So many passages

4-21-2013 11;42;10 AM aje13

Good morning, friends. I’m up early again, as is my wont: three a.m. to be exact.  The witching hour. I like sitting under a single pool of light in a dark and quiet house, sipping coffee before the birds wake up. When I was a little girl, sleeping over at my grandparents’ house, I remember rising in the wee hours to find my grandpa seated in his armchair, deeply immersed in one of the Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour paperbacks he kept in a dusty cardboard box on the floor by his chair, so I guess I come by my predawn ways naturally.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but it’s become clear to me that everything cycles back around to itself. Sometimes you’re in, sometimes you’re out, sometimes up, sometimes down, the Wheel keeps on turning. This is a truth that applies to big, significant, mind-altering events in a person’s life, but also to small, less-harrowing ones… like what to read, for example.

After a year or so of inundating myself with Scandinavian and British crime thrillers, to my surprise I’ve found myself back to good old horror. I have an entire long shelf on my bookcases dedicated to scary short stories and favorite scary novels, but I had begun to wonder if I’d ever reread them since I’d lost interest so completely. Instead, I wanted my Wallander, my Konrad Sejer, my Erlendur and Department of Q and Martin Beck and Rebus and Hazel Micallef and half a dozen others.

But now I find myself thinking fondly of Uncle Stevie again, and searching out new authors who might offer fresh titillations, something to scare me a little. I am rarely frightened by what I read or see on the screen; the only thing that scares me, really, is the thought of contorted figures creeping across the floor or up onto the bed–anything else is kind of a yawn. Remember when the girl in The Ring crawled out of the television set? Or when Emily Rose was bent over backwards on the floor of her dorm room, all with the crazy eyes? Yeah, ME TOO. But that’s about it, in all my years of reading and watching.

As I’ve been writing, it suddenly occurs to me why I’m wanting horror again. (See how writing can be cathartic?) I’ve been struggling with depression lately, something that hasn’t happened to me in years–that vague, undefined sadness that stretches as far back as I can remember. Horror at least lends the possibility of offering me a way to feel again, fingers that might wend their way inside and poke out an answer to my question of numbness and insulation. Horror is very warm and cozy; I can sink straight into it and sublimate my own personal terror through the lives of its characters. It makes perfect psychological sense. I didn’t realize what was going on until now.

Happiness and sadness cycle, too. I’m grateful that my arcs of happiness are longer than they used to be–I’ll never forget the entire year I spent dragging myself from bed to couch and back again–and that aching despair arrives more in mosquito bite-sized bumps than mountains. Instead of trying to Make the Bad Man Go Away, as I used to, I’ve come to accept his rare visits with equanimity. You know, do whatever needs to be done to help myself feel better, because I don’t like wallowing, but not fight him being here either. I had a hypnagogic dream once where a huge scary demonic figure lurched toward me, but instead of running away screaming, I swallowed that initial impulse and calmly faced him. As he approached and saw that I wasn’t reacting in fear, he suddenly lost all his ferocity, shrunk to person-size, and walked up to me meekly. We shook hands, and made friends. Our demons have something to teach us.

Sprechen ze Stephen King, kind of, I have once again begun exploring the work of his son, Joe Hill, who is a truly gifted writer. His 20th Century Ghosts is the best collection of short stories I’ve ever read, even better than 999, my previous favorite. I just picked up the first volume of Locke & Key, a series of graphic novels he wrote with the illustrator Gabriel Rodriguez, and tore through it greedily yesterday. It was great and I can’t wait to get the next volume. I’ve started The Floating Staircase by Ronald Malfi and so far it’s okay, though it hasn’t gripped me; it seems a little pedestrian and may end up being merely a diverting read while I’m at it, easily forgotten afterwards. Maybe he’ll surprise me, though.

passagecoverThe BEST book I’ve read in ages is one I just finished a couple days ago: The Passage, by Justin Cronin. At almost 800 pages it could have been a strewn-out mess but it so wasn’t. It kept me riveted for three days. I couldn’t stop reading. I stayed up all one night to read it, and continued on through the next morning and well into the afternoon, bleary-eyed and unable to tear myself away until I finally finished it with a sigh of satisfaction and a happy smile. Best of all, it’s the first of a trilogy! Mother of meat, I’m in heaven. It stands unique and entirely on its own merits, but as a post-Apocalyptic novel, it reminded me a lot of The Stand, smacked a little of the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness, and I can see where the writers of The Walking Dead might have gotten a couple of their ideas for the third season from it. It’s not really a horror unless you find the idea of a body-mutating virus a la I Am Legend horrifying (and well, I guess one should), so I didn’t find it scary, per se, but it was thrilling… and sparkling and imaginative and towering and epic and I just read that Ridley Scott has bought the rights to make it into a movie. Which I probably will be reluctant to see because I know I’ll be disappointed. But STILL. Even if you don’t have an interest in the horror genre, you might love this book, too.

