Thursday, September 24, 2009


What the heck is Luxury anyway?

One of the issues I deal with as I continue to kick depression in the teeth grow into the wholeness of my being is reward. In depression, nothing is rewarding. Neurologically, nothing produces a nice shot of dopamine. Nothing resets the parasympathetic nervous system to healing mode. Nothing feels good. You keep aiming for your North Star but every achievement feels just as shitty as failure so why bother going to all the effort to keep steering when you can get the same mediocre buzz from a decent episode of True Blood?

I have to teach myself how to feel reward. I’m only just realizing how bad I am at rewarding myself. One of the reasons I don’t recognize reward is that I immediately describe it as a failure of my own moral fiber. The feeling of luxury becomes the feeling of selfish indulgence. I could be bettering myself! I could be achieving my goals! But instead I’m doing something that, gasp, just feels nice!

This has to stop. We need down time. We need to exhale in order to inhale. We need rest in order to thrive. Recently, I caught myself framing my experience negatively and chose to reframe it as reward. I just wanted to see what this might be like. The result was pretty cool.

Which would you rather live?

I haven’t been taking care of myself. Since I got back from Michigan, I haven’t cooked the food I know makes me feel better. I keep trying to write, but end up watching bad television on Hulu while constantly looking at Facebook and Twitter, checking email. And then last weekend, despite all my intentions to write, I ended up spending Sunday reading a fantasy novel.


I have been taking care of myself despite being under the weather since returning from Michigan. I haven’t been hungry at all, some kind of bug?, and this has presented certain challenges to getting enough protein. I haven’t been up to cooking hot meals, so instead I’ve worked to eat healthy snacks. I realized that after a week in Michigan, I’d jumped right back into work. No time off to reflect or recover, no time to adjust for jet-lag. This weekend was the first opportunity I have had to do nothing. Or mostly nothing. I still managed two loads of laundry, and I took out all the trash. But for the most part, all I did was blissfully read a fun novel, the first time I’ve done that in three years thanks to the reading glasses I bought in Michigan. How wonderful to have a beautiful Sunday afternoon just to read. Luxury.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wishing to Stretch

Jaime Ridler's Wishcasting Wednesday for this week is: What do you wish to stretch?

I believe that we don't always know what all we might be. Right now each of us is huge and myriad and strange and wondrous, but we’ve been taught to be finite. We are constantly pressing our infinitely intricate and miraculous existences into a definition. And everything and everyone we meet is also more than we are willing to imagine. This can be a terrifying notion, but it can also be an exhilarating one. It can make us fearful so that we lash out at anything that might tear down the illusion of our certainty, or we can choose to be grateful that we never, ever need to be bored.

I wish to stretch my ability to exist joyfully. I wish to stretch my perception of myself and in doing so give others space to stretch their own. I wish to stretch my ability to listen to others that I may better know this crazy, mixed-up universe I call home.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wishing to Begin

Jamie Ridler throws a Wishcasting Wednesday every week on her creativity blog. This Wednesday her question for all of us is: What do you wish to begin?

Beginnings are such precipitous moments. They are changes of direction carrying all those unexpected thrills and risks. Too often, I zone out right at the beginning of things seeking somehow to escape responsibility for what may happen by pretending I'm "letting the universe decide my course." But abnegating my responsibility for my own life drains me of creativity - you need to own your choices to create - so first and foremost I wish to begin paying attention to beginnings!

I wish to begin a regular practice of creating art. In my family, my sister was always the artist and I was the intellectual. Well, I can be intellectual and create art so there! I can even do it at the same time if I wanna. Okay, that was so not an intellectual way to say that. See, I’m already beginning!!! (And just for the record, my sister can be a fabulous artist and an intellectual as well! Screw you, family boxes!)

And finally – for now – I wish to begin a journey of transforming the loneliness in my life into love and connection. I save the best for last. I grew up terribly lonely and alone. I used to be angry about this feeling that life and family had let me down. It’s good to be angry for a while about childhood things that scarred, but eventually we gotta move on. So I’ve learned some stuff about loneliness and I can use that knowledge to recognize loneliness in others. And because I have stood up for myself, because I’ve been angry at the way a little girl was left on her own too much with no mentoring or encouragement, I am moved to do what I can to alleviate that need in others.

So, what do you wish to begin?