Rebecca O. Stadtner, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Rebecca O. Stadtner, Ph.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Thoughts on Feeling Good . . . and Bad

The sun was finally out after days of rain.  The week before, the repeat of an old family story had triggered yet another instant replay of familiar and unwanted feelings. The way I had reacted in the past didn’t work, but I was fearful of untested alternatives. After sleepless nights, hours of rumination, and a bit of wise consultation, I geared up to do something different.  When I did, I saw clearly for the first time that my role, motivated by the desire to make things better, actually made things worse.  Clarity,  like the sunshine, came as relief.  I knew what to do and I was calm. 

As I was basking in feelings of peace, calmness and connection, I heard the song lyrics:  Once in a blue moon, it all comes together.  Everything turns out right.  Everyone’s in tune.  All’s right with the weather . . . on a blue moon night when its still all right . . .” ¹  The lyrics resonated with the way I felt, and made me remember other times I had felt that way before. 

That kind of serenity seems to come after periods of worry and strife and rarely like a blue moon.  I remember feeling that way in college when the exams and papers were done and I was driving home with my friends at the end of the semester, the radio playing Beatles’ tunes.  It’s happened when I’ve made a difficult decision and when someone I love comes through a serious illness or surgery.   It’s happened in close relationships when a distance, real or imagined, has closed. 

The contrast between “good” feelings and “bad” feelings heightens the intensity of each.    The upset strengthens the sense of peace.  The calm makes the storm seem more intense.  In the midst of the upset, we long for lost contentment.   When we’re at peace we want it to last forever.  The reality is that it is the contrast that gives meaning to these opposites.  We don’t experience the depth of one without the other. 

So, whatever I feel, I try to welcome it in the knowledge that it will blow through like a soft wind or a violent storm.  When a blue moon comes along, I savor it, knowing that all those other nights of storm and stress or dulling sameness are what make this night so delicious.

¹ Excerpts of lyrics from “Blue Moon Night” by singer/songwriter, Eliza Gilkyson