Let all be done in and for Love.
“All you need is love” John sang--it’s true.
Perhaps not practical, but if you wove
Love into every action, forgetting you,
You might experience a stunning bliss.
The irritating clerk who takes your call
Could be forgiven for her ignorance.
The myriad cracks in your defensive wall
Might be repaired as love helps you accept
The natural limitations of your role.
Attacked, you turn your cheek, strive to protect
The peace, go grab your robe and beggar’s bowl.
Why can't we do this when Love calls us on?
Self-preservation is the Devil’s con.
I had a terrible day yesterday. I tend to wake up OK, but within an hour anxiety starts churning in my stomach and I become afraid. I drag myself through the day, fearing I will not think of anything to do. Yesterday I attended a class on identifying mushrooms and I envied the fungus its peace. Or I would have if I hadn’t been so preoccupied with myself. I hit the bed early, watching UCLA (my alma mater) beat USC for the first time in eight years. Normally I would be happy over the event. But I could only experience the tension of the game, the anxiety about the outcome, and no triumphant emotions visited me after UCLA’s incredible victory. This is called anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure.
We truly only experience pleasure when something calls us out of ourselves, a poem, a piece of music that helps us forget ourselves as we merge with the beautiful, the transcendent. This can happen as easily with a nature walk as with a vintage car show. What the thing is doesn’t matter much; it’s the process of transcendence where true joy lies. And in depression this is nearly impossible.
I was buoyed up by my daughters and siblings at Thanksgiving, but my briefly improved spirits were parasitic—they were entirely dependent on the love of others. Back at the ranch I fell into my chemical slough rather quickly. And I hate what it does to Kathleen to see me like this. Last night as I cried she kept saying, “It’s not your fault, you’re sick.” How sick I am can hardly be imagined by those who have not had a serious clinical depression, and many I have talked to who claim to have had a depression have no idea to what depths it can take you.
I tried to write a positive sonnet today nevertheless. My will is ultimately not subject to my mood, not that any act of will can lift me out of it. After college I took a job at a warehouse that was mindless, all I thought I was capable of in that depression. Repetitive physical tasks can be helpful, but when you stop, there you are again.
In any event I plan to go mushroom hunting with Kathleen today and try to employ my new knowledge of fungi. They won’t know that I envy them. O happy fungi!
At 3.5 Kilorats,