Ah, the continuation to yesterday‘s public recognition of the pain that comes with realizing just how little I have paid attention to the needs of me-from-next-week.
Until next week shows up and then: oh right, I am her.
Yesterday was all about acknowledging grief and loss. Letting it exist, because that’s always the starting point for changing anything.
Today: transitioning into the next part (discovering what I know about the current patterns and how they could change).
What is working?
It’s become gradually less challenging to remember to do sweet things for me-from-then.
And over time I’ve been able to really notice and feel how doing this helps me-now feel safer and more supported.
So there’s a blueprint of experience.
What else is working?
If I look back at six years ago when I started this business (or really, even just a year ago), there’s clear evidence of progress.
Thank you, Internal Committee of Scientists for your extensive studies on the subject.
I used to never think about taking care of slightly future me. Now I do all sorts of things for her.
Like my Anthology of the Pirate Queen — the binder that has everything I need for teaching, all in one place.
Or the fact that my Dressing Room at the Playground is no longer a storage room but an actual room for me to rest and recuperate.
All the things I do to prepare for voyages.
The various metaphors, systems, processes and rituals that I have developed for her.
Ha. I don’t suck at this after all. I still don’t know as much as I’d like about how to lovingly attend to me-from-next-week, but the “You Are A Disastrous Failure At This” monster narrative has been disproven.
What do I want to happen?
I think I’m finally at the point where I’m ready to learn more about taking care of me-who-is-arriving.
Not just in fits and starts but as a regular way of being in the world.
I want to be the person who leaves secret gifts in unexpected places.
Sneakily seeding kindness for later.
In fact, I asked for help with this in Sunday’s Very Personal Ads:
I want me-of-three-weeks-from-now to look back at now and say, “Wow. Thank you.”
Not to just practice self-forgiveness for all the ways I have not been able to take care of myself and her.
But to feel really and truly appreciative for the things I did do.
It’s like being a secret admirer! Or a secret santa (something I only know about from television). I can be sneaky and silly and have fun!
What does this new relationship with me-who-is-on-the-way give me?
What would the Best Secret Admirer Ever do?
Actually I think I need to change that metaphor because it’s kind of creeping me out. Where’s the mouse? We need him.
Negative connotations to “secret admirer”? Yes.
[+unasked-for attention] [+vulnerability] [+not knowing]
Negative connotations to “secret santa”? Yes.
[+outsider] [+what if I'm doing it wrong] [+discomfort]
Okay! Good to know. That wasn’t the right question then. What’s the right question? Oh. Of course.
What do I know about the thing I do want? What does it contain?
I want it to include:
[+safety] [+permission] [+play] [+silliness] [+excitement] [+tingly anticipation] [+groundedness] [+taking notes about what works] [+curiosity] [+love] [+support]
Like a loving fairy. Or a non-creepy house elf. Ooh. A bunch of Helper Mice. A something something of Heinzelmännchen.
Except that what with time passing and living abroad and all that, they’ve become way more chill.
What did we decide the collective noun was for Heinzelmännchen? A Party? I’m going to go with Huddle!
A Huddle of Heinzelmännchen. Someone write that book, please.
Anyway, there’s a collective. Whose job is to care for me-who-is-coming! And I get to submit ideas and proposals because they need my help.
That way I get to participate but I don’t have to do all the work. I’m an adviser. Sneaky-sneaky!
And maybe sometimes I also get to go on fun present-planting missions.
And Presence-Planting Missions.
Is there a secret mission-behind-the-mission here?
Yes. Yes there is.
My real hope (which I’m whispering because the monster collective has issues with this) is that doing loving things for me-who-is-coming will help me be okay with taking care of me-now.
And by distancing myself from the process (being an adviser, doing sweet things for someone else), I can get closer to the experience of being cared for.
It’s like a safely mediated way of getting to feel what it’s like to be deeply taken care of — something I crave that also terrifies me.
What happens next?
Tomorrow I’m going to make a list of presents and presence.
Things I can do for her that I wouldn’t necessarily do for me.
And we’ll find out if there’s an easier way to get better at this. Because who knows, sometimes there is.
Play with me!
Self-practice and the giant communal and commenting blanket fort.
Did that sound like a band name? Ahahahahahaaaaa. It’s just one guy!
Okay. If you want to play with me and think about this theme or ways to care for you-who-is-arriving, that is fabulous. Practicing silently counts too.
I am planning to use the comments today to leave tiny little notes to helper mice. About me-from-the-future.
Like this! Pssst! Havi loves toast. Make sure she gets toast.
Or: Havi can never find her slippers. Can you make a special slipper home for her?
Join in if you like with notes for you.
As always: we all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff.
We make this a safe space to play by not giving each other advice (unless people ask) and by paying attention to what we need.
The November Rally is completely sold out. January is really close to full. See the Rally page for dates and details.
Because I want to eat pie with you. Except that I can’t eat pie. But I can sit with you, and we can giggle and plot craziness while you eat pie. It will happen. And it will be so much fun.