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That Perfect Moment. Tuesday May 10, 2016

Spring sunshine warms us
Soft scent surrounds our senses
Ah – cherry blossom!

It's sometimes said that we remember not perfect hours but perfect moments.

I think we certainly remember moments of pure happiness and the Japanese poetry form of haiku is perfectly structured to express those moments.

Just at present cold winds and hail have stripped the cherry blossom from my life. I am left shivering, under bare branches, feeling unloved, unwanted, unneeded, and desolate.

Oh, don't waste your sympathy or pity - I can provide quite enough self-pity of my own, thank you; the point is, not that I am having a severe attack of the blues at present, but what lessons I can glean from it and pass on.

Sometimes it takes hitting bottom, or being able to see bottom at least to set the alarm bells ringing. For me it's usually thoughts of, "I'm such a failure at everything: why don't I just take myself out of it completely?"

But, for one thing, I have promised my children I won't kill myself and for another I've implanted that alarm. The alarm goes something like, "If the thoughts get that serious then for goodness' sake talk to someone!"

It could be anyone. I have good friends who won't panic if I go to them with this. It could be the Samaritans – they're trained to deal with people at the bottom. In the end, it was my husband – who can always be relied on to keep his head and to come up with a game plan – even if the game isn't the one I want to play or the plan one I like.

The most powerful weapon I have against the blues is my brain. It takes an immense effort of will to raise my head from the morass of churning emotion and to categorise all this as "just" feelings. Because they hurt – they really do hurt. But if I take a step away, and then another step away, I can see that most of these feelings depend upon subjective thoughts of failure and rejection.

So – okay – I can't actually twist my thoughts round from their entrenched viewpoint, but I can intellectually understand that there may be other points of view. My own perspective may not represent the total truth.

"But it's MY total truth!" wails the small child inside me who will not be comforted.

"For the moment," my older and wiser self replies. "For the moment your happiness and joy have been stripped away. Just now you are feeling bereft.

"But hold on. While life remains in you there is still the cherry tree. The blossom will come again next year. And the year after. And the year after that.

"There will be many more perfect moments. Just hold on and see."

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Ann Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 6:45am

Dear Mary, I always know it's you before I see your name. You express yourself so well. As you say, the blossoms will surely come again. I'm thinking of you. The brighter days will come.

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:37am

Sally Ann - I have another post going out of Friday and you will find out that they already have. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

Lexi Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 6:47am

Mary - middle of the night over here (again). I read your post and read it again. I too am shivering, feeling rejected and alone. Will there be more perfect moments? Will there? Right now I can't feel it. I am trying to learn the lesson of why a recent event has left me completely raw and reeling. I am feeling like a horrible person. Am I? Or am I letting someone make me feel that way? I have given my power away to someone who I thought would cherish it but instead has rejected me. I have been wavering between hating myself and hating this other person, then trying to understand, trying to learn why this event holds so much power over me. I have been brought to the ground once more. But I did call a friend too when the alarm went off. But now it's the middle of the night and I can't call anyone (even friends have their breaking point when they have to get up in the morning for work). So thank you for Moodscope for being here and for your post Mary coming just as I wake up from another panic attack.

Lexi Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 7:05am

And I apologize for the rantings of a bereft woman. I will feel better in the morning. I usually do! There is something about the middle of the night that makes everything seem so much bleaker.

Leah Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 7:17am

Lexi, Please never apologise for sharing your innermost thoughts. This is one place where you can do that safely. If you can find someone in another time zone to talk to that is good it is mid to late afternoon here! So sorry to here you are feeling like a horrible person when you obviously are not but are in a lot of pain. You have so much insight into you what has happened. It is difficult when you feel so hurt.Hugs from down under. Keep ranting and remember everyone here values your compassion and your thoughts.

LillyPet Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:32am

Hi Lexi, No meed to apologise, that's part of the beauty of Moodscope! Yes I know that pain of rejection only too well. Those feelings dont change over night, nature takes its time. In the mean time it's just about how my friend who was tearful after a break up, recently put it "I just have to get through this period." and just like HOs golfer it's useful to know that we will, eventually...just keep moving forward. For me in the short term, recognising the harmful thoughts, (not the alarm bells, a good idea of Mary's to act on those swiftly) but the painful negative feelings about me, the moment I realise I'm "doing it" I switch them off like flipping a switch. Don't go there while the feelings are so raw. Not the time to deal with it. Easier said when we arent in it, I know, but like me who has been there recently and come out the other end able to soothe another, you will do the same, we are cherry blossom! Can you remember a moment ( not involving that person, light switch off for now) of pure happiness? LPxx

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:26am

Oh Lexi darling, thank you for trusting us enough to be vulnerable. So sorry I wasn't able to reply when you write this. I hope very much that, when your morning comes, you will be able to see a chink of light. Trusting someone with your most precious possession (yourself) and finding that they do not value it and throw you away is hard indeed. But your power does come back to you, eventually, just like a homing pigeon. Sending love to you.

