Sparked by Words

What Beguiles You

I won! I won! I won!

Someone praised my work, mentioned my name, applauded my efforts, handed me a coupon for 40% off. And then the day ended and became the night when I couldn’t sleep, and finally the morning with nothing on my calendar. What happens next?

The feeling of nausea from too much sugar in my system. I know what causes it – the encroachment of the blahs seeping through my veins, taking the place of my life blood and replacing it with a saccharin gel I can’t live on. Run to the bathroom or crawl under the covers?

The blahs chasm after public validation. It opens before me, spiraling right to the center of the Earth, never rising back to the top. How do I avoid depression after the elation of the big win?

Wallowing in inertia hits the target pretty often. I can’t feel the power of victory all the time (hardly at all in fact) and the opposite of victory is defeat, which makes me feel like crap. Thrusts me right into the take-it-to-the-dump box. And there I am, literally down in the dumps, unable to climb out.

Victory is not a guarantee. Others are competing, others with more talent, more success, more intuitive mastery. I may try to replicate my victorious entry – a new painting, book publication, ballet recital, soccer goal (OK, I’ve never managed a soccer goal) – but the trophy already has someone else’s name etched on it. Even without reading the brass plate, I’m sure of that, or I wouldn’t feel so crappy.

When I was a kid we had the most wonderful dog in the world, a mixed breed mutt with long red fur, silky black feathers dangling from his droopy ears, and a puppy face even when full grown. Also, a loyal heart that gave love and gave love and gave love. So when I was a kid, I announced, “I’ve got the blahs,” and Patchy slathered me with kisses till I fell over laughing. And felt better.

Patchy is long gone, I am absolutely certain to the heaven he deserved, and now I have to find another anodyne to the pain of the blahs.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Success is not always public. Sometimes the most radiant success remains private, a tiny raw gem I store in the back of the closet. It’s there, I know. I choose not to share.

Public validation has a lot of calories and little substance. I’d love to autograph my book for you, when it finally gets published, hoping you don’t give it to the library book store next month.

Applause is thunderous, then it fades. I remember its sound but am not sure the audience remembers the reason they clapped.

It’s time for me to recoup. To meditate. To think about what I’m going to do next with my life. To consider what will inspire me to create.

The best strategy to parry great success is an expanse of internal quiet. Going away for a while, leaving the public fray to find solace in my internal spirit. Embracing solitude, gathering only my family and closest friends near in case I need them. Listening to the kernel of truth at the center of my soul. Praying. This pulls me out of the doldrums.

And now I’ve discovered something truly amazing.

The same strategy works just as well when I’m not savoring success but trying to recover from devastation. Which is where I am right now.

No, you may not ask what or why or how.

Please take this away for yourself: being quietly reflective is the antidote to the cacophony that beguiles you with false acclaim. Hush now, sh.


The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau



Comments on: "What Beguiles You" (36)

  1. Hope the doldrums pass soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope you will soon find another anodyne to the pain of blahs, Shari. And that you will feel better soon.
    Love the lines about the silent success and that one keeps like a tiny raw gem in one’s closet for keepsake. Be well, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a dilemma somewhat of my own making, though of omission, not malice, which makes me not wholly innocent. And I dislike being called out for what happened when it was not my intent at all, especially when more compassion on the other end could have avoided the entire situation. But we are all human. I’m letting it go. Thanks for the good wishes. I hope all is going well at your end of the globe – I know you’ve got your own things to deal with. Be well yourself, Sarah.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sending my hugs, Shari. Your writing, even here in sadness, shines of talent.


  4. I’ve always liked savoring my victories in quietude. The feeling lasts so much longer that way.


  5. I think I went through the summer blahs last month. Just not motivated to do much which goes against my grain. I start teaching in 10 days and can’t wait to get back on campus and accomplish things. Applause and accolades are fleeting. I want to stand before God one day and hear Him say “well done, good and faithful servant.” Your posts always provide wonderful food for thought, Shari, calorie-free 🙂


  6. so sorry, Sharon — many tx for sharing your insights from challenge.

    too much focus on outcome & what folks think can take away all the enjoyment of the process


    • Thanks, Daal. I suspect it’s also what causes many people – especially those in the public spotlight – to become self destructive. Fame is fleeting, adoration is insincere – only what we learn about ourselves and use to improve makes a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

      • good point, Sharon — I can’t imagine how very young people deal with it…


      • Unfortunately, many young people do not do well at all. We know how many of them succumb to drugs, alcohol, and self destructive behavior from the stress of excessive public exposure when they are not ready and do not have good support.
        (For some reason, my computer will not let me use apostrophes.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • computer annoyances — how did we ever live without them? lol hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weekend ❤


      • We had a wonderful time last week as we visited our younger son and his family in Northern California. Four heavenly days with our two youngest grands doing nothing much but being grandparents, then a drive down gorgeous Big Sur, Highway 1. Still remembering the time with these two little people and their parents- best time ever. Dinner tonight with older son and his family, including the two older grands – what could be better? I hope I don’t make you uncomfortable with my yammering about grands. And as for the computer – I refuse to get a smart phone – that ought to tell you something about me. LOL. Nice talking with you, Daal. Still hoping to get up to Long Beach to see that art show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • so glad things are going well for you, dear Sharon. My husband & I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary last week at Huntington Library, including high tea there. So fun! Yes, I don’t have non-furry kids — however, I always love when folks share their joy & passing ❤


      • Happy Anniversary to you two! What a wonderful place to celebrate.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. jungletrekkingcambodiaratanakiri said:

    Good job👍


  8. Oh girlfriend, if only you could see yourself through my eyes. You would be bouncing around, happier than Patch ever was.


  9. … all power to your immanent recluse


  10. The blahs…oh boy. Sometimes they’re more painful than anything. I’ll pray for you, my friend.


  11. Brilliant: “Success is not always public. Sometimes the most radiant success remains private, a tiny raw gem I store in the back of the closet. It’s there, I know. I choose not to share.
    Public validation has a lot of calories and little substance.” I can never resist food metaphors. I’m also guessing enlightened people reach the point where they no longer need their drawings hung on the fridge. 😉


    • Oops! Guess I’m not that enlightened – grandkids’ art on the frig along with magnets of all the places we visit. It’s 11 AM and I haven’t eaten yet – maybe the food metaphors come when I’m hungry. Of course, they wake me too.
      Thanks for reading.


  12. Yes, indeed…. the best successes are the private ones. Great write.


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