melancholy’s seed

Aug 25, 2006 | Life in Progress

it feels as though melancholy’s seed was planted inside of me a few weeks ago, but I was too distracted to notice – too busy with the new city, new apt, new friends, job prospects, company, day trips, and on and on. now that the distractions are starting to disappear i can feel the magnitude of that melancholy now. it’s as though that seed found it’s way into a tired, vulnerable pocket of my heart and planted some firm, sprawling roots over the entire landscape of my Self. i’ve been trying for days to shake off these roots, stomp them to the ground, and uncover my light, but they’re persistent little buggers.

Buddhist believe that you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water. what happens when i’m still? without all of those distractions?

3 years ago john and i sold our house in portland, including many of our belongings and one of our cars. we put what was left in storage and set out on a one year adventure. we spent the first 4 months on a road trip down the california coast and then across the country. why did we do this? we wanted a change of pace in our lives. we were feeling that we had become too complacent as two young professionals in our twenties. we were on the well trodden path of home owning, working full time jobs, going to home depot on the weekends. we wanted more. we wanted to take some time to explore. we wanted to spread our wings. but i digress. back to what happens sometimes when i try to be still.

there was a moment that summer, just after we set out on our adventure, in a beautiful, quiet campground in Big Sur where i felt the tension of Big Sur’s awe-inspiring landscape fighting with my internal chaos . Big Sur, what with all it’s stunning coastal views and it’s serene sensibility, was inviting me to feel peaceful, still, rested. instead, the quiet i was feeling was a lonely, aching, i-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-myself quiet. it was a torturous experience for me because i desperately wanted to quiet my mind, and just be in the moment of this fantastic experience. but i just couldn’t figure out how to do it. i feared i would spend the entire trip feeling like a suffocated spirit unable to release herself. eventually, after being worn down by the constant push and pull of my mind, i began to cry one evening in our tent, surrounded by the sounds of the gigantic trees and ocean. it was a deep, deep sobbing that touched down into pit of my fears. with every breath of sobbing, i was shedding many layers of muck that were piled up, on, and around my heart, smothering its light. there were layers of fear, anger, worry, guilt, to name a few. it was as if Big Sur gave me the clarity to identify which layers were taking up all the space, and gave me the freedom to finally, without any distractions, consciously peel them away, one by one.

so that experience brings me back to where i am today. john and i spent the last few days camping and exploring one our favorite areas of the california coast: monterey, capitola, pacific grove, half moon bay. and i feel as though i’m right back where i was in the Big Sur campground 3 years ago, only i haven’t shed the layers yet. the melancholy is with me. the quiet time makes me feel restless, and i can feel myself resisting, squirming, and trying to enjoy this break before i have to go back to a job. i’ve even given myself full days to sit with Sadness, learn it’s landscape, listen to it, in hopes that it would move on, like any good neighbor whose worn out its welcome would do.

Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (8 comments)
  1. Abby Marie

    I am so glad I ran across your blog as your words have touched me so deeply…I have had many melancholy moments over the past year for reasons too long to describe, but I’m beginning to see a true happiness forming and goodness brewing…I’ll think these good thoughts for you as well.

    Have you ever had a chance to visit Cambria & Moonstone Beach? I simply adore that little spot!

  2. myumblog

    oh my dear kelly…you are such a BEAUTIFUL and inspiring soul. besito-maya

  3. Whatsername

    I appreciate how you embrace life and you are so wise to your emotions. Thank you for spending so much time talking to me recently. I thought about your window sill for some reason.

  4. Anonymous

    oh kelly– I feel for you so keenly.

    Transition is such a strange thing– change opens us up to all our vulnerabilities– I think that’s why change is so scary to many of us. But you are breathing through it and learning from it which is all we can do when in the grip of it, it seems to me— I think there’s sadness and grief in leaving one place, one stage in your life behind before you can move into the new.

    Sending you lots of love and peace,


  5. Tongue in Cheek Antiques

    Thank you for coming by my blog and leading me here, i am touched by your words and your honesty. I will happily return!

  6. Judy Wise

    I’m catching up with you again since your move and since my schedule has slowed down temporarily. August is always a moody time for me too and you have been so busy and through so many changes this summer. I am not surprised to hear that your boat has rocked from one extreme to the other.

    Congratulations on your acceptance into the Art Celebration you told about. I got my start nearly 30 yrs. ago at the Saturday Market and will help you any way I can. But you wont need much help, Kelly. You are a natural winner and will have a fabulous career and journey. These moments of melancholy are definitely part of the drill.

    You can ask me anything.

  7. ruby

    this is a beautifully written post, kelly — so thoughtful and honest…i hope the melancholy passes soon…

  8. alena

    kelly–i keep finding myself checking into your blog more and more. i am always so inspired and touched by your openness, sincerity, and honesty. you have a poetic and brave soul–and its so generous to share your depth with others like this. and i’m so glad we have become friends again. just know that life is a pendelum, it will swing–sometimes from sadness to contentment. this feeling will pass. i completely understand what you are feeling right now.
    and your writing is so amazing–it flows like water. it complements your art so well. you have a lot to offer this world by sharing this. i can see the possibilities.

    kisses and hugs to you sweet girl!

    ps. im off the pdx in a few weeks.


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I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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