Me in Matera, Italy

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Get out of the mud!

My sister said that depression is like slogging through really deep mud and you don't even realize how taxing it is until you get out, or more likely get into a slightly less dense area of mud.   I've been in the mud for a while now, too long; I can't remember when or how I got here but I feel better this week, lighter and brighter somehow.  Possibly baby step by baby step I've inched my way through all that heavy mud to firmer ground.  I'm not entirely sure if I'm out or on a reprieve but I'm not about to look a gift horse in the mouth ~ I'm enjoying this place!

'The Spirituality of Imperfection' by Ernest Kurtz is a book that I bought over 10 years ago when I was recovering from an eating disorder and severe depression.  The book is well worn, with a lot of dog-eared pages and almost the entire thing is underlined.  I revisit it's wisdom often: I've benefited greatly from the book over the years. 

No matter how many times I have read the last page, it gives me chills because it reminds me that recovery is possible and it's worth it but it's hard.  The passage is known as the promises and I have recited this line over and over to myself.  "If we are painstaking in this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through."  Kurtz adds to the promises "If we learn to accept our imperfection with humor, as a reflection of our very humanity, we will experience humility and tolerance, we will understand that we are already filled with forgiveness, we will see the gifts in our lives, we will be free - free not so much from fear or dependence but free for love, for life itself."

I've noticed that I have a tendency to make things too difficult; I over-think, over-analyze, over-research, get caught up in my perfectionism and underestimate the cumulative effect of the little things.  Just getting off the couch and going for a walk or spending 15 minutes tidying the kitchen after dinner or just "not talking" one time when I think of saying something unkind.  Even taking 5 extra minutes to put night cream on my face before going to sleep.  I don’t know what is around the corner tomorrow, next week or next month but I am happy that at this moment, everything is okay. Hopefully down the road, when I'm once again crossing the mud bogs, I can remind myself that the little things really do count.

Friday, 6 May 2011

The imperfection of happiness

I haven't blogged in a while. The truth is that I read over my blog posts and feel like a miserable failure. You see, the point of my blog is to find something good in every day and in retrospect, I see I'm really not doing a very good job of that.

Today at the bookstore I spotted a book called 'The Happiness Project'; i picked it up hoping to be inspired. I just finished reading the first chapter and I couldn't help but smile as I related to this woman's perfectionism getting in the way of her happiness project. She kept running up against paradoxes, coincidentally the very same paradoxes that baffle me:
*I want to change myself yet accept myself
**I want to take myself less seriously and also more seriously
***I want to use my time well but also spend more time wandering
****I want to think about myself and forget myself

After reading these, it's not hard to imagine why I feel lost, confused and discouraged; yet, I don't want to let my perfectionism to get in the way of my pursuit. Sure my blog is a bit of a downer but they did pass my own positivity test at the moment I posted them so perhaps that's good enough for now. My drafts folder is evidence that they don't all make the cut. 

Like the woman in the book, I am not seeking the secret to happiness; I simply want to be happier. Unlike the woman in the book, I am not preparing for adversity; I'm attempting to recover from it. Clearly I won't always get it right but what I will do is keep trying, keep looking for something good in every day and I have a feeling that I just may find it.