Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Finding a new way... writing long hand at a coffee shop in Seattle's sweet Fremont district.
I 'm just home from three weeks in Washington State. While there, on the first day of ten days that I was alone grand-dog sitting, my computer crashed. Aside from something happening that was actually serious, it's the worst thing I could think of that could happen, and it sent me into a huge tailspin, wondering what the H I was going to do up there for ten days, all alone, WITHOUT my computer. No writing, no uploading my photos, no photoshopping, no emailing, no flickr, no musings, no Unraveling, no spider solitaire. Nothing but me and Lola and gray and cold and rain. For ten long days.
I'll be writing more about this later, I'm sure, but what I discovered is that Life could not have sent me a greater gift. It put my computer addiction (I prefer to use the term "misuse"... :) squarely into my face in a way that I could not ignore. I was confronted with ME, in a way that I haven't been in quite some time, probably since I bought my first laptop many years ago. I was face to face with the knowledge of how dependent I had become, how I've used the computer to deaden the pain and cope with depression (possibly also extending it at the same time), how much of my precious life time and energy I waste on the computer, how it takes me away from myself, my loved ones, my world.
Talk about drifting. Talk about edges. Talk about watching what you ask for. (I'm pretty sure one cannot be danced while one is buried in a laptop...) It was a time of some serious withdrawal; of depression, eating too many comfort foods, and lots and lots of Netflix streaming. But thankfully, there was also discovery; a new and different voice as I started writing long hand, experimenting with drawing, and making art on the dreary, endless-seeming days; there was the joyful relief when on a couple of occasions the sun parted the heavy cloud cover for half a day and I could get out and explore and take pics. And a big, nostalgic reminder of what it's like to simply sit, and be present with whatever it is that is revealing itself in the moment. By the time I got my computer back eight days later, there was - there still is - a huge desire to find a greater balance, to use it - as opposed to misuse - as the great and wonderful tool that it is, to learn, once again, what it's like to be alone, with myself, and to return to those things that in the past, pre computer, nurtured and fed me; simple things like heading outdoors in the early summer mornings, visiting a garden or the ocean, watching the world, picking up an actual pen, or the big one, just being.
The depression has hung on... I realize that though I'm no longer living in the black hole, I am balanced precariously, and it takes just the slightest breeze to nudge me into the real gray again. I'm trying not to resist, I'm trying to look the other way when the negative voice of depression whispers that I'm never really going to get better, that I have no life, that I'll never manifest as I truly desire to, etc., etc., yada, yada. Some moments it is easier than others. Sometimes just being is the ultimate challenge, or, as I've known from the past couple of years, just getting out of bed or up off the sofa. But one thing is for sure, I've come through this latest experience with a great desire not to deaden myself even more with this machine. To use it wisely and with consciousness, rather than the numbing drug of choice to take me ever further from myself and the world.