September 11, 2014

The Curse of the Funk & How to Cure It. ~ Marina Smerling


Over the past few weeks, the planets have seemingly been transiting the constellation of funk.

For so many, it’s been funky in our homes and intimate relationships, funky at work, funky in our circles of friends and communities. I’m pretty sure those midnight stars are getting down John Travolta-style to “You Should Be Dancing.”

Here on earth, however, the scene has been less-than-groovy. It seems that, when things get funky, our tendency is to variously raise the shield and the dagger. The shield against the world, and the dagger against ourselves. Simultaneously assuming the world is out to get us, and that we deserve to be punished for that genetic defect we always suspected but could never quite confirm.

We then bolster our shields with beliefs in others’ badness, and sharpen our daggers with beliefs in our own.

Pressing pause.

Gentle here.

You don’t deserve anyone’s punishment. Not a soul’s.

You don’t deserve to be banished. Not from your own heart, nor anyone else’s.

This funk is an epidemic, spurred by the belief in our own badness. I hurt, so I am less than kind to you, then you hurt, and you are less-than-kind to the next person, and so on.

When the Curse of the Funk strikes, usually we double our efforts to make ourselves “good” again and earn the world’s approval. But this only reinforces the false belief in our badness, and spurs the epidemic onward.

The Antidote

The antidote is not out there. It’s not in others’ hands, not on our life report cards, not in our Facebook relationship statuses, nor anywhere else outside of us.

It’s here, and it’s our own gentleness.

The greatest cure for the epidemic of funk is our own tenderness towards ourselves. It’s in our daring to look in the mirror, and say something like: “Sweet human, I see how you are trying so hard. I see how much you long for safety, comfort, support, the companionship of another. I see how much you long to rest, and I love you here, just as you are.”

When we take a moment to offer our bruises a little gentleness balm, remembering for a moment that there is not an inherently bad cell in our bodies, the Funk begins to dissipate—from our own minds, from our reactions to our

Funk-stricken friends and foe, and from their reactions to us and their own quixotic lives. We contribute to a softening not just in us, but in the world.

And good Lord, does this world, decimated by war on so many levels, need it.

Your taking this moment to breathe, to soften, to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, you’re not all that bad, it not only serves your own healing, but quenches the deep thirst for mercy in a love-parched world.

So tread gently here, my friend.

Your nature is innocence.

Your remembering this serves all of us.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photos: Rachel Carter/Flickr

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Marina Smerling