Go Big or Go Bust: Day 216 (on panic, pain, and Stephen Colbert's life raft of acceptance)

I'm fortunate to have never had to battle depression.  In fact, I've hardly ever been depressed.  But today it's been in a downhill slide since before hauling myself out of bed.  I'd like to think this mood was caused by the second half of that hummus sandwich on the way home from the rodeo --or the barely five hours of sleep.  So I fought it off but it came back.  Again.  And again and again. 

I was starting to fear that the underlying panic (that I'm blowing it, that I'm blowing everything) has solidified into the new me.  

Here I thought it was good to have hopes and dreams (especially supported by astrological forecasts) that the whole 'vision board' thing was a healthy discipline.  Too bad, with my willfulness, it all turns into torture. 

So, not liking pain, I've been scouring for help.  "Plans but no expectations" says John M. Carroll, the (biblical era-type) healer who works with visualization and has helped me and thousands of others with conditions and/or diseases which sometimes (apparently) spring from inner turmoil.  "Forgiveness, no judgment or feeling slighted".  I'm sure he's right, but today I'm not hearing it.

Luckily, Jessica Arinella sent me a cover story on Stephen Colbert which is saving my life.  In the last third of the article, Colbert talks about suffering, about loving your failures and about the importance of accepting them.  "Acceptance is not defeat.  Acceptance is just awareness."  Whattt. 

Many years ago, I had a mentor in a successful artist.  He used to talk about the precious state of feeling completely defeated, that in that moment, your skin is "stretching".  I would think but not dare to say, "Easy for you to say, you with your museum retrospectives and your big career." 

Today his words came back to me with force after reading Colbert's words.  Combined with my late mentor's image of the stretching skin, an action-step came clear: I relaxed into the horrible feeling of my skin 'stretching' and, in an instant, the panic and the pain lifted.  Poof.  GONE.  It was just like the shift of hunching my shoulders and tensing every muscle to not feel a blast of arctic wind vs. relaxing and experiencing the cold as just another feeling.  Once the resistance is removed, it's a state without a positive or a negative charge, like a color.