A small one-week feature on what happens when we clean our houses. What bubbles to the surface. What reveals itself to be true. What our junk says about our current state and next steps. What the season does to us.
I’ve been feeling off lately. Slightly anxious. Slightly depressed. Very tired, as if there’s not enough energy (or heart) in me at the beginning of the day to make it to the end. And to hear people talk in Italy, I’m not alone. In fact, I’m right in line with the entire population of this crazy, boot-shaped peninsula. Everyone’s sharing the same tale of woe— clicking their tongues, nodding their heads and intoning:
È il cambio di stagione.
In other words, whatever your problem, deficiency, or malaise, there is a reason for it, and the reason, quite simply is this: The change of season. When I moved to Italy, I poo-poo’d this theory along with its ilk involving cold drafts of air, bare feet, the all-healing powers of sea air, and a full moon’s effect on a haircut. But I have to say, that as time goes by and I allow myself to recognize the way I feel season-in, season-out without viewing it through that American “I can control everything and anything” filter, I do notice that I feel, inside and out, despite my own best efforts, different when Spring comes on. That season characterized by sap rising, saps me completely. Me and everyone around me.
It’s odd. There you are finally surrounded by electric blue skies, acid green buds, life surging relentlessly—everything you dreamed of during the long, winter months—and peculiarly, you feel out-of-it. Not quite able to engage with the sudden eruption of positivity and potential. Out of step with your own life and planet. And the fact that you aren’t glowing with brilliance makes you feel all the worse. But it’s comforting to know you’re not the only one and to be among an entire population that allows Nature to have this rightful, inexplicable power over our inner and outer workings.
It feels good to have friends and strangers alike express the notion that contrary to my feeling that “it’s all my fault,” this time, just maybe, it’s not. There are bigger forces at work. There’s an upheaval taking place. So what to do? Take it a little easy, take stock, clean, rearrange. This is not a call to give up or yield responsibility in situations that you can change, it’s just to say that perhaps there are days and weeks that require something from us other than charging ahead because accomplishment, doing, and busy-ness are the names of the game. There’s a massive transition afoot, and it’s taking something out of us. In a couple week’s time, things will be back to normal, but for now, perhaps it’s best to watch, although tired, and marvel.
You mean, it isn’t just me being lazy, ineffectual and generally not my usual chipper self?! In fact, I once had a dear friend whose clinical depression was at its very worst every spring for all the reasons you’ve mentioned and how perspicacious of you and the Italians to notice it and take appropriate (in)action. My solution for today, a spectacularly sunny and depressing day, is … lunch at a nice bistro with a sympathetic colleague so we can shake our heads and tsk-tsk, followed by a nice little afternoon nap! I’m exhausted!
I LOVE THIS. You’re too funny.
Wow… I feel just the opposite! I feel as though the heavy veil of winter is finally lifting. Somehow, things feel lighter, the air has a different texture all of a sudden, and the birds! The glorious song!
Maybe it’s because it’s “my” season… I absolutely love it.
It doesn’t last long…and it’s not a response to Spring itself, just to the change of season. After I get through it, I’m right with you honey. I LOVE SPRING!!!! Just always have a hard time making the transition, strangely.
i love this post. the birds are singing here, the sky is blue in portland, but there is a general sense of restlessness i feel. concurrently, i found myself straightening up the house as i spoke to you this morning on the phone, really removing things from the kitchen counter and washing things down. the more i did it, the more that i saw unnecessary items and debris that had accumulated. i am hopeful that as i do more of this my energy will be calmed. as if putting things in order, will make sense of the order of my life. i love you and all that you write, i read it everyday.
You know what? Shannon. You say something very important here that I just hadn’t yet articulated and that is that by putting the things of our lives in order, we confront the order or lack thereof of our lives themselves. It’s a really useful and arduous (and I find, emotional) task. Thanks for putting it so beautifully. I’m glad you are out there…
i love that the days get longer. i love the sudden explosion of colors and light. i love throwing things away. i love napping on a warm breezy day cuz just thinking about all this — all this energy and boldness — is making me a little tired. i love napping in a sunbeam when everyone else is outside working.
it must be genetic…I love napping in sunbeams too. Always have. Always will.
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