The Flow of Acceptance
“Each thing with its own way of moving, of coming together, of coming apart.”
– Emily Sekine –
Since the spring of 2018 when we left Mexico and began the search for a new home, the word “untethered” best described my sense of the journey. It was an adventure of incredible beauty and dark doubts—a paradoxical time I learned was expected when leaving what is known and venturing out into who-knows-what.
We moved into our new house six months ago, after seven months of construction. Jesús and his uncle Hugo have since helped us shape and beautify the acreage around our home. Two days ago we spent the morning placing stones into the recently planted and graveled garden areas. They'd lug the heavy rocks into a wheelbarrow and I would point to a spot, their patience calming as I’d turn or step back and generally took what time was needed until the stone and the earth settled into a whispered “Yes.”
Three hours had passed by the time they drove away. Hours that became part of a day that flowed with the collaborative and fun energy of the morning. I was surprised by the happiness I felt.
For happiness to make itself brilliantly known, an ugly wall and foundation had to be demolished at my girlfriend’s house. At the time she had said, “Nancy, take all the rocks you want. Please!” Though I had to remember (!) that she made that offer and then make last-minute changes with Jesús and Hugo to have the gardens transformed.
Happy is the opposite of untethered, dark doubts, the unknown. Over family conversations during Thanksgiving week, I came to realize I’ve lived under the shadow of dysthemia for decades. Happy doesn’t live there. It's also known as persistent depressive disorder. Twenty-five years ago a therapist had mentioned dysthemia to describe how I was feeling, saying it was like living with a chronic low-grade fever; back then I didn’t have the moxie to even look it up. When I did read about it a few weeks ago, the puzzle pieces of the last fifty years fell into place.
I’ve been both mourning the possibilities I couldn't touch or see over the years, celebrating the ones I did, and allowing a huge relief to sink in—I finally understand the shadows. The innate truth found within Emily Sekine's words somehow found me years ago and led me step by step to my family, friends, actions and choices, nature, coaching, and poetry—all making up the connective and spiritual perspective I told my sister is "the boat that keeps me afloat” above the river of dysthemia.
I know many of you have become aware of personal losses as the growing list of natural and human-made events and circumstances swirl faster and faster around us like a malevolent fog of lingering grief, anger, and powerlessness. You, in your own way, have most likely mourned and retreated, then stepped once again toward something stronger than the dark shadows.
Things are coming apart. They are also moving in their own mysterious way and coming together. The three are inextricably entwined. May this New Year bring you all the love, gratitude, and moxie necessary to stand solidly in the flow of acceptance, to remember and embrace what Michael Meade calls "the most enduring, endearing things."
Quote by Emily Sekine found in her article "Bayou Sutra" in the Autumn 2021 edition of Orion.