So what do you do when you’ve dug yourself a rut so deep you can’t get out of it? What do you do when you’ve outgrown your life, but your life has not outgrown you? In case you’re wondering, it feels deeply uncomfortable, like you’re a size 14 squeezed into size 10 pants.
What if every drop of carefully tended patience, kindness and presence has been squeezed out of you until all that remains is a taut drum filled with anger, frustration and self-loathing?
Well, there are lots of options of course, including drinking myself into a stupor, going on a massive shopping or gambling spree or having an affair. All those options sound crap to me, and guaranteed to make my life worse, not better.
I tried this 10 point process instead:
- Listen to Nirvana Unplugged and write a poem so angry and depressing that the Bear loved it and wanted to write a grunge guitar riff around it. Do you want to read it? Oh, all right then.
My teeth hurt from words unsaid
My hands are bleeding from digging
A big, deep rut to sit in
My shoulders are hunched with self-loathing
Doing nothing well and everything badly
“How are you today?
“Can’t complain, can’t complain
Can’t fucking complain
I have it too good you see
In my mind I’m on a plane
And I’m outta here
I line up all the people and places
I haven’t seen in too long
Because I have been having it so good
My world is so small
And it gets smaller every day
So does my care-factor
Currently 1 in 10
No, no, hold the applause.
2. Get totally disgusted with my melancholy and dull lethargy and take myself off to my yoga room to meditate. Or something. Start feeling better and contemplate moving into my meditation room permanently.
3. Realise that this is sadly implausible and wonder if it is possible to create a miniature meditation room/temple inside myself that I can retreat to when my mind becomes an unpleasant place to be.
4. Think this is possibly the best idea I have had all week (God knows it has had precious little competition) and spend a little time designing one. This is kind of fun (!). What would yours look like?
5. It becomes even more fun when I realise that there is already one there. It is a jade pyramid with elephants engraved on the walls and a sunken floor filled with luscious carpets and soft cushions. It is so soft and comfortable looking I walk to it and lay down. There is beautiful music and fragrant incense fills the air. I stay here for a long, long time.
6. I start thinking about my favourite massage therapist, and how long it has been since I had a massage from her. I decide that on Friday, instead of dedicating that day to study and work like I normally do, I am going to get a haircut and a massage. Bliss! It will be a day solely devoted to making myself happy.
7. I momentarily worry that this is selfish and lazy – and then realise that my deeply unhappy self isn’t making anyone around me happy at the moment, so this day of making myself happy is actually a selfless, productive activity that will benefit others.
8. My spirits have now lifted considerably, and the little flame is burning brighter in my heart. Have I got time to do some yoga before dinner I wonder? Yep. Forward bends, back bends, standing poses, inversion and floor stretches. I feel like one of those sand patterns in a frame that has been up-ended to make a new landscape.
9. I Look and feel so different when I walk back to the house that the Bear looks twice at me to see if it is indeed the same woman that grumped past him 2 hours ago. It is. Turn on my music and let the itunes Angel (do you know her? She’s awesome) find some ridiculously appropriate music to listen to, really loudly, while I’m making dinner. Otis Redding, Daisy May, Groove Armada, Angus and Julia Stone, Edward Sharpe – who wouldn’t be in a good mood after that?
10. Just to cap it off, everyone falls asleep early except for me, leaving me in peace to write it all down. And here is a much better poem, just to cap it all off:
If Lost…Stand still
Stand still. The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger
both asking to know and be known.
Listen. The forest whispers,
“I have made this place, you can leave and return once again
No two trees are the same to Raven,
no two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a branch does is lost on you,
you are truly lost.
Stand still. Listen.
The forest knows where you are.
Let it find you.
– Arrangement by David Wagoner
A native American Elder was asked,
“What shall we do if we get lost?”
What do you do to pull yourself out of a funk?