Christmas Eve 2013: HUA Attack

<Dec. 24 & 25/13.>

Generally, I’m pretty good at diagnosing others as suffering from Head-Up-Arse disease (yes, please forgive me my occasional lapses of … decorum).

Today I realized I suffer from somewhat regular attacks of the syndrome myself.

Pretty much every Christmas, Easter & Thanksgiving, actually – with the Christmas season (that annual bumpy emotional roller coaster ride) the star of the show.

So, earlier today, I had a severe attack.

The world is of course, as ever, falling apart around our ears.

There are typhoons, ongoing nuclear disasters, ice storms for which large cities (like Toronto, Ontario, Canada) are ill-prepared – along with the “everyday” glaring (one might also say appalling & disgusting) income & social disparities/inequalities that we have apparently come to accept as a species, & as individuals (those of us who have accepted them, that is).

& then there are those of us who have our predictable little meltdowns at certain times of the year.

As I do.

It’s complicated, & I’m not even remotely interested in trying to “explain” it. So much of it is irrational, & how well can one rationally articulate the irrational? Philosophical question for the day. 

So, from time to time (fortunately relatively infrequently), I get downright self-absorbed about my (so-called) “troubles.”

Troubles that probably at least 90% of humanity would likely thank you for (given their own deeply deeply difficult circumstances). I need to get a grip … hmmmm?

A lot of  “negative” emotions run through me when I’m undergoing one of these HUA attacks.

  • Sadness
  • Self-pity
  • Envy
  • Regret

What came over me today, after realizing what an ass I am, is how humbling, really, these occasional attacks are.

They force me to sit up & take note of how gold-plated my life is (something I am normally quite adept at doing). I am genuinely blessed in a great many ways, & my problems, such as they are, are what you might call “small potatoes” compared to those of so very many HBs.

So when I catch myself in a full-blown HUA episode, I quickly become ashamed at how absurd I am, but then too, compassion wells up in me for those whose problems are so much bigger “potatoes” than my own. It’s good to have compassion for all of us – myself included! (Heck, I’m allowed to wallow a little, once in a while, no??  As Joanna Macy says, it is appropriate to “honour our pain,” & as Stephen Levine says, many of us have “unattended sorrows.”)

We are in many ways a rather sorry lot, we humans. (Or worse, even; bear in mind I’m an anti-nuclear activist. The word evil comes to mind often-ish; “sorry lot” really just doesn’t quite cover it. )


Anyway, so the next thing is, I wind up hearing CBC Radio doing a repeat of its Ontario Today call-in show on gratitude.

This turns out to be JUST what I need to put a final end to the HUA episode. A shot in the arm, totally. It reminds me of my posting ‘Gratitude, Remembered’; even a regular practitioner of gratitude can forget sometimes…hmmm?


No doubt I’ll suffer future episodes of HUA at some point, being merely human. A human bean just like all of us. Merely another “bozo on the bus,” hmmm?

Life is a challenging business, dear Reader. Especially when one is paying full attention to the madness that is raging & seemingly ramping ever upward all around us. This Wendell Berry quotation springs to mind:

“You can describe the predicament that we’re in as an emergency, and your trial is to learn to be patient in an emergency.” (Wendell Berry)

Off for a walk!


‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Albert Clarke, quoted in Speak Peace in a World of Conflict – What You Say Next Will Change Your World, by Marshall B. Rosenberg

A few bonus others:

“It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.” – Rumi, “In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad”

“I know what the greatest cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.” – Henry Miller

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell

“Do not follow where the path may lead...go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

“He then learns that in going down into the secrets of his own mind he has descended into the secrets of all minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What lies behind us and what lies ahead are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson [more Emerson quotes]