What's in the gallery?

We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

What's in the gallery?

We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.

Stillness as self-preservation

high desert view of pink thistle flowers on a dusty trail

Resilient pink thistle flowers bringing some beauty to the dusty path…


Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time.

You’ll get a copy as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, hope you enjoy!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can can solve that here.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream.

Stillness as self preservation

Various flavors

The American Southwest is going through a heat spell. A heat dome, they call it.

Love to be in a climate emergency, and all there is on offer is more phrases for the various flavors of disaster. A dome of heat. Fun times.

I am extremely fortunate to be high up at elevation, blessed by cool evening breezes.

The little metal box I call home gets pretty hot during the day, and I don’t have air conditioning, but I have a system.

I have a system

Siesta Life is based in getting up at an eerily early hour.

There’s movement practice for sanity, that happens in the dark. Then knocking out a couple hours of cooking, kitchen chores, clean up, answering emails if I have energy, and then calling it a day by 10:30am…

My bedroom is cool and dark and tiny, I keep the curtain closed and the little evaporative chiller filled with water, I climb onto the bed, and wait it out.

Last week, temperatures got up to 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 Celsius), and some people might be thinking that’s not too bad compared to a lot of other places, and they’re not wrong, but also if that’s what they’re thinking then they might have air conditioning and probably don’t live in a metal box.

Nothing new under the hot sun

Obviously I am not the first to come up with this system of early morning doing, long afternoon nap, followed by a spell of not-doing, and just waiting it out. Siesta life already exists in the many hot places of the world.

It’s also how I was living nearly during my farm work in the desert days.

But the hours here are different and my living space is considerably smaller, so I put in some serious hours in bed, in part because there is nowhere else to be…

Well-meaning

Well meaning beloved friends keep texting asking if I’m staying cool, and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with the question, and I know they are concerned and trying to be kind…

And also, there’s not much I can do with that. Like, yes, I am laser-focused on staying cool, and I stay cool by doing absolutely nothing from 10:30am- 8:30pm, that’s the trick!!!! That’s my life!!!

Just living next to the chiller in my underwear, doing eight hour shifts of nothing.

Sometimes I’m a little ornery on the topic of staying cool, my only summertime pastime, but also: I don’t really think I mind it.

I don’t think I mind it

I don’t even think I would choose to have air conditioning given the option.

Though sure, I would absolutely choose towards some other home improvements that could help with keeping the sun off the metal siding, a better curtain situation, and so on.

These are things I sometimes think about during my long, long afternoons, from the sailboat-style bunk of my tiny bed in my tiny bedroom, in the dark, with the chiller pointed at my face.

Hibernating. Practicing some good Do Less To Get More. Or just doing less for self-preservation. As is required in this moment.

I don’t even know what I wish people would ask me instead.

Something about honoring self-preservation

Maybe it’s just that of course I’m staying cool, I literally have to in order to survive, my self preservation instincts are working, yes, good job, instincts.

Stillness is a form of self-preservation. Stillness as self-preservation.

Is it boring? That’s the wrong question. Is it the path? It is right now.

That’s the reality: this is not the season for doing.

Or, it’s the season for getting up at 3am and doing, and being worn out by mid-morning when the sun is high. I’m okay with that.

Something about hope

I live by the seasons more than many, or at least more than many I know, that’s not a bad thing.

Winter has its spells, its joys and obsessive behaviors: I kitchen-jog to stay warm, throw raucous dance parties to stay warm, make big pots of tea.

And summer here has its rituals as well. As wells.

If I can find joy-sparks, I can sustain hope. And if I am living with the seasons, then there is something hopeful (for me) in that.

I am staying close to my yeses, existing in slow time.

Something about devotion

Staying in bed all day might not seem like a devotional practice, but what if it is.

Drinking cold watermelon juice: a devotional practice. A three hour nap: devotional practice.

Fighting with myself: a devotional practice.

The great escape

This summer is somehow the fifth summer since moving out here, but two of those years were partial summers, because of other circumstances…

So it’s really only twice that I did the entire summer from June heat waves through monsoon season and made it through.

This summer I am taking off for points north and east, making my way to Michigan for a [mixed-feelings] project.

It is a little funny to plan a grand expedition from bed, but that’s how it’s happening.

Pain

My arm is hurting again, this happens when I am stressed and when I am angry.

I am asking the usual questions: what am I upset about, what do I need, what would help?

And from this additional place of forced rest, what can emerge?

Lost in perfect timing

My friend Cate met me very early in the morning by the auto body shop, and took me on a hike in the area so that I didn’t have to wait there while my car got fixed up for the trip.

We walked pretty trails, met some friendly dogs, got lost twice, and ended up taking a meandering way back through town. Just when we made it back to her car, the call came that my car was ready for pickup.

It worked out really well that we got lost.

Where is the treasure

I have been thinking a lot about Aesthetics of Activity — referenced by Thi Nguyen when considering cooking.

What makes an activity enjoyable or pleasurable or doable, or at least reduces friction? Where is my focus during that activity? What supports flow?

If my current summertime activity is living in bed, mostly, then what contributes or supports that? Where is the treasure in any of this?

Embarking

My voyage to Michigan is about undoing and releasing, shifting the energy, emptying a space, doing whatever is needed, exquisite self-tending, and a lot of quiet hours.

What is needed to enter into that state of mind, other than what I am already doing through Rest & Ritual & Readying?

A question is brewing, but what is it

Let’s skip a stone, or toss a question to my various incoming selves or current aspects of self…

Who is here? And what is the question?

Let’s confer with the selves.

And I want to ask about all of the above, about self-treasuring and siesta life, about this trip to Michigan, about living with the seasons, about devotion and rest and pain and healing and what is needed in and for all of this…

Can I love myself into doing less? What does that look like?

The Self of Cowboy Up says…

As always, you can absolutely focus on what is working, that’s your starting point.

Your chore time is limited, sometimes by illness and disability, sometimes by weather, sometimes by circumstances. We work around that, we bring focus when focus is what’s needed, and we rest when rest is needed.

Releasing judgment about chore time is a big part of chore time. We’ll get it done.

Analog Chrysalis self says…

There isn’t much to do but wait it out. Read one page of a cookbook and rest.

Are you inspired by all the symbolic liberation happening for the collective?

Your friend K submitted work for a course they started seven years ago. Your friend C finished the quilt she started making from her late husband’s shirts after he died nearly twenty years ago.

You are on your way to empty a house of things. Everyone is working on this together. The answer is not going to be on screens. The answer is going to be through touching objects with your own two hands right now.

You aren’t on your own. The collective is liberating things with you. Feel the support.

Scofield Self says

Work forwards and work backwards. You don’t need as much of a plan as you think.

What you do need, and you’ve trained for this, is a sanity plan.

Make a document that lists the things that help, the people who are there to lovingly listen and support, what you’re going to do when you get stuck in the muck of it all.

