On Wholeness.

afterthestormWell, here we are. Just a toe dipped into June and all of the requisite tropical afternoons that birth amazing thunderstorms and the gift of cool breezes that come after. Everything in a cycle. Happened: my annual sunburn, a few gardenias blooming on the plant that made it through the winter, a lot of fresh fish and white wine. Yet to happen: fireflies, peach picking tomato sandwiches, the honey harvest, fully conquering this fierce melancholy. Here, right on time, to support the few weeks I’ve been taking to breathe deeply and make balance, some thoughts on happiness vs. wholeness:

I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say, “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness.” Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.

Hugh MacKay, author of The Good Life

From here (duh).

I’ll consider this point of view an indulgence for the next two weeks and then I’ll be back to my relentlessly positive outlook. I will say: Sorrow, I acknowledge you, I honor the realness of pain, and the truth and necessary aliveness of the feeling of it, and, thank you, but I’m not going to be spending any more time with you today. These watermelons don’t grease themselves.


And an epic thanks to the beautiful Raphaelite-curled Kaitlyn from Once Upon a Stiletto for including this nest in her Leibster roundup…when the melancholy clears I’m overdue for a link roundup. Le Swoon, Le Sigh.


Feeling: Wanderlust

The Exercise: I feel wanderlust when you start to think about the temperature rising and the slant of the sun as the world opens itself wide because even though this has been the most wild winter in memory it’s still left an early-dark melancholy down deep in the bones.

Sunglasses on, let’s go.

Thanks to Meags for The Feeling Wheel.


Fight the Fierce Melancholy

Sometimes it’s the thick of long cold January and it just starts to set in without you even realizing it. Meags pulls the words out of Holly Golightly and names it the “mean reds”, and it just seems like your bones feel cold and heavy and your face hurts from the wind and from being in the same expression for too long and you are desirous of everything and nothing all at the same time and you have nothing to offer anybody except your own confusion and, and, and…. The Fierce Melancholy.

Then I went to a dinner this week where the table looked like this. There was a roasted bird and a chestnut soup and there was a lot (a.lot.) of wine and more laughter and music and some people were wearing tinfoil crowns and paper moustaches and we were high above the city with all of its glory spread out like a hot breakfast below us.And there it was: the best way to fight the fierce melancholy. Go to the music, bring wine to the dinner, stay home and make tortillas, soup, anything, be gentle to yourself, put your head in a lap, have the small adventure, let that be enough, or not, see how beautiful the paper flowers are, notice that you are breathing, be quiet, say yes, valhalla, call when you can, and just keep on keeping on all day every day and bring everyone who can handle you along with you forever. Because, bless them. So much love to everyone who has held our hearts this week and all weeks.


Thanks to Anna Davis for the beautiful photos, even though she doesn’t know it.

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