living with sadness

IMG_1896
Image courtesy of Maria Wilson

Without announcement or bothering to knock, she sneaks in, lying beneath cushions where I sit, or below the floor where I walk. Her breathing is just loud enough to let me know she’s here again. Sometimes she even bashes on my heart, grips my throat, or tears at my jaw inflicting enough suffering to have me imploring: I just want to know the truth.

Sure there is an initial impulse to run from her, however these days, this is usually followed by a turning, a looking, a nudging, back onto the viewing platform.

I watch myself hopelessly wonder one moment if she will ever leave, only to observe in the next that I am quietly singing while cutting up fruit.  Where is the sadness now? I ask myself.  What was so sad this morning? 

Memories from my childhood and youth abound… Flashes…. Thoughts…. Feelings… out of nowhere. It feels like a shock each time they appear.  Why now? Haven’t I dealt with these concerns years ago? However it becomes obvious they have no intention on stopping, so I encourage myself to relax and breathe.  I’m here, I’m listening, tell me what you need to say, I’m not going anywhere.

I’m finding seeing my psychologist again is self-loving and insightful, in particular, where the feelings are felt both within and surrounding the body. Her somatic work and presence feels deeply supportive. At the last session I became aware of feeling ‘I am nothing’, with a deep deep push for desperately trying to know the truth in a way that is perhaps obsessive. The ‘nothing’ did not feel joyful but rather exhausting. I’m not sure what it all means. I’m just going with what somatically arises in the sessions and am not wishing to spiritualise too much. As I said, the main question and longing is: I just want to know the truth.

And I feel I have no idea how to find the answer, and the heart aches again. What is this driving within? Is it the mind? I have been told that this cannot be worked out by the mind and I have even tried stepping away from ‘trying’ to work it out. And yet, like my art practice, it returns, again and again. The wanting to know.

Mx

Note: found this draft post written a few months ago and felt to share it anyway. 🙂

 

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about today

Melinda Blair Paterson

There’s nothing unusual about today,
yes I have a head cold
and the farmer’s market
like any other Friday.

There’s nothing unusual in this day,
watched a movie
and texts of care from friends
like every other day.

So why am I suddenly on my knees,
howling like a child
hands beating chest
begging to be broken?

Why are the tears followed by rage,
primal sounds
flashes of faces
crying to be taken?

“Pleeeeease”
passes through
yet there is no need
anymore.

The tears desist
the nose blows
the body rises
from the floor.

You see… there’s nothing unusual about today.

depressingly aware

Depression is not who I am, it’s merely another experience, and sometimes it ‘appears’ I can have an influence over how long it stays…

IMG_1627like death, there is nothing to grab onto – collage + digital – 2013 – melinda blair paterson

In the previous post I wrote of anxiety. Well it seems the dial of life decided to turn towards depression in this past week… probably just a notch or two to the right.

A friend of mine asked me this week, “how do you experience depression?”.

When I wake up in the morning it feels like bricks are sitting on my chest and then I carry them around with me all day. It’s exhausting. And like the black hole of the Milky Way it seems to suck in any negative disturbing thought in its path.

Most of the time I can sit and watch as the thoughts come and go, however, I have an agreement. When the suicidal thoughts come I reach out for help. I make contact with people I feel can support and check-in with me on a daily basis.

I fully embrace the so called journey of ‘waking up’, with all its experiencing, allowing and embracing of thoughts, emotions and sensations. And then there is the innate knowing of not getting lost in a concept. In other words, I tether my camel, to love and look after myself in whatever way feels right.

So I exercise, see health practitioners, eat well, and stay connected to loved ones. I tell people what is happening so that I’m not hiding, and I keep it real. Depression is not who I am, it’s merely another experience, and sometimes it appears I can have an influence over how long it stays. This time is seemed to vanish after a conversation with my partner and a resolution of a joint decision…

but the truth is I don’t know.

What is seen is… what’s here before depression, is still here during and after… unchanged. Mx

The background and Margaret Olley

image courtesy of Tweed River Gallery, Murwillumbah


 

I recently visited the Tweed River Gallery in Murwillumbah for an art day with some friends. This is now home to an amazing recreation of Margaret Olley’s home and lifetime of art. Every surface in the home was/is covered, much of which are little still life’s as seen today in her paintings. I have to confess, I have never been a huge fan of Margaret Olley’s work. Perhaps it is because I have always felt so drawn to abstract artists. Thankfully there are plenty of those to explore and ponder as one moves around an art gallery these days. However, on this day I was coming to the end of my meander through Margaret’s home and I heard two gentlemen discussing and admiring one of her paintings. They were standing back quite a distance and I heard the words… “just look at the background, that use of colour blue.” I turned, and true to these words, the blue background of the still life they were admiring just jumped out at me as though it had come to life. The colour was so intense it almost seemed to be vibrating. I stood there transfixed in a moment of art viewing wonder. My eye wandered to another painting featuring a background in greens that also seemed to be shimmering in the late afternoon light of the gallery. I felt my heart open to something connected to and coming from the viewing of the background of these simple and yet elegant still life paintings of flower arrangements. A few steps futher along and I stopped to watch a short video featuring guest speakers in Margaret’s home and the memories they had of her in that environment. It was towards the end of the video that I was again struck by words… “Margaret use to say to me, ‘this is all an illusion, just moments’.”  Again, I felt my heart open and something click. Margaret Olley was awake and aware to the truth of this reality, and she had come to this understand through art. In that moment I felt a new found respect and love of this woman and what she has left as a ‘pointer’ for the viewer in her paintings. It’s all in the background. Mx