Lexi Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 2:10pm

Thank you all for the kind words. Morning came and I am feeling a bit stronger. I know this will pass. Here's to seeing the cherry blossoms again.

Hopeful One Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 6:54am

Hi Mary- I just knew you would be the author of such an eloquent blog. Yes those feelings...sometimes they just won't go away no matter what strategy we employ. They ,like their allies 'thoughts' ,sometimes just won't shift. At least with thoughts one can attempt to replace them with more friendly positive alternatives. But with feelings? Does anyone know how they can be replaced?

Yesterday the Joke Squadron picked up a lot of flack from its sortie. It was ordered to return to the hanger for repairs and reprimanded for causing pain. The Squadron, you may be happy to know , is staffed by gentleman defined as'someone who causes no pain'. However that irrepressible sense of humour the Squadron is famous for got the upper hand.... here is what it found.

A pretty terrible golfer was playing a round of golf for which he had hired a caddie. The round proved to be somewhat tortuous for the caddie to watch and he was getting a bit exasperated by the poor play of his employer. At one point the ball lay about 180 yards from the green and the as the golfer sized up his situation, he asked his caddie, "Do you think I can get there with a 5-iron?" And the caddie replied, "Eventually."

I agree with Caroline's comment yesterday.. I felt sorry for the horse.... and the bride for marrying a psychopath!

LillyPet Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:26am

Hi H.O. :)) Feelings are apparently caused by thoughts. So I guess if thoughts are changed/challenged feelings can be changed too. LP x

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:40am

I have just gone back and read all the comments from yesterday. I loved the fact that although several of us did not like that joke, we were all respectful and explained clearly why we did not like it, and we were encouraging to you in that we adore your daily jokes and appreciate them and you very much. this is such a lovely community. Oh, and I have another definition of a gentleman - which is actually another way of saying exactly what you have said above: a gentleman is someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but refrains from playing them.

the room above the garage Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:50am

I'm firmly on the side of the Bagpipes...I am a lover and give house room to a set. I'm raising both a piper and a gentleman I hope :-)

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:52am

Ah RATG - I might have known you would love the pipes! I'm rather a fan myself, but I liked the joke!

Zareen Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 7:13am

Hi Mary, I have been able to identify with the feelings you expressed and my response to myself has now become "yes, I have failed at some things and I don't always feel accepted or appreciated or liked. But that doesn't make me a failure or unlike able". Thanks for the suggestion about hanging on when I feel submerged in negative feelings. The idea of cherry blossoms is delightful.

Tutti Frutti Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:07am

Don't really know what to say this morning as I am lucky enough not to have been right to the bottom very often. The cherry blossom is a lovely metaphor though and whenever we are in any sort of low we do need to hang onto the fact that better times will return even though we can't see how. I hope you don't mind me praying for you all (I believe in it even if some of you may not) and I am also sending virtual hugs for everyone as well/instead.

Tutti Frutti Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:32am

I just wanted to add that Mary can be really proud of being able to write like that when feeling so awful and of all the help her blogs give to the rest of us.

LillyPet Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:33am

Ditto xx

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:44am

Bless you all so much - I appreciate deeply the encouragement and support I get from Moodscope.Last night I was complaining to a friend about the sparsity of words I have been able to add to my current novel. He asked me then how much I have to rewrite and/or delete later. Suddenly I felt better: the writing is very slow - but at least it's good!

Still picking figs Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:19am

You provide a beautiful metaphor Mary. For what it's worth, I am picturing you 'hearing' you eat one of your special chocolates whilst cherry blossom blows softly all around. A bare tree can be the most beautiful thing on the landscape.

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:44am

Ah, bless you!

Rupert Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:21am

Mary you are so right in what you say! Sometimes I think the approach you have mentioned is the only way to cope with it. Isn't it amazing that our brains are so complex and clever that we can have 2 conversations going on in them at the same time. One is pointing out how "worthless" we are and how we seemed to have "failed" at everything and the other is telling us to ignore it and it will pass. It is the latter that we must encourage and it sounds like you are doing a good job at that. Rupert x

LillyPet Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:36am

Hi Rupert, I'm also very interested in the brain that produces thoughts and the brain that reflects on the thoughts. We are remarkable creatures! X

LillyPet Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:24am

Hi Hi Mary,
Thank you for a beautifully written blog.
I guess with certain circumstances, it's natural for certain feelings to follow. I liked the idea that if you take a step away and then another step, you can see that some of the feelings are caused by subjective thoughts of failure etc.
I loved the Cherry Blossom tought! It's one of my favourite images/scents and it's so good to know that it will always come back.
Thank you. I'll get a little picture of Cherry Blossom to remind me of some of my moments of pure happiness and maybe write about a couple of them in a blog!
Spring blossom wishes and love to all :) LP xx

Peter Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 9:24am

Hello Mary - thank you very much for writing this. No-one but you can appreciate fully what you are going through - but your words have had an immense positive impact on me. Thank you. I hope it helps a little to know that you've done a good thing for a lot of people in a difficult world. Hope the better feelings are with you soon. Peter

Salt Water Mum Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 9:33am

Dear Mary and Lexi,

Thinking of you both and sending a warm ray of hope in your direction,


F Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 9:35am

I wish I could express my feelings as eloquently as you Mary (and indeed everyone else who has commented.
I've hit bottom - ashamed to let anyone know (apart from my husband who can't help knowing) apart from any of you reading this, that I'm spending most of my days in bed at the moment, terrified to venture back into my life which now seems scary. Thank you Mary for reminding me that happy times will return again at some point.

