Halcyon Day


Halcyon Day


Over the last month or so I have set myself a challenge of mapping my mood using a spreadsheet. I take three separate readings morning, noon and night each scored out of twenty, and also comment on any unusual events during the course of that day. The purpose of this is several fold: to try and understand how and why and when my moods change and what(if anything) triggers the changes. I chose twenty as my figure, though usually people mark it out of ten, but I felt twenty gave greater scope for subtlety. Ten is a baseline for normality, neither high nor low, but an acceptable level to live at generally, zero being about as low as a human being gets and twenty being scrape me off the ceiling time. I am also trying to figure out whether there is a bi-polar element to my depression, though should this prove to be the case, I am not sure what if anything I can do about it beyond accept and work with it.

So far I have noticed a number of interesting facts from the data so far collected. First, I noticed quite quickly that my mood starts pretty low every day, generally below the acceptable ten and sometimes climbs over the course of the day quite steeply. I can’t be sure yet with the month of so’s data whether there are consistently any factors that seem to correspond with this climb, but the sharpest spikes so far seem to correspond with a certain kind of event. This sort of event can be summed up as being one in which I am able to express myself: either verbally in the context of intense conversation or by being able to write and express myself in that manner.

A curious thing though, because I discovered also that the scale I have used, 1-20, does not relate to actual happiness. Over the course of the month, I have discovered that this scale I set is utterly two dimensional, in that while it measures a score of the high or lowness of my mood, this is unrelated to any feeling of happiness or anything else. It doesn’t relate to energy levels or of satisfaction or anxiety: just high or low. It pays no attention to my periods of desperate questioning that bring me to emotional breakdown on a fairly regular basis, or of external circumstances, good or bad. In essence, it’s a measure of something I can barely define.

Let me illustrate. During the course of my life, I have had moments where I have been flooded with a bliss that comes out of nowhere and has no particular relationship with whatever is going on in my life at that moment; it’s like having your soul swathed in the softest silk or velvet, balm poured upon your wounds and your heart is held in a loving embrace by something much greater and more wonderful than you ever imagined. I had such a day on Monday. Nothing externally had changed. I still wrestled with the same questions, I still lived the mundane life, I still grieved with those who were hurting. But this velveteen bliss coated my internal consciousness and filled my eyes with a kind of compassion and love and selflessness. The faintest shreds of this remain with me as I write this, as a kind of record. It’s not like being high, or happy, or content or really anything I can suggest as a comparison, and it certainly had nothing at all to do with circumstances either internal or external. It just was. The last time I remember this occurring, was Christmas Eve 2003 and I wrote the following poem to try and record the feeling:

Deep bliss: a feeling of velvet inside,

An inarticulate rightness of being

Brightness of being right

And I cannot tell why or how this feeling comes

A simple certainty that all shall be well,

Now and always.

I cannot capture this feeling, pin down

and dissect it, tear its secrets apart

And reveal a truth I already know.

An image of bright butterflies

the lark rising with its song

A moment of pure knowing

beyond that of the intellect

And I sit here now, passive, creative:




I named this post Halcyon Day because this is what it is. The Halcyon days are the days during winter when the seas miraculously become still and calm for approximately seven days amid the season of storms; the story can be found here  and for me, the kingfisher is a potent symbol of being oneself, and showing your true colours. Even as I write the memory of that feeling slips away, like a dream at dawn, so that only a faint memory remains with me, enough to remind me that it may come again.

You cannot live to pursue bliss, because bliss comes when it wills, not when you will it. You cannot call it to you, or recreate the conditions in which it was born. Like the wind, it blows where it will and is gone. But once you know it exists, you will know its touch when it comes again.

And come it will, I promise you.


12 thoughts on “Halcyon Day

  1. So, would you trade a handful of Halycon Days for a lifetime of 10 ?
    I know the question is mute.
    This is a wonderful post,especially the last paragraph.

  2. Your post connects with another post I read earlier this week, where the writer had been out in the autumnal sunshine with the leaves all changing colour round him attending an alternative wedding ceremony. He then bemoaned his absence of belief in any structured system or religion. It seems to me that the moments of bliss in Halcyon Days are moments of living belief….everything feels connected and right, hard to put into words, there is no need for an intellectual belief because the feeling is the alive belief.

    Maybe these are moments when the boundaries become more permeable, there is a relaxation, a trust.

    Lots of other things in your post too – off in a rush now!!
    Karin x

    • It is hard to put into words, and often very brief, as has proved the case. Perhaps it is about permeable boundaries, I don’t know.

      • Hi

        Today another friend posted this poem by Rumi called The Guest House on my blog post called ‘Unexpected Guest’ – I thought you might like it too, as an antidote to Un-halcyon days:

        This being human is a guest house.
        Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness,
        some momentary awareness comes
        as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all
        even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
        who violently sweep your house
        empty of its furniture,
        still, treat each guest honorably.
        He may be cleaning you out
        for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
        meet them at the door laughing,
        and invite them in.

        Be grateful for whoever comes,
        Because each has been sent
        As a guide from beyond.


        Karin xx

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  4. I have felt this feeling of bliss! You’ve done a better job describing it than I could have. And you’re also right, I think, that you can’t bring it on purposely. But I think I have managed to put myself in a position to encourage it to happen more often.

  5. I loved the post and can empathise with the feelings – have you decided if you have bipolar, or borderline personality disorder or just writer’s inspirations (adds laughing smiley, which Vivienne will ignore as usual!)

    • I can’t see any smiley, Ian, I think you forgot to put one there for me to ignore.
      Actually, I’d never considered a borderline personality disorder before, so would be interested in what sort you might suggest.
      Considering Thursday was correspondingly so awful a day as Monday was wonderful, and that it went from waking feeling brilliant on Wednesday morning, to crashing to a long time low by yesterday morning(to the extent that my intent to answer comments flagged after replying to Mark’s) I suspect bi-polar may well be a strong contender.
      I seem also to have picked up a virus(muscles aching and head ache, dizziness and a very stiff neck) which is pissing me off big time.
      But I am glad you liked the post and gladder still of the empathy.

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