The Finger and The Moon


Coming back today after a swift dip into the Dark Side.  This time I was triggered by an encounter.  I knew I was being triggered, felt the color bleed out and a numbness spread into my limbs.  Under the fear and vulnerability, a part of my brain murmured, “Huh. This is different.”  There is almost never a direct cause and effect to my flavor of bipolar disorder.  Watching something specific set me off was a new experience (I think.  My memory is Swiss cheese, after all).

At the time, I was horrified that I’d gotten myself in a position to be triggered, hated that I got sucked into opening up to someone I wanted to trust.  But, I also sent out an SOS to my Posse, and started Doing the Work, as my friend, Lily, says.

Part of The Work was to separate the event from the subsequent bipolar episode.  It’s like remembering that the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon.  If you stare at the finger, that’s all you see.  Moonlight glints off the nail bed. It can be hypnotizing.  I dealt with the finger and was required to turn and face the moon.  The moon is familiar.  I know how to look at it—I have tools to deal with lunacy.  And I know that patience and acceptance is the only way to get through the night.

Another part of the Work was to hold in my mind that I was successful in turning away from the finger.  My sad and flagellating brain berated me for looking at it in the first place, but I had plenty of other voices telling me otherwise.  My posse told me I was brave to take a chance and compassionate as I gazed at it.  I needed lots of help to keep turning away and remembering that the moon was the proper focus of my attention.

I went through some white-knuckle days, but kept reaching out to the people who love me.  That act alone can be so hard when your brain tells you it’s weak, wrong, bothersome.  Oh, the crap our brains can tell us!

Today, I am so grateful for my friends and family.  And I’m even grateful for the luminous moon.

If you’re familiar with the Buddhist teaching about the finger and the moon, forgive me for bastardizing it.  I needed a way to separate the event from the symptoms that followed.  This worked for me.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Val Boyko
    Nov 08, 2019 @ 18:37:33

    I am in awe of your strength, insight and commitment. Some of our journeys are more challenging and courageous that others. You’re is right up there for amazing courage. 💕


  2. Writer Lori
    Nov 09, 2019 @ 07:12:06

    You are a warrior, Sandy, truly. Sending strength and good thoughts streaming your way….


  3. Littlesundog
    Nov 09, 2019 @ 07:54:25

    You are so bad ass, Sandy. I don’t know any warriors who recognize so swiftly, the lies of the ego, and know to rally the troops quite like you do. Doing the Work takes a lot of courage and requires keen instinct. Your words are always encouraging and helpful to me.


  4. Robert@69
    Nov 09, 2019 @ 23:45:29

    only you didn’t bastardize it – you used it perfectly and that works for me too.


  5. Live & Learn
    Nov 10, 2019 @ 18:08:30

    And we’re grateful for you Sandy.


  6. Kiki
    Nov 12, 2019 @ 14:08:16

    oh love, missed that one…. but the ways you express your feelings, your being as well as your clear and uncompromising view of yourself, your illness, are always astonishing to me – I WISH I could express myself so clearly about my own ‘being’…. You are so much loved, cared for and thought of! Get well soon, or get a break, at least!!!!!!


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