Despite the New Year ringing in sentiments of new beginnings and hope springing from the vessels of our best intentions, there is a seemingly infinite list of reasons to be giving up, right about now. I mean, do I even need to provide that list?
However. And I do say however, because if I don't, then I'll backslide into negative thoughts, much like anyone can and think of a million reasons to not share what I'm thinking or feeling. A very kind soul at work reminded me to keep blogging, and so thank you for reminding me to tend to my own mind.
So, I'll say it again....however.
The blog's title pays homage to one of my favorite Cure songs. I think the last time I went through dark and harrowing personal times, I believe I listened to that song hundreds of times over. And yes, sometimes in a dark bathroom while sitting in scalding hot tub water. Yeah, I just admitted that. Maybe there were candles....
Anyway, there's an element of sadness to that band, sure. Anyone who has heard of the Cure assumes that it's just another band of strange, overly emotional man-boys. However, and there's that word again, there's also this...I don't know...reckless abandon that Robert Smith allows himself to explore, leaving me feeling as if his words and the music are holding a certain space for the listener to just...be.
We all know what happens when you try to un-be. Stuff creeps out in weird and aggressive ways. The effort makes you doubt the ingenuity and the intentions of your fellow humans. It turns your energy into jittery nonsense, and that "I'm staying busy, or otherwise, I'll..." kind of nonsense. Yucky stuff man. And it seems we're addicted to yucky stuff these days. We dive into our phones instead of our love for each other and this insane and amazing rocket ship built around us called EARTH.
We try so hard to ignore the moment. And even when we claim to be in the moment, we take pictures or videos of it instead. I do it. All the time. Guilty as charged.
However, and there's that word again! Could "however," be better understood as a frame of mind instead? No, a frame of heart? When was the last time you however-ed and simply let yourself be?
I keep asking that of myself. Just because I'm a certified forest therapy guide doesn't mean I'm this hippy-dippy dude. I wrestle with stuff. I get down. I get scared and pissed off.
Especially this past year. It was one of the most challenging and stressful years of my professional career, and it just really didn't stop, for a minute. It hasn't yet as I'm typing this. I worked through my "vacations," and had to make some really tough calls at work, on many different levels. On the home front, my wife and I have been stumbling our way through learning how to provide for two very needy children who are on the spectrum. Most of our staff at work got to take off two weeks for Christmas and New Year's, yet I'm the only one in the building on New Year's Eve finalizing payroll.
Don't get me wrong. I have an amazing gig in helping my parents own a company. But sometimes it feels like the loneliest place in the world. I've never slept well, so oftentimes, I'll lay awake at night, watching the moon work its way between the trees beyond the window, wondering "what am I doing all of this for? Who am I doing this for?"
And so, this is why I've found the practice of forest therapy to be so critical to my mental health, my physical health, and all of the "healths" that I'm supposed to be paying attention to as I get older. And it has to start with me. I can't tend to the space of others, whether singularly or in groups, unless I am tending to myself, and letting myself be held by the forest. Letting is the key thing, and this takes a MASSIVE amount of practice. Remember, I'm no hippy-dippy dude. I'm real and complicated like every one else.
I found with forest therapy, that unless I put down my own roadblocks and listen to what's out there, and abandon myself to letting that "bathwater" wash over me, I'm just sort of a shell. And so to become unstuck, what does one do, other than listen to bands like the Cure and light candles in the bathroom?
Laughing at yourself whole-heartedly for the beautiful and unique tragedy/triumph that you already are from time to time, can help, but really, I don't have those answers for you. The More Than Human World might have a few notions, however.