Cherry Season Self:

Oh, we absolutely trained for this.

Bring your Lush Plush & Slutty Summer self, your Devoted To Transformative Pleasures self, your Maximum Comfort Self, your Recalibrating Towards Joy Self.

What else is delicious other than cherries?

What are the summer delights, go seek them out or let them come to you, but stay attuned to pleasure.

Start with the simplest pleasures and give yourself over to them.

The Assassin says

We trained for this, we trained for this, we trained for this.

You can travel light. There’s always a country station. You can talk to all of us on the way. You are not alone in this. You can call Cate in the middle of the night if you need to, but you won’t need to. You’ve got this.

We trained hard all winter for a reason. It might be too hot for jogging now, but there are endless methods of training.

You have rested up for this. You have napped the long naps, you have put in the hours of Glorious Nothing. You have quick reflexes and good instincts. All is well.

What are the lessons in Stillness As Self-Preservation

Patience.
Devotion.
Loving Clarity.
Compassion.
Strategy.
Pleasure
Sweet Slowness.
Hope.

What are the pleasures in Stillness As Self-Preservation

Still figuring this out. Staying still. Figuring this out.

If you have spent many hours watching a bobcat (this is what I did back in Arizona), you know that in bobcat mode, there are times to wait patiently and gather powers, and there are times to pounce.

And of course, lots of naps.

I am gathering powers and napping, and the best thing I can do is remove judgment and add pleasure, expand my capacity for healing pleasure.

What’s next?

Hoping I can be on the road soon-ish.

There are still some things that haven’t fallen into place yet, and I’m waiting, but it’s coming. I can love myself into doing less. Or maybe I can’t, but it matters that I thought about it.

Temps are headed back up, but that’s okay too. I trained for this. Stillness as self-preservation, stillness as devotion…

A breath for our hearts, these times, existing in this time

These are heartbreaking, terrifying, agonizing, infuriating times, they just are, and it’s hard to hold onto hope for the world or for myself.

And, also things move and shift, this is known too, and I can support that through ritual and through my own stillness. Lighting a candle for peaceful swift solutions.

Things are moving and shifting whether I have faith or not. Solstice is coming.

Solstice is coming

Solstice is coming. The longest day and the longest night, and a new quarter begins for a new adventure.

Time to start seeding wishes, time to trust the stillness and the slowness, there is some good magic brewing even if it looks like nothing is happening.

The nothing is the work. The stillness and the waiting and the hoping is the work.

Or at least it’s one piece of the work, and the next piece will emerge. Trusting in that is also the work. Lighting a candle for this too.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, anything that helped or anything on your mind, make some wishes! I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The dream of there and not there

high desert view of low green trees with mountains in the background

Hiking is where I go when I feel disoriented, when I need to reset perspective and to remember the place of remembering…


Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time.

You’ll get a copy as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, hope you enjoy!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can can solve that here.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream.

The dream of there and not there

A recurring dream

When I was little, like three to seven, that age, I used to have this recurring nightmare that I couldn’t find my parents, or really, that I couldn’t trust them to be themselves.

Which really is an incredible way for a child to subconsciously process an unstable situation.

In the dream, I would be looking for my parents, and then I would see them and run towards them, but it always turned out to be a parade of couples who all looked exactly like my parents, strolling past me.

Some would ignore me. Others would try to convince me that they were my real parents. But I had no way of knowing, and they all looked identical.

Familiar and not familiar

I have a number of friends who also are dealing with a Dementia Parent right now, and two friends who are dealing with the situation of Schizophrenia Kid, and so we trade stories about a very familiar situation.

The person you are interacting with looks like and sounds like the person you care about, and they are, but also they aren’t.

They’re there, and they aren’t. And it’s hard to say which of these is more bewildering and disorienting.

They are and they aren’t

Sometimes they misunderstand what is happening at such a fundamental level that there is no way to bridge to where they are.

Sometimes they lash out and say cruel things. Sometimes they seem to be here with you in shared reality but are actually in a delusion.

Sometimes the delusion is horrifying and sometimes the delusion is ridiculous, but I prefer it when it’s clearly a delusion either way, and not when I have to piece together what might be real.

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up

I am actually surprised there isn’t more cultural output on this topic, given how common it is.

It shows up in horror, a genre I don’t spend much time with unless I’m listening to Sarah Marshall talk about it on a podcast.

And Eminem wrote a song about, among other things, being surrounded by imitators, and the disorienting feeling of trying to find yourself when everyone is trying to be you. Which is not the same thing but it lives on the same plane.

And of course there is the trope of the imposter, the lost beloved person who returns after a long time away, and is or isn’t a conman. The not knowing.

Pandemic life

I am an immunocompromised person with Long Covid, and it is impossible for me to know who is sick and who is not, because no one tests, and there are new variants, and no one cares, and something like up to 60% of people don’t show symptoms.

Much like my childhood nightmare, this is also a situation in which I can’t guess who might help me and who might harm me.

And sure, maybe they don’t know either, but everyone is pretending that everything is fine, when nothing is fine.

Even getting a cold could send me to bed for a month. People think I’m paranoid, but let’s be honest here, I don’t think I am nearly paranoid enough.

Alive

I think a lot about trauma shifts reality as well, and how to stay anchored in the right here right now, even when there are mind tricks.

For me, pleasure is what is grounding. Returning to sensation. And if I can’t access pleasure, then ritual.

Also though I keep coming back to this amazing piece by Etgar Keret called Alive…

Alive

By Etgar Keret:

Alive
Sometimes,
when I look at my rabbit
lounging on the living room rug,
he seems to be waiting for something.
It only looks like he’s waiting,
he’s living.
With me, by the way, it’s the opposite:
I’m always waiting for something,
it only looks like I’m alive.

Can’t stop

For me what makes a good story or poem or a good anything is if I can’t stop turning it over in my head. But not in a distressed way, in a curious and hungry way.

That “by the way” is so good. By the way.

It reminds me of Justin Townes Earle hauntingly perfect laughing-question / question-laugh in his luminous cover of Graceland, which I wrote about in early pandemic, when I was fully losing my mind.

Fully losing my mind and coming back to the place that I go to when I lose myself, the saguaro national forest…

Returning to my wise friends who know about deep roots, flowering crowns, pulling sustenance from every drop, holding steady, marking the path with love.

Disorienting

What am I waiting for? For the world to re-orient itself? It won’t.

So I need to attune myself to something that is both new and familiar, something that is mine, that makes sense to me, something with a coherent-to-me logic.

Sanctuary space, while still craving community and dreaming up future ways it could be an option again.

Reorienting

When I talk with my dad and he says things that are not grounded in any kind of consensus reality, this situation feels familiar to me, but also disorienting. It is both at the same time.

Sometimes I feel as though I am falling down a tunnel, that is both forwards and down, losing my orientation in space.

It is the dream again, but not.

