Celestial mechanics affects my mood as surely as my genetics, my culture, my diet and my exercise routine. The effects can be subtle or they can kick my ass. Presently, my ass is being gently nudged.
I have a sense that mood shares the properties of light in that it exhibits wave/particle duality. Today, the wave aspect is the focus of my attention.
Emotional waves and waves of visible light superimpose to create a resultant wave that propagates in my neurochemical soup. Why not? This seems a good model for my armchair reflection this morning.
The current tilt of the earth’s axis of rotation (its obliquity), sitting between 23.5 and 23.4 degrees, manifests on the earth as seasons. In the image above, the earth is on its way towards the orientation shown on the far right, with the northern hemisphere tilted away from the sun and therefore spending more time each day in darkness than in light.
This earth/sun orientation affects me. Of course it does. Why wouldn’t it? Why shouldn’t it? It is counter intuitive to expect stasis in this juxtaposition.
The earth responds dramatically to the changes in light, and as a part of the earth, so should I.
It is the nature of this response and my reflections and ruminations on it, as well as my culture’s ideals about mood that are piquing my blogging bone this morning.
Should I take a pill to counter the effects? What am I countering exactly? Should I seek therapy? That would be silly wouldn’t it?
A few thoughts on the matter…
Something big changes in me between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.
Well…to be frank…everything changes.
This year, I am trying SO desperately to avoid the circular thinking, the so called self-fulfilling prophecy, that my pattern or my cycle is inevitable, and that my very thinking brings it about. This strikes me as ridiculous as it is true. As Camus would write, it’s absurd. I’m simply paying attention.
I look around me. I see patterns and cycles.
Cycles are fundamental to life.
Life IS cycles.
Cycles are the nature of my existence. I am a creature of the earth and as surely as Gaia’s lunar tides are her very breathing in and out that manifest in me as my in-breath and my out-breath, I cycle as she cycles.
So what of this cycling?
I’m talking back to myself today. I’m challenging the negativity that I associate with my fall/winter melancholia. This negativity has crept into me over the years as a subtle, insidious self-judgement. This attitude came into me from the outside. It wasn’t always here. Somewhere along my timeline I let this idea “that others have about me” become my truth, my identity, and I use it to punish myself. WTF? That’s just tragic.
This idea that I’m down or sad or depressed for no reason has instilled itself in me because of how others relate to me during this very natural cycling process. And the very words that are used, “sad” or “depressed” are not right at all. I most certainly move to a different baseline mood during fall and winter, but I really need to pay attention to whether there is true sadness or depression here, or just a quiet, contemplative overtone that slows me down and allows me time to deeply ponder my surroundings and my life. Perhaps others feel sorry for me, sorry that my energy level drops, or that I become more sloth-like in how I spend my days, but that is not cause for a negative label. Is it this being “sorry” that others feel that I take in and reinterpret as something wrong with me? I don’t feel sorry for myself that I cycle with the seasons. I’m glad. My seasonal moods tell me that I’m connected, that I belong and that I am part of something larger than myself (Gaia is one concept of the “larger” thing). Of course I am. How could I doubt it? All I need to do is look at the trees outside my cabin, with their leaves scattered all around. The trees and I are connected.
Do my fall/winter blues need to be fixed? Being “up” and “productive” and “active” and achieving things is what my culture shouts at me. I can’t be “down”, I’ll miss out on something. Balderdash. I would challenge my culture and state that the drive to go, go, go and to be happy, happy, happy is causing many of us to miss out on things that are infinitely more valuable to our lives than whatever else it is we are told (marketing/advertising/personal opinion that works for 1 individual, the speaker) we should be doing to make ourselves better human beings. If spending money is associated with what you are hearing or what you are thinking will make you better or happier, I would recommend pausing and taking a deeper look at the dynamic in play.
As long as I take care not to use this seasonal-mood as a weapon or as an excuse to harm, lash out or neglect, there is value here for me. The neglect piece is difficult. Relationships are hard enough, and to throw this melancholia/hibernation mood into the mix increases the challenge of staying connected to loved ones. Every situation is unique and I do the best I can each and every day.
I remain relatively functional during this lull in mood and it provides a unique place from which to reflect on myself and my experiences. It’s a mood that sprouts from my mind-soil whether I want it here or not, so why not accept it in a positive way? This is simply how I am feeling this season.
Why not embrace this cycle, this spiral? It’ll change into something else soon enough. It always does.
This year I’m surfin’ Charybdis. At least a little…
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ecliptic_path.jpg