The Search

“Live today fully and you create a lifetime of meaningful memories.” (Sophia Bedford-Pierce THE KEY TO LIFE)

The quote floats at the top of my morning page journal–a message from the universe to combat the sadness which wells inside of me the moment I drag myself out of sleep.

It’s a message I yearn to understand and to fully embrace, but something deep inside myself  questions whether or not I’m even capable of truly enjoying life. What is a full life? This inner voice asks. What is a meaningful life? This inner voice demands.

I have no answers.

I yearn to lose myself into the oblivion of writing about someone else’s life, but the characters are silent. I yearn to find my connection to that creative energy where the characters live . . . where inspiration lives . . . but it seems out of reach.

I yearn to lose myself into the oblivion of exercise without thought, where the mind can then open to other possibilities. For me that place has always been a swimming pool, but I don’t know where to go. So I try to tap dance,  but my feet don’t move correctly and I am reminded that I’m clumsy and awkward.

I take myself to my place of retreat. The botanical gardens that appear here so often. My intent is to walk and walk and walk until I’ve reached that rhythm of not thought where possibility has room to grow. Not possible today, as everywhere there are people cutting branches and trimming trees. A walk through the  gardens becomes an adventure in an obstacle course, with the danger of falling  limbs and the sound of saws disturbing the silence.

I did, however, finally figure out one thing that was wrong with my camera, and managed to get some beautiful shots. Flowers and beauty, but no answers, no peace.

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I treat myself to  lunch there, and try to find my way through words. I end up grading papers and that is all.  I head back out and notice all of the older men wandering through the gardens, taking pictures, enjoying the beauty. They remind me of all the things my Dad didn’t get to do in retirement, before  Alzheimer’s overtook him. They remind me that he is no longer here with me, and can’t walk through the gardens with me. He never did.

Hiking the Robert Frost years ago (when Sarah was around 2)

Hiking the Robert Frost years ago (when Sarah was around 2)

I cry.

I return home. The radio filled with stories that I no longer want to listen to, about the bombers and wars and death and hatred and congress and I can’t take anymore. Just yesterday I learned that the boy who died in the bombing was closely connected to a high school friend. It’s all too close, too much.

I find no peace.

I return to find messages of kindness from friends. One tells me  to “Go out in the sun, and force yourself to write two pages about happiness.” The clouds have rolled in. The sun is gone.  I search for the words about happiness . . .

but all I find are these.

What do you do when you can’t find peace, or words, or that magic place of calm? What do you do when sadness rules?






22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. joannevalentinesimson
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 14:32:23

    Lisa, I have don what you are doing here – write. I wrote through several depressions when I was younger – so much so that reading my journal makes it seem like I was depressed all the time. I wasn’t, but I wrote a lot more when I was depressed.
    I happened upon a journal a couple of months back in which an early entry reflected an urge simply to die. I’m so glad I didn’t! I have really had a wonderful life, but you have to get through the rough spots. You’re probably of a super-sensitive nature and need to protect yourself against some of the grief of the world by ignoring it. My youngest daughter is like that. She simply doesn’t read or watch news.
    Another thing you could do is to learn meditation. This helps put things in perspective. You could also volunteer at a local homeless shelter or as a candy-striper at a hospital. Or you could do readings or organize dramas for a nursing home. I know you have done that sort of thing in the past. I had a friend in a nursing home whom I visited almost every week until she died. She had a good mind, we had enlightening conversations, and visiting her was probably as good for me as it was for her.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Apr 26, 2013 @ 14:48:37

      Thanks for those suggestions. I am trying to meditate, but I’m not very good at it. I will have to put off the volunteering for a bit, as right now the jobs I have (which feel like volunteer work for the amount I am paid) take everything out of me. I am working toward a project next year which will incorporate special needs kids into some theatre programming, and that feels like a good thing to focus on.


