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What Is It With Moods, Or, Saturday Morning at 10:27am

Are you placid?

I guess what I’m trying to figure out, net-net, is happiness. I have a seismic capacity for joy, and I’m lifelong grateful. But it eludes me, I can’t just call it up, like, “Hey babe, joy time! Get up and keep me company.”

Alternative question: moods?

A reasonable number of us have just spent a year and a half in which our daily physical lives (shall we say in an understated way) lacked variety? And yet who among us did not ride waves of rage and irritation and anxiety and awe and contentment and sorrow and fear?

If that was just me I need to reevaluate.

Maybe we just have moods to help us stay alive? Maybe we’re complicated systems built to be hyper-reactive to threats, thus we can’t live in peace without diligent practice like monks and goddesses?

It could just be that those of us who have assured physical safety haven’t evolved yet to feel safe. Since we’re still attracted to opiates and fat and sugar and alcohol, still fertile in the face of so many humans, still prone to ‘othering’ people who look different than us, we can imagine that evolution moves slowly.


Hey. How are you this morning? I’m good. The dogwoods have reddened; the ferns are still green, white Japanese anemones star the garden at knee-height. And a little bubble of joy, rising always rising and remaking, has made a home below my heart.

Have a wonderful weekend.



30 Responses

  1. Early evening here, just poured the pre-dinner snifter. There is jolly dance music on the radio. Outside it is raining and cold and windy, the occasional firework popping. I am watching Nigella from 2000 on YouTube and yesterday I had my covid booster. One sore arm, bit of a headache, bit tired. I take my joys small, as often as possible and don’t question. One thing I do not feel these days is discontent. That will be fine, thanks. My golden rule is: as long as I am not breathing through a tube, I am ok, nothing to complain about.

    1. I feel that you have a great capacity for happiness. Just the absence of discontent is so great. And your comment is beautifully written. Thank you.

  2. Timely post, at least for me.
    I’ve been having extra anxiety lately, the kind that pops up when you wake up at 5 a.m. and want to go back to sleep. My thoughts race and it’s all dark and downhill.
    In the light of day usually thinks aren’t so dark.
    I think there is a good trend, but day to day it’s harder to see that.

    1. Ah, sorry. Wakeup anxiety (and its best friend, despair) is the worst. I do hope the good trend is real.

  3. I assure you that it’s not just you who rides the waves of emotion. In the mood I’m in today let’s just leave it at that.

  4. It’s not just you. We all felt it. I’m doing well right now. Autumn leaves have shouted with joy here and fallen. I’m tracking the days until daylight increases. I’ve found some new creative outlets that are forcing me to learn. It is the pursuit of happiness that I am guaranteed, if not happiness itself. And I pursue.

    1. Well this is a great reminder for me. Thank you. “It is the pursuit of happiness that I am guaranteed, if not happiness itself. And I pursue.”

  5. In my sixties I am facing relinquishing control of that which I am unable to stop. Examples include: climate change, dementia, and what I perceive to be the poor choices of others. Yes, there is isolation and a repetitive beat which is disconcerting. I am working on continuing to move forward with joy as my core nature is appreciative. As always thank-you for your thoughts.

    1. A big hug to your appreciative nature, and hopes that your environment comes round to affirming your nature.

  6. agree with luci’s sentiments. my focus of late has been to work on ceding control (or ceding the illusion of control). i am reading fewer news stories that deal with gaming out possible trajectories for politics/covid/climate … reading less twitter … and in some ways, feeling less “connected” understanding that much of that connection was false. hoping that this unsettled period in history passes but preparing for it to continue.

    1. I think this is really important, disconnecting from the online ups and downs (she says, answering comments on her blog), or at least spending more time in physical communities, or at least the true, close online ones.

  7. Ditto what luci said. At 72, almost 73, I am very appreciative, grateful but nonetheless anxious about much of what I can’t control with advanced age and the political. Sometimes it’s a roller coaster all in the same day.

    1. I hadn’t considered aging, and I should have, because of course being willing to acknowledge all that we cannot change in some kind of equanimity has a huge impact on mood. I hope the roller coaster shows you some lovely views today, nevertheless.

  8. A nice cup of tea and I can feel grateful and joyful, but I can turn on a dime into anxiety and worry. This last year and a half has brought out many emotions in me – some I hadn’t felt in a long time.

    I thought I was improving until four weeks ago when my husband and I were exposed to Covid by a fully vaccinated and boostered friend. I was fully vaccinated and boostered (don’t know if that is a real word, but I use it) and my husband was full vaccinated. He had Moderna and the boosters hadn’t been quite approved then. Anyway, he got Covid and we had to cancel a long planned trip to visit our daughter and family. He was quite sick for a couple days, but improved rapidly. I tested negative, but the whole thing threw me back into paranoia and panic. I think I am coming out the other side now, but I can really relate to moods….