Reestablishing connection with the earth

Things that help (for me) include…

  • rolling around on the floor,
  • sixteen breaths,
  • naming what is around me,
  • going for a clue walk, or just taking one with my senses,
  • dancing it out,
  • listening to a trusty song,
  • making tea or cooking something,
  • rereading a page of a favorite book that I have read many times

Returning to place

Got beautiful clues from the Abacus Corvus newsletter, which had an image of homing pigeons and the words return to place, as a spell.

They took the words from Sefer Yetzirah, “and if your heart runs, return to the Place”.

This must be The Place

That’s a joke, kind of. In Hebrew, The Place is one of the names for god, or divine source, or whatever your word for that might be.

This must be The Place. You are here.

Here we are, existing, in the hardships and in the miracles of it all.

Here we are, existing. (You are here.)

Here we are, existing, just doing our level best at life, and then we encounter these situations that are bewildering, disorienting, sometimes terrifying.

Of course our sweet heart wants to run. That makes so much sense.

And do you know what is also true: we can always call it back to the place. Calling ourselves back to the place.

Homing time, to the one steady home. What a great clue from Abacus Corvus.

What do you do

I mean, other than calling to my heart like calling to a puppy friend who went ahead on the path.

Come on, sweetpea, are you coming back to meet me? Oh! There you are!

I don’t know.

It is also a bewildering experience for when I am in my own periods of memory not working, or a ptsd episode.

You never know

But at least that’s between me and me, and I am able to find my way through.

It is an even more bewildering experience when someone I know loses that grounding in reality and I have to find a bridge of connecting.

Maybe there is one and maybe there isn’t. That’s the thing, isn’t it? You never know.

The advice

Don’t argue with them but also don’t lie, was the advice I was given regarding talking to a dementia patient who says things that are wildly untrue (but possibly true for them), and that’s been working so far. That, and subject change. That, and distractions.

And talking about food. What did you eat today? It’s grounded in the here and now, it’s about nourishment, and both of us need to be reminded to eat.

Mainly though I just agree with him. Oh, you’re planning on doing something that is impossible in ten different ways? Sounds great, keep me posted. Sounds like an adventure, let me know how it goes!

Dreams

Please enjoy this brand new to the world cover of All I Have To Do Is Dream

I keep having dreams about people coming to visit me. I dream about cooking for people. I dream about being happy to see people.

Maybe this is about missing how things were before.

In one dream my dad came and told me stories that weren’t true about how I got into cooking, and in the dream, I knew the stories weren’t true, but he was so happy to tell them, so why not.

Why not.

Repeating

I love hearing about people’s recurring childhood dreams, especially if Roz Chast is the one talking about this, and am always surprised that mine doesn’t show up on the list.

People have a lot of dreams about being in their underwear. And for whatever reasons, I dream about people being physically recognizable but they are not really there.

Or maybe they are but I can’t determine which version of them is trustworthy. There are no reliable narrators. Just illusion and delusion.

I have to trust myself.

Isn’t that something?

Last one standing

It’s a zombie apocalypse and everyone looks fine, and is acting like everything is fine, and things are not fine (for me). It’s like a Cassandra complex but I’m not predicting anything, it’s just happening and people think I am paranoid.

So in a lot of ways I relate to my dad, who thinks people are trying to steal his things and gets upset when no one believes him. I get what that’s like too.

I think people are trying to steal what’s left of my health, but I know that there’s no point in trying to talk about it, everyone is back to “normal”.

Maybe consensus reality isn’t always the best reality. But now I’m the one repeating myself…

Returning to returning to returning (to place)

Yes, a glorious return to the things that help, the things that work, remembering to call my heart to stay with me, let’s be here now, let’s stay attuned to place, and to The Place.

This must be the place.

This must be The Place.

What’s the answer?

If you’re going through any of this or similar or same-same but different, I am sorry that you are going through it.

And also I am sorry that I don’t have any answers for you.

Haha, not only do I not have your answers, I don’t even have my answers.

But what I do have — for me at least, right now at least, is a couple starting points…

Some possible starting points…

Starting with and starting from:

Compassion — for me, for the situation, for the person, for the unknowables, for the gap of the great unknown. All of it.

Patience: May this solve itself beautifully and elegantly. I can wait and see.

Comfort. What would help me, support me, comfort me, ground me, stabilize, offer some nourishing sweetness here?

Devotion. To place, to sky, to earth, to ritual and repetition, to porch breaths and heart breaths, to chopping vegetables and saying thank you for all of it.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, anything that helped or anything on your mind, make some wishes! I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

Pacing it (and other spells)

a glass of glowing red liquid on a countertop, light streams through the window

Pacing it is also how you make a shrub, and making a shrub is what I do when I don’t know what to do, this is a blackberry ginger chiltepin shrub made with date vinegar, and it is rejuvenating and summery, just what was needed


Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time. The feedback on this has been lovely and heartwarming, thank you!

You can still obtain a copy for now, as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, and I hope you enjoy and find lots of clues in there!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can click right here, or scroll way down to the footer and click the orange RSS icon.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream.

Pacing It

Sent packing

I have an aversion to packing, an aversion that sometimes borders on panic, an aversion that is simultaneously both illogical and fully, completely, unapologetically, perfectly rational, an aversion the reasons for which could take up a decade of therapy sessions at least…

But the shortest possible way to describe the nature of my aversion to packing bags is this:

There is always a part of me who truly believes, whenever I pack a bag to go somewhere, even if only for one night, that I will not come back.

And that anything I do not take with me will be lost to me forever.

The Known Knowns

There are very known reasons for this fear that gets attached to the process of packing, and yet knowing them has not made it easier to pack.

Nor has it made it easier to unpack the fear mechanism, to disentangle myself from that old, old anxiety that says there will be no return.

Meanwhile, for the past month I have been preparing for and psyching myself up for a very long drive to the place I left exactly thirty years ago, where I will stay for an amount of time that is [not sure yet], and am dreading it, for a variety of reasons.

And yes, these reasons also include the logistical and emotional dilemmas of packing.

What is known? What is useful about what is known?

What is known? Even the most irrational fear is also in some ways rational, grounded in some piece of reality or remembered reality.

What is known? It is extremely legitimate to feel conflicted about any situation, but especially one like this.

So I take some porch breaths, some heart-breaths, and keep practicing acknowledgment & legitimacy.

Test drive

I told you about this last time, but I spent four days in Arizona doing trip prep, while also trying to find out if I can even do a trip like this, as an immunocompromised disabled person with (sometimes high-functioning) Long Covid, and not run out of energy.

The answer: I can, kind of, sort of. And I can coast impressively for longer than should be possible on will power and adrenaline, but then I crash so hard after.

And is it worth it? Haha, no. But is there another way? Not that I can find at the moment.

Lessons

One of the many things I learned from this test drive, which was both a test drive for the car and for me, as well as for the experience of being on the road was this:

I packed way too much stuff, and it was a pain to deal with.

