Monday, January 03, 2011

A January Ramble

Nothing like the last day of vacation to make you feel rushed.

I'm not entirely sure why it is that we feel we haven't done enough during productive times. I've spent my winter break doing lots of things--walking 4-6 miles a day, teaching a class, getting my closets cleaned after months, etc. Yet I still feel I have to finish every other house project that needs to be done, and have failed because I haven't. It's probably like driving a car--you start off slowly, gain momentum, go speeding down that hill--and then suddenly have to hit the breaks, which is quite jarring. I have to hit the breaks and stop even though I still have a ways to go.

The other problem is that those projects you successfully ignored for months now stick out like huge ugly zits. You can't IMAGINE how you lived every day with your closets in disarray, or with unfiled papers. It's just UNBEARABLE.

Yet, by next week, I'll have forgotten all about it. Come to think of it, I believe it is a new year's phenomenon. Purely a hallucination in this case, and created by an illusion in nature. You see, where I live, the beginning of the year is often a reasonably warm day, even if it's been cold all month. This January was not an exception--it reached 50 degrees Fahrenheit on the 1st. Winter has just gotten started, but the days are already a teensy bit longer. This tricks your brain into thinking: "Spring!" And of course--Spring is about longer days, pretty flowers, warming up and going out. The ancient Celts considered Yule to be the middle of winter, not the beginning--Halloween was the beginning. If you think about it, that makes a bit more sense. After all, the days get darker and darker after Halloween. By Yule, they start to get lighter and lighter, until February 2 (Imbolc), when it's light enough in the early morning to go out without an artificial light source. And--for the Celts, February 2 was the beginning of Spring.

However, the reality is that we probably have many cold, snowy days ahead, even with global warming. While we may enjoy being at home, it starts to feel like a prison after awhile if we can't get out and do things. Humans are social creatures, in spite of any self-serving tendencies we may have, and too much time in isolation--even with family or a loved one--will start to affect you after a period of time.

It seems to me that in years past, I'd read about January as being a high suicide month. Christmastime is also a high-suicide time, but for different reasons, more than likely. I wonder if this January burst of energy that is suddenly curtailed makes the depressed feel more hopeless. It's easy to see how that could happen.

I was on the phone with a friend I haven't seen in at least 3 years yesterday. She mentioned that according to quantum physics, the human body "flashes" on and off like a strobe light 186,000 times a day. It happens so fast and in such minute pockets that we don't notice it. But she wondered--where do we go when we flash "off"? Somehow, we're not here when that happens.

Things like this are good illustrations of why the mind can't comprehend its own existence. The more science uncovers, the stranger it gets. It's also a good illustration of how we are not as "real" as we think we are. We are here one fraction of a millisecond, and gone the next--then back again. So is the whole world. We can never really "know" it. We can only point to it, because it's not possible to analyze and interpret it in the way that we can analyze and interpret a math problem or fix a kitchen sink.

I wake up this morning, aware that I have to go to a doctor's appointment, and get to the bank and post office. I look out my front windows to watch the sun rise while having breakfast, a sense of slowing down and relaxing, while I can feel my head and stomach spinning with the list of things I have to "get cracking" on as soon as possible. There is an interesting juxtaposition that occurs when you are quietly in a moment, and yet your mind is freaking out about it, like it's a separate person in your house nagging you to get moving in a thousand different directions at once. I think I know now why the Hindus and Buddhists say you need to get rid of the mind.

I paid my mortgage yesterday, and realized that I had less than $100 left in my bank account, with at least 3 things that still need to be paid this week. I figured I could scrape by with another $85. My parents came over to help finish a house project yesterday, and my Mom was very excited about having recently won some money with one of those lottery scratchoffs--a pretty nice little sum. She had just collected her money, and promptly handed me $100 because it was "found money". So--there's lesson 2 for the new year--you always get what you need.

Ah well, off to get showered and go to the doctor's...

No comments: