It’s Friday for me, maybe weekend for you, I said this last week and say it again: an absolute madness-inducing moon (for me), and here we are.
Casting call (of the wild)
Okay: not okay
I have not been writing because I am extremely not okay, and even that is an understatement.
But then (aka just now), I decided that this state of being extremely not okay, which is sometimes part of the human condition and definitely my current reality, is, in this specific case, not a reason to not show up.
That’s a lot of negatives to put into one sentence, but hey, it’s a negative state of mind, and I don’t have the brain power to do a rewrite.
Here’s to the superpowers
Here’s to the superpowers of naming what is, in the moment.
To knowing (or trying to remember) that it is of the moment, and the moment will shift and change, as moments do. That’s what moments do.
Here’s to whatever other superpowers want to reveal themselves through showing up.
Preface as practice…
Is that a thing? It is now. This is my practice: noticing where I’m at and then saying it.
That’s where I’m at. Not okay.
And, also: I am showing up today in a state of not-okay, and I want to be upfront about that, to preface all of this with that bit of Loving Clarity.
Here I am, as I am
Here I am: extremely not okay.
That’s what I have in the moment.
Here’s to the superpowers of naming what is, add compassion and stir. Sometimes the only ingredient you have is hurt, or raw honesty. Okay, it’s a starting point.
Naming it, showing up, let’s see what happens.
What does not okay even mean
I am not okay lately, in every sense of not okay.
Physically I mostly feel like I’m on the verge of passing out, like that is my baseline normal, my all day every day; and on a good day I only occasionally feel like I might pass out.
My ears ring more than they don’t. I can’t remember basic things, and nearly everyone in my life wants me to either get better already or to stop thinking about it or at least to stfu and stop fucking talking about it.
Some days (and nights) it’s more of an ongoing agonizing emotional nosedive, cycling through grief, sorrow, rage and terror in various configurations.
I love the word cast, it means so many things.
I love it when a word means as many things as possible.
Let’s name them, or some of them…
You can cast a spell, for example
You can cast a spell. Casting as conjuring.
You can cast something off. Casting as releasing. Or embarking, setting sail.
You can cast a shape, like metalwork. Casting as creating.
You can cast a shadow, and, in doing so, change the scenery or mood or setting…
You can cast something into, a body of water, for example, in this sense, casting is actively letting go.
A cast of characters is a gathering.
A casting call is an invitation. Call of the wild: come in, come in.
Tonight is nine years (if you go by the Hebrew calendar) since my mom died.
If you want to read a piece I wrote about this eight years ago, it is about treasure and grace and Roy Orbison and the word Mercy, and it is one of my favorite pieces of writing on here, out of 1,842 essays written on this site (1,728 published, I have a lot of drafts!) in these many years.
I think she would appreciate the complexity of the verb to cast. It’s a good Ruth word.
That’s all I want to say about that right now.
When you can’t let go
Years ago, my friend Jenny and I were each going through our own terrible recovery from a breakup situation, I dealt with my grief through taking as many dance classes and movement classes as I could, and screaming in the car. She went swimming every day.
She told me about how she would go to the pool and ask it to help her let go, but she could not let go.
She would say, LET IT GO, knowing she could not let it go. So one day she decided to say, “I let it come.”
It’s not something I know how to do (yet?), but it’s a reminder.
That’s all I want to say about that, too.
To the water, to the water
There is a Jewish tradition called tashlich. On the first day of Rosh Hashana (or the second day, if the first day is on shabbat), you go to a body of moving water, a river or a creek.
You toss in bread crumbs to represent all the things you regret from the past year, things you said or didn’t say, things you did or didn’t do, ways you may have been unkind to others or to yourself. Whoosh, goodbye, into the flowing water.
It’s like a counter to the communal repentance of yom kipur which is about gathering to atone together, you apologize together as a collective, for all of it.
Tashlich is a personal reckoning, a private moment between you and the river, and possibly god, if that’s your thing, being Jewish doesn’t require belief, it just asks for you to show up.
A simple quiet here I am by the water, if you can get there.
Translation is not where I excel, but if I tried to describe the word tashlich, it’s like, you will throw!