Light light light light light

It occurred to me this weekend that I need to change the nature of the game.

For example, what if I change the strategy of the game from Be As Well-Provisioned As Possible to Travel As Light As Possible, and if I need something when I arrive in Michigan, I will borrow it from a neighbor or a friend.

How do we shift the game so it’s about light light light light light…?

Which is to say, move lightly, tread lightly, be agile, be light-hearted, be light-footed, travel light, go lightly, be lighter with and about all of this?

If / Then

If less is better (in this specific scenario), but I am someone who fears not having my things with me because of past experiences of unable to return…

Then what supports lightness and also helps me feel anchored, centered, grounded in my own aesthetic reality, in a good way, if that makes sense…

Unanticipated / A Turn For The [something]

My plan was to leave for Operation Circumspice, my road trip to Michigan, which you can read more about here if you missed it, on May 20th.

May 20th, Raylan Givens Day.

A day for eating ice cream for breakfast, and being a tough, bitter, sexy, wild card of a badass cowboy with a good sense of humor, and a moral compass that makes sense to the person possessing it.

I am a fan. We stan a laconic king, we stan eating ice cream for breakfast.

Auspicious

Yes, it felt auspicious. Everything had been set into motion. The song This Is The Day started playing in the background…

The car was packed, and the mysteries were solving themselves, or at least had temporarily resolved in such a way that my tiny metal art piece / box of a home could be safe without me.

My country mechanic (speaking of laconic cowboys) had given me the all clear for the long drive.

And I’d heroically finished all the food in the house, as one does, to clear the path. A hero’s journey begins with frying up a big pan of the last of the potatoes and using up everything in the refrigerator, so it is written.

It was all working out, and I was pretty sure I could keep riding the adrenaline all the way to that distant pleasant peninsula…

Meanwhile back at the ranch

All was ready for go time, and then it didn’t happen.

Someone sabotaged my car, or they hit it at the weirdest possible angle while it was parked in a parking lot and then ran away. My guess is the first, but either way, my turn signal light is out and there’s a hole smashed in where it should be.

A different country mechanic said, “Wow, someone really did a number on your poor car”, and sent me to a semi-retired auto body guy, and he said he could fix it in two weeks but would need to order a part from Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, the road I needed to take was unexpectedly closed.

Then the backup road got torn up with road work…

Sight

I stopped by to the supermarket on the way back, resentfully, to not be stuck at home with an empty pantry, and noticed I had trouble reading ingredients.

It had all worked out so perfectly! I’d used up everything in exact right timing! And now I couldn’t read. Which felt rude.

When did I last visit the eye doctor? It’s unappealing to take care of stuff like that when you’re an immunocompromised person in a pandemic, so yeah, it’s been a few years, got to make that happen before I take off as well…

Bifocal time for me, and being someone who has readers everywhere? Let’s gooooooo!

“You know what they say, getting old ain’t for pussies,” says Raylan Givens.

Luckily, X

Do you remember the superpower of Luckily, X?

It’s when you decide to find some good fortune in whatever is happening. Not forcing it. Not denying or dismissing the real experiences of pain, frustrations, anxiety, irritability that come with things not going as planned.

Just letting the treasure in the situation reveal itself…

And for whatever extremely unknown reasons, this trip was very firmly and clearly delaying itself by at least three weeks.

What does that give me? Time to rethink packing and my relationship with it. Time to put some more things in order. Time to reduce. Time for seasons gleamings and more spring cleaning.

Time for the treasure in this situation to reveal itself.

WWXD

What Would The Cowboy Do? Chore time.

What Would The Assassin Do? Get out of the ice bath, make coffee, tend to wounds, chill in the safe house, come up with a new plan.

What Would The Leverage Team Do? Compile a dossier!

What Would Raylan Givens Do? Stay ready, wait patiently, take action as indicated.

What would happen deep in the training forests of Nanda Parbat? Experience a dedicated place and time in which to practice being fierce and deliberate, switching direction mid-leap like a cat.

Skill

Here is a clue that also brings Operation Circumspice into sharper focus:

Real skill is revealed in how we navigate the unforseeable.

Okay, sitting with that, I guess. I certainly have some time to think about it. How do we want to navigate? What are the skills already available to us? We trained for this…

Enticing

I am staying close to this beautiful journaling question or stone to skip:

What is CLEAR, SIMPLE, SUSTAINABLE, LUSCIOUS & ENTICING?

Not just what works or might work, not just what will get me there, not just what will extricate me from the stuck places, but what is enticing?

This is another way to shift the nature or purpose of the game, with lusciousness, with enticements, with a reminder of why I do anything. A breath for this.

Another clue

I wrote this down after hearing it, and can’t remember where it is from, but here is a clue in case you need one, and if it is not for you, then maybe it is someone else’s clue:

“I am, by nature, and by training, suspicious of coincidences.”

Maybe leaving on May 20th felt auspicious, and that was a good feeling to feel for a trial run that went nowhere.

A striking number of things clarified that this was not the day to set forth, regardless of how indicated it may have felt in the moment.

Even if my coincidences are just that, or, to channel Lily Tomlin’s existential detective from I ❤️ Huckabees, “your coincidence is meaningless”…

Even if it’s meaningless, I am still noticing how circumstances came together almost elegantly to change my plans for me.

The coincidence or not a coincidence of the chipper

Thanks to every road in half of New Mexico being torn up at more or less the exact time I needed them, I spent quite a bit of last week at a standstill, waiting to make a turn.

The flagger, the person whose job it is to tell you when to stop and when to go, was both extremely bored and also easygoing and chatty. He took a good fifteen minutes to share with me everything he knew about road work, which was actually pretty interesting.

I asked how long the roads I need are going to be torn up, and he said, cheerily, “It should take two weeks!”, and then gave me a look.

Me: “Okay, so will it take two weeks, do you think?”
The Chipper Flagger: “Hahahahahahahaha, oh no, the chipper is broken! This is going to take a very long time.”

That’s the way the road crumbles

Okay, sometimes the chipper is broken. Sometimes you wanted to go and it’s not go time.

Sometimes this is infuriating but sometimes it is just extremely funny.

And then it hit

The exhaustion, first. And then the big moodiness and some more frustration. But first the exhaustion.

I napped for most of the five days I would have been driving. And read a bunch of horrifying news stories about the tornadoes and weather nightmares I would have been driving through, had I left “on time”.

But mainly it was clear that adrenaline had gotten me to the start line, but no further.

So it all worked out, and I have been resting, and IIWIMI (It Is What It Motherfucking Is), but also it’s useful to be reminded that recovery is a long haul.

Stand Close

I have been listening to the song Stand Close by California Gold, because it came up on random, right after I got back from the mechanic, and my mind is currently tethered to the line, Stand close, let me carry your burdens.

