For the last couple of weeks, I've been resisting the temptation to fall into a depressive slump. It might seem unusual since at a glance this would be a really exciting time for me. I've just released my first book, The Witness, and am busy everyday with marketing, communications, and working on my next projects. But a perfect alignment of circumstance is hardly to be expected.
I couldn't say for sure why I've been so tempted to fall into a depressive state. I can only describe it as a feeling of grinding, like old brake pads that need to be replaced, and anytime I step slightly on the brake there is a sickening sound like something is about to die.
My teacher, Jeannie Zandi, calls these feelings "the ghosts in the basement". Some trapped energy or emotion that comes out as soon as I leave the door cracked a bit. Something that hasn't been processed or addressed fully. So despite this being a truly exciting time in my life, here I am faced with some old wispy bits of pain, creaking along, occasionally letting out a blood-curdling moan of dissatisfaction.
If you've been keeping up with my blog, you might remember that each year I choose a word to help frame the upcoming year for me. For 2017 that word is DISCIPLINE. It has meant a lot of things to me throughout the year, but now during this season of endings and new beginnings, I'm learning much more about it.
Self-discipline is what I've turned to in order to stay productive and present, and to not entertain these temptations to quit or hide. Self-respect is also a key part here, because not only does discipline require it, but too, I would not suppress or deny these hard feelings. In other words, I'm not sending the ghosts back to the basement. I'm letting them be released, I'm hearing and acknowledging them, and then continuing to do my work.
That feels like the central piece of all this for me. Acknowledge the feeling, hear it, see it, feel it, but don't let it dictate my action. I follow inspiration. And I use discipline to hold myself steady in this endeavor. I know what I need to do. I need to eat well, exercise, meditate, pray, read, write, spend time in nature and connect frequently with loved ones. A voice tells me to go hide, the zone out, to forget about it all and just quit. But instead of doing all that, I respect myself. I show myself some tenderness and compassion. And I give myself the gift of deep and meaningful expression.
I could hypothesize the reason why the urge to give up is coming up for me. Probably because of releasing a book and exposing my heart publicly. But I'm not even sure that's it. And really, I don't care. I'm not spending time thinking about. I have work to do.