Archive for August, 2010

We, therefore, the liberty-loving men and women, realizing the great injustice and brutality of this state of affairs, earnestly and boldly do hereby declare, That each and every individual is and ought to be free to own himself and to enjoy the full fruit of his labor; that man is absolved from all allegiance to the kings of authority and capital; that he has, by the very fact of his being, free access to the land and all means of production, and entire liberty of disposing of the fruits of his efforts;
that each and every individual has the unquestionable and unabridgeable right of free and voluntary association with other equally sovereign individuals for economic, political, social, and all other purposes, and that to achieve this end man must emancipate himself from the sacredness of property, the respect for man-made law, the fear of the Church, the cowardice of public opinion, the stupid arrogance of national, racial, religious, and sex superiority, and from the narrow puritanical
conception of human life. And for the support of this Declaration, and with a firm reliance on the harmonious blending of man’s social and individual tendencies, the lovers of liberty joyfully consecrate their uncompromising devotion, their energy and intelligence, their solidarity and their lives.

-Emma Goldman

Summer Depression

Posted: August 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

I  have been feeling really depressed this summer. I suppose it is some sort of seasonal emotion that I hadn’t realized was there during the days that I had air conditioning. But the heat of the summer has had a serious effect on my emotional state. It’s easy to blame it on the heat, but I wonder if there are other things going on. It’s depressing to think that I am a slave to the seasons. I want to take this time to let my stream of consciousness have its way, and see if I can pin down some reasons why I have been sad…

The strangest part is that everything is good, great even. I am living with my best friends in a sweet (aka cheap, rundown) house. I am starting a coffee and tea shop with other best friends. And I love this town. I’m usually always thinking about where to move next, but this little punk town has won my heart over, at least for now. The partying this summer has been really amazing and has helped me to meet people, dance out my anxiety, and just let loose.  Yet I can’t help but wonder if it has also led to some of the depression.  I’ve noticed that it takes me on an intense roller coater ride when I get really drunk and relaxed, just to wake up and get really caffeinated. It creates this bi-polar mentality in me. Also I have been trying to caffeinate myself some nights to stay up while drinking, which I hear is not a good idea.

I’ve also felt really tied down by school. I am studying massage therapy at one of the best schools in the country. I absolutely enjoy being there everyday and the whole environment of the school is healing and beautiful. Yet there is something very real in me that rebels against having to be somewhere every single day, especially during the summer. A commitment like this essentially makes me forfeit every afternoon of my summer, keeps me from working on the other things in life that I love, including the things that keep me from getting depressed, like foraging herbs and making medicines, writing, swimming in the Gainesville springs, etc. I have to constantly remind myself that this is temporary (I only have 2 ½ months left), and that the primitive instinct to value leisure time is not synonymous with laziness but is actually likely to be what kept our hunter-gatherer ancestors from the kind of neurosis so common to modern society.

What I know I need to do to feel better:

  • Stop sleeping in
  • get out of my cozy little house
  • be in the wild
  • bike more
  • read more and keep my mind stimulated
  • meditate, chi gong, etc!!!!
  • re-cultivate a relationship with my herbal allies (sounds really new age, I know)
  • spend more time alone
  • stop drinking every goddamn night
  • eat more wholesome foods

I am tempted to put ‘drink coffee’ on the list, but I’ve been trying to stay away from it, which could have something to do with how I feel too. Coffee is SUCH and anti-depressant, and a stimulant. But it can also make me anxious and boost my testosterone, which is not a side effect I am okay with.

compassionate listening

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Uncategorized

Every now and then I do an online guided meditation from the Irish Jesuits over at Sacred Space. This morning the scripture reading was Matthew’s account of the feeding of the 10 thousand (the traditional 5k number excludes womyn). Usually when this story is told the intention is to highlight the miracle of feeding 10 thousand people with a limited supply of food. Many interpretations exist attempting to explain the significance, including the political reading of the story which suggests that Jesus was making sure everyone got equal amounts and no one was hoarding goods. Or the primitivist reading which argues the story points back to the days when people relied on what “fell from heaven” and had plenty (ie hunter/gatherers). But this morning I noticed something different, something easily missed. I noticed that Jesus probably didn’t want to be doing this. The story starts out by saying that he was retreating to a quiet place to mourn the death of his best friend. Yet when he saw a crowd gathered, realized it was late and noticed everyone was hungry, he decided to organize a feeding.

This was helpful for me to see this morning because I have been stressed out lately. I’ve been moving, trying to get things done for school, and working on opening a coffee/tea shop in town. It’s at these points of extreme business that I find it hardest to give my full attention to other people, to stop thinking about all the things I have to do and focus on the needs of others, even if that is just listening when people talk, being attentive to what they are saying and not to the to-d0-list scrolling through my mind. Compassionate listening is something that I try to be really intentional about practicing. This basically just means listening to what other people are saying and not to what is going on in my head as they are talking, like what I am going to say to respond or whatever. I’ve found this to be essential, but lately my scatter-brain has gotten the best of me.

Matthew 14:13-21

Now when Jesus heard of the death of John the Baptist, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them. When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” And he said, “Bring them here to me.” Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. And those who ate were about 10 thousand ate, and their children.