For a long time now, I’ve been in a rut. I wouldn’t call it depression, though it’s certainly had depressive aspects at times. Instead, I would say that it’s been more of a sabbatical. I was tired, broke, and disillusioned, so I took a big step back from my grandiose revolutionary schemes in order to recuperate, regenerate, and reflect upon my life and my world.
In many ways, this was a good thing. It gave me the time to develop closer relationships with my friends; it gave me new perspective on my goals and challenges; it lead me on a variety of quirky adventures and side quests that I would have never had the pleasure of exploring if I hadn’t given myself some breathing room.
But eventually, rest became inertia; stability became entropy; doubt became defeatism. Without even realizing it, I started to accept the problems in my life, my community, and my world as inescapable givens. The people I know and love will always be poor and disempowered; the community I live in will always be conformist and apathetic; the nation I live in will never rise to the challenge of changing economic and political systems that are causing so much social and ecological havoc. This may be unfortunate, but this is the way of things, and all that I can do is ensure that my personal contribution is positive (or at least neutral).
This attitude went on for a while, just under the surface, undercutting my otherwise positive attitude with a pernicious pessimism. Eventually, though, I remembered something.
I remembered that I have the power to create change in my life, my community, and my world.
Really, this idea was nothing new to me. I’ve believed it for a long time now, and I doubt I’ll ever fully lose sight of it. But sometimes, I get distracted by my circumstances and temporarily forget that each of us, in our own way, has the power to create change.
I first started noticing the positive shift in my attitude when I was sick at work the other day. I suffered through about two weeks of flu only to emerge with a persistent cough that was probably due to allergies aggravated by dairy consumption. Whatever the cause of this cough was, the effects on my psyche were at least as bad as the effects on my body. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I wanted the coughing to end NOW.
Then, I had a moment of clarity. I realized that I had the power to improve my health, my mood, and my circumstances. I started singing a few spiritual songs to myself as I worked, and my cough diminished significantly. Later, I bought some herbal tea that helped keep the symptoms in check at times when I couldn’t rest or sing in order to stop the coughing. My energy picked up a bit, and I started getting back into some of my old projects, including the Forbidden Philosophies series. Over the course of a week or two, I found myself shifting from a sense of deep disempowerment to a sense of deep empowerment.
Sure, change isn’t always simple or easy. But change is possible — and through a combination of clear vision and focused intention, we can make it happen.
Now that I’ve noticed what a rut I’ve been in, I’ve started looking at my life with new eyes. Harvest time is upon us, and it’s time for me to harvest the blessed new fruits that have been growing in my life and cull the dead weight that no longer serves me.
Samhain is always a challenging time of year for me, but also a very rewarding one. It’s hard letting go of old patterns, old possessions, old circumstances, and old relationships that no longer serve me. But I’ve harvested so much in the past year that I’m sure it will be enough to carry me through this time of transformation and purging. New friends, new experiences, new ideas, renewed inspiration… Samhain always has its sting, of course, but I have high hopes that this year, that sting will be accompanied by a sense that I’ve harvested enough to carry me through the long, dark, and cold winter ahead.
With that said, I think I’ll be going. I’m in the midst of a major purging of possessions, and I’d better get back to it. I’ve allowed a fair amount of clutter to accumulate around me during this rut, and especially this more recent period of illness. Now, with Samhain approaching, I feel a need to wander among my possessions with a scythe, hacking and slashing at old papers and trinkets until only the most meaningful among them are left standing.