Can I adore myself and carry my burdens, but also carry less in my car…

Can I trust the path to hold me, and the timing to be what it may, and to do what needs to be done until I get on the road, to go through whatever process is being asked of me?

And if nothing is being asked of me, can I take this time as a chrysalis of readying?

Action

Despite everything I said in the last paragraph, or maybe: along with everything I said…

There is also a part of me that feels annoyed and irritable about all these changes of plans. Something about [perceptions of trapped and hemmed in], as though forces are acting on me and I am unable to take action.

So I decided to shake things up with some action. What would Raylan Givens do? Shake things up with some action. Also: ice cream for breakfast.

Can I stand close to the part of me who knows how to wait it out patiently, and also stand close to the part of me who needs to shake things up and set something into motion?

La anticipación a largo plazo

Anticipation is my favorite high, and I like when it gets pulled like taffy. Stretched out desire.

I love anticipation and I love when it’s long term, long range, wanting.

So there’s that. Where is the anticipation here and where is the pleasure?

It might not be in the trip itself, but it’s somewhere. Where can I locate my anticipatory drive?

No worry no hurry

A favorite radio person said something the other day about how it makes sense to drive relaxed because relaxed is how you want to get there.

And then he added something interesting, saying that most of the time, he doesn’t even want to get to where he’s going, so why hurry. All the more reason to travel relaxed and get there calm and stable.

Logical, correct, accurate, so real.

(An aside about context)

Obviously I get that this did not come out of nowhere.

His train of thought is related to a new series of PSAs from the Israeli national authority for road safety, trying to get people to stop driving angry and stressed and way too fast in heartbreakingly bad times.

As well as a distraction from what’s actually important: protesting the government, and more protesting.

(And to be clear, fuck the current Israeli government, if I haven’t already said that a hundred times. Safety and sanctuary for all who are suffering because of their cruelty and endless bullshit, amen.)

And also, in the moment, a clue for me

All this aside or all this considered, in the moment itself, it felt as though my long-distance imaginary friend, the DJ of the rock hour that keeps me company while I kitchen-jog, was kind of winking at me, specifically.

Winking at me in a warm and friendly way. As if to say, no judgment. It is not a secret that I am not psyched about this trip.

Maybe it only matters that I travel calm and arrive calm.

For reasons, again

Partly because it is a thing that needs me to do it, and not something I feel pulled to do for reasons of pleasure, enticement and anticipation. Partly because there are reasons I took off thirty years ago and didn’t return.

And mainly because tending to my body-mind with Long Covid is so much work even when I am in my sweet little bunkhouse of a home, but add to that an impossibly long drive and traveling in a pandemic, when I never know how much energy I will have in a day, if any. It’s a lot.

Attunement

I hang on every word of the philosopher Thi Nguyen, and recently I heard him say something about the pleasure of attunement for the sake of attunement itself.

He was talking about pleasurable pursuits, like yoga or rock climbing or dance. And about staying with the experience that makes it pleasurable, disentangling from the striving.

What attunement practices can I bring with me on this voyage, and in my preparation for traveling, in this chrysalis of [not yet, this has been delayed for you]..

And how does this work in tandem with my new wish about light light light light light???

I can’t wait to find out!

Clearing / A Spurt of Mercilessness

This is the superpower I am channeling for packing up, take two.

How would I pack if my approach were not “have absolutely everything I think I need”, but if my assassin self was going through a Spurt of Mercilessness to help me clear the path?

Pacing It, Folks

You know of course how much I love anagrams for problem-solving.

And so I put PACKING and PACKING LIST and everything I could think of into the anagram generation but couldn’t come up with anything good.

A very wise friend suggested a new input: List Of Packing!

This delivered all kinds of good stuff, including: King Focal Tips, Liking Facts Op, Sip of Tackling, Placing of Kits, Acing Folk Tips and Conga Flip Skit (!), and I love them all. So many clues.

But my absolute favorite anagram is this: PACING IT, FOLKS.

Pacing It, Folks

I am obsessed with PACING IT, FOLKS.

Though yes, also very much into I am the king of focal tips, because this mission of packing light and traveling joyfully is very much about focusing, as well as placing and pacing.

Pacing it is such a good reminder to me to not overpack, but also to not overdo it, in general.

Yes, it is funny

I was so excited about PACING IT as a concept, and obviously somewhat less excited when the PACING IT happened to me, first with the car, then with the roads, then with my eyes.

There is something hilarious in this contrast, the zany joy I find in both the anagram and concept of PACING IT, FOLKS, versus how reactive I can get when I am being asked to pace myself, or to attune myself to a new pace.

Steady pacing, folks. We’re pacing it here! I love this when I’m the one pacing it, and I get mad when the pace paces me.

There’s a clue in there too

Yes. Okay. That feels important.

I want to be the one to establish a pace that feels safe and comfortable for me, even if I can’t set the path.

Need to sit with that some more too.

Where is the pleasure and joy in pacing it

That’s what I’m investigating.

Can I find some anticipatory playful joy and pleasure in slowing things down, in taking things as they come? Can I be light-hearted and light light light light light when it comes to Pacing It, Folks?

Where is the treasure in Pacing It, Folks?

What good things are going to come from more rest, more ease, not rushing, packing and doing everything else very deliberately and taking less on? And of course, flowing with the new pacing.

Standing close

Close to myself, being close with myself.

Acknowledgment and legitimacy, again: it’s okay that I hate packing, it’s okay that I did not react well to the piling up of obstacles on the path, even as I want to remember that sometimes the obstacle is there to set me on the new and better path.

Inviting in: Lusciousness. Spaciousness. Shelter. Support. A playful approach. A kind and compassionate perspective. Loving Clarity. A good sense of humor.

Channeling the calm, unhurried cowboy, and the fierce, determined assassin who knows when to wait and when to move. Standing close with myself and these selves, ready, enjoying the anticipation.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, anything that helped or anything on your mind, play with anagrams! I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

A Glorious Return Of / To

a tiny ladybug perches on a radish leaf on a wooden deck

A tiny ladybug played stowaway in a bunch of radishes I was going to cook with, and was rescued and released into the wild, a happy ending


Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time. The feedback on this has been lovely and heartwarming, thank you!

You can still obtain a copy for now, as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, and I hope you enjoy and find lots of clues in there!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can click right here, or scroll way down to the footer and click the orange RSS icon.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream. (This is my glorious return after a month of brain-fog!)

A Glorious Return (of/to)

If you seek

The motto of the state of Michigan is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice,” which means: “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.”

I tell people this a lot, mainly to make them laugh. First when they think I’m making it up to be amusing, and then when they look it up and find out that I did not make it up.

That’s right, I am funny on the topic of many things, but not about Latin! Not about the motto of Michigan! Never.

Also, I have been thinking a lot about seeking. So there’s that.

Thinking a lot (about seeking)

Well, specifically about the phenomenon of you are seeking a something, but the thing or experience you want, need or wish for is in fact right there where you are (which it sometimes is).

