that energy in your life.  If YOU get proactive about change ("I have been a good wife to you.  I am no longer willing to share you with other women and have their sexual behavior be responsible for me getting a disease.  Either you stop cheating or we aren't going to have this relationship any more."  "I have been thinking about some of the things that have happened between us and I think maybe I haven't been fair to you.  I haven't let you honestly know what I need from a friend and as a result, I've found that my feelings are constantly being hurt and I'm starting to resent that.  I love you and I want to make sure you know that when ________ happens, it hurts me and I hope you wouldn't want to intentionally hurt me.  I hope that telling you this can help our relationship grow and be a happier place for both of us."), then you will more quickly find The Universe meeting you more than half way to create the life that is for your greatest good and greatest happiness.

The trick is knowing when to make a move and when to let go and let God, so to speak.  Proactive is good, as long as it's creating positive change.  Sometimes, you have to let go of all conceived possibilities, throw up your hands and say, "OK, fine, YOU take it!" and let go of the wheel. 

The thing is that once we truly, with soul bared and heart and arms opened, ask God or the Universe or Life or whatever to put us on the path to our greatest good and happiness, life starts to shift all around us in incredible ways.  This practice is present in nearly every religion.  In Paganism, it's "putting my life in the hands of the Goddess."  In Christianity, it's "laying it all at the feet of Jesus."  Regardless, it's about relinquishing your control over a situation and allowing higher powers to dictate what happens next and after that and after that.  It's a weird feeling, as though you were in the process of working one of those sliding-tile-that-makes-a-picture puzzles, but no matter how you slide it around, you just can't get the picture right.   You give it up and stand back as the tiles scoot around in ways you never thought would make any sense (Wait!  Why are you moving it there!  Hold on!  That can't work!) and then out of nowhere, you see the picture and it all makes sense.  You can see how a tile was in the totally wrong place before and had to be moved away.  You can see how taking this path and moving things this way put you right where you need to be. 

I've seen it happen so many times, in so many ways, where something that I fought tooth and nail to avoid doing (like divorcing my first, who was also my second, husband) turned out to be the key element that changed my life in a fabulous way I couldn't possibly imagine before it happened.  That's where faith comes in.  Knowing when to get assertive and when to let go is where listening to the inner voice comes in.

A lot of times, people surround themselves with noise and chaos to avoid hearing their inner wisdom and the guidance it offers.  When women have severe PMS and hormonally based emotional outburst, more often than not, it is their spirit crying out to give attention to an area of their life where they are starving.  What is difficult to handle is the enormity of their expression of anger and frustration over the problem, which they will normally either pretend isn't a problem or suffer in silence.  Dr Christiane Northrup says that PMS and menopause are times when we are our most authentic selves, when we speak in truths instead of in niceties.  Our responses are exaggerated in order to be heard, because usually, we ignore the messages.  While the problem may not be as intense enough to warrant the outbursts we often inflict on others, the root of the problem is definitely a situation that needs adjustment or else we wouldn't have the kindling on which to build the fire.  If you are seeing a recurring theme to your hormonal rages (or tiffs, whatever), try giving the source of the problem some serious thought and attention during your non-hormonally peaked times.

Jeez, look who's rambling here!  (See how deftly I get out of cleaning my house, which I really, really need to do?)  I just open the floodgates and start rambling and justify not shoving the vacuum around the house and spitcleaning here and there.  ;o)

So my inner voices, which I can't seem to still with TV or music, are telling me I really, really should make a show of effort and get this house in order, so I'm going to practice what I preach and get moving!  Wonder how much I can accomplish in 4 hours or so if I really put some ass into it?  Today, I've cleaned my office carpet, given the 5 hermit crabs a bath and changed the turtles' water (I just cleaned them on Monday, so those guys must have one hell of a party in there to funk it up in just 3 days).  Of course, that was all done about 4 hours ago, so I guess it's time to get moving again.

Wish me luck!


PS: If you want more modern mythologies like The Lesson of the Grateful Child, you can find them here:

There's a bit of Pagany stuff in the very beginning that you'll have to overlook if you don't enjoy such things, but the stories themselves are not specific to any particular spiritual path. 


11 July 2003.
Artwork by ©Jody Bergsma . Used with Permission
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