    1. Wow, Liz, I can imagine how that experience would really pull the cognitive certainty rug right out from underneath you. I am very glad your husband is better. I hope he didn’t have to go to the hospital at all. The vaccines, and boosters, are a boon, but, the virus is a bear. I agree with others who predict that it will be part of our lives going forward, and we will be managing, but not eliminating it. Like 911, in a way, life has changed.

  9. Yep. And processing a few of the moods while travelling, expectations primed over almost two years. Interesting ride. I’m so relieved each time the joy rolls back in again, even if it can be fleeting, elusive. And so inexplicable, some days, in face of reality.
    So good to have intelligent and perspicacious company on the way. . . xo

    1. Without company I’d just have to lie under my bed and hide. And there’s no space under there;). I am also relieved when joy shows up because I guess you’ve just pointed out to me that I’ve shifted into not being sure it will.

  10. It’s been a lot for me, these past few weeks. We had a big work black tie event, which I’ve been planning for two and a half years–thrilled it finally happened, relieved we took so many precautions (everyone showed proof of vaccination and a negative COVID test), terrified for the three days after until my husband and I both took negative COVID tests again. I have a three-year-old, and we are trying our best to socialize while remaining safe, which means our outdoor library programs in freezing New York, while still staying six+ feet away from everyone.

    That being said, I am grateful that we have been able to stay home, to have enough space indoors and out, and to be able to order groceries, for instance. I’m relaxing the tiniest amount, to have lunch with two dear friends outdoors on Wednesday, both of whom are boostered, vaccinated, and taking as many precautions as we are. Praying this will be over soon!

    1. Sarah, that’s a very big deal. Of course if you have a three-year old you’ve stayed on the highest alert level. Glad your event came off well, and that you implemented the precautions and people participated. FWIW, boostered, vaccinated and outdoors sounds OK to me. I hope you have fun.

  11. “If that was just me, I need to reevaluate” has me thinking… a weird way, I wish this mood was just me, as in the past, I’ve had some success in changing my pervasive moods. But this time it’s collective…and I’m feeling the weight of it. It’s not a question anymore of when it’s going to be over, as I feel that life has forever changed, for all of us. I’m not sure I’m making sense?

    1. Yes, it makes perfect sense. And I think you are probably right, that life will be different now. But I wonder, how will we adapt as that realization ripples through society? I have no idea. And that uncertainty, I agree, is a weight.

  12. It is so soothing to read that others are going through the same anxieties that I am! Lol, that sounds somewhat desperate or depressing but I think you know what I mean…it is normal, in this most abnormal time, to have these feelings, I understand. I find that (weather permitting) a brisk walk, preferably in a natural setting, short or long, is MOST therapeutic! Plus I try to always have something planned on the horizon, even something as mundane as running a few errands. It gets me out, and among people, of course maintaining social distance and all the necessary precautions. The light is there, at the end of this bleak tunnel!

    1. I know what you mean:).

      The question is, what kind of light awaits? But, onward, I do need to get into nature soon. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Ladies, Hard times will come but unless you have the Lord Jesus to turn to then your alone in your trial!! Repent and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior!! He alone can forgive you for your sins and give you a new life!! You will experience real joy!! Read your Bible everyday!! The New Testament applies to us!! May the Lord Bless You!!!

  14. My mood swings are not uncommon…Covid has made me very aware of what goes on in my head! So much alone time at home and the uncertainty of the virus and the safety factors that keep us cocooning close to home all contribute to these feelings and moods.
    Reevaluate…hm…yes good idea Lisa!

  15. Moods. Every article I read says “find a ‘flow’ experience” to combat moods, so that’s my reset button, all day long, every day [discipline]. Go cook something. Go make something. Go tear something up and put it back together. Go dig, go plant, go mulch. Go read Lisa on Twitter and get lost in her threads, which is when I saw your cast iron pan dilemma. Been there, AM there! Despite our cast iron fry pans/skillets so often being family heirlooms [like mine are], I’m still looking at Lodge’s to-the-rescue skillets for this same dilemma. Look what they’ve done to help us: two handled, pre-seasoned, available at all the usual places [including Lodge dot com], and ready to go. xoxo

    1. Flo, thank you for the good advice, and also for paying attention to my Twitter feed. I was going to say my Twitter rants, but in truth the rants are infrequent, the observations occasional, and the retweets abundant:).

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