From Alicia

In A Dark Time, The Eye Begins To See

I’ve been listening to this conversation between Jerry Colonna and Parker Palmer a lot lately, mainly the first 30 minutes. It’s not for everyone, and maybe it won’t make any sense to you at all, but I wanted to leave it here just in case it does.

  • “We who… invest an enormous amount of energy pursuing (our) visions can do violence to ourselves if we’re not awfully watchful and awfully careful about it.”
  • “A fair amount of my burnout was not about trying to give too much, it was about trying to give things that I didn’t really have to give… When you give what grows, that crop replenishes itself… You don’t wind up in that depletion of having too little to live on.”
  • “If we’re doing violence to ourselves we’re almost inevitably doing violence to others, to people close to us among our friends and family, to people who perhaps work with or for us and in some cases to the larger world of people who consume whatever it is we’re creating.”
  • “There must be something behind the drive to overactivity, and I suspect it’s fear.”
  • “Perhaps the fear is ‘I’m nothing if I’m not doing.’ We have attached so much of our personal worth and value to our doing.”
  • “Right at the heart of the experience of clinical depression is a sense that the self has been snuffed out. Self-annihilation is a pretty accurate phrase for how clinical depression feels in its depths, as if there was some sort of drive to step right into the middle of that fear and in some unconscious way prove to yourself that you’re really not worth anything.”
  • “When someone was interviewing me about depression… I found myself saying ‘well, you’re lost in the dark’ and then I stopped and corrected myself and said ‘no, that’s not right. You’re not lost in the dark, you become the dark’ which is a different thing and a deeper state of being.”
  • “Having survived becoming the dark, some of the deepest spiritual lessons of my life were those learned in the dark. ‘In a dark time, the eye begins to see.’ -Theodore Roethke”
  • “People go around saying ‘I don’t understand why so-and-so took his/her own life.’… I understand why they took their own life – they needed the rest. Clinical depression is utterly exhausting to the point of annihilation. The mystery to me is why some of us come through to some light on the other side and not only survive but thrive.”
  • “Prior to my depression I had depended on four faculties – I’d depended on my intellect, my emotions, my will and my ego… But in depression, each and every one of those things is utterly useless. Depression isn’t a problem you can think your way out of. You can think your way into it, but you can’t think your way out of it. Emotions are dead and gone – depression is not a feeling of sadness, it’s the terrifying knowledge that you can’t feel anything at all. The will? It barely exists… And my ego, which I had depended on… had been shattered.”
  • “We have so much in this culture that’s about ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps.’ But in the depths of this thing you don’t have boots, much less bootstraps.”
  • “When you’re doing anything important you’re standing and acting in what I call the tragic gap. Over here are the hard realities around us that really, really need to change. Over here is a vision of possibility… something we know to be possible because we’ve actually experienced it… But this is a tragic gap because it will ultimately never close.”
  • “I think that the tool to stand in that is to simultaneously hold onto the goal, but not invest your sense of self and self-worth into the attainment of that goal.”
  • “Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering.”
  • “Can we just be with practice? If we can allow ourselves to just practice being at work cognizant of both sides of the tragic gap we might be able to create a kind of resiliency to the violence that too often occurs in that work environment.”

A Tiny Crack


I haven’t been feeling great lately. I also haven’t wanted to talk about it, so I just haven’t been doing much talking at all. Mostly I’ve been going through the essential motions of my life, slowly drifting further and further away from myself and others. Most people probably haven’t noticed, at least not fully. I do a pretty good impression of me. Sometimes I even fool myself.

A few weeks ago I realized how far I’d drifted. The fog lifted just enough, and I recognized this place. I’ve been here before, and statistics told me I’d be back. I know that I can’t make it back on my own, and there is some relief in that acceptance. I wish I were better at recognizing how I get here, but each time the route is slightly different. I realize I’ve been gone since January.

Today I woke up and there was a tiny crack of light.



Summerdaze Are Fading Fast (Grab An August Whimseybox!)

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Summer days are fading… I know because last night my sister Jeanette posted on Facebook that she went to DQ for ice cream. This probably sounds like a super boring status update, but in our family we had a tradition growing up where we always went to DQ the night before school started. We’d get ice cream and then drive by or sometimes peer into the classroom windows in anticipation of a new school year. Now Jeanette works in education so she has continued to go get ice cream the night before school starts in her district – this is the 29th year in a row. I think DQ owes her a freebie next year, don’t you?

I usually hate the end of summer, because duh summer is the best. But this year we’ve got an exciting fall to look forward to and frankly I’m ready for a new season. A fresh start, cool nights, crisp air, the return of the Chicago Bears… it’s all sounding good to me.

For many people, especially busy moms,  fall is when they can get back to a normal routine and maybe even have some time for themselves. It’s also a great time to grab a Whismeybox subscription because (a) we’ve got a sale going on through Friday 8/15! and (b) the projects for the upcoming boxes are AWESOME I’m really excited about them. Here’s the details on the sale and how to sign up. Hope you’ll join us!


Into The Woods

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Camp Dick-20    Camp Dick-52 Camp Dick-54 Camp Dick-75   Camp Dick-128 Camp Dick-137  Camp Dick-146 Camp Dick-147

Highlights from the Whimseybox 4th of July camping trip:

  • Seeing moose grazing behind our campsite each morning.
  • Rediscovering how awesome it is to relax in a hammock. Patrick brought one and we all went home saying we needed to get one ASAP. His was a Kammok but if you’re in the market I recommend the hammocks from Grand Trunk which you can find in REI and other retailers.
  • Watching #radishdirago playing in the water. I’ve never seen her happier than when she was running in and out of river, chasing sticks and rolling in the grass. So adorable and it wore her out enough that she slept great in our tent each night.
  • Running across a big group of people arguing as someone got kicked out of the campground. That’s a first! Not sure why, we didn’t hear any late loud partying but the (um, pretty old) woman was saying ‘what, aren’t we allowed to have any FUN?!’
  • Someone (ahem) set off some GIANT fireworks.
  • Playing games, and spending hours around the fire.
  • Oh, and roasting and eating way to many of these HUGE marshmallows. You can’t tell from the picture, but they are the size of small apples.

Awesome pics by Alyssa! Patrick shared more of them here.

This Week on #DIY5

#DIY5 Episode 21 from Whimseybox on Vimeo.

#DIY5 is old enough to drink! It’s our 21st episode and shockingly TLC hasn’t given us our own show yet. I mean, did they miss our flopping last week or what? Anyway, this week we talk about some awesome DIY projects, ponder the creepy Facebook mood manipulation study and welcome anyone who might be looking for a new place to shop for craft supplies, such as perhaps former Hobby Lobby customers :) You can find the full show notes here!