Clearing the Clouds; Being a Rainbow…Where are you at the end of 2021/beginning of 2022? Part 2 

 “This is perseverance, the beginning of will power which is so important a part of personality.”

Maria Montessori Maria Montessori Speaks to Parents, p. 60-61

How was your break? Did you rest? Rejuvenate? Were you ready to hop back into your work or, if dread is too strong a word, were you wishing for just a few more days of rest?

The last days of December shocked me with a deep funk. Having ridden the exuberant wave created by time with both my children, an uplifting solstice, and my 21st wedding anniversary, I was hit hard when 2021’s coming to a close didn’t fill me with my usual bouts of creative thoughts, enthusiasm for new beginnings and excitement for the year ahead.

What makes the clouds clear for you? We all go through emotionally challenging times when our mood doesn’t match our desires. Especially when future plans have begun to spin an exciting list of ideas, sluggish procrastination adds guilt to the mood and there’s not a shred of incentive to be found. Digging out can be tough.

Acceptance of my down moods has not generally been a choice for me. Throughout my life. I’ve  tended to push through, ignore, or grin and bear it…not always silently; sometimes downright loud and demanding a change. Not my proudest moments, but it’s honestly what usually happened.

Not this time. “I did what I knew. When I knew better, I did better.” **

So between last week at this time and now, I did better. Maybe you’ll resonate with my new relationship with a down mood and find some inspiration to help you the next time a funk moves in.

  1. I practiced acceptance of feeling troubled.  This time, I handled the mood differently. Instead of trying to figure out why or if there was some cause, I just sat with it. I stared into the fire. I read...stories, poetry, inspiration. I took naps. 
  2. Mini dates. Just talking with long time relationships…sometimes with coffee, sometimes with cocktails…without dwelling deeply on the funk. Simply spending some low key, but connected, time together.
  3. I did some stuff. It was just random “stuff” chosen with specific intentions and time limits. No big projects. Just little things here and there that grounded me in a new space of “less”: less hurry, less intensity. The important part of this was convincing myself that I didn’t need to do it all or be perfect.  These little moments of success made a big difference in lifting my spirits. 
  4. Took hours-long stretches away from my computer (ie: facebook, insta, etc.) and exercised the choice not to connect.

There were a few things I didn’t do, notable because they are tools I usually use for grounding or staying balanced.

  1. Try to change it. Being in a mood tends to frighten me or cause anxious moments. This time, with acceptance, I worked on trusting that “this too shall pass.”
  2. Meditation.  I took walks in the garden, or sat looking into the fire, which I suppose could be meditation-lite, but I didn’t try to do my usual, mind-clearing practice. In hindsight, letting go of the discipline that meditation requires for me was part of the acceptance process.
  3. Beach time. The days and days of rain did not inspire a trip to my usual happy place, so outdoor therapy wasn’t part of my recovery.
  4. A lot of work. Work has been my M.O. for avoidance. A good work project never fails to distract me from any dismal mood or hard time. This time, I took a genuine break from some things that I typically would never let go of: I canceled meetings. I rescheduled appointments. I got to grapple with the guilt of this, but I let myself accept that, too.

By the end of the week, with the first of our fossilicious winter trips, I was feeling lighter and less troubled. I could feel myself slipping into moments of creative inspiration and getting revved up.

I feel like I’m back, but with a better-balanced and more secure me in the mix. I’m looking forward to getting to know her...and seeing what new things she’ll cook up in our life!

Happy New Year…indeed!


(Footnote). **Perhaps my favorite quote of all time in spite of my devotion to the wisdom of Dr. Montessori. These are Maya Angelou’s words.