I have finally arrived at an age where I fully understand and accept the natural rhythm and cycles of my inner world. I go through times when I am on the highest of a happy high and other times I’m just not feeling it. I’ve questioned if I have a mild bi-polar disorder – maybe I’m the 0.4% to 1% of the world’s population with cyclothymia. After all, I always suspected I was special in some way.
According to WebMD, in cyclothymia, moods fluctuate from mild depression to hypomania and back again. Cyclothymia can straddle the line between mental illness and normal variations in mood and personality. Neither the highs nor lows are severe enough that people seek out treatment.
Self-diagnosis of anything via the Internet is a pretty risky and crazy-making thing to do. I tend to google whatever is going on with me and try to determine the cause. I am not, however, seriously worried about having cyclothymia. Fortunately, my shifts in mood don’t happen suddenly, are not extreme, and generally don’t occur frequently.
I remember several years ago driving down the road and thinking to myself, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.” In the same instant I had the awareness “this too shall pass.” This moment defined a deeper personal understanding of the transitory nature of everything.
I had been accustomed to using the expression “this too shall pass” when I felt down, but had not recognized that it is equally applicable when I was happy. Actually, it pretty much could be said to sum up all of life. Whatever is going on, it’s not going to last.
There is for me, however, a constant beneath it all; my sense of an internal Self unchanged. At 18, I wrote a poem asking these questions: “Will I remember now? And will I have the answers? Will I laugh? Will I cry? Will I even BE?” I ended it with the words “I AM.”
The “I AM” for me has never seemed to change. Yet I am not the same person as I was then. I am not even the same person as I was last year, let alone five, ten or fifteen years ago. Who I am as a personality has adapted and altered significantly in many ways. The “I AM” and the “I am” are not the same.
So, it is my “I AM” awareness – that indescribable sense of the constant – that is able to hold space for my current cycle of a lack of motivation and inspiration. The knowing “this too shall pass” helps stave off my resistance and stay in acceptance. But that doesn’t mean I like it.
I have a half dozen unfinished articles or blogs on my Mac. I had Unity magazine accept my proposal to submit an article on balancing faith and perspective. However, I haven’t been able to revise what I had written to where it has the ring of quality work. There is no guarantee they will publish it either way, but I certainly don’t want to submit anything less than my best.
My inspiration for sacred caregiving has waned and my overall focus feels lost. It is as if I am floundering again in a sea of uncertainly. I am lacking the passion and zest that were once at the forefront of my brave new adventure into this uncharted world of following my dreams.
Yet, here today, with this writing, I have finally expressed what has been happening for me. I feel the familiar ring of knowing I’ve got something good here. I am comforted by knowing all is not lost.
Often in life, we cannot find a reason for our cycles of inspiration and lack thereof. For me, I finally recognized what it was that has had me feeling out of sorts. It surprises me every spring because it is so deeply unconscious. It is amazing to me that it’s been thirteen years and this sadness still sneaks up unexpected.
You see, it was in April my dad was admitted to hospice with melanoma throughout his body. As I do today, back then I had googled the information he had given me about the stage and location of his cancer. Regardless of his hopefulness, based on what I read I knew his chances of recovery weren’t likely.
I remember writing a poem about how new life was teaming with the coming of spring while my father lay dying. The juxtaposition of the colorful trees and flowers was in stark contrast to the sadness I felt inside. Towards the end of April I took time off work and was at his bedside when he died May 2.
I have come to peace with his death, but this cycle of grieving seems to reappear year after year. I am glad now that I was being gentle with myself for having lost my mojo. It’s comforting to have a reason for what I am experiencing.
I am also aware that it’s not always so clear as to why I am feeling a certain way. I have learned that everything happens in its own time and not to push the river. I’ve been okay with the not knowing as much as I am okay with the knowing.
Because when it all comes down to it – “this too shall pass.” Whether I understand it or not. And what remains – well, that is the true elixir of life. My sense of an “I AM” that can hold all this with love and compassion and just let it be.