Sunday, September 16, 2012

Letting Things Change

the most fun thing I photographed all  week
This morning I woke up miserable - many pains and bad dreams/memories of a bad time in my life that I survived only through luck. I tried ducking back in bed, warming up, but it didn't work, so I got up, dazedly drank some coffee, and stretched and meditated. Sigh. This is the fibromyalgia at work, caused by major weather systems and the change of seasons. As if it's not bad enough to be bipolar.

One thing I have learned by experience is that I am not so depressed when I am meditating. I think that's partly because I am working, concentrating on following my breath, turning down the volume on unhappy thoughts. Also, when I meditate I intend to be receptive to space and the universe, a sort of listening similar to contemplative prayer.

But after that I was a mess again. Had to ask Tom for advice on which sweater to wear (he chose orange), spent ten or fifteen minutes putting a necklace on, partly the clumsiness of arthritic hands, partly the brain fog, a feature of fibromyalgia. It depresses normal (non-bipolar) people. And I think I'm over-medicated now as well; we'll see where this mood goes. But got dressed, got to church - on time! It was a beautiful sunny fall day.

At the door I met Catherine, a woman I know largely through Facebook. She is someone I feel warmly toward, because a while back she offered to tie-dye some of my boring white socks after I posted how frustrating it is to look for socks when you have large feet. I was on the tall side earlier in life, 5'8", though I am compressing now, and my feet have spread with age to size 11 1/2 narrow. I don't mind having big feet anymore, as I have figured out what feet are for, and am glad to be walking on them, but I can hardly find shoes that big, and no pretty socks.

Catherine stopped and said she wanted to tell me she reads my blog, and Thank you for sharing. Ahh. I was still cold, but I felt warmth in my center. And I felt somewhat enlightened by her comment; I realized my identity a little better, that I see this blog as an extended circle of friends.

I was still morbidly depressed. The sermon was interesting, and during it I wrote a poem that touched down on the memory of that very bad time in my life I had dreamed of. I wondered whether this was a significant date - I am sensitive to birth and death dates, sometimes unconsciously. And indeed, my mother's birthday was September 17, tomorrow. I don't remember her death date consciously; it was also in the fall. And here we are in this parade of deaths, our friends Teena and Greg, and now Tom's father, whose service is next Wednesday. Travel with our array of health problems can be an ordeal. Add to it all that grief.

After the service we came home and Tom cooked sausages and whole-grain waffles with maple syrup, and as I ate my mood moved up, who knows why.  I have never enjoyed a meal more. It inspired me to clean up the kitchen and put together a casserole for tonight. Cooking has become a sometime thing for me, and I welcome the times when I feel like doing it.

The thing I know now about pain and depression is that these things, too, change, and change faster if you don't grasp ideas that now your day is ruined, or your week.  Or that it's not fair - that was part of Mark's point today - it's not about fair. If you make a point of staying open to the moment, the whole world around you is changing, full of potential. This understanding is one of the teachings that makes Buddhism a religion, distinct from meditation for your health or to improve your business decisions.

[The image is the canopy for a fairy-tale like little bed in one of the Sunday school rooms in our church. Creative dance was held in that room yesterday.]


  1. One time, I was crying in Reb Anderson's dokusan room and he looked at me and said, "Can you try that while sitting up right?" Apparently, I had slumped, but when I stretched my back bone to the sky, I found it was hard to keep that feeling of despair.

    Also, I was telling someone about my 5 months of poison oak (california is just covered with it) and they said, "Oh, man, I couldn't imagine sitting Zazen like that." and I remembered that Zazen was the only time it didn't itch!

    Thinking of you Dalai Grandma- You sound clear about all this pain.

    Sausages and waffles- sounds wonderful! Maybe someday we'll share a meal.


    1. How good to hear from you first thing in the morning. I've never sat with Reb, but read one of his dharma talks that makes the point. It is about a student who was distraught over news from home, and he suggested (as I recall) that she go to the kitchen and do her work, which was cutting the turnips. She found herself calm down as she did. Occasionally I'll catch myself like that and say, Time to go cut my turnips. Fold the towels, whatever like that, work in the material world. You're getting plenty of that these days. (exclamation point suppressed)

  2. I can relate to the ups and downs... we have a lengthy Family History of Bipolar & ADHD and I'm fairly certain I'm an undiagnosed of both... but at this Senior Season of Life, hey, I've coped thus far some kind of way so I'll just roll with it and do what works for me too. *winks*
    I do find that when I recall that things CHANGE I am much more apt not to have the "Always~Everything" mindset that can be so toxic during the not so rosy periods. *Winks* When I feel extreme I sometimes Blog Vent to just get it out there and acknowledge the feelings... but then move forward knowing that by tomorrow... or maybe even later in the day... things and my thoughts could change... and that Optimism has been Priceless and allowed me to see my glass as half full rather than half empty. So glad I found your Blog this Morning and that you now have great socks that you're really digging... what a great unexpected Gift... isn't the Land of Blog and this Community wonderful!???!? Hugs and Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

    1. Hi Bohemian - Not only do I have great socks, but that woman made a point of telling me she would be glad to dye more socks for me.....Yes, I love this community. It is the nature of depression to isolate us. And then I think we "mentally ill" are different enough that a lot of people sort of avoid us, and I must say, there are a lot of people I don't want to be with, either....The "not always so" mindset seems crucial to surviving these damn ups and downs, doesn't it? Thanks for writing - it's fun to hear from you. "blog vent" - a new word.