Since sometime in late December, I have been struggling fairly continuously with a bleak and utterly dismal depression. It had nothing of the poetic to it. No grand internal explorations or even that oft quoted dark night of the soul. It was pure dullness, a lack of spark. It was simply a dreariness, an inability to find pleasure or yearning or even ache.
It was like the blanket of ash coating Iceland following the volcanic eruption. Perhaps, at its source, there was spectacle, lightning, fire. But for the farmers, those left with the fallout, there was only the dreary work of shoveling soot, tromping through foot-deep muck, trying to save livestock, calming the wild-eyed horses. And an eerie, unending silence, as if somehow the entire world had lost its ability to sound.
Moving about in my cloak of invisible ash, I have gone to work, taken care of my dogs, done the household chores most in need of doing. I have shown up when I needed to show up, for the most part, except on those days when the proverbial ash grew so heavy, that I could not even leave the house. But I cut out all of the extraneous things, the things I love (or used to love) that required too much energy - the book group I've been part of for seven years, the piano lessons, even my writing group. I conserved. I saved my strength.
I had been here before. The heaviness had come and gone in the past, and so, somewhere inside of me, I trusted that it would end again. And yet still, that trust wavered. The months grew so long.
On Friday, I walked out onto the deck and looked across the yard at our newly planted garden. It was the same garden that had been there the week before, with slightly larger young plants, true, but the same. No, not the same. It was resplendent with possibilities.
I breathed. I looked out across the valley. It was as if someone had scrubbed the very air with newness and light. Someone let the sun back in.
I went to sit zazen with my Healdsburg sangha for the first time in three weeks tonight. The light followed me into the room. It went in and out of my body with each breath. And then on, to the bodies of my sangha members sitting with me, supporting me. I was bathed in sunlight.
No judgment. Enjoy what is here now. Be ready for what may come. Trust. Sit.