A number of people have told me they find themselves feeling depressed as this new year begins. I know I have felt that way. It could be because of what’s going on astrologically in the star alignment– that we’re just very sensitive right now under the Cancer moon – or it could be that the latest events in our legislative branch of government have been disturbing and also confusing.
But I’d like to offer a slightly different point of view about depression. I think that word doesn’t really cover the feeling that a number of us are experiencing. I think that what I am actually feeling is a sense of overwhelm and a quality of despair.
In other words, we may be asking ourselves, does it matter what we do? Does it matter if we choose this party or that party? This action or that action? This step forward, this step backward? We’re wondering what we can do to make a difference in this world right now, and that sense of powerlessness and heaviness in our hearts can be translated as depression but I think it’s a different emotion.
For me, I think it harkens back to some very early childhood experiences, when I saw what the adults were doing around me, and I knew that if I had power, I might make a different choice.
As children, we didn’t have that power. So perhaps what we’re feeling is a similar powerlessness that comes from not being the person on top or the person who gets to make decisions or the person who’s going to have an impact in the world. So we feel like our behavior doesn’t matter.
But I think it’s exactly in these moments that we have to draw on the practices we’ve been building over the years. In particular, some of the practices I developed during the COVID pandemic are the practices I need to draw on now, even though I now have the ability and the facility to move around.
It is our dream life and the choice of how we express ourselves that will make all the difference right now. For instance, this morning, when I went to the farmers market and spoke to the vendors, I knew that my dollars would make a difference to their lives. I was not powerless then. Or when I call a friend who’s having a hard day, and I listen to her, and we take the time to really feel into our hearts, we know we’re not powerless.
We only feel powerless when we face obstacles that feel insurmountable, the stories that appear in the world, perhaps of politics or maybe even bigger family issues that we’re facing.
So today I’m writing you to say let us choose to bring our heart to another person and to bring our soul to each moment so that we can fill our lives with goodness, and we can fill our interactions with caring.
Then our lives are about contributing – in the small ways that make a difference – maybe one person, maybe two, maybe groups of people. If I live from that place every day, I don’t feel depressed. I feel empowered.