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oscillating [to swing like a pendulum]

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The last few days have been difficult. After months of equanimity, the stale taste of depression had returned. Low energy, lack of focus, no desire to tackle even the most mundane projects. Things were supposed to improve, I complained. My GP and I had recently cut back on SSRI meds, trusting that a cocktail of meditation practice, volunteer work, loving friends, and restored libido would see me through.

What’s going on here? What made me think I was sliding back into darkness … oscillating between opposites: good or bad, sad or happy, liberated or entangled? This time I caught myself in mid-swing. Half-way through last night’s sitting, I opened my mouth to offer words of encouragement and out came Leonard Cohen’s:

Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything. 

Forget your perfect offering, I repeated. Offer what you can, to the best of your capability. Accept what is given and delight in it. Welcome whatever arises in your heart-mind-body. Take a break from wishful thinking. Nothing is perfect. Everything changes. You are as perfect as can be. You’re not a self-improvement project.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

With these additional lines, Mr. Cohen — himself a former Zen monk — points to the bigger picture: Yes, there are still bells to be rung, still much to do to reduce suffering in our everyday, still hope, still people ready to be of service. And those cracks, well, they’re not flaws: their purpose is to illuminate the path of your unfolding.

lyrics: “Anthem” at; to listen click hereimage: Leonard Cohen self-portrait.


11 responses »

  1. Thank you for this post.
    May you be happy and well.

  2. Love Cohen…overheard a young lady (in her 20’s) on the bus the other night…talking to her mom about seeing Cohen and was saying ‘…best concert she had ever been to…and as old as he is, Mom, he could still really move on the stage…!’….I don’t think he is THAT old…70’s is not old!

    Anyway…about depression….life-long state, but hopefully kept under control. Once someome has a ‘major depression’ and even gets off SSRI’s the chances of reocurrances are higher 😦
    …something about the level of dopamine and seratonin in the brain are affected…this I know from both my personal and professional experience…if you need company, I am here…:)

    • didn’t know about ‘chances of recurrance” being higher after meds. yikes! having nurses for friends is such a blessing. thank you for being there, D.

  3. Thank you for this and your honest communication. You are a perfect, fine and feeble human being who offers a mirror to us all. May you continue to just be who you are.

  4. just to clarify…chances of recurrance higher is following the major depression, not following the SSRI’s.
    the good news is that once someone has been depressed the chances of noticing the change early is greater and thus may seek help sooner. So, in fact having had depression, one is much more in tune with moods, emotions, and can develop the skills to stay well. The book that helped me was by David Burns called Staying Well and the Staying Well Handbook.

  5. thanks for clarifying, D. will look for the book(s).

  6. I took a walk in August mist… the last image in this post from that day is call “where the light comes in.” Leonard Cohen is good company on days like these… and so are you Peter on days like these. Terrill


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