I have found great relief in my darkest times through writing. Until I started this blog that constituted journaling. (As an aside: if you are not journaling or blogging or expressing your thoughts in some capacity I highly recommend it.) Writing can prove to be remarkably therapeutic. As such, much of my writing is dark and depressing and definitively self deprecating. Frankly, this is the case, because until recently my mind has been in real turmoil. A cacophany of noise, clamour, self-loathing regurgitation, and so on.
So, I find myself at a crossroad so to speak. As I have mentioned in other blogs, I have started taking a more proactive approach to managing my Manic Depression and PTSD. There has been fruit to this approach. I have a long way to go but I am experiencing a quieter, calmer mind and life.
This brings me to the crossroad. Recently, I have been writing as a way of expressing positive things. Writing because I find myself, dare I say, sort of happy. It’s hard for me to even say I am happy because I still don’t feel truly worthy of happiness (obviously there is still work to do). Now, let me be transparent, I am not now, nor will I ever be, someone who pukes cupcakes and shits rainbows. I possess a more sarcastic, dry witted personality but it is a lot of fun laughing and carrying on with people.
You may be asking yourself, “what’s with the 257 words of build up”, I don’t blame you. I’m asking the same question.
As I mentioned, I find myself at a sort of literary crossroad. What I am going to attempt with this post is to continue on this positive left turn at the crossroad, and to build off my last blog post (which I think had a positive tilt to it).
I would like to share a philosophy that has helped me quiet my frenetic mind and has helped me work through experiences that would have cast me over the edge not that long ago.
So, let’s talk about “chopping wood and carrying water”.
As far as I can tell the concept of chopping wood and carrying water is an ages old Zen philosophy. I became aware of the concept in 2017 when my oldest son graduated from high school. One of his classmates gave the most profound speech I have ever heard. She based her speech on a small but very powerful book called, “Chop Wood Carry Water: How To Fall In Love With The Process Of Becoming Great” by Joshua Medcalf.
Chopping wood and carrying water are representative of taking care of life’s small activities. The tedium, if you will. I have always been too concerned with what has already happened to me or what is going to happen or not happen in the future. So much so that I have often found myself spiraling into deep depression. Caught in a vicious self-defeating cycle.
I have been too wrapped up in self-pity. Cursing God and the universe for my life. I have focused so much on why me, why am I going through this, and when it will end that I had forgotten to focus on the present moment. I am learning to live in the moment. By focusing on the task at hand, living in the moment, and doing it to the best of my ability, I am learning that I can be better than the day before.
Managing my Manic Depression and PTSD involves many small details. I need to handle these small details to the best of my ability. After all, how will I be able to handle the big shit if I can’t the little shit.
I am experiencing happiness for the first time in a very long time by putting this philosophy into practice. Managing lots of little things can add up to managing one really BIG thing.