Monday, January 9, 2017


Nothing to say, nothing to do, nowhere to go... Why does my mind always want to treat this as a sickness, rather than a blessing? As the one who shall not be named says, Sad!
I posted this thought on my Facebook page this morning and was pleased with a response prompting me to think it through further...

It happens. I wake up with this feeling one morning, sometimes several mornings in a row. How to describe it? A sense of futility, of emptiness, of the pointlessness of it all. A total lack of motivation. A dreary sense of the sameness of each day... The feeling settles down around me like one of those damp English mists I knew so well in my younger days.  So maybe it's in the genes. Or maybe it's just the accumulation of years. Maybe I can attribute it to the social and political climate of these troubling times. No matter the "reason", it's a feeling that is unfamiliar and disturbing to me, but one that seems to arrive with increasing frequency these days.

Reason is of little help when it comes along. As Pascal wrote wisely, many years ago, "the heart has its reasons that reason cannot know." I look back on a privileged life, one that I would be churlish not to acknowledge as "successful" in so many ways. Through the years, I have achieved a certain mastery with my creative medium, words, and I am confident in using them. I am surrounded by those I love, and those who love me. I do not want for the material comforts life affords to us fortunate few--a source of furtive guilt, when I look out at the vast majority of the world's population. I "know" that the appropriate response to all these (many!) blessings in my life is gratitude. Reason would have me recognize that fact, and respond accordingly.

So why, as the comedian asked the horse, the long face? I suspect if the horse were able he'd say simply, Well, it happens. 

It happens. The great lesson is to be patient and observant when it does. To use the opportunity to take a careful, honest, unsparing look at the way the heart and mind are working at such moments; and to find a place a little bit apart, from which watch them having at it for however long they need to. It doesn't help to fight against them, to resist. It doesn't help to wallow in them either. It does help to stand back and watch, with vigilance. To repeat the words of this most valuable of mantras: This is not me, this is not mine, this is not who I am. To not, in other words, attach. Instead, to breathe. To slow down. To take the next breath observantly and with reverence, and to remind myself, in watching how it floods the body with a sense of timeless presence, how delicious a single breath can be. 

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