And also how sometimes it is somewhere else, and you do in fact need to practice change your place, change your luck.

And how you can’t always know which of these is your situation. You mostly can’t know actually. Which is also funny.

Funny in a loud throwing your head back and cackling at the tremendous and hilarious cruelty of life in a very eastern European sort of way, if that makes sense.

Look about you

Either way, whether what I seek is here in southern New Mexico as I stand on my porch taking in the view of fields and trees, or in that pleasant peninsula, or somewhere else entirely, I have to make my way to the place of the pleasant peninsula.

I have been referring to this trip as Operation Circumspice (look about you).

Circumspice! It’s good to have a name for a grand adventure. I love naming, in general.

And this is a name about looking about you, which is related to perspective, to taking it all in, and also to taking inventory, which is a lot of what this trip is about.

While being present, which is where it’s at right now.

Presence

That’s a funny thing to say too.

Presence: it’s where it’s at! Literally.

You are here, now. Let’s be here, now.

(You Are Here.)

Add intrigue, add enticements

And, let’s be honest, I guess also I went with that name, Operation Circumspice, because it sounds so much more intriguing and mysterious and therefore enticing than You Should Really Go See Dementia Dad While He Still Remembers Who You Are.

Or possibly: Heyyyy Gotta Deal With Fifty Two Years Of Someone’s Accumulated Stuff.

A lot of very stressful names offered themselves in this process, haha, and I knew this was a situation that really wanted a good code word. Something grounding, something hopeful.

Look about you, babe. You are right here.

And: The thing you seek is available to you.

You Are Here

You seek something and guess what, where it is happens to be right there. Where you are. Here.

Truly a very funny motto.

Just look about you! You Are Here! It’s a peninsula, and it’s pleasant, I guess. Just what a person wanted.

Just the thing I was seeking.

Speaking of states

Speaking of states, I took a trial run road trip last month, a four hour drive to Arizona. I know a very honest mechanic and a very reliable tire person there, and they both confirmed that my sweet beloved Star Car is up for the grand adventure.

Mainly I practiced taking it slow and resting, doing very little. Drive a little, rest a lot, get one thing done, rest a lot.

A state of mostly resting. Prone state. A state of gentle recline. What is the motto of that state?

Fugue State

I say this a lot, but between Long COVID, concussion brain and ADHD, I get overwhelmed easily but mainly I just can get completely wiped out. It’s hard to know what will instigate a period of PEM (post-exertional malaise), or how long the recovery process will take.

So it was enormously reassuring when that trip went well with all of its built-in resting, and I managed.

Until I got back home, hahahahaha, existential Eastern European cackling again, and then my brain went on hiatus. Fugue state. State of not there. Not here or anywhere, just kind of blank.

State Of

The trip went well, surprisingly well in fact, but as soon as I realized I’d pulled it off, fugue state. Utter exhaustion. I was just WRECKED in an all-caps kind of way.

And I have just kind of been there, in the not-here, not-there, in-betweens of it all, for nearly a month. It is bewildering and frustrating, annd also it just is.

A blank slate state. Mostly in a bad way, not a good way, because it is scary when I can’t focus.

But also there is promise in the blank slate. Everything is new again. Reset! Restart!

Maybe the old things don’t work anymore but it isn’t time for the old things, it’s time for the new things. There is no back, only forging ahead.

State of mind / the state of a mind

“I understand very little of what’s going on,” my dad confides in me over the phone, for the third time in as many minutes, taking a quick break from trying to con me into breaking him out of the memory care place.

“Are you feeling anxious about that?” I ask, trying to get more information.

“No, no, not at all,” he says. “It will all get revealed later or it won’t.”

It will or it won’t

It will or it won’t. Look, a pleasant peninsula. It was right here all along. There it is, being pleasant.

All will be revealed later! Or it won’t.

Easy come easy go, as far as things revealing themselves.

A state of disbelief, a state of euphoric hope (places I also visited, briefly)

So I had all of this angst about the trip and my ability to even physically do it, and also about my own state of mind, and about the gap between my beautiful wishes and the painful reality.

And then something incredible happened, very much out of nowhere, something that lead me to truly believe that about 90% of my dilemmas were about to magically disappear, a miracle of It Solves Itself.

I experienced first moments of disbelief and then utter euphoria. How was it even possible that this beautiful, perfect solution had just landed in my lap, and how it had been landing, over time, it was even here before, but I hadn’t noticed until now.

What a world! The solution was right under my nose for years, and I did not see it because it was not the right time to see it.

I was flooded with blissful gratitude for how things had shifted themselves in such a way that I could finally see the thing that had wanted to be seen all along, and how I hadn’t even been seeking it but it came to me, anyway, like a gift, like sun shining through rain.

Ah the euphoria to crushing disappointment pipeline etc etc

Anyway, it was not that at all.

And I won’t go into what it was, because it turned out to be a lie, like so many other things. But wow it was so fun, having that gift of pure, sweet, surprising hope again, being a new resident in that state of awe and wonder.

A state of mesmerized by all the ways something can suddenly fall into place.

So I want to hold onto the beauty of that, the clue of that. Sometimes things can just work themselves out.

This wasn’t one of those times, but it reminded me of the feeling of possibility, even if it was kind of a con.

Etc etc

Learning the truth (a vital piece of information that someone had left out of the solution that had offered itself so beautifully and effortlessly) felt like waking from a really good dream only to realize it was just a dream, but it hadn’t been a dream.

It was all real, real, real life. It was just a lie.

A beautiful, just absolutely fucking glorious lie, and I fell for it because it felt so vital and alive, both magical and necessary at the same time, and because I really wanted it to be true. That’s a thing that happens.

I cried for a day, and then decided to keep it moving, because what else is there?

Lo que fácil viene, fácil se va.

Easy come, easy go. Etc etc.

Let’s keep it moving

Let’s keep it moving.

Moving from the state of The Loss Of to the Glorious Return (of/to)

Anyway, when I returned from my trip, all my daily rituals were gone, wiped away.

I stopped doing all the things that helped. It only took four days of being out of my home and my routine, and I had completely lost touch with every single thing that helps me function.

So now, each day, I invoke the superpower of A Glorious Return.

A Glorious Return is located within the relocating

Sure, there is no back, and some of the things that used to be the path might need to change. But the power of A Glorious Return is more about re-finding joy, re-locating comfort.

If you seek it, look about you, and also make it a little new, a little different, switch it up.

Sometimes the Glorious Return is very small, even symbolic.

I stopped cooking for a long time, and made my Glorious Return with a tried and true golden rice dish. Did five minutes of evening jog for A Glorious Return to rituals of winding down instead of staying up until midnight having anxiety about closing eyes.

Not alone

A wonderful thing in this world is if you are going through a heartache or dilemma, other people have gone through or are going through similar heartaches and dilemmas. Well, it’s not wonderful, I want better for everyone! But it’s wonderful to have the companionship.

