Hibernation For The Soul

Feeling Low

Sighing, I sit down to work at my computer after a couple of weeks of intermittent work and brace myself for diving back in.  I’m irritated by Facebook finding it difficult to celebrate others’ successes and reading between the lines my own sense of failure. I’m sulky with friends who haven’t contacted me even though I’ve made no attempt to contact those friends either.  Meditation is a constant battle of focus, and my gratitude list takes longer to assemble.  There is no logic to my state of mind, and it happens every year…I’m feeling low in spirit.

After the holidays are done, family has returned to their respective geographical locations, Christmas lights are removed from our own and surrounding houses and all the shortbread is eaten, I find myself batting a case of “Is this it?”

Energy Distribution

Normally, it is my mission to keep my blogs upbeat and positive.  I prefer to uplift and encourage as opposed to remind us to be stuck.  The world has enough negativity, and I don’t need to add to that noise especially since a case of chronic negativity is more a matter of a skewed perspective.

However, we are not talking about a chronic state of mind here, but a period of feeling low, and all the change of perspective chatter cannot logic us out of it.  Everything feels hard. The only thing to do at this point is to accept that it’s okay to be irritated with others, it’s okay to feel like a failure, it’s okay to be sulky and it’s okay to ask, “Is this it?”  

The real growth here when we feel this way though is where we choose to put that energy.

How We Deal

Do we lash out at our family? Do we post negative comments on Facebook depreciating others’ successes?  Do we bring an aura of negativity to work?  Do we stop meditating and stop being grateful?  Do we let our friends know they have let us down?

The obvious answer to the above is no, but this answer comes from a history of dealing with my low mood by acting out. This by the way never makes you feel better and has repercussions.  Think of having a closet of balloons…once they’re out, it’s really hard, if not impossible, to bring them back again.  Back away from the computer!

However, this is where acceptance does the hard lifting for us.  By not stifling our emotions and accepting them, we can move from “woe is me” to “how can I best take care of myself at this time.”  No explanation required, no excuses, just dealing with what is in the most healing way we can muster.

A Hibernation for the Soul

So, I’m going to do the only thing within my power to do.  I’m going to accept my funk.  I’m going to embrace the fact I’m feeling less than optimal and do simple things that bring me pleasure.  I’m going to go back to basics and get enough sleep, feed myself nourishing food, cut down the sugar and take the dogs for a walk.  I’m going to stay off Facebook and not go anywhere socially for a bit.  I’m going to focus on moving slowly and mindfully through my day bringing my thoughts to the present instead of letting them create negative stories.  I’m going to sit in the middle of the day with an uplifting book without guilt that I should be busy doing something else.  I’m going to keep meditating and being grateful.  I’m going on a hibernation for the soul.

A hibernation for the soul should always involve getting outside

The Takeaway

I encourage you if you’re feeling this way to employ your own hibernation whatever that looks like.  What I have found to be true is the more you fight it, the longer it will last, and the more likely you will lose control of your inner beast and start externalizing your low mood.

If you do, I promise life will look bright again soon.

A Clogged Drain and Mindful Living

“Mom, the bathtub is plugged.” 

Appreciation that it was not the toilet was short lived. 

I consider myself to be pretty tough in terms of gross stuff.  During an ugly flu that rampantly infected our family, three vomiting children, who somehow would never be able to make it to the toilet until they reached the age where they were involved in cleanup of same, would not affect my appetite in the least.  I considered this a point of pride until I realized that my husband who flew to the bathroom with sympathy symptoms at the sight of vomit had neatly found a loophole for avoiding being on the cleanup crew.

So, when my son told me about the bathtub, I treated it like any other household issue, donned a pair of plastic gloves, grabbed a coat hanger and went to work. 

My gag reflex is alive and well.

Without going into too much detail, wads of hair and conditioner seem to be able to render me nauseous like nothing else.  Vomit…ick, no problem.  Poop…disgusting, but fact of life.  Wads of hair and conditioner…gagging as I type.

After spending a period of 20 minutes clearing the drain, a test run with hot water ensued.  The clog was still present.  Multiple jugs of hot boiling water were thrown down the drain as the kettle was now part of my drain-unclogging arsenal.  Still clogged.

Admittedly, household stuff is a challenge for me in my journey to mindful living (see Himalayan Mindfulness).  The inconvenience itself is frustrating, but as I have trouble staying on top of the surface stuff like housecleaning and heaven forbid improving my asset to any degree, a step backwards in terms of fixing the status quo is infuriating.

Time for chemicals.  Ordering from a very optimistic supplier of chemical drain cleaner that promised both to unclog my drain and be good to the environment felt like the next good move.  After four days, my package arrived, and immediately, the powder was poured down the drain with the requisite hot water.  A positive (in my mind) puff of smoke emitted from the drain plug and a rather potent smell.  Good things were happening down there.  Enzymes were devouring hair and conditioner (gag). 

Twenty minutes later, time for the moment of truth.  I poured hot water down the drain again and watched it swirl down the drain and then back up again.  Clog still present and enduring.

The second attack was an overnighter, and a second powder treatment was applied to the clogged drain.  Enzymes once again got to work eating organic material.  This was not a fast food job, but a dining experience for my little enzymes. 

Flash forward to this morning, hot water again swirled back up the drain…still clogged.

After a period of meditation, the realization hit that acceptance and mindful living are easy when life is going well.  It’s the bumps in the road that really show your commitment to the process.  Apparently, mine is need of some work.

I’m okay with that though.  I would be insufferable if I was not a work in progress.  I am evolved enough to know that I would not wear perfection well or humbly.

While I’m working on acceptance, if you have any tips or tricks for unclogging a tub, please feel free to share.  It’s now between a plumber or purchasing a drain snake…to be discussed with husband…done with suffering alone.

Update:  Plumber came and conquered.  A good plumber is truly a gift.  Now back to mindfully watching the water swirl down the drain.