Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coming to Life in Spring

As spring sets in, I feel parts of my brain coming back to life. I am more alert, better able to concentrate, generally happier, and more in-tune with myself and what’s going on around me. Seasonal Affective Disorder has been quite a curse for a good portion of my life, but now it is a rather interesting process to watch. Winter is difficult and long, but I am no longer depressed, and my partner tells me that my moods are stable. I am not particularly motivated, and things I need to concentrate on take quite a bit longer to complete, but I have come to accept that that is just the winter me. The last two winters have been much clearer for me. I have sustained a level of connectedness to myself and my friends and family that I have not done before. I still gripe, but it’s just annoyance at my lack of energy and focus.

This spring I am realizing that this past winter was actually a relief, and perhaps a period of rest. I got a break from my continued awareness of how I feel, how others feel, from the intensity with which I literally vibrate all summer and from my continued awareness that each moment is pure potential. I joke that I can feel my synapses firing, but I can certainly feel something…all the time! The last couple of years I have had a bit of an existential crisis (if, indeed, they can come in ‘bits’). As I feel myself wake up, I have experiences that are out of the ordinary. Mysticism as a concept is not new to me, and I have had my share of experiences as well. These are not quite those, but they remind me of that intensity of beauty, peace and certainty… and the aftermath of those experiences, which, for me, has been emotionally devastating. I have read a lot of stuff on mysticism, the numinous, experiences of insight, enlightenment, blissful states, you name it …. looking for one mention of anything but bliss, but all anyone talks about is how wonderful the experience is. Not to discount the experience itself, but when you are tossed back into mundane reality, the harsh realities of life can be brutal;  the contrast can be unbearable. I still have no idea how the average person integrates an experience like that.

After dealing with that a couple of times, I figured out that I could stop them. I was overwrought with guilt about that for a while, but it was easier to deal with that than the alternative, and having a sense of control made me less worried about when the next one might come. They stopped for a while and a couple of years ago, I had what I thought were preliminary experiences. I freaked out, was in a virtually paralyzed state of anxiety for a few weeks, I could hardly speak, and I isolated myself to such a degree that my partner thought I was planning to leave. Note to self: When you find yourself in a state of anxious paralysis and you can’t put a sentence together, tell your partner as much about what is going on as you can formulate.

As I came to terms with the fact that I might have more peak experiences, I remembered that I could stop them. Guilt and emotional suffering not withstanding, when stuck between a rock and a hard place, at least the rock is identifiable. I started to relax and nothing extreme occurred. It was spring, it felt like the switch was tripped and I was charged with an electrical current, but life remained fairly normal by my definition. I have not had a peak experience, now, in about 10 years, but I am beginning to wonder if that’s because my life is changing. I see more beauty than I have ever seen before, I am frequently overwhelmed with love, and with an ever deepening sense of peace has come a connection to my life and those in it that is beyond description. Not bad for a kid that spent the first 30 years of life depressed and feeling like life is just out of control. I use to wonder what the point was. I wondered daily why I even woke up. The point isn’t a point at all. It’s so big I couldn’t see it for looking. It is…..

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