  2. DesiValentine
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 16:22:29

    Lisa, this was beautiful. I ache for your sadness. I’ve never been very good at meditation, either. I’m too restless. I have to do flow yoga, or walking or running meditation because if my body is not moving my mind cannot settle. But mostly, I have to write. I hope you find your peace, soon. Keep walking. 🙂


  3. Andra Watkins
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 16:48:37

    Lisa, I will echo something Joanne said above. I grew up in a household where the news was always on, once CNN came to be. It was depressing. The news is structured to engender conflict, to focus on the sensational, to glorify the freaks and the outliers. I don’t watch the news. NOT EVER.

    Some people would argue that I am one of the most uninformed people on the planet, but I don’t care. I’m happy. I can scan headlines and articles and know what is happening in the world without having to be force fed what to think about it, what might happen because of it, or what it “really” means. I’ll bet such a step would go a long way toward helping you clear your head.



    • Lisa Wields Words
      Apr 26, 2013 @ 16:54:09

      I do try to turn off the news and I rarely watch it. I listen to NPR for the other stuff, the insightful looks at arts/culture/books, etc. Most of the time lately, when the newsy stuff comes on, I turn it off. However, I think I also have to start avoiding social media altogether. It just bleeds in and traps me. I’m tired of the sadness.


  4. An Embarrassment of Freedom
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 16:53:25

    Personally, when someone tells me to just keep smiling I resent that…but I have read that even if you make yourself do that when feeling down it helps. Healing walks in difficult times is also helpful as you get into a rhythm, almost an inner song happens in your head…best when you are not distracted by anyone…if they walk with you ask them at one point to not talk as you go along…explain that this is meditative thing. Write down your feelings before and after the quiet walk. Consider researching diet and herbs that might help lift your spirits…. take good care….writing about the simple things can fill a novel. Have you read Barbara Pym?


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Apr 26, 2013 @ 16:57:02

      Healing walks are great, except when their is the potential of a giant tree limb crashing on your head and the sound of chainsaws (as happened today). I’ve never read Barbara Pym, but I am at a book store as we speak, so I’ll check her out.


  5. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Apr 26, 2013 @ 17:09:05

    If you ever want a retreat you are welcome here. Plenty of silence and just being out in nature. You could help me rake trail if you wanted – it’s like a zen meditation.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Apr 26, 2013 @ 17:18:26

      That sounds like heaven right now. I’m sure part of my mood is the fact that I haven’t had a vacation since December, and that vacation was consumed with the loss of my Dad . . . so I really haven’t had a vacation since last August.


  6. Kathy
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 12:29:43

    The place where sadness rules is a pit of despair. I can remember waking up with sadness the first feeling and then trying to proceed through the rest of the day without ever emerging from the despair. What do I do when sadness rules? Try to muddle through. What’s helped the most over the years is finding the peace which exists before the first thought or story I tell. What exists at the essence is becoming more “me” than any story I told of myself. The spiritual path was the only path that seemed worth following through the sadness…


  7. nrhatch
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 12:32:53

    Meditation and visualization switch our vibrational set point from anger, angst, and anxiety . . . to expanded feelings of inner peace, confidence, and alert curiosity.

    Meditation teaches us to live in the moment, where happiness resides. We absorb into our being that which resonates, leaving the rest behind.

    Whether we are chopping wood or carrying water, we embrace the moment at hand. We enter the flow of life and find inner peace at last.

    Our good vibrations crowd out the bad.


  8. nrhatch
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 15:12:15

    When we keep falling into the same holes . . . maybe the hole is not to blame:


  9. awriterweavesatale
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 07:22:24

    I wish I had advice. But I tend toward the worrying and my own sadness. It’s easier to be in that place than in a more hopeful one. I don’t know why.


  10. joannevalentinesimson
    Apr 29, 2013 @ 22:16:02

    Lisa and Sandra, I just ran across a link that certainly relates to this thread. It’s at:


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