A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling really down. It lasted for about a week. I told someone who is close to me, and her advice was something she had said to me before, “Don’t think. You think too much. Just live in the moment and don’t worry about anything.”
While that might sound like good advice for someone in a funk, I realized it wasn’t going to work for me. See, I like thinking deep. It’s been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember. I can’t not think about heavy things, just like I can’t not think about things that make me happy. I’m fascinated by this universe we share and fascinated by the worlds that live within me. And while it would easier, I’m sure, to let things roll off my back, I know that would not make me happy.
Even in my funk, which got pretty dark for a couple of days, I had an awareness that my mood was temporary and it was trying to tell me something. I decided not to try to wish it away or “do something about it.” I resolved to sit with it and see what I learned. I decided to think about what was happening to me and what it all meant. After a few days, the mood lifted slowly, until I was back to my usual self.
That next week, I was interviewed on a wonderful radio show, and the host asked if I agree that our purpose in life is to follow our joy, and I said, mostly yes. But sometimes that advice can be misconstrued. It can sound as if feeling down is not allowed. And if we do feel sad or depressed, we have somehow failed. I know that’s not how she meant it, but I told her that for artists especially, sometimes our best work comes from difficult times. And sometimes our greatest revelations about self come in moments when we’re not even sure we like ourselves.
So feel no need to apologize if you are feeling temporarily down. You’re not “wallowing” if you sit with that sensation for a few days and try to figure out where you sense it in your body and what it stirs in your soul.
One of my coaches told me that week, “You’ve been doing a lot of soul searching these past few months. You’ve turned the soil, and maybe some hard things are coming up. But that just means you can see them now and have a chance to work on them.”
Yes, that is what it felt like. And here I am, still thinking about it. Still trying to figure out what it all meant. Still going deep.
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Also published on Medium.