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They call them the Monday morning blues.  It's that dull feeling when you first wake up with a sense of foreboding and a slight feeling of dread.  The first words out of your mouth are "ugghhhhhh."  You slowly drag yourself out of bed and the sluggishness stays with you.  You look in the mirror.  There's usually something wrong with the person looking back at you and you remember, "Oh, yeah it's Monday."

I've never been a Monday Morning blues kind of person but It seems of late that's how I've been feeling every day.  And it seems that I'm not the only one.  Maybe it's just the unusual weather we've been having in Boulder, Colorado.  Today, a prediction of the 9th day in a row of crazy weather...funnel clouds, tornadoes, wild thunderstorms and rain are in the forecast.  It seems that even Mother Nature is in a funk.

Driving around this vital thriving college town, there are signs everywhere.  20% off, 40-50% off.  Stores who have been around forever are closing or moving.  "For Sale" signs on houses have been up for months.

This stormy weather has been around for weeks.  The sun has made a few appearances, but it only stays for a few minutes like a tease, like that quick sense of happiness and security you once knew and you start feeling normal again.  But the sun disappears as quickly as it came and so does that sense that everything is just fine.

On Friday, I was preparing my quarterly taxes and my stomach was churning.  My practice is down.  People I know to be suffering are suddenly "healthy" and the phone isn't ringing like it used to.

The Voices started to scream the WHAT IF'S.  By the time I was done obsessing, I was envisioning myself and my children in a bread line.

What am I made of?

This weekend I was riding my bike up a steep hill with this heaviness in my heart.  Someone should have slapped me.  Because of all the moisture we've been having, Boulder looks like Ireland.  A veritable Glocco Mora.  I've never seen the hills so green. It's breath taking.  But I was missing all that as I was huffing and puffing up the hill, dark thoughts forming an internal storm building up in my psyche.

What am I made of?

I started having regrets about financial decisions made in the past.  If I hadn't been wearing those clip-in bike shoes, I would have been kicking myself.

I started piling up the worries...the economy, global warming, middle age with achey middle age knees (okay, fine upper middle age), domestic terrorists, international terrorists, planes taking dives in the ocean, American journalists sentenced to hard labor.  My mood sunk the higher up that hill I rode.  I gave my depression a depression.

Then I thought of the people who were living through the depression.  How did they do it?  What were they made of?

We're in a recession.  For many, our worlds have been rocked a little or a lot.

What are we made of?

As I realized the ways I was finding things from the untouchable past I should have, could have done differently, I also realized this:

It's easy to idealize choices not made.  Could of's, would of's, should's of can put you in a real bad mood.

Then I thought of the optimism of my father.  My father at the age of 50, with 5 children at home, lost his corporate job.  At the time, it wasn't downsizing, it was out and out ageism.  The loyal men and women (and let's face it, at the time, it was mostly men) who had been with large companies for years were being replaced by younger and more eager men and women in their 30's.  

My father must have been devastated and scared.  But I never knew it.  My father became like that imaginative and ever-positive father in the movie, Life is Beautiful.

He didn't tell us he had been fired.  He told us that he had had enough of corporate life and was going to start his own small company.  Well, yes, we will have to sell the house, it was getting too big anyway.  The pool?  Who needs a pool?  The Pacific Ocean is only an hour away!  You won't have your room when you get back from college because the new house is too small?  Hey, it'll make you even more happy to return to school in the fall!  No money for tuition?  Hey, there's a great college loan and think of the satisfaction you'll have of paying your way through school.  What an accomplishment!

My father always had a big smile on his face.  My mother seemed happy to, so I never knew.  I never knew the internal worry and pressure he surely must have been feeling.  

My father never knew a blue morning, Monday or otherwise.  He would wake up with a broad smile and loudly declare, "It's another day!  This is going to be a great day.  We are most fortunate to be living in a country where people can be successful small business owners!"

As I was huffing and puffing up that hill, I thought of him and what would he would be saying to me now if he was still alive.  I think he would understand and I think he would be laughing.

Find the joy.  Focus on the light.  Find out what you are made of.

I got home from my ride and my phone was ringing.    It was a charity I give monthly to and they were thanking me for continuing to support the child far off in Africa where my measly donation was providing her an education and clothing.  They thanked me for continuing to make the contribution despite these difficult recession times.

I got off the phone and thought, "How many people would like to trade places with me?"  I think a lot.

There is reality and there is our story.  Reality is just what is.  If you ever want to get in a tug of war with reality, you're gonna lose.  Reality always wins.  But our stories...those are the things that can really cause us suffering.  Those are the things that can really cause us pain.  

This morning, I woke up with the same familiar "uggghhhhhh" feeling.  But it was fleeting as I looked out my window to see green lush trees, the bold colors of the flowers I love so much, and the sun.  The sun is shining this morning.  For now, the rays are brilliant.

I changed the story in my head as I looked around at the reality of what I have, even if just for today.  A home, a career I love, a family that brings rays of sunshine every time I see or think of them.  

And the most important thing to remember:  Nothing is permanent, everything is temporary.  

Today, I get to find out what I'm made of.


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