How goes your world today? It seems to me to be a time of horrible predictable news headlines and a world of people trying to stay upbeat and happy.
To be happy you have to stay away from the news, and to not try to be happy I believe. Trying to be anything sets up expectations and expectations often don’t live up to, our expectations.
What is wrong with feeling a little down? Do we all need to be happy 24/7? I generally have a happy disposition, but over the last 8 years as a widow, that has been severely tested and I have had deep sinking times in depression, and many days/months of melancholia. That’s a word we don’t hear of much these days, but I’d rather use that word than depression. I wouldn’t trade those years away, because as hard as they were, I have grown as a person, and love the person I am.
Melancholia and depression run in parallel paths (to me). Depression is apathy, inertia, lethargy and an inability to feel much of anything, and a willingness to stay there; I’ve been there and it is hard to move on, hard to care about anything and for some, not all, a prescription maybe a remedy. Time helps to bring about a change in disposition.
Melancholy is much the same yet, there deep inside you feel a questioning, a knowing and a longing to move on, or to create a new way for oneself. Being melancholy can lead to action, an escape from the inertia, to art, gardens, and movement and maybe, to see the world differently. One can be down and out and come upon a rose, and see that beauty as if for the first time ever, smell the perfume and be transported beyond every day moments.
I found myself in this space for a good four years after my beloved died and I’d don my boots and hat, grab the shovel and hoe and create gardens and edges and beauty. I played loud music in the paddocks and danced and sang, even when I didn’t care for the sound of my voice, and slowly I woke up to see the beauty of wildflowers and clouds and to find myself in a contended heart space. It is not an overnight experience, but those years have shaped me, and I admit to feeling really ok with my life right now.
You can be happy and see the world every day and notice nothing, (or notice how ugly many things are). You can be sad and pretend to be happy and feel withered inside…. Reach out friend, be your saddest self if you must and know that this too will pass. And if the passing is not quick enough, reach out to someone, even if that is to a grief counsellor, and admit you are not as happy as you said; it’s ok to do that, and hopefully you’ll find what it is you need.
You can be melancholy and see beauty; you can plant your feet on the earth and feel energised. It’s a matter of allowing yourself to be and to feel and express no matter what the season.
When I feel melancholy I head to the gardens, and it’s there that I remember to let go of the expectation to be happy, and I flop into a seat and let the world go by and smell the roses. What do you do?
Great writers and artists may not have had happy lives and yet, their words or paintings have the power to transport us. The words of Keats come to my mind, what a life that man lead, oh yes, but read his words and be transported. Read up on his life, he had a way of turning lemons into lemonade and understood more than many about life, death and beauty. Here is Ode On Melancholy, I love it, he really knew himself and how to live life.
If you have an unrelenting sadness, seek help from counsellors in your area, don’t suffer too long in silence.
Melancholy is mindfulness, and can be useful in finding the heart of your needs, wants and desires, and to creativity.
Being mindful in all moments is to be happy, sad, glad, contended, unhappy, and fearful, offering no pretence (of happiness) to please others. It is to be real and open to change and/or new directions, if you’ll allow it. Happiness is a wonderful feeling, but if we are honest, it can’t be at the expense of the richness life can be trying to bring to us through other emotions.
Life is up and down, the trick is to hover somewhere in the middle and enjoy the ride. Life does have great meaning with many twists and turns, remember to look up and around you, not just down at the path.
Take care friends