this too
Thursday, August 25, 2005

or berk!, as the French say (gutteral ‘r’, as gutteral as you can make it), even more onomatopoeically. I'm not managing to just take the next breath, do the next thing that seems possible. Not managing to be philosophical or quietly present. I’m depressed by the city and fleeing presence into sleep and apathy, and I’m full of self-disgust.

The deadline I set myself of getting out of here by the end of the year recedes daily from attainability, as I do nothing to make it happen. It seemed entirely feasible and likely on the retreat, because I felt myself and felt the whole of things, and the miserable detritus around me receded to almost nothing. But now it takes over again. I am consumed by wanting to run away right now. And the selfish, childish pain of not being able to run away makes me incapable of buckling down to the spadework needed to clear the path so that I CAN run away. I barely have the energy to get up. I don’t have the energy to get my work done. So guilt and worry over that consume more energy. So I certainly don’t have the energy for clearing up and throwing out and decorating and negotiating with financiers.

It’s RIDICULOUS. I’m healthy and not yet much slowed by age and even losing weight and feeling better for it. And I do have loves and enthusiasms, desires and ambitions (and compassion, when I can break out of this stupid circle). So why can’t I do it? What is it that I’ve mortgaged my life to? And why? And is it possible to root it out?
I hate this, hate writing it, admitting it. I’d rather write about the sky and colours and faces, and paintings and poetry, and travel and home-making, and hope and peace, and even righteous anger and despair. But this stands between me and all of it. Berk!

[nb. this berk is in italics, it is a French exclamation of disgust, much used by children, and bears no relation to the vilely sexist English slang term of abuse mentioned by one of my commenters below - oh dear...]
Ooooh, yikes, you sound STUCK. Stuck in your present life, stuck in your desire to get out of it, stuck in the million & one things you want and/or need to do to get unstuck.

Is there anything--any teeny, tiny thing--you can do to get a smidge less stuck? 'cause it sounds like your wheels are positively SPINNING in the stuckness, which is leading nowhere.
I have found that this sort of dissatisfaction needs to gestate for a long time before all the possible options to get out present themeselves. You just have to be patient. Easy for me to say, isn't it? An unknown commenter who pops in when you haven't enough energy to wonder. My sympathies, anyway. Been there/done that.
Berk? I had never come across that word before so I stopped to look it up. I find myself slightly shocked by its purported rhyming slang origins....
But how awful, Jean, that you are feeling so down again - and so soon after the positive experience of the retreat. But it's quite amazing that, despite feeling that way, you have been able to stick to the diet. There's a big positive. So hang in there and just keep pulling in the belt and looking in the mirror. Maybe you could treat yourself to a glam (smaller-sized) outfit.
Jude, you've succeeded in taking my mind entirely off it! Oh dear, dear, in French berk means ugh, yuk, pooey... no connection with the English slang term of abuse (whose rhyming slang origins I did not know!!!)
Jean, in my experience as well, spiritual highs have often been followed in fairly short order by very unspiritual lows as one readjusts to the daily round. It's the pendulum effect. I would say, don't give yourself a hard time for the next week or two, just allow yourself to tread water, treating yourself as well as you can while you find your balance back in the city. It may be easier to move forward at that point ....
Mary, nice to hear from you again. Your may be right, but I hesitate to make yet another excuse for myself...

And Andrea, thanks, your words mean a lot.

And Lorianne, well I feel a little bit less stuck just for blurting it out, perhaps that's a start...
Incidentally, I thought the French "berk" was spelled something like "Beughh" (well something along those lines anyway :-))!
no I checked - never too depressed to be pedantic...
Ca alors! I have to say in my defence that I have never written that particular word in my life .....:-)
However, beuh seems to be a current French slang word for cannabis (I guess it's verlan/backslang for herbe)- learn something new every day. Who knew this would SO take my mind of being pissed off with myself?...
Ooh now I know what to ask for on my next trip to Paris .... I love verlan.

