Sweep or weep

Holy shit, by learning Spanish, I just gained the ability to speak to 400 million people I previously couldn’t.

David Wong, David Wong’s End Times Report (Cracked)

rain 2 jan 8Tuesday’s Deluge…

Began much as did Monday night’s. A few taps on the windows, like ravens or crows in a horror movie. Then a few more. Then there was lightning (closeup of horror in girl’s eyes) and thunder (cut to darkness outside), clouds rushing overhead, then the extreme close-up of dilated pupils. The rain came mid-afternoon in torrents for about 20 minutes, Los Chupiros had streams rushing where one is normally able to stumble in the trough. Towards the end of the storm, the sky deceptively brightened just before the heaviest downfall took place. The rain ceased for an hour or so, began again briefly around 5, then started in earnest in the early evening and continued for perhaps 45 minutes.

Just as I did during the storm of the previous night, I made hot chocolate. I get that way when there’s extraordinary weather like snow or heavy rain – there is an immediate need to become cozy. It overcomes me at other times, too, like when tucking the grandchildren in for the night or arranging their “stuffies,” their stuffed animals. No doubt this will sound weird, but the need for coziness extends to other inanimate objects, too, like making sure that after washing the night’s dishes, they are arranged in the drying rack close enough to fend off a winter’s night’s chill. Cozy just makes me feel better.

Just do something

Once again I have Helen Boyd to thank for bringing a writer to my attention. David Wong, a Senior Editor at Cracked wrote a piece titled The Six Harsh Truths that Will Make You a Better Person. The first three truths are based on the David Mamet play and film, Glengarry Glen Ross, and one of its character’s mandate to “close the deal,” which Wong uses as a metaphor to “do things.” In Wong’s view, one is of little use to the world if one does not make or do things for others. It is not enough to be a “nice person”; it is important to accumulate skills to be of service to others.

I mentioned depression in a previous post. My three sisters have been treated for chronic depression and I think my mother also struggled with it before depression’s impact became generally known. I struggle with great lethargy. I joked in that post about how difficult it is for me to get the day going: that was not true when I was in the work force. Then I tended to be an early riser and would be anxious (if not eager) to get to work and involved. The work tasks weren’t quite enough to hide my massive shyness (not a good trait in the workplace, by the way), but they kept me engaged.

As a person retired from the work force – not necessarily by choice (age and too much experience [and one or two other issues]) seem to keep me at home – I am with myself a great deal. I have any number of skills that could be put to use, but at present I am not of service to others, which is more devastating to me than are the self-delusions of which Mr. Wong writes (one of which is considering oneself a writer when one writes nothing).

I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps.

George Harrison

A few decades ago I read two books (Playing Ball on Running Water and Even in Summer the Ice Doesn’t Melt, both by David K. Reynolds) about Morita Therapy. Dr. Morita Masatake developed the therapy during the 1920s and 1930s in Japan. A psychiatrist and practitioner of Zen Buddhism, Dr. Morita believed that focusing one’s attention to what reality brings to each moment helps avoid intellectualizing and allows one to respond to what needs doing.

In Morita’s view, feelings and emotions, whether positive (such as confidence) or negative (such as depression), are fleeting. One has a choice when experiencing paralyzing emotion:  one can keep life from becoming more complicated through action, or be passive and have daily activities accumulate until they seem overwhelming. One might be depressed, yet still have choices:  to  sweep the floor, play the guitar, do neither or do both. Doing either will help the person:  activity may not change the emotion or state, but it may prevent other complications.

Nothing groundbreaking there. It’s like when we were kids and complained about being bored and were told to “go outside and play.” One just had to be careful not to do it in traffic.

Sapolsky on Depression

An hour lecture about the biological foundation of depression.

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