All right, dawn has finally come and gone and the morning is winding up to be a beauty. I think we’re going to go on a long motorcycle ride today and I’m really looking forward to that. I wish you well. Love.

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12 Comments

Filed under Art Journal, Dreamy dreams, God I'm depressed, Stuff to read

12 responses to “So many passages

  1. I was going to delete this, but then thought, what the heck, this is me. Best to just live real. ~ So, here is the too-long, probably too infomercial-y reply. I’m telling what worked for me, in hopes that it’ll work for more people who are where I was! ~

    I had low-grade depression for years (low-grade only because I was fighting it for all I was worth~ and some years it wasn’t so low-grade), it kept persisting and was growing bigger all the time (slowly silently insidiously) and starting to dim me from the inside out. I was losing my hopes and dreams in life, so slowly I didn’t even really notice~ but it was still depressing me in my life!

    I was 40 when I found out about the Law of Attraction and Abe Hicks~ controversial, in the circles I came from, but I went there, anyway, because I knew when I saw it that this was my answer ~ and 6 years later, it’s obviously working!
    Every area of my life has been greatly, sometimes miraculously improved~ even ‘little’ things, like finally finding out what to do to turn my curly hair from a constant liability to an asset, my trademark and a great symbol of my freer, more ME life! I’ve learned to fall in love my life, living it with more passion and enthusiasm~ I really believe now that being me is worth celebrating, me living my life in this way, with relish and enthusiasm is worth celebrating!
    I met my ideal mate (actually RE-met, since we were close when we were teens), fell in love and got married~ I love being married to him!
    But I didn’t forget myself as an individual~ if anything, it’s made me more defined as an independent person, while making me feel more united with everything ~ just like the hippies and sages used to talk about! Yay for enlightenment that comes from joy!
    I’ve been watching all kinds of hopeless, limiting beliefs fall down in the dust, giving way to a life I love, one where I feel exciting things are possible~ and continue to happen! Depression and sadness get further and further away each year that I live like this, till now, if something small makes me feel sorta-kinda-almost near depressed, it’s as close to depression as I get! Sadness, well, maybe if it was grief I’d feel it~ but vague sadness in life, I don’t have, anymore. Life has opened up to me! It’s full of neat possibilities, so there’s no sadness vague-ing around inside of me, anymore!
    I’ve found the courage to live with more integrity and meaning~ more me-ness ~ I’m writing an ecourse on female sexuality, something I would’ve NEVER had the guts to do, before, though I knew I could help others on that. And I recently manifesting a creative photo job with great compensation, then manifested even BETTER conditions within the job, then a full summer vacation, that began as soon as I decided I wanted it to (which was yesterday)! ~ Also manifested the biggest tax refund I’ve ever gotten in my life, so we have the money now to be ok, while I’m off work for the summer.
    My mom has quietly been on a similar path, and she has simply gotten generally happier over the last handful of years, with more opportunities to have a good time opening up for her and my dad. And between the two of them and the new LOA-based beliefs they’re working off of, my dad has managed to survive and thrive through over a year of cancer treatments and recovery! They recently found he has cancer in his liver (my late husband died of that), and they’ve been trying a brand-new pill on him, and it’s working!! The cancer cells are visibly shrinking!
    Before they found it in his liver, the cancer was all in places where they could get rid of it!~ So he’s still with us, and still feeling good! Yay to the power of faith, surrender and trust in the best outcome happening, and working with the LOA!

