Thursday, January 26, 2012

Coming Alive - What Next?

For the most part of my sixty years I have suffered from bouts of depression interspersed with generalised negative thinking. Fortunately, I've always also had brief encounters with happiness, and with  joy, euphoria, or what Abraham Maslow called 'peak experiences'.  (Time to re-read this man's work.)

When I first experienced these euphoric moments I tried to find ways to make them happen more often, but then, because my general outlook has been so negative, I quickly became fearful of the power of this joy, and learned to suppress it. I have always been an emotional person, and as a child my mother tried to teach me to suppress emotions: I remember being punished and sent to my room for getting angry, which I can understand because my anger was pretty loud and often violent. But I also remember being sad and being sent to my room until I cheered up. Worse still, I remember being sent to my room to calm down when I was skipping and singing happily. So I guess it's understandable that I learned how to be expertly unhappy when depression moved in at puberty!

Never mind - I'm almost grown up now, and I've not only decided to cheer up, I've learned how to do it. It's hard work, but I really am happier than I can ever remember, even though nothing much has changed in my physical, 'real' world. Furthermore I have rediscovered the magic of euphoria - and when I'm alone I can take myself there again. It could get addictive if I'm not careful!
With the increasing feeling of well-being I am learning all kinds of things that most people probably learn in childhood! I have learned to accept the the past instead of constantly brooding on everything I did wrong, didn't do that I wanted to, didn't do because although I didn't want to do something then, I now wish I had, just always thinking about the wrong moves. And then I'd think about all the people who did me wrong and all the people I did wrong to - and so it would go on.
There are things I'm a bit sad about still - I don't know if I'll ever not feel sad about not learning to dance, and about not having a partner who wants to learn now, when it's way too late to do that sort of dancing with anyone other than my partner. However, I am okay about it now because.......
I've realised that if I wrote down all the things that I wish I'd done and all the things I still would like to do, there are way more than I could have achieved in a long life if I'd started the minute I was born! Sure there are things I'm too old for, too unfit for, not talented enough for, not educated enough for, but there are more than enough to keep me busy, excited, stimulated for longer than I wish to be alive. I'm starting another list of things I want to do, in my Journey Book, (which started out as my depression book, but which has evolved.)
Make cheese.....make sourdough bread......dance in the rain again......travel to Golden Bay and to Stewart Island......get stoned like I 'should' have done in the hippy days of my youth.....write happy poetry.......visit our friend in Australia.......die, not in my bed, nor by my own hand, but blowing bubbles.

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