hope melancholy orientation May 09, 2020

Such days exist. When absolutely nothing seems to work out. 

When it‘s a major effort for me just to get the basics done and when I let my head hang low.


When I feel sorry for myself and toy with the idea of going back to a 9-5 full time job (knowing well that I will be unhappy with it in two years‘ time). When I have the diffuse sensation that I am stuck in my life. When my usual remedies against the blues – like a brisk walk, or a good book – do not seem to help any more.


On such days I feel as if I’m stuck in the fog on mount Rigi (one of the mountains surrounding Lucerne). Visibility of no more than 10 metres. Sense of balance uncomfortably disabled. Floating free in a muddy nothingness, without gravity, without orientation or control. My step is disheartened, my fantasy running wild – what if my next step leads into the abyss? What if the diffuse shadow over there turns out to be an eerie Yeti? What if the fog closes in for good, I get frozen in fright and will be stuck on the spot for hours or days? 


Like in the Rigi fog, I’m stuck in the mud of my negative thinking, and not even the plan to do something creative can get me out of the rut. Quite to the contrary – if I am stuck in this negativity, it can be dangerous to proceed without orientation, to expose myself or to run blindly into a dead end of which I cannot escape. Being in such a mood I tend to see only the scary, the tedious and the negative in any challenge that might come my way. 


But I know that the foggy mood will pass. While being in it, I stop putting more pressure on myself. I step back, focus on the necessary and I trust that my disheartenment will pass - often triggered by an external event, a wonderful movie, a good conversation. I then dismiss the voice of my inner critic who just loves to surface whenever I‘m feeling down, and I dispatch it to the background where it belongs. 


Then the clouds lift on mount Rigi and silhouettes emerge from the fog. My sense of balance returns, I am still on the path and the abyss is far (and secured by a fence). The Yeti turns out to be a snow-covered fir tree. The landscape takes shape, I enjoy the view and I am happy to continue on my chosen path. 


Everything is possible again. I lift my head and become realigned with the world and myself.


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

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