My friends who also have a Dementia Parent share stories that feel achingly familiar. Other friends are going through similar experiences but with Schizophrenic Kid, or Partner Who Used To Care About Taking Precautions For Your Chronic Illness, and so on.

It is so hard and painful when someone who used to have a shared reality with you, to whatever extent, is now not anchored in consensus reality, or is simply in a very different one from yours.

Shared spaces and also the spaces we don’t share

On the Selected Shorts podcast, there was a terrific reading by John Fugelsang of the story The Wife On Ambien, by Ed Park, a very disturbing story, but Ambien Wife, who turns out to be not what you thought either, reminded me of this whirlwind of [what happened to our shared reality].

They’re on a different pleasant peninsula!

YOU ARE HERE. They are in a different You Are Here. It’s bewildering.

But also: there are other people experiencing this too, and you are not alone with that.

A state of things being not what they seem

Many things are turning out to be not what I thought. In a very “It ain’t necessarily so” kind of way, but also in a “Things are seldom what they seem / Skim milk masquerades as cream” kind of way. Ella Fitzgerald, Gilbert & Sullivan, my brain.

Maybe I am more mad than I realized about being conned, but I am not mad about the con itself, if that makes sense.

Of course it was appealing to have a solution drop into my lap, of course I wanted the joy-bliss and the excitement and the state of something to look forward to. Even if the solution turned out to be a delusion, because it was a lie.

Of course I was extra susceptible to this, in this state of trying to de-fog my head and find my way back into the sweet sustaining rituals, or forwards to something else. Here in the state of the big unknowns.

It’s okay, babe. You saw hope-sparks and moved towards them. I love that for you. I want more of that for you.

The bell

I was telling my wonderful friend about one of my dad’s latest and most remarkable delusions, and how I hope he sticks with this one, because it’s really good. It’s like the perfect cover story.

He sent me a bitmoji of him ringing a bell, with the words: NEW DELUSION JUST DROPPED!

New delusion dropped! Just ringing a ceremonial, celebratory bell for that.

And of course, I am the bell, I am always the bell. Bell is my middle name, literally. Ringing for hope, and sometimes ringing in a new delusion. Or ringing it out, bye.

What do you seek

QUID QUAERIS is a Latin phrase meaning “What do you seek?”, or: “What do you look for? What do you search for?”

I asked the person who lied to me about this, about what he had been looking for in the moment of the lie, and he lied about that too.

It is interesting to watch someone lie to themselves in real time. But also that is a little bit like the NEW DELUSION DROPPED bell. And also, like I said, I wanted the lie to be real and didn’t care in the moment about anything that might indicate otherwise.

So the bell is also for me

The bell is also for me.

And for my sadness, past and present. A void is a void.

A void is still a void, and losing love from an unworthy and untrustworthy source is still a form of loss, even when you know you are better off without it. Noticing how I keep dropping deep into that particular void-related wound. What am I looking for there?

Still, as always, a good and valid question. What do you seek? What do you want? What are you searching for? And what do you need, my sweet beautiful love?

What might help

That’s my other favorite question.

Given the Known Knowns: I get tired easily, I need to take things slowly, the rituals help but also they get rattled up when I am on the move, my heart is sad, everything is a lot, the world, etc

What might help?

For me, right now, it’s any amount of a Glorious Return to things that have helped before, possibly in a new way or form, possibly in small amounts.

Remembering to exhale. Doing that again.

Add compassion, add even more compassion

Applying a lot of compassion to my various states.

Practicing even more acknowledgment and legitimacy for all of it. Yes, this road trip is going to be really hard on me, and I’m doing it anyway apparently. Yes, my hurting heart. Yes, to tending. Yes, Loving Clarity.

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes, this can be glorious too.

This has been my attempt at a Glorious Return to writing

It followed a long state of Stuck, which, as always, turned out to be a state of Perceived Stuck, which, predictably, was really about simply being afraid to name any of what is happening.

So I am naming the fear, and showing up.

Naming remains the bravest practice, and being brave sucks. But here we are, seeking the thing that is around us, seeking the seeking, laughing when it is funny, because it often is.

Laughter is the best medicine in part because sometimes it is the only medicine, or the first medicine. A glorious return to laughter, a glorious return to living, starting with naming what is, and finding something there.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, anything that helped or anything on your mind, ring a bell of your own. I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

Tiny monuments and what to do when the ambient panic is too much

muted sunset behind a tree in a field

I like when the sunset shows up casually dressed, it’s not a big show tonight…


Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time. The feedback on this has been lovely and heartwarming, thank you!

You can still obtain a copy for now, as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, and I hope you enjoy and find lots of clues in there!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can click right here, or scroll way down to the footer and click the orange RSS icon.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream.

Tiny monuments & what to do when the ambient panic is too much

Last time

Last time we talked monuments, and specifically the way that almost anything can be or become a stone or a post or a [something]; a think-for-a-moment.

Anything can stand in as a reminder of what we want to remember, or what we want to let go of.

And in that pause-moment of exhalation or contemplation, or just noticing the noticing — whether it’s a moment of stillness or it takes place in motion, there is something about marking the memory that matters.

Partly this and partly that

I had wanted to get into more examples of how something can become a monument, but partly there wasn’t time, and partly it wasn’t the moment.

And partly I forgot, because I am the person who writes about memory but doesn’t have memory, at least not in a reliable way.

Also, have you noticed, there is so much panic in the air. So much.

A breath for just noticing the ambient panic

Just a noticing breath. Maybe hand on heart, or hand on a steady surface.

We can remind ourselves (acknowledgement & legitimacy!) of how deeply normal and reasonable it is to be experiencing anxiety while existing in all the intense chaos of this world.

We could do a calming thing on the plane of the physical, the tangible. Hum it out.

Try covering your ears while humming it out. Shaking it off or dancing it out. Or exhaling repeatedly while shaking your head…

Shake it off like a puppy, or a goat, or a mountain lion.

How much of this belongs to me

Sometimes I find it helpful to just ask, “How much of this is really and truly mine?”

I only want to feel my own emotions, not the whole everything of the scattered collective.

If only 3-5% of the panic belongs to me, and rarely is it more than that, the rest can remove itself from my space.

Give it to the earth or the mountains or the sea, let energy return to loose particles of possibility. Or imagine this is happening, or could be happening.

Just checking in with myself

Is this mine, is this from now, is this helpful, is this something I need to carry?

And if not, then what would help with the ease of releasing, other than the noticing?

As you know, I love to combine techniques “in the hard” (anything physical, tangible) with techniques “in the soft” (mental, emotional, imagination, energy, the things that are hard to describe, the realm of not very measurable).

And so sometimes when the ambient panic is very high, I will do something physical (legs up the wall, pressing two fingers gently above my upper lip, lengthening my neck, gently lengthening my breath), and I will also accompany this physical action with something softer.

