An Andrew Solomon TED talk
Andrew Solomon discusses his own experience and his research into what happens when genetic predisposition to anxiety and depression collides with triggering life events.
As he says, ” The opposite of depression is vitality.”. And if you are depressed, thoughts can lie.
If this mirrors your own condition or you have questions,seek help. Sometimes the one life you should save is your own.
I notice you are here today.
You want to wrap my heart in foil
or waxed paper like a burrito take-out
You want me to sit and warm the couch
to be still
to not let anything move
forward or back.
Yet fear grabs at my chest
sends my heart into overdrive
tightens my throat.
I am so tired.
I hear the little birds
and know it is Spring outside
and I imagine how I might venture out
and unwrap my heart and give it an airing.
And after that?
I dont know.
Lie down on the warm earth.
Let it support my body
Breathe for me.
at a time…
For me voicing poetry and writing poetry is transformative. It requires presence and breath. It requires acceptance of one’s experience in this moment and gives the gift of a changed experience through the very act of reading or creating. Here is a poem I wrote about one such moment of awareness.
After this winter
of cruel stories
The hungry bandits.
To find frog eggs
lives to be yet sung.
The smallest frog:
the loudest croak.
I am still here.
It was the quietness of your voice
your hands in the dark pond
sitting soundless together
that left me
with the soft cloak
and here is one from Rilke, translated by Joanna Macy.
Part Two, Sonnet XXIX
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent Earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.