Yes, it is a casting (off and away), a releasing, a letting go.
This word that describes casting is active, not passive. It describes the tossing, you can hear the motion in the word, if you speak Hebrew.
It is a sending (not to be confused with ascending, though maybe also that), because to throw in Hebrew is a cousin to the word to send, and also to the word for a mission.
It is my absolute favorite ritual of the year, and I was very sad this year when Rosh Hashana came and went, and I was not able to go because I did not have energy to leave my bed.
Timing timing timing (see also: location)
I saw someone online say they prefer to perform the ritual of tashlich on yom kipur, to combine the personal I Am So Sorry with the communal.
And it turns out that technically you can perform this ritual all the way up to hashana raba, which is at the end of sukkot, anyway, the point is, there is a lot of leeway about when you can do this, a three week period just about.
I love this sort of temporal leniency. It’s like when I forget to do new moon rituals, and my witchiest friend reminds me that the whole week is new moon actually.
It was freeing to think about. So I rested for several days, and on Monday, I packed up a bag of honey cake crumbs, got myself into the car and drove up a winding road into the forest to find my favorite creek.
Location location location (see also: timing)
This year monsoon came very early, and the late summer rains have been less than usual, and my creek was dry! Sounds like a metaphor.
Sounds like Otis Redding. You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.
But I mean it quite literally. There I was, in a flash flood zone, and yet no water in the creek, just barely a trickle if you followed it down the path. Not close enough to toss in crumbs and regrets, and not enough water to carry them downstream.
I turned around.
A new something, yes please to newness
Much to my surprise and delight, I found a new spot down the road aways, one I might like even better.
Secluded, in a clearing, surrounded by ponderosa pines, the water running merrily.
Everything felt sweet and holy, promising, a sanctuary spot. Just the right place to actively let go through tossing, through casting away.
Always the silliest worry imaginable
Sometimes, just for fun, I like to worry about the most ridiculous things possible, and so on the drive, I was worrying that I have had so little interaction with people this year that I might not have accumulated enough sorrows, or things I wish I had handled differently.
Spoiler: I have more than enough regrets.
Some of my regrets are about not being as good of a friend as I could. Some are about not protecting myself as well as I wish I could. Some are about times I was not completely honest with myself. Some are about feelings not expressed.
Anyway, you do what you do at the creek.
Casting, into the water, with sincerity and hope.
Releasing the silliest worries, releasing the great sadness, let it go, let it come, let the creek do its job.
Now is not then
That’s what I try to remember.
Now is now.
Here we are.
Some Ruth Advice
I was listening to Roy Orbison at top volume, as I do on the anniversary of my mom’s death, and on her birthday, among other Ruth-pursuits.
And I lit the yahrzeit candle but first I had to go look for matches, because she thinks it’s rude to light the candle with a lighter, even if it’s a very pretty lighter. So I found matches, and it worked out.
She said that I should stop trying to solve the big things and focus on trying to solve the small things. Focus on the small things.
There’s some Ruth advice, if you would like it. It is a good and helpful clue for me. I think she is right, I have been wearing myself down trying to solve the big things. Solve the small things.
Here’s to the [fill in the blank, as you need to]
casting and casting off (like a boat, but also to release),
casting and casting away, but not being a castaway, that’s different,
a cast of characters aka my incoming selves,
a good obsession,
a slightly cleaner house,
solving the small things…
Here’s to all of that, and more and better, may it be so…
Here’s to a new start
What if i can be obsessed with embracing hermit life, or taking tiny steps on projects and not just with the pain of sad things and cycling through the grief rage terror, that’s a start, right? We love a start.
Here’s to a new start. We’re not alone.
And: I said this last time but it’s still true…
I love you, I’m here, let’s keep going. Steering towards sweetness, newness and aliveness.
Come play in the comments, I love company!
You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, or anything on your mind.
Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship always helps.
I’m making progress on bonus material about how I relate to time and map out my quarters, let me know if there anything you want to know more about specifically? Drop any questions or thoughts here…
Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) will get these by email as soon as I finish editing!
If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, 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. ❤️