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:51am

Hello F. Please have some love and hugs. Oh yes - many of us have been where you are at present. The only advice I can give is don't give up and don't beat yourself up. This is an illness (just at the moment it is a totally incapacitating illness that is keeping you bedbound). You will recover. It may take some time, but you will recover. A book I would recommend is Depressive Illness - The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher. He takes a medical and scientific approach to depression but is tremendously encouraging. In the meantime - stay with us here. We understand.

Tutti Frutti Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 8:00pm

Hi Mary,hi F Thanks for the book recommendation. It's always good to have new ideas and input that might help us. I just wanted to say to F that I have been in bed all day with severe depression at times and I can't always cope with reading. So if you find you can't handle the book right now don't worry just wait until things pick up a little bit. Hopefully the fact that you're managing the blog will mean that the book will be helpful either now or quite soon

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:38pm

Indeed TF, and usually - if I'm in that space - all I can manage is my old favourites that I know inside out and word for word. When you're a bit better F, not until then!

Richard Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 9:45am

Thank you, Mary.
Beautiful writing.
Peace & Love,

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:51am

Thank you Richard.

Eva Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 11:13am

Holding on... I am feeling much better for some time off, but am aware that whatever its is (no off switch until I am exhausted) is still operating, I am still getting to the end of the day and feeling a scratchy sore throat, which goes when I rest enough, and on days where I feel good I'm packing in the fun/ housework /meditation /exercise so I feel knackered again come evening... I'm holding on to the hope that I can tune in enough to slow down a bit more (despite my enthusiasm to live live live while I can, fighting to take over constantly). Keep on keeping on Mary.

The Gardener Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 3:10pm

I could be there now. My s-in-law was dying of cancer - she said I want to pay you (with Mr G) to take us (his brother) for a holiday in France. We'd had a super picnic on a custome designed wall under lovely trees. Then she and I sat on the steps looking at a mill and the confluence of two rivers - green frogs, water lilies, dragon flies, otters plus babies - we did not talk much, just sat in great companionship. I never saw her again.

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 3:55pm

Oh, Gardener! Yes - I can see you there. A beautiful perfect moment indeed.

Lex Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 4:27pm

The beauty of the Cherry Blossom is, for me, partially wrapped in it's transient nature. Yes, it will come again and then we can say with the last Samurai, "Perfect, every blossom perfect." Mary, blossom, you are perfect... and when you are not blossoming, you are still perfect. L'xx

The Gardener Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 7:23pm

Add on to above. 2 Oz friends with us - none of us will ever meet again. For Leah. Adelaide garden to friends retirement bungalow. Sun, access to his bookis, her cooking, oZ WINE AND AN audience of rainbow lorikeets. Son's house near Perth - Mr G take kids to school, son to office, d-in-law away lecturing = huge bowl fruit into sunshine - kkookaburra in next door tree - then lorikeers, wattle birds, black and white robins, ubiquitous lorikeets paradise. My crowd of birds are with me in 'new' garden - St Francis had no progeny - but my affinity for birds and animals had been a life-long joy.

Leah Wed, May 11th 2016 @ 12:22am

Gardener, Thanks for sharing your special moments in Australia. I am a long way from Adelaide but we have crimson rosellas and kookaburras and cockatoos. I am sitting there with you in the sunshine listening to your stories. What a delightful image to start my day.

The Gardener Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 7:28pm

Continuing theme - you can always skip 'not her again!' Synptom of summer, a crowd of swifts - screaing round the rooftoops at this time of night. In the 'dark' ages they were calley 'devil birds' because of this screaming round the rooftops at dusk. Mary's blog has not just sent me down memory lane - but to really pin-point what provides MY life-force, flowers and birds - plus the fact that over the years hundreds of people have shared the activities of 'The Gardener!'.

Mary Tue, May 10th 2016 @ 10:42pm

Oh, i never skip you! I love these perfect moments. You have a way of writing that makes me visualise them perfectly. Thank you for sharing them - they are a gift.

Leah Wed, May 11th 2016 @ 12:26am

I also never skip your comments as I have told you before I look forward to them and can't get enough. I think I sometimes take the wonderful birds, flowers well mainly trees,lizards and nature in general, for granted. You remind me how lucky I am and how important flowers and birds are for you. You have such a gift and it is wonderful you can share that with us all. Thanks.

Audrey Wed, May 11th 2016 @ 9:02am

Thank you Mary for your beautiful words. The Cherry blossom has special significance to me and your description reminded me of that.
They have helped me see a way forward from a very sad time.
Its so very easy to feel sorry for yourself and drift into a downward spiral. Sometimes small things like kind words can make bigger things happen. Thank you.

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