The Experiment: Day 107 ~ Life As A Hot Air Balloon, or, Who Am I Without My Depression?

In a way this post is a photo montage. The above picture is an image that I have just embraced. You see I have lived with depression so much of my life that I was like the hot air balloon (I believe we are all hot air balloons, spirits, but what we must truly understand, as you will see represented in the pictures below, is that we can be “grounded spirits.” What must we do to take flight?) with no inner flame, with too many sandbags holding me down. I was more comfortable on the ground with all the other earthbound spirits. Came the day when I began to toss out the sandbags, rev up the flame, and take off! I want to be surrounded by people who are making the conscious effort to take flight!

There is a saying that we are the sum of the 5 people we surround ourselves with. Earthbound, or Airborne? Which would you rather be? I have spent months tossing off the sandbags (Letting go of limiting beliefs, in a way, as I now see it, and I had to let go of depression which was a hard but familiar place to be, by consciously allow healing to begin. Therapy, medication, diet, positive practices, and new daily practices to take the place of clinging to the “sandbags,” or the heavy weights that held me down. There is help but you have to want it, you have to do the painful work of examining what is keeping you down, even if that is a chemical thing in the brain, allowing medication into your life for the time being if that’s what it takes is the first step toward making progress, and that can take time, but there’s no time like the present to begin the process!), and you have to begin — scary at first — to release, toss off, let go of the things, people, or places that have not allowed you to heal. See this wonderful illustration of this process, Drop A Few Sandbags and Raise Your Balloon! 

Once you begin to let things go you must have practices in place to fill those empty spaces — nature abhors a vacuum — things like making steps to replace the old with the new, ways to take care of yourself, to love yourself more, to value every inch of your body, mind, and spirit. Some of these things might be a healthier diet, meditation, therapy, engaging with people and groups who are uplifting (See below, do you want to stay with the group of people metaphorically laying all over the ground or the ones who are taking flight?), and then, amazingly, you feel lift off, you have shed the old life and you must trust the new. This is the phase I am in. I know I am lighter, happier, freer, but could I really trust that this is so and not a momentary lifting that would fall flat again at any moment? It has taken awhile to really trust it. When my medication finally kicked in after trying several different ones in different doses it was a relief but I’d been down this road before. These “serotonin re-uptake inhibitors” can help a lot but don’t usually last. I have had them last from weeks to years, but sooner or later they will “poop out” as my current med manager says. You need more. When I went on the ketogenic diet, when I had been on it a few weeks, I was almost stunned to feel better in a way I couldn’t really describe. There is a lot of scientific research now on how the ketogenic diet can help or even cure mental health issues. I was glad that it felt like it was working but I didn’t trust it to last. Now, 3 months in, I have continued to feel better and better. It works, and it lasts.

So now what? The first, the most important step, is to decide that you want to feel better. Check!

The second step is to start doing what does help, whatever that may be for you, let go of everything that has been holding you down — throw off the sandbags! Check!

Next is to put new practices and ways of living in place to support your healing and new growth. Remember that nature abhors a vacuum and if you are not proactive you will slip back, it’s impossible not to, if you don’t have new things to plug into the holes the negative things that weighed you down left, you’re going to be in trouble. Did it. Check!

And you have to find ways to fan the flame to keep you aloft once you begin to rise. What might this be? It’s different for all of us. Other than the diet which is my baseline for everything, truly a spiritual practice for me now, I also started a daily meditation practice, prayer, a gratitude practice, AND ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT BRINGS ME JOY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! Filling the bird feeders and putting out food for the squirrels 2 or 3 times a day and then sitting here in the studio and watching as a constant stream of birds and darling squirrels come to eat. Snuggling and kissing the pugs. Nurturing ANYTHING. I am over the moon happy just now because last winter when I was in a really bad state my daughter Rachel brought me a beautiful pot of purple hyacinths. When they were spent I moved them outside where they stayed until just a week or so ago. I had kept them watered and pretty much let them be but they had come back to life and were growing again. Now they are on my kitchen counter, they are blooming! and the kitchen smells sweetly fragrant as the beautiful purple flowers blossom again. When you take care of things, nurture them, love them, they last, they live, they will continue to be reborn and they will bring you new life. I want to have more plants in my life as I always used to have many. The act of nurturing living things, plants, animals, other people, is one of the most powerful things you can do to build a strong inner flame that keeps you aloft. Be IN life, spread love every way you can, feel yourself grow stronger by the day, now take flight! Rise and rise and rise! And look at the view from up here, there’s a whole huge world you never knew existed when you stayed on the ground, looking down, and feeling hopeless.

