Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who Am I?

I've been drifting in a dark and lonely place. I look at recent posts on my blog and all seems well in my world. Have I been lying, both to you and myself? How can there be posts full of inspiration, progress and art, and then this darkness that seems to have come over my soul.

Riding my bike last week and pondering things I heard an inner voice loud and clear. "You are the one creating this struggle" it said. I know this to be true. But why? Perhaps why is the wrong question. Perhaps 'why' is just a means of giving the struggle a foothold.

Maybe the more pertinent question is 'how'? How do I wade through this quicksand? How do I find my authentic self in amidst all the noise that is going on within? How do I trust that what is in my heart is meant for me? How do I stop the fear from taking hold?

This is the place that I am stepping out of at the moment. Hopefully I'll see you on the sunny side soon.


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann


  1. When my head is muddled, I find it helps to talk to someone - personally or professionally - to try and get the thoughts all sorted and making sense. Hang in there. xxx

  2. I think those sorts of feelings are a lot more common than people think. I know what they are like. I hope that you can find what is takes to help you get back through to the sunlight.

  3. I've always found that after a big effort on something, I go through a downward period. I think it is a kind of assessment of sorts, to help me conclude before moving to the next thing. You just did Blogtoberfest (which I missed dang it) Maybe you are feeling a little 'post performance'? A dancers term for how it feels the day after a final show. There certainly are a lot of swirls in life hey!

  4. You have chosen a very beautiful and sage poem.

    I hope the dark imaginings soon fade. May your days be lit by the sun and the glow of the infinite possibilities that lie ahead.

  5. I'm really sorry to hear that you haven't been feeling like yourself Cathy. I hope you find your happiness soon x

  6. I think we all go through ups and down and try and camouflage at time...I hope you find yourself YOUR path to happiness soon.Take care!

  7. Who are you? A wonderful multi-skilled woman who, like the rest of us, has moments of doubt. Be strong. There are many wonderful things ahead of you to look forward to. Focus forward to help move on from the depths.

  8. Isn't this the exhale bit? The be kind to yourself time? Hope you find a sunnier time super soon sweetpea.

  9. I wish I knew what to say, but words always fail me in times like this. Wiser women than I have already offered beautiful and insightful words and no doubt more encouragement and support will come your way.
    All I can add is, I too have known a dark and troubling place and it was also at a time when I was experiencing one of the most creative and productive periods. I don’t think you have been lying by sharing the bright and beautiful moments here. But I do think it is very brave and wise to also share the difficulties and reach out to a community who want to encourage and support you.

  10. My saviours are always meditation, deep breathing and journalling. Hang in there. X

  11. You and I both need to bottle up our self-doubt and throw it out to sea. There it can find itself a nice deserted island, I think.

  12. Sending you some *hugs* and hoping you feel better soon xx

  13. Take care Cathy! I hope the love and support of your family and friends help you through this difficult time. It will get better!

  14. As one who is there myself more than I'd like to admit, I don't think we lie to those around us or ourselves because we don't openly share these moments. At times we need to wade out of the shadows on our own, and it isn't always as easy as opening our mouths and letting the right words flow forth. You are brave to share these thoughts with us though, and other people will look to you in hope, knowing that good things can come out of the darkness if they can get through it. The sun will shine again. You will come out stronger than before and because of the darkness will appreciate the light to the fullest.

  15. Cathy, those feelings of darkness and self doubt are 'part and parcel' of being a creative soul... you will always have these moments, we all do... they pass and we feel better and we get washed away with a surge of wonderful creativity... and before you know it we're wallowing in self doubt again!

    what's important is to recognise when you're on a bit of a downer and learn what it is you need to do to pull yourself out of it... this could be anything, whatever works best for you... ?

    but most of all ~ don't worry about it, it's by no means the end of your creative journey, it's just part of it whether you want it or not...


    btw ~ a glass of wine and bar of choccy do wonders for me... ;)

  16. As someone who has had a migraine for 7 days, I can sympathize. Take care of yourself and keep exploring where those emotions are coming from...

  17. You have all of us to call on if you need to ! Sending happy vibes to you..

  18. i am with sweetlimes, Emma Lamb, Kylie and especially Karin (i know that feeling of post-performance) in the sentiments already expressed here...

    i am glad to see that you feel safe enough to share these feelings of uncertainty and darkness because when we shed light on the darkness, it will disappear soon enough...i have been through bouts of depression and i can tell you that you will come out stronger for having experienced it instead of stuffing the feelings and pretending it isn't happening. i know it isn't pleasant to go through and can be more difficult if you feel as though you can not share this 'dark self' with others but it looks as though there are fellow travelers on the path with you, willing to lend support =-)

    it's funny you write about this since i found this today on one of my favorite blogs:

    i saw the interview with Barbara Ehrenreich and i loved what she had to say about the "happy" mentality that is so pervasive in American culture. i also loved that CHO stated "Unhappiness is a part of life...it is only natural" because it IS part of the Human Experience - and it will pass, truly =-)

  19. Oh I'm behind the times Cathy... have been off in my own land, and only just discovering this post.
    I'm with Emma Lamb on this one... i really liked what she had to say and I want to say to you be gentle to yourself my friend.
    My antidote to these despairing feelings is to talk - where that feels appropriate - and to walk (or maybe in your case to ride?)
    I find the physical change of energy can really help - especially when i take myself to a place of natural beauty like the beach. But, that's just what works for me...

    ((Hugs to you)) We all think you are ACE!!!

    p.s I also see from your next post you are starting to feel better too - yay :)


  20. wow that makes for incredible reading what an inspiring piece. I hope you are feeling more peaceful don't be so hard on yourself! I find good work can come of this up and down-ness we go through

  21. Oh you are SO brave for sharing your journey and darker times with us in such a public place. And this is just the first step in acknoweldging where you're at so that you can assess the situation, consider your options and move forward. I know only too well that it often feels like you are alone, no one understands, no one else is going through what you are going through, people will think less of you if they knew exactly what you are going through etc, but it's just not true.

    There are many others going through similar experiences (I was one) and you just need to keep looking forward, one step at a time, don't close others out, and keep moving towards 'the life you want to live', and eventually, you will get there.

    It won't always be a steady forward momentum, there will always be hiccups, but gien time, you will get there. You have an incredible supporter base right here - make sure you use them.

  22. just found your post whilst bloghopping... and had to stop and say hi and comment... this poem was given to me by my mother when i was young and without even realising it, it made a deep impression on me.
    i think as creative souls this is often our journey and a process of creating... my good friend caireen (the patchwork dress blog) says depressed = deep rest... i know when i am struggling then rest is the best tonic... also rest often comes before a new surge of creative activity ... so maybe this is what these feelings are telling you... take a little time out to be good to yourself and do all those things which make you happy.... i hope these feelings pass soon and you find your path out into the sunshine again. remember...
    "You are a child of the universe
    no less than the trees and the stars;
    you have a right to be here."
    warmest wishes
    p.s. i am working on the line from the poem ...
    "Take kindly the counsel of the years,
    gracefully surrendering the things of youth."
    ...and working hard not to cover my gray hair!

  23. Love to you Cathy. You are such a positive inspiration to many, and the public persona can be hard to maintain. I feel like 2 people sometimes when I blog but am not feeling 'up'. Be kind to your self, you are amazing. Hang in there; this will pass. Let it wash over you. xx