Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Life Worth Remembering

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Something has been happening lately that I have found a bit difficult to be present to.  It's actually been happening quite a bit since I returned from my trip to Germany on June 1st.  I find myself waking up in the morning and noticing how my mind promptly begins to swirl with so many thoughts that I could make myself dizzy if I attempted to give attention to each and every one of them for more than a fleeting second.  It's a bit like trying to track the Tasmanian devil character from the Looney Tunes cartoons that I enjoyed watching when I was a child.  Meanwhile I sense this deep sigh arise from my body when my mind launches forward at full throttle.  It feels like there is a split between my body and my mind.  My mind doesn't seem to pay any heed to how exhausting my body finds it when my mind first starts running full steam ahead in the morning.

I have also noticed that listening to the news on the radio when I first awaken is one of the worst decisions I can make.  I suspect I am probably not alone in this sentiment.  Hearing about the ongoing scandal of priest abuse in the Minneapolis-St. Paul diocese does nothing good for me.  Indeed, hearing such coverage only reminds me of the time I spent as a member of the Jesuit order when I was a man in my 20s.  And then I find myself subsequently thinking about how that time in my life was quite a transformative period for me but how I would not seek to define myself by it now.  It feels like a portion of time that was swallowed by a black hole.  Stories of the recent federal government shutdown, economic chaos, accelerating climate change and bodies of missing young women being found in fields also do little to improve my mood.  And it's a good thing they do not.  If somehow they elevated my spirit I would pay even more attention to my current state of mental health than I already do.

I find I need such an incredible amount of time to wake up in the morning and prepare for my day.  On one level this is simply a reflection of what the undertow of a depressive affect does to my capacity to move with some degree of speed.  I find I want to move slowly and relish the experience of actually being alive and having a functional body to move around in.

I want to create a life worth remembering.  And I realize how so much of my most recent life is something I would prefer to forget.  And then, when I appreciate just how deeply that feeling runs, I feel this charged swirl of shock, sadness, pain and anger.  I find myself posing the following question to myself: 'How did I reach this point?'  Indeed, how was it possible that I could be so unaware of such a large portion of my psyche that I had to reach the point of crisis before I would awaken to how much of my interior life was going unacknowledged?  In essence I am asking the age old question of 'How did this happen to me?'  How did I sleepwalk to the seeming edge of oblivion?  It's a very good question.

So here I sit contemplating how to create a new life that is worth remembering.  It is my meta-question of the moment.  And of the hour.  And of the day.  And of the week.  And of the month.  It is indeed a huge question.  It is one I simply must address now.  I cannot postpone my life another day.  I have worked too hard, fought too hard, overcome too many obstacles and dreamed big dreams too often to give up on myself now and settle for a dim version of a vivid and rewarding life.

I am finding it difficult to breathe at this time.  My awareness of this pain is so immense and so conscious that it feels virtually suffocating.  Breathing is the only choice I can make and never stop saying 'Yes' to.  I must breathe and find a way to engage with my life as it currently exists.  I must find a way to engage with the pain within me.  In that greatest darkness is the seed of most powerful light.

It's a good thing I am going to my local MCC congregation shortly.  I need the distraction from my own mind.  Light, buoyant and happy moments are something I need more than ever.

Blessings to all who read this.  May you successfully find your way out of any personal darkness you are struggling with.  Know that you are not alone!

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