Mental Health Day

Still Life in Meditation Nook With Cat and Trashcan, 2/3/17.

Still Life in Meditation Nook With Cat and Trashcan, 2/3/17.

I keep thinking how much more spiritual I would be if all the shit around me weren't so messy. You know, if there weren't garbage cans out the window of my meditation nook, if Democracy weren't being dismantled by a fascist narcissist, stuff like that. This week, all of my addictions have risen to the surface: hungry, screaming, unfed children. I've been able to see God and love and sanity and my higher self through a tiny pinpoint telescoped into the sky but I haven't been able to reach them. On one side of the fence in my mind there are rabid dogs, brambles, spiders, pits of snakes and bleak and bitter skies. On the other side are fat, happy cows, lush grass, fluffy clouds, rainbows and some guy playing guitar. It's like heaven. I just can't seem to stay there.

When I woke up yesterday, the boat that had been taking on water felt finally sunk. I would have called in to work for a Mental Health Day but I'm self-employed so I would have had to call myself. To avoid the trouble I showed up to teach my class held together by the sheer power of red lipstick, red boots and a gorgeous brand new hand made red sweater I'd had commissioned in December by a local artisan, by far the nicest article of clothing I've ever bought or owned. But how can I enjoy it when the world is falling apart all around me? And how can I not?

In class, one of my beloved students wrote about crying alone in a bathroom stall, trying to pull herself together before going back out to face the world. We all nodded vigorously. But when it was my turn, I invited the entire class into the bathroom stall with me. I sobbed as I read. I had to stop to blow mascara and snot and tears into my tissue several times. It was very glamorous. Luckily most of the students have known me a while and weren't too alarmed. A few came up and actually hugged me. while I blew my nose. It's one thing to tell your class that crying when you read what you've written is good, a sign that you've hit the right vein. It's another thing to demonstrate it with a loud, ugly cry in front of a class you are teaching.

But, unzipping everything holding me together to release what what was boiling underneath was the turning point in my day. I expect I'll only have to do it a few thousand more times in the days and months to come. I hope we can all find ways to do it together. Our mental health might be the most precious things we've got.


Valley HaggardComment