    • Christine, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You and I have talked about this before (in emails) and I read your blog posts so I know this has worked for you. For me, however, I have a real aversion to the manifestation and LOA message, for reasons that aren’t important to go into, so I know it’s not my path even though it’s worked for lots of people. Thank Odin there are as many paths to follow as there are people to follow them!
      Because I’m currently in a slump, this post is also rather slumpy and I may come across as more dire than I actually feel. Overall I am very optimistic and find myself living in huge swaths of well-being that I’d never felt before the past few years. I attribute this happiness to the fact that I’ve sloughed off a lot of what doesn’t work for me and have become freer to be myself. I know for certain sure that any depression I now feel stems from the remaining expectations I perceive coming from others (whether true or not), and mostly those I’ve placed on myself. Expectations to be what I’m not, fear to truly live what I think and feel, for fear of losing even more than I’ve already lost. I’m at a crossroads and have to make a choice: Be true to myself or experience periodic low-grade depression dips for the rest of my life. Yeah…. I choose personal integrity… but getting everything sorted out around that is the trick. *Trusting* is the biggest trick: in myself, and in others again. You’ve already made the leap so you’re further along that road to freedom than I am, and I admire you for your perseverance, but for me it can’t be about simply making up my mind to think a certain way and talking myself into it… Instead, the change has to emerge from within and make its way out organically, and that’s a slow process. It’s akin, say, to the difference between Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (how I see LOA) and Jungian psychoanalysis that gets down to the nitty gritty of a person’s being and takes years and is actually never ever really ‘done’ (this is my absolute favorite). Both work–one just takes longer, and for me is far more satisfying and permanent. I like the process, all the inner-workings.
      We’re just different in our approaches, that’s all, and that’s what makes the world so rich and full. Pretty cool.

  2. Yeah, I was exploring things like the Jung, gnosticism, and my own mysticism, when I first met up with you, and it helped me get to a better place, to a certain extent ~ it was definitely a stepping stone on my path, something I could use to build my way out of the pit. In the end, it was seeing God and hitting that blissful state that made me realize how different my beliefs were with what I was feeling coming from the Divine~ and that set me on my way to bigger possibilities/faith/trust/surrender/unconditional love! But if straight-up Jung works for you, and you’re comfortable with your progress, I can see why you’d stick with it!

    • I wouldn’t say that what I follow is straight-up Jung (or straight-up anything in particular). My own understanding culled from personal experience and contemplation and observation informs my path. I’m no longer embracing philosophies just because people tell me they’re right or because those things work for them. I want what works for me and am attempting to keep my eyes, heart, and mind open to whatever that may be at every given moment. One thing is sure: constant and steady evolution! I’m always eager for what’s coming next. And as my post indicates, I love shadows/darkness as much as I love the light; they’re two sides of the same coin, and both beautiful and meaningful, both my teachers. In fact, I learn more in the dark–and far more quickly–than I do in the light.

      • Ah, good conversation!~ Love that!
        I totally agree with the idea that the challenges and night mysteries of life are a meaningful, integral part of the process ~ though troubles aren’t much fun, they give what Abe Hicks would call ‘contrast’, and we need that in life, to give us clarity. I see for myself how this is true, and that challenges are not to be avoided~ they’re to be faced, accepted, made peace with, and also viewed as a good indication of when we’re living in fear instead of love! I’ve had to face my deepest, ickiest negative beliefs and change them little bit by tiny little bit, over time~ frustrating and exhausting and ultimately rewarding work.
        I don’t believe the darkness in one’s life was meant to be dwelt on hopelessly~ I think faith is meant to kick in, the quicker the better, and orient us toward appreciating what good we’ve got, lead us to what we can have, sometimes things so wonderful, only Heaven could bring them about! Sweet surrender is one of my favorite things, now, because every time I hand it over to Divine Love, with the belief that I’ll get the very Best outcome, and trust in that, I end up getting beyond-amazing, impossible-to-imagine-beforehand things in my life!
        So, however you give God the elbow room to move in your life in magnificent, limitless ways (as you appear to be doing), it means that you’re placed exactly where you need to be to start letting all the beautiful, higher-frequency emotions in.
        As you’ve mentioned gaining for yourself, I’ve also gained the confidence (through my own process) to no longer need any kind of guru or leader to guide me, as I can see now how I can trust my connection with the Divine to be my best guide and my best support when it comes to being myself and loving/accepting/forgiving/celebrating myself and others ~ enjoying being me and living as fearlessly as I can!
        This was the solution for me because my life pretty much sucked ~ yours is probably not nearly as bad as mine was~ and my faith was very, very, very small (especially on things like money, or finding love again, so I never had enough to pay my basic bills, and couldn’t find someone to have even a casual movie date with, and didn’t trust God to help me with either situation). That suckage meant that I had a real need to find out about the gorgeous, wide-open quantum physics laws that Einstein himself flourished in and touted.
        It’s been a growing spiritual experience for me, with the whole goal of strengthening my love, trust and faith in universal God, while making life what I knew it could be for me.
        Mine is a path that makes me love everything more, including my life and myself ~ I love talking about it, I love seeing others do well with it, too, and it’s worked incredibly for me, but if you know it’s not something that would work for you, I’d say trust your instincts and honor your heart’s direction! You’ll get where you need to go.