And by the way, it's a tricky time for Geminis - Mercury (our ruling planet) is being squared by Mars at the moment - anger and frustration. This is at its peak tongith and should start to ease off from tomorrow onwards. (I'm a bit of an astrology buff on the quiet) .....
Are you sure you wrote this? It sounds just like me! I have so many things I can do and want to do, and sometimes I make a wee bit of progress once a day. But most of the time I have to say to myself, "Well, hon, there's another day gone! Didn't you promise yourself to xxx? Write xxx? Call xxx?" It does get frustrating and self-perpetuating. All I can say is that energy will come (just not at my summoning), and then it'll be all guns ablaze. Ooh. Wait. I'm sounding very bi-polar, but I promise you I'm not.

One reason I started my own blogs was to dump my ideas and thoughts into another format to sort things out. Just getting this out into the cosmos will be a help to you. And maybe Andrea's right - you're (and I'm) in a replenishing period, needing to lie fallow for a bit. It'll come. But it's frustrating as hell!
I think I am going to just go ahead and blame this on moving and August, since I posted on this very issue this week.

.... and now I have to go google berk....
I used to have neighbors whose last name was Berk. Odd, now that I know the foreign meanings.
Jean, this sounds like such a terribly difficult day - time for you. I appreciate you sharing it with us, and writing about these feelings so well. I have seen many a dark hour these past months. The good thing for me was that after awhile things just started to feel better ... or I found different solutions. I wonder why we choose to punish ourselves with these feelings of low self worth?
Good to get that word confusion cleared up. There's always something new to learn. BTW, forgot to comment before on your clever photo - and so apt for your topic. I will be on the lookout now for the one of a long dark tunnel with a small circle of light.
I'm hardly best qualified to comment, but for what it's worth, Jean, I've often found that getting these thoughts and feelings down on paper (or screen) and out into the world is the first step of getting past them. Being able to take them, look at them like this means that YOU have THEM, and THEY don't have YOU, if you see what I mean.
Jean, I know this will sound Augustine-ish (ie unrelated to reality-as-we-know it and about as useful as a bicycle to a fish) but here goes anyway.

I have found that the stronger the desire to make a positive change or to take action that is true to our deepest nature, the more powerful an opposing, contradictory energy kicks in, apparently hell-bent on stopping us. It's as if there's a built-in spy network hiding in our psyche which spends all its time looking for any signs of dissent in us, any attempt to break out of the apathy-that-leads-to-immobility. See what I mean? I can't help going off into these flights of fantasy. But maybe...just playing out the fantasy, we can think of clever ways to outwit this inner KGB/what have you?
I left a comment here last night but it seems not to have been recorded. Sigh. Nothing earth-shattering to add, just that I'm sorry you're feeling so stuck. I think sometimes the only way through something is *through* it, one slogging step at a time. Just keep your heart's desire fed and watered through this time. Opportunities, I think, will come when the timing's right.
naming your confusion is a good start, no? no shame in that, and besides always comforting to read!i think you are someone for whom it will happen at the right time. you are too tuned in to be in need of being fixed to a date. i would say go with it, which of course includes feelin and obseving until it changes. i would not say this to everyone! inc hub for whom that diecipline and deadline IS the lesson, but I get the sense you are really listening to your needs. keep it up.
I love you in London as much as I will ever love you out of it. I love you stuck as much as I will ever love you unstuck.

Your self-disgust is completely unwarranted, and probably worse than useless as a way of motivating yourself. Why shouldn't you be stuck? Wonderful admirable people get stuck all the time. You would never, never hold anyone else in this kind of contempt for this kind of stuckness.

It's not ridiculous at all. Or at any rate, it's no more ridiculous than any of our suffering over anything. It all looks like this, really, suffering tied to suffering tied to suffering.

Screw the deadline. You don't need to finish the job. You just need to start it. If you keep on starting, the finishing will take care of itself. And every start will make the subsequent starts a little bit easier. This is the hardest point but it's also, weirdly enough, the point of greatest leverage.
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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