By Julia W. Prentice
Doldrums. Blues. Moody Tuesday. Cloudy Day. Brain fogged. Hesitant. Unsure and stumble-footed.
These could all describe the today in me and the me in today. However you slice it up, there will always be a little cloudy to offset a bright sun, a little hazy to blur horizon and patchy fog to cover radiant moonbeams.
Even the great ones, to whom we pray and worship or study and absorb healing from, I doubt lived in everlasting sunshine. Shadows there must be, as we cast them ourselves, and they are cast by happenings in our lives. Other beings walk past us on our path and draw a lengthening dark across our day. Cloudy memories haze up our perception, dipping it in droplets of tears, painful past-times cover over the days of brightness and light.
These shadow days are familiar (and sometimes welcome).
Taking off the grinning mask of eternally happy allows the rigid face muscles to relax for a while. Pretending that everything is A-Okay or Hunky Dory can weigh heavier and heavier—just like a feather, if held at arm’s length for hours or days or weeks, feels like a 10 pound bowling ball.
If we could cuddle ourselves in the shadow, wrap ourselves in the cloak of sadness or regret, it would be okay. Acknowledging feelings, nodding hello to them, saying, “There you are again,” can give way to gently waving goodbye to them and greeting the brightness once more.
Resting in the moment, this one precious moment (which is what we have when all’s said and done) can release the dark clouds of the past. No more haunting, stabbing or cloaking memories. No more endless swirl of negativing reverberating inside the skull, bouncing and gaining momentum as they spin back and forth, round and round.
That spiral leads to boundless ache.
Instead, revel in the now; drink up beauty and light and love in the present, and pour it back out into rivers and oceans of peace and harmony. Soothe the spirit, calm the inward malestrom,
Don’t let thoughts loom and stagger into the future. The patchy fog of what-ifs, miasma of worries wrapping tendrils around our fragile heart. Anxiety for a thousand tomorrows that never actually come to pass, time wasted in dreaming dire futures—this is madness of the most familiar sort.
And pushing darkness away often has the opposite effect.
A rebounding mood, shadows lingering and taking root inside our days can result. As we squirm on the hook of that rejection, the fish-jaw gapes and threatens to swallow us whole. Could I—could we—survive inside the belly of the whale? There, no light glimmers at all.
For me this is the dreaded Depression with a capital D—no possibility of warming rays, no break in the cloud cover. Droplets of rain become downpours of pain. The sun has set, the fog rolled in and a nighttime without moonbeams or relief exists even on the brightest of days.
So today my day is muzzy headed and shadow covered.
This is the reality of now. When I can just lean back, accept and fall into the arms of “okay” then I can rest there a while. And the clouds will clear, the fog evaporate and sun will appear again.
Julia W. Prentice is a deeply feeling Cancer. She has been writing since her teenage years, is the mother of three sons, has successful careers in teaching children, interpretation in sign language and assisting persons with mental health challenges to find their own paths to recovery, through sharing her own journey. Living with her love and partner of over forty years has brought contentment and much fulfillment. She writes like she breathes: incessantly, some in ragged gasps, some in whispering sighs, some in mighty shouts. Always she is driven to write. Recently after taking a women’s online writing course she has heard the universe telling her to share her writings.
Editor: Dana Gornall