Fall has paid us a visit here in St. Louis in the past couple of days. The sky is that gorgeous, clear, unhazy blue of autumn. The light is different and the days are really getting shorter. As I drive to work and school I see the beginnings of color changes in the trees. The summer insects have quieted (no more cicadas), I see Monarch butterflies here and there as they migrate south, and the birds aren’t singing any more. There are layers of sound in the soundtrack of my life that are missing. I love fall; it’s my favorite season. And yet, it’s a melancholy season. Things are dying, going to sleep, leaving.
There are times, days, sometimes weeks, where I feel as though I am under a Shadow. There is a threat lurking around every corner, in every phone call, within every envelope that waits for me in my mailbox. People tell me everything’s just where it should be, just as it should be, and it will all work out. They point out to me all the “good” stuff. And yet I find if hugely difficult to shake a sense of impending doom and allow myself to just be happy with what is really remarkable in my life right now. I find it hard to roll with the punches.
I don’t know if the Shadow is drawn by light and laughter. It seems like it. I do not, however, believe all the pop-theories and pseudo-psychology that you “draw” adversity or “negativity” into your life by “being negative” and that it’s all, you know, just a choice, right? But I do understand that depression and anxiety can eclipse the light and happiness in life. How to deal with it when it pops up or makes itself right at home in the middle of my life is not always so clear.
The next few weeks are going to be filled with difficult anniversaries. The next few months (at least) are going to be filled with a lot of challenges. How do I dial back on making behaviors that can make the Shadow worse? How can I get rid of it? Is that ever possible? Or is a compromise the best we can ever really hope for?
(© Karen Opp. All rights reserved.)