Despair creeps in to sink me deep into its vat. Weird little thoughts do it, like remembering a mistake I made or not or thinking about friends I’ve not spoken to for a while.

I heat the water for tea and sit down to write. These acts seem wild in forward motion. They fist-bump courage to continue.

I also really like the Numi Jasmine green tea I have right now, overcooked though it is. I always forget to change my kettle to a lower temperature when I switch to green or white tea after my first morning black strong cuppa.

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What might it look like to be mindful enough to change the water temp based on the tea at hand? When I consider slowing down, first despair—then anger—well up for some attention. I see why I rush on then, boiling the shit out of everything.

Today, as I danced, a thick cloud of woe hovered, trying to land. My first response was to turn away from it, to find some upbeat music quick to distract. But I know that only as I feel it will it begin to let go.

I wonder at the source of this gloom rising. Could it herald from age 10, when my father rejected me at puberty, and then merciless classmates teased me for all of fourth grade and part of fifth until I learned to act like I was fine?

That summer after fifth grade, I eyed this looming dark wall of anguish and knew I could not succumb or I would fall in and never get out. I gathered up my will and embarked on a decade-long positivity campaign instead.

It started with a 10-minute jaunt to the local drug store, where I bought several inspirational posters (Dare to be Different! It’s always darkest before the dawn!) and plastered them all over my room. I painted the word LOVE in Leprechaun green on one wall. I smiled through middle school regardless of how I actually felt. And it worked! At least until it didn’t.

Or maybe today’s big ugh is just good old regular human misery. Maybe everyone struggles with it, now especially. I don’t know. I will go for a walk in the sunshine so vitamin D can sear hope into my eyes. I dab my tears with a red cloth napkin.

I felt so happy on Valentine’s weekend. We played this amazing game—the 3-minute game—that Betty Martin shares on her website. It involves taking turns asking, “How would you like me to touch you? And then “How would you like to touch me?” It’s paired with the Wheel of Consent she’s developed, and proved fun AND enlightening. We wound up whooping together on an air mattress in front of the fireplace and then dozing in one another’s arms. Also: songwriting together. Also: romantic movie. Also: Walk through the frozen open space. Also: dinner out together at a distanced-but cozy family restaurant. Also: homemade oatmeal with butter and brown sugar, just like we ate in Ireland on our honeymoon. In Dublin, we visited the shrine of St. Valentine in Dublin and lit some candles. Couples so blessed by St. V will be together for all eternity, tradition says.

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Love both infinite and the river that runs through all of it—through the magnificent mundane like washing dishes to the bliss that whites out in breathtaking light.

So these dark moods come and it go, often bursting into joy like the flocks of geese that rise off the freezing water.

But when despair comes, it feels like it will never feel any better. And I don’t know how to live through this.

Decades of meditating have kept it at bay. I fill my heart, lungs, mind, heart with as much source/divine feminine energy as I can receive. Using Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s incantation, I affirm, “I have a dream that…” and envision what I want and for both me and the world and how I want it to feel. By the time I finish, I’ve worked my way out of the muck and often feel awesome.

It doesn’t always work, though. Nor is it meant to. The darkness out-waits us, and it demands presence. It wants to be seen, felt, and heard. We must endure it, walk through it, feel that curmudgeon-dungeon all the way through in order for it to finally release into laughing butterflies.

I’d take a pass today if I could. I don’t want to feel dreadful, nor as badly about myself as always seems contained in those moments. I can say No, thank you. But if I actually want to submerse myself in light, the dark has to also go under, and me with it. It will feel like a drowning and a death.

I’m sorry it’s so hard. I reach my arms around me, clasp my hands in front of my heart, and I hold on. This much I know: I am here for you. We hold my child/maiden in my heart’s center as the beloved she is. As the rumble of the flood of woman about to break free.

This self-embrace is everything, and enough. It won’t make it easier to feel all there is to feel, but somehow it helps me understand that when this is over there will still be me, even if it’s a bigger me than I imagined who bears little resemblance to this me that fights it, who claws to stay above the dark waves.

Oh, little one. I take my hand. I will never, ever, ever, ever let you go or let you down again. I choose you. No matter what. I stay with you, though I may die. I choose to lie over you to protect you to sit beside you and hold hands though the army may storm us I won’t leave you. This, this body, this is my home. And this, this heart and this, this mind, and this this life and then I let them all go knowing God, you will help me not lose myself this time, my true light, all that matters, in your name and forever more no matter what for all time yes and

Amen.

Okay, God/Goddess. I am ready.

You can take me now.

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