Maybe it’s because I’ve been sick for 10 days with a virus that was having an identity crisis — one day a sinus cold, the next the stomach flu.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep at all during the stomach flu parts.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t gone to yoga in five days because I was too exhausted from the virus to make my kids breakfast, let alone bend over backwards on my mat.
Maybe it’s because I’ve missed some of that unconditional acceptance I feel when I walk into the yoga shala every morning.
Maybe that’s not the best photo for melancholy. I wanted a picture of fall leaves, but it felt too cliché; so I went with this horribly cropped photo of Betty White looking longingly out the front window, not to go outside — hells no — but to bark intimidatingly at a squirrel or ‘nother dog from within the safety of her own home.
Whatever the reason, today was a melancholy day.
It wasn’t a bad day. It was a really good day. Which is strange because it was a melancholy day. It was definitely a strange day.
Maybe it’s because I practise yoga, or maybe because I’m extra tired, or because I’m a little introspective by nature, spiritual, a dreamer. But I didn’t let the melancholy eat me up as it easily could have had I plunged inside. I didn’t get depressed or dark and twisted, anxious as usual. I got pensive, peaceful. I accepted it. I liked it.
It was a good melancholy. The kind that gets you closer to yourself. The kind that makes you feel so alone that you can almost touch your soul. And if there is no soul, no self, then I mean you feel so alone you can almost feel — really feel.
As I wrote last week, Dr. Laura was right when she said motivation is BS. But she was wrong about just doing it. That may be enough for a skinny, shrilly radio host who could care less about feelings (as she herself would say). But for many of us who are often overwhelmed by life, doing something as massive as losing weight or quitting an addiction goes much deeper than feelings — italicized feelings, whiny, woe-is-me feelings. And if there is no depth then it’s just much subtler than that, more symbolic, abstract. Wherever acceptance is.
I’m so busy with my kids, work, a squealy-barking dog, the loud city, stress, responsibility, anxiety, that I haven’t really been hearing. I may listen, but I rarely open my ears and hear, open my wounds and feel, open my eyes and see, not just look. The melancholy opened me up with great, serene breaths to accept everything that was today. Even the Rascal, who loves a good loud whine. Even the Monkey, who loves a good loud shriek.
So even as I stood in the playground from 3:30 to 5:15 so my children could be children and play and laugh and scream, I enjoyed the silence of my own melancholy, the ease of my own breath, the silence of my own mind. When I got home, I made everyone a nice warm meal. I didn’t react when my kids ordered me to GO GET WATER as soon as I sat down, or when the Monkey rebelliously put her feet on the table, or the Rascal said “ew” at the mysterious beans on his plate. I just responded calmly, from a different place.
Although I’m probably not as fun to be around with the melancholy, I like it here for now. And I’ll do my best to take it with me to the next big feeling.
Maybe it was because I wore the white elephant on my necklace today.