        My life has changed so dramatically for the better, inside and out, I’m very thankful for that deep change ~ and the changes in me can see and appreciate the changes in you!

  3. This is fun, Christine. I like meaty-full conversations, too. I agree with what you said about not remaining in the hopelessness of darkness. Once I find myself in it, I may spend some time carping or casting about for a handhold or feeling terrified, but over and under all of that is a deep belief that the darkness is going to teach me something real and helpful about myself and my next steps. This is the reason I find it comforting. I sink down into it and accept its mentoring, even when I am entirely unconscious regarding the lesson points (or haven’t even read the syllabus). I may hate the catalyst(s) that brought it about, but I accept it as my best teacher. Also, I’ve come to see how I myself move in a cycle when it comes to beliefs: 1- I realize that whatever I was believing before is no longer working 2- I fall into a depression because I don’t know how to change it 3- I get an inspiration about how to change it 4- I begin implementing that inspiration to bring the change about. And then, when that change becomes an ‘old’ belief, the cycle begins again. I’ve come to see that during the number 2 phase, even when I’m unconscious, even sunk into the depths of despair, my unconscious is reorganizing itself, eventually bringing about the phase 3 inspiration I need. Call it God or our higher selves or whatever, that *does* work for me. That’s pretty much one of the only ‘truths’ I can hang my hat on, and even then I don’t know the why behind it. And I don’t care. It works and that’s enough.
    I also love the idea of FINALLY (whew, seriously) being our own Master instead of falling into line with a guru or leader or whatever religion is thought to hold the Answer. I have no problem with people believing anything that helps them through life, as long as they respect my path, too. I know what I’m doing, at least my unconscious does (be it God or guide or higher self, etc etc). Even when my conscious mind is quailing and flailing around and bumping into things, that inner impulse is something I’ve come to trust through experience.
    I love how we’re essentially saying the same thing, despite slight differences in language (you speak Hicks, I speak Jung. ug ug :). I want you to know that our conversation has lifted my spirit immensely and has helped me solidify my sense of purpose during this (phase 2) dark time. I really appreciate you taking the leap to share your perspective and interact with me on mine. We don’t need to stop the flow if you have more to say! I just wanted to take a moment to thank you. :)

    • I actually wanted to interrupt my reply to say thank you for sharing this interaction with me, too!~ So, I’ll do it now, since you’ve marked the place for it~ you’re welcome and thank you! (reminds me of the ho’oponopono mantra~ “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.”)
      I can totally see how your 1-2-3 process would work~ I usually use appreciation for the present moment and “pre-paving” for the future inspiration, but sometimes the dismay at my stuckness is what triggers the process. However, that’s a longer, harder way for me to do it~ sometimes it can snowball badly on me, as I’m often even more stuck by old feelings of dismay, depression, despair~ all the down ‘d’ words! They are not readily conducive to me finding divine inspiration or helping a new belief sink in, in a helpful way, I usually just wallow in the ilk, not budging, sometimes sinking deeper, till I can start focusing my attention on something more hopeful~ even if it’s just reminding myself, “the perfect solution is always built into the problem,” till I believe it.
      Better yet, if I focus on something that has nothing to do with the subject I’m wallowing in! The “eureka” usually happens when we take our minds off the problem and relax. When I distract myself with more positive, grateful, joyful things, with the attitude behind it of letting it go into the hands of Heaven (“Just give me what you think is best, and I’ll deal with it!”) that’s when the train really starts rolling for me! It’s easier to believe something wonderful when you’re feeling wonderful!
      The whole universe seems to flip itself to bring me the perfect solution, when I surrender in that trusting way! It’s my absolute favorite way to do things, now, because of the incredible results/blessings/heart-meltingly kind things I’ve had come to me, when I’m in a state of well-being and surrender. I’ve found that keeping open to WHATEVER good that Unconditional Love may want to bring me makes life stunningly glorious, full of these grace-filled surprises and little treats that only God can know how meaningful they are to me~ the more I trust and surrender and make room for the magic of Heaven, the more beautiful my life becomes! God is a very creative deity with a generous, loving, giant heart, and staying open to his ideas for my life shows me just how much I was limiting Love, in the past.