Return to sender, I whisper, if I know where it’s coming from. Return to the earth, energy back to source, if all I know is that I am picking up on The Big Fear and it does not belong to me.

A monument

It occurred to me this week that these moments are also monuments.

Both in the sense that they involve a pause, a think-for-a-moment, and in the sense that they rewrite memory, they mark a turning point. A monument in the moment of releasing, a monument to the releasing.

It is the point at which you decide that enough is enough:

I do not agree to carry the fear energy of the world, it is not my job to hold all of this, I can do a better job supporting the world through my steadiness. I have noticed this big fear, and I am asking it to be transformed through being noticed, and released back into potential energy.

Or whatever, phrase it however you want. Maybe those words don’t work for you at all, that’s fine. I am not married to the phrasing or even to the idea. I am only into noticing when we are picking up on ambient panic, and reducing the load, for ourselves and for the collective.

What else is or can be a monument?

Omer suggested that December 30th should be Africa by Toto day, as in the song. Because of the line about “she’s coming in on a 12:30 flight”. 12:30 aka 12/30.

And so if you are someone who loves the song Africa by Toto, now you have a feast day to look forward to, which itself is a sort of monument. A think-for-a-moment that is a day.

A song becoming a day becoming a monument

I really love the idea of a song becoming a day becoming a monument, because it feels like a very wise and clever way to use a proxy in order to feel things or otherwise process them very indirectly.

You don’t have to make a day for the thing that is too many feelings, it’s just a day for the song.

Maybe something is too close to home for me to declare a holiday to mark it or build a monument to it, but I could have a song that means something to me, and build a holiday around it, and kind of fold whatever I’m working through into it, you know?

The monument that forms itself

My friend and I went on a hike for her 71st birthday, and we passed a community monument that people built in memory of friends of theirs who died in a terrible car accident. Not at the location of the accident, but at a place on this path, at a location that presumably meant something to these friends.

The friends had brought objects that made sense to them, and combined them in a way that made something statue-like, and this was their think-for-a-moment that is now also a public think-for-a-moment.

It was beautiful because it was not beautiful, if that makes sense. It was a very human endeavor, to honor a very human kind of pain, you could feel the humor in it, people laughed and cried while making it, you could just tell.

The absence of a cairn of objects, for example

For me, I don’t have a physical place to go for the person I miss the very most, but every single time I hear a song, I am thinking about what he would be thinking about that song, which means that every song is a monument.

When I am insisting that Flowers by Miley Cyrus is overrated, that is a monument. Sometimes I even will say I don’t like a song when I do, just because I want his take on it. I know he can get me to listen to it differently.

Sometimes the songs themselves make me so angry, just by existing, especially all the new songs that he will never get to hear in real life.

Do you even understand what you are missing?????? I yell at him because it is easier to be mad at him for leaving the world (me) than it is to build a statue on a mountain and then never go there.

Ritual

This is our ritual, now. Our little routine. He doesn’t get mad at me. He doesn’t even mind that I yell. He sits on the windowsill and smokes, holding his cigarette outside the window so the smoke won’t get in, and it never does, because it is not real, but I appreciate the care he takes.

I make him listen to the whole song with me.

It’s a monument of a moment. I get mad, he lets me be mad, he smokes his cigarette and holds it out the window, we listen to the song until it is over.

The healing stone

I had a dream about the healing stone.

I had a dream that someone asked me, “What don’t you want?”

In the dream, this was the answer to everything.

In another dream there were terrifying emergencies that couldn’t get solved, possibly related to all the ambient panic.

In a third dream, the father of my childhood best friend was still alive, and he hugged me and told me that everything was going to be okay, and that the answer was “lots and lots of flowers”, that’s what would make everything better.

What don’t I want? Ask the question. Make sure there are flowers.

When things are hard, which they often are

When the hard things are hard, I like to light a candle or an imaginary one.

Or to set a stone on a cairn, even if it’s an imaginary stone on an imaginary cairn.

Something to do while exhaling and humming and shaking it off and returning what is not mine to the earth.

A breath of whoosh, goodbye to this big panic that is not mine. A breath for grace, compassion, ease of ease, small miracles, any shift in a storm.

It will solve itself, or it won’t. And still we exhale.

The monument we need most

Maybe it matters less what it is and more that we pause to feel it.

We change the pattern by noticing the pattern. That’s not the only way to change a pattern, and it’s not even the most interesting way to change a pattern, but it’s the most consistent way to approach.

We noticed. Something shifted. We noticed the noticing. Another shift.

We interrupted the pattern not just by noticing but by pausing and exhaling. We interrupted the pattern by describing the pattern and the noticing and the interrupting.

We are making more and more space to just be in conscious relationship with the pattern instead of inside of it.

The noticing is a monument

The noticing itself is a monument.

And the pattern can’t remain unconscious when there’s a monument right there.

We can map the pattern through these monuments. We can introduce small changes, gently, with love.

It will solve itself, or it won’t (and still we exhale)

You win some, you win some later.

Sometimes you take the nap, sometimes the nap takes you.

Sometimes you make a monument to a moment, sometimes the moment is the monument.

And so on.

It will solve itself. Or it won’t. We breathe it out, and notice what’s ours and what isn’t, and keep it moving. It’s a practice. Sometimes it’s easier and sometimes it’s less easy. That’s okay.

Here now / it’s not easy being green

What would help most? For me, it is doing comforting things, repetitive things. Ritual things. Baking cake.

My cake, much to my astonishment, turned out bright green on the inside. Imagine a cake made by the grinch. I truly thought for a minute that I’d poisoned myself and was about to perish dramatically in a way that would be remembered in myth by the locals because of the circumstances being so mysterious and weird.

But it turns out that sunflower seed butter reacts chemically with baking soda, because there is chlorophyll present in sunflower seeds that will turn your batter green when you bake!

What a fun surprise for someone who likes surprises

What a fun surprise for someone who likes surprises.

But if you are not that person, and you are out of peanut butter and tahini but happen to have sunflower seed butter because it was on sale, and you use it in baking because it’s the right consistency, you too can treat yourself to a serious panic over nothing.

And then enjoy being relieved, I guess, after you think of the right thing to ask google.

There’s some poetry in that

I really genuinely scared myself for no reason, but what if this reminds me to try being less scared of things and potentially more excited. For example, I could open a wicked witch themed bakery.

I can pretend that I am a sunflower, purposefully ingesting my chlorophyll to grow tall and face the sun.

There is some poetry in the panic, once it passes. And in these times of massive ambient panic energy, there is going to be a lot of poetry as we help it disperse.

A breath for this moment in time, and a breath for the next one, a breath for pattern interruption, a breath for a generous monument in time, and a breath for all the unanticipated poetry.

I am ready to let some more joy in.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, any monuments of your own, anything that helped or anything on your mind. I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are slow going.

I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.

And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️

The Fluent Self