Embracing the Blues

I am now a New York Times published author!
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Rainbow…There the Whole Time?

Happy spring. According to the calendar and gardening podcasts, it should be bursting out soon, but I’m not seeing too many signs of it right now.

Just as I have been waiting for signs of spring, I have been waiting for inspiration to write this newsletter.

That was a few weeks ago. Nothing came.

Last weekend was the same—only more so.

Yesterday I decided that rather than waiting for something in me to change so I could be bright and inspiring, I would do what I tell other people to do: turn right around and confront what I am feeling and make that what I talk about.

So. There I was: uninspired, languishing, dull, withering. I needed to take my dogs to the groomer. They are doodles and usually remind me of the sweet and adorable memes they often look like. But this year, the dog days have come out of season, and they seem like unshorn sheep clotted with sticks and mud from the daily walks that they rub into the carpet.

Last week, my husband and I went to dinner at a nearby restaurant and I experienced it as an extraordinary tribute to our relationship. After so many decades, we have never stopped talking. The moment rang as though we had arrived at some amazing place of soulmate union.

This week, though . . . everything he said annoyed me. The shirt he wore irritated me. His attempts to be kind to his remote and uninspired partner irked me. Worst of all, I was most distressed by my own lack of generosity and appreciation.

At the same time, I was receiving an hourly email telling me I was the recipient of a FREE Ninja air fryer, which was another way of telling me that some new kind of malware was just one click away!

This malaise had been plaguing me for days. Finally, yesterday, I gave up trying to finish projects, write newsletters, rearrange books, make healthy meals, and inspire other people. Instead, I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my ancient and trusted remedy for the blahs), went to bed, read about scandals, and let go of every should on my long list. I surrendered. I embraced the blues and cuddled up to the blahs. I listened to Leonard Cohen (sometimes called the Master of Misery), made a playlist of the saddest songs ever made, turned them on loud—and I began to feel better. I woke this morning looking out at the same miserable weather, and soggy garden. My personal worries were still there. However, I felt different, more open and connected. I suggested to Tim that we go out to breakfast, answered emails and scheduled the pups for beauty treatments at the groomer on Tuesday. What changed from yesterday, when my inner world seemed as soggy, flat, and gray as the Oregon weather, to this morning, when I woke up with a brain full of possibilities for a better day and wanting connection?

Acceptance, the great antidote for resistance. I chose to accept a week that was hard for many reasons, including sad health news about people I cared about, reminders that I cannot change anyone but myself—even people I love who I think SHOULD listen to me—and having more boring things that had to be dealt with than I had the energy to tackle.
Languishing. That limbo place where all of life seems to buzz around me, but inside, I feel vacant. Where everything I read about taking action, making a gratitude list and pushing against the void makes me feel worse. So, the sweet surrender of letting it be and tunneling into a bed cave gave me the room to mourn, grieve, and make sense of that wonderful Leonard Cohen quote: “You look around and you see a world that cannot be made sense of. You either raise your fists or you say Hallelujah.”

Yesterday, I raised my fists and went to bed.

This morning, I am considering the possibility of Hallelujah.