Walking our dog this morning, I noticed some of the wildflowers lining the ditches along our I grabbed my camera to capture some of the images. It’s an old cliche’ but we really should stop and smell the roses. Just putting a camera in my hand forces me to see what I’d normally ignore. I can go for a walk and see nothing when there’s so much variety and beauty everywhere.
This little patch of violet, white, yellow, and green just sprouted in the midst of all sorts of weeds, some trash, and leaves . Bipolar can lead a lot of us to see only the rotten. Mania can lead to unusual and out-of-character decisions that become part of our history and suck the emotional nutrition our of our hearts, threatening our future, our relationships, and our health. Look past the weeds and see the color inside you.
This wild growing gold reminded me of something C.S. Lewis wrote in Until We All Have Faces. He described a herd of sheep covered with golden fleece. But no one could get near enough to snip any of it. However the sheep would run up against thorn bushes which would tear away golden strands that could be collected. We want to be loved. Our disease makes it hard for some people to “put up with us.” It is only when people give of themselves, often with great pain, that we are blessed to collect their grace. We need to stop grabbing or manipulating and open our hands to the gifts left on the thorns.
These beauties were growing in an otherwise ugly gully at the end of our drive. Mud, murky water, and weeds everywhere. What do we see when we are depressed? Loss, failure, regret, guilt, uselessness? The ugly stuff might be there but what we see in ourselves depends on two things: where we point the camera and how we adjust the focus. Point and focus on the beauty and wonder of who you are.
OK, so this isn’t attractive. It is the drain that runs under our drive. It’s nearly large enough for me to crawl through. Oddly, I’ve always been afraid of it. It’s just a dark hole and who knows what could be hiding inside. When I weed-eat around the opening I’m always stressed that a snake is going to jump out and bite me to death. However it serves a purpose. Without the drainage our yard would flood each time it rains. The drain looks like my depression: long, dark, cold, scary, and carries the real possibility that I could get stuck in it and never come out the other end. Depression allows a lot into my emotional world that I’d never otherwise notice. I think most of us who live with bipolar hate depression but accept that it enriches our lives. It is a teacher. And we just need to remember that no matter what we have to crawl through there is always light at the other end.
This guy didn’t mind me getting up close and personal. He was oblivious. He was enjoying a sweet meal swaying in a cool breeze beneath a bright sun. How could life get any better? So why should he care that I was sticking a camera in his space. It’s not like I was trying to suck nectar from his buffet. Mental illness tends to make us self-aware to the point that it is unhealthy and sometimes makes it hard just to go about our business. I wonder who knows about my condition, who is watching, what they are thinking, and who is whispering.?Maybe we should just ignore everyone else and climb on a flower, munch out, and keep our stinger to ourselves.
If you look closely you’ll see the tiny spider exploring this crinkled leaf. I would not have noticed the dying leaf or the tiny spider if I hadn’t been looking. There really is a super abundance of life everywhere. The complexity involved in the leaf and spider is way beyond my comprehension. That spider is not going to live out his days in a dying leaf. He will expand out into the greater world (our back yard) and live the full life of a spider. We shouldn’t believe in the limits that people heap on us. We don’t have to “settle.” We can live the life we want. We may not have 8 legs, but we have a beating heart, and the ability to believe. Let’s not crawl into the dark but explore what’s available “out there.”
I took this so that I could see our house from the perspective of the squirrels and other animals constantly running around in the woods that border our house. I always feed the birds, provide water, toss out some bread for the squirrels, and something green for the rabbits. We enjoy watching them. They are so natural and care free. I’ve never noticed any one supervising the other, giving a written warning, punching a time clock, gathering for a meeting, and yet they seem to do just fine! When they look through the leaves at our house I wonder if they talk about how sad it is that we have to work so hard to have the same stuff they have for free.
Never saw this coming! A beauty poking out of the middle of nowhere. Perfect and white and not more than twenty feet from our front door. Yet it would have bloomed and died without me ever noticing it. Again, we miss so much. But there was even more to this than meets the eye…
I took the picture of the flower with high resolution and only noticed this spider when editing. I zoomed in on it as you can see here. Would have never noticed life crawling on life without taking a very close look. Notice a mantra here? How much more would we see if we came out of ourselves and started noticing, living in the moment, relishing the surprises that appear out of nowhere and everywhere. The world is bipolar–it’s all at once manic and depressed, and it all depends on where you look, where you point the camera, how you interpret reality.
This is the final picture. It is a male and female rendition painted on a pumpkin. But I confess that the male is actually me. I have a little plump of hair that looks like a stem, triangular eyes, and an angry mouth. And…I apparently have no body (a fact I didn’t realize until now). I don’t like Halloween so much because I always get carved up and someone shoves a candle up my !^$ which explains the look on my face. So, yes, I’m a pumpkin and I’m bipolar. Let’s lighten up, get rid of the stigma, notice the good, bad, and ugly around us. Carry a camera in your head, be careful where you point it, and focus on what’s really there. Dark and light, life and death, summer and winter. Seasons come and go. It is life; it’s just that life is on steroids for those of us with bipolar.