Thursday, February 5, 2015

Out of the funk, into the fire... in a manner of speaking

I was in quite a funk the last 2 days. I'm beginning to see this as a normal book-birthday emotion (see this post for book info). You go through months of writing and editing and when your book finally hits the market, it's like *yay - no.*

Weird, but I'm sure perfectly normal.

Anyway, last night I took my funkified self for dinner with a longtime friend I only get to see once or twice a year (her living on the wrong coast while I live on the left coast) and, after dropping her off at her hotel, I realized the funk was gone.

In the hours of chit chat about mutual friends and family, the insanity of our daily lives and work (she's in the same industry), a wonderful meal on the sidewalk in Little Italy and a brief stop at a truly fascinating art gallery (unplanned serendipity - you should go, if your in the area: Mee Shim, 1943 India Street, Suite 101, San Diego) - the funk lifted. It was just... gone.

So, I was thinking about that this morning. I always have a good time when I see this particular friend. I always leave feeling better about myself and my life. It's not any thing in particular that she does, it's what she DOESN'T do.

  • She doesn't commiserate with me
  • She doesn't try to "fix" whatever's bothering me
  • She doesn't compare me to herself, or anyone else
  • She doesn't overtly try to "cheer me up"
See, that's the thing - my friend simply lets the conversation unfold, points out interesting things as we walk along (like the flower arrangement made out of old bow ties) and lets me find my own "level" - let's me realize I can wallow in misery, or enjoy her company and the weather and a good meal and all the things we take for granted on a daily basis.

Life's full of ups and downs and little surprises - some good, some bad. My life has it's challenges, your life has challenges, every one has a dragon to slay, sooner or later. Or to tame, if you prefer. The point is, it's up to us to determine how those ups and downs define our moods.

That's exactly what my friend did, when she looked me in the eye and said, simply "I refuse to let events I can't control define the things I can control."

Yup - straight talk from a good friend. It's what we all need, from time to time.

The Pleasures of Fishes
                Not being fish, how do you know their happiness?
                We can only take an idea and make it into a painting.
                To probe the subtleties of the ordinary,
                We must describe the indescribable.
Wen Tianxiang’s poem on Zhou Dongquing’s hand scroll
(China, Yuan dynasty, 13th Century)

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