      Ok, that was a ramble~ I keep a journal so I won’t do this to people too much, I’ll go and spiel all this gratitude and exhilaration out in its pages, now, instead of filling up your etherPages, here ~ I LOVE writing it all down in my journal, anyway! It puts me in a great mood for a long time afterwards, and reading back over my journal entries is a real treat, when I do that!

      • Just a tiny response for now (we’re heading out on a motorcycle ride) but I will come back to fully and comprehensively and empirically address your most current response, I promise. :) I just want to say that if I didn’t have a journal, my mind and heart would have long ago exploded into a million pieces due to all the things bursting to be expressed… I release thousands of words every day, or almost every day, to my journal. I love them both, art and written. Enjoy your day and I’ll see you again soonish.

  4. Okay, I’m back to add a thought to your joyful ramblings. I think that we are constantly on the receiving end of good things–the universe is always knocking on the door with gifts in its arms–but when we’re in a depressed state we just can’t see that. When I’m down, I become unaware of how deeply I am loved by my people, of all the comforts and kindnesses that surround me all the time; I become blind to what I already have. So it’s my belief (today anyway) that it isn’t necessarily our conscious decision to ‘let go and let God’ that *brings* us blessings. The blessings are already there, always flowing in at the right time. It’s when we’re able to open our eyes and truly see them that we can acknowledge and take joy in them. It’s a matter of perspective, and again, it honestly doesn’t matter how we approach it. I see the blessings as already there–‘blessings’ being whatever we currently have, and whatever is coming to us when we’re ready–and it seems you see them as out there for the taking when we ask for or open ourselves up to them. Both the same thing in essence! I guess the bottom line is We Are All Blessed. (Blessed Be!) The thing that I do like about the Hicks view is that it serves to remind us of that, and that’s a good thing.
    Also, I freaking love that mantra.

  5. Oh, and also! Abundance is a matter of perspective… It may seem that a man who lives alone in a shack in the woods and longs for a woman to keep him warm at night, for example, is suffering from a lack of abundance. However, the way I see it, if he accepts where he’s found himself as part of his personal growth process, embraces it as a life lesson and is willing to stay amicably with it as long as it’s with him, then he will reap benefits that he wouldn’t have received had he had the woman he wanted. When the lesson is over, and if it’s what’s truly going to help him in his next steps, then the woman will come (or something else equally helpful). Again, it’s just a different viewpoint… I look at my life as a series of lessons to help me on my way to truly knowing my inherent wholeness, and many of those lessons fucking SUCK. I don’t like ’em. But in retrospect, they have taught me oodles of things about myself and as a result, I’ve deepened and broadened in ways that I didn’t when I was scooting along without a care. We need the downs as well as the ups. Or at least, I do! Not everybody does, not everybody approaches life from the same direction. Sometimes, when you’ve had years upon years of piled-on woes, where you couldn’t find your way, then you need a few years of sunlight and daisies to bring you back to life. I totally get that. I’m glad you’ve come into yours.

  6. I read Joe Hill’s first book, The Heart-shaped box and it didn’t do a whole lot for me to be honest, so I haven’t tried any of his others. But I’ve since read that his first was also his weakest so maybe I’ll try again.

    I agree that The Passage wasn’t really that scary, but very gripping for such a big book. As I mentioned on my blog I haven’t read the sequel yet but I will, at some stage :)

    • Hi Fence! I started with Twentieth-Century Ghosts, which I absolutely loved, so when I got to The Heart-Shaped Box I was hugely disappointed. I thought it was just weak by comparison, but maybe it was weak in general! I read another of his (I think called Horns?) and hated it. So for me he’s a spotty author (like his dad), but when he’s good, he’s amazing (ditto). I think his Locke & Key graphic novels are wonderful, at least the first one, but that’s also due to the illustrator, who’s SO good. I have the second one here to read next.

      I’m glad you’ve read The Passage! The Twelve is not gripping me, however; it’s okay, but has little of the impact the first one had. I’ll work my way through to the end, though; I think the third will come out sometime this year.

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