And remember this — IT’S A CHOICE. We all have choice, I am choosing this new life and I don’t intend to look down or back. I don’t live there anymore!

Now look at the series of pictures below. Let them speak to you. What do they say to you? Where are you in the pictures below? Are you lying on the ground, beginning to make the choices and the movements to lift yourself up? Are you ready to fan the flames, have lift off, and join a community of airborne spirits whose whole purpose is to search, to seek, to find purpose and meaning, to reach for the stars? That’s the community I want to be part of! I’m ready for lift-off…


The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Happiness: Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda

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Comments

  1. Preparing for lift off! Realizing too that I will need a flight plan in order to actually arrive someplace where I want to be.

    I have discovered that one thing that makes me joyful is sharpened pencils with usable erasers. I don’t even mind using a hand sharpener!

    • Yay Lorraine! We have liftoff!!! 🙂

      And you tickled me all to pieces with your joy in sharpened pencils! I love them too! Now that your pencils are sharpened, what will you write with them? I really want to know. I think you are going to write your new flight plan. I can’t wait to hear more!

      Blessings to you honey, onwards and upwards…

      Maitri

  2. Beautiful, Maitri! I made the choice for joy when I left my second marriage. I haven’t looked back. My life is so full of meaning and happiness I awake with gratitude.

    You are a beautiful soul, my friend, with more challenges than many could handle. Yet you write like an angel, give love and hope to sweet puggles, and share insights that make me shiver. Well done, sweet friend!

    • Oh Cathryn, it makes me so happy to hear you express such joy! That is such a beautiful thing. And you are so kind to me always, I really appreciate your words about my writing and my life, it means so much more than I can say. Thank you for coming here honey, and leaving your lovely comments. You have made my day… <3

  3. My word for 2018 is Leichtigkeit (lightness)
    🙂
    Shed weights, let go of heavy thoughts and burdens, dance with wind and waves.
    From your wonderful blogpost I just received an image of fueling my flame to lift off, it made me hear the roar of the flame. I’m on my way to meet you up there
    Yours Silke

    • Oh Silke yes! I’d love to have you sailing up here in the clouds with me. What does your balloon look like? Can you imagine it? 😀 And I love your word for the year, it’s beautiful, it’s perfect! Have a beautiful year honey, I’m pulling for you! 🙂

  4. This post brings up a few things for me. Firstly, I’ve had various spiritual practices my whole life, starting with prayers and rituals I learned from a religious upbringing. Although I am no longer a church goer, those practices really saved my spirit over many years of dealing with life challenges. At middle age I became more interested in what might be considered New Age spirituality and immersed myself in different kinds of practices. From then until very recent years, I would have to say that I was mostly seeking to live more in a spiritual world than a grounded one. This served its purpose too. And now, as a young senior (63) I am wanting a happy medium. I still love the light and airy feeling of drifting off in meditation, but my body is living here on this earth. Lately, some physical symptoms which are likely associated with my aging body, are daily reminding me of that. So, it seems for me the question is how to find a balance of ‘being in the world but not of it’, and finding contentment and joy in that.

    • Ah Joan, I am your exact age honey and I completely understand about needing to find what works for us at this age. It is different, isn’t it. You can see from my writings the things I am doing, ever so slowly and gently, these are the things that are working for me. I hope you find what brings you peace and ease and rest. It doesn’t matter what it is, it only needs to work for you. May you find the path on which you will feel much joy and fulfilment. May each find her own way… <3

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