Well, I don’t know about you, but I have found my optimistic attitude fairly annoying lately. A little smug. For the first winter in I don’t know how long, so far I haven’t been hit with my usual Seasonal Affect Disorder symptoms, which usually include not wanting to get out of bed. Ever. I have been exercising every day, I meditate, do my spiritual reading, reach out to friends, keep looking for work and I’ve been writing. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours walking in Central Park, which was so beautiful. I am grateful for so much in my life. I also generally do well in a crisis and right now, we have a huge crisis, worldwide — on our hands — so big it’s impossible to really grasp. But if I limit the amount of time I spend watching the news, or even listening to NPR, and I mostly read my favorite op ed writers: Krugman, Collins, Dowd, Rich, Herbert, a few editorials, letters to the editors, the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast, so far it I can handle it. So far.
Yesterday I read Pema Chodron and this is one of the quotes from “Start From Where You Are.”
“Gloriousness and wretchedness
Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.
On the other hand, wretchedness — life’s painful aspect — softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you haven’t got anything to lose — you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple. Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”
My beloved dog, Lucy, who is about to turn 13, has another hematoma in her ear. She had two surgeries last year to remove hematomas in each of her ears. The surgeries cost around $750. We can’t afford to keep doing them. As I write this, sitting on our bed, Lucy is sleeping on Steve’s pillow. (I’m about to change the sheets.) I love this dog.
This is a difficult time. But I guess it’s just life. Maybe it’s like a hangover from a really wild party.