Lately, I’ve been having moments that I can best describe as “clarity.” It’s like suddenly out of chaos everything comes into focus. I only sleep about 3-4 hours most nights and so during the day I’m often feeling sleep deprived and by mid-day I will have difficulty focusing during counseling sessions. I’m struggling to hear what my clients are trying to say–and feeling terribly guilty about that–and then suddenly the fog lifts and I know exactly what to say. And sometimes its brilliant. But I’m smart enough to know that this isn’t coming from me–it’s coming thru me. Also, these moments of clarity occur in settings beyond just my office. Usually they involve some spiritual insight or the illumination of scripture. Sometimes this sensation of clarity is accompanied by music–often, I hear the lilting waltz tempo counter melodies from the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. I can’t describe it, I can only say that it’s there. Sometimes, I hear Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme By Paganini.” A couple of times I’ve had olfactory phenomena–the scent of roses, etc. My friend Pam calls them Rhema: words from the Holy Spirit. I hope she’s right.
This all started about six weeks ago. When I came back from a mission trip to Scotland I felt spiritually energized but terrible physically. I’d gained 3 lbs in 9 days and I felt sluggish and bloated. My body was racked with the worst arthritic and muscular pain I’ve ever experienced. My left shoulder ached so much that I thought I’d torn a rotator cuff. I never sleep well on trips but my sleep actually got worse after returning to my own bed.
Two mornings after I got back I turned on the radio on the way to the office. I listened to about two min of Glenn Beck’s rant and then I switched to Neal Boortz for a minute, and then I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.” I turned off the radio and I haven’t listened to one minute of talk radio or watched the TV news since then. I watched zero minutes of the over-the-top exercise in pagan narcissism called The Olympics. I recently spent five nights in a motel room that had a brand new black 40-in flat screen TV. I never turned it on. Instead, I read and wrote things on my laptop. Overall, my mind feels Oh so much cleaner and my thoughts so much clearer.
I also decided that I needed to change my diet. I stopped eating all deserts and cut way back on most any carbs. Within just a couple days I felt so much better that it made a believer out of me–that for me sugar is a toxin. Blood sugar disorders run in my father’s family. My arthritic pain and indigestion has been cut in half. I’ve lost about 15 lbs and I have more energy. I can exercise more and not get as sore. I’m pretty my eating habits have permanently changed.
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately and some of it seems good. I know the best of it is just coming thru me and is not from me. It’s like when I re-read things in one of my books that I wrote 5 or 10 years ago and I think “That’s pretty good,” and I don’t really remember writing it. I’ve also started to play my guitar again. I hadn’t done that in years. I don’t have any real musical talent and I’ve been surprised at how quickly the little that I know has come back to me. I associate the guitar with a very dark time in my life–but not now. I fiddle around with my fakey flamenco style and I feel something akin to joy.
Okay, so my family tree on both sides has raging bipolar’s hanging like crazed chimps from all of its limbs. So, maybe I’m in the midst of a bipolar episode. One of my well-meaning colleagues asked If I was taking any medication for that. No, never, and that made me laugh. All I know is that most of my adult life I’ve been running from a terrible sadness–scrambling to stay one step ahead of despair and hopelessness. What I feel now I can best describe as Joy. Its’s not some transient mania. Whatever it is, I’ll have a double portion–and let the chimps fall where they may.