Delayed Reaction Wish Fulfillment
Monday morning, tail end of May.
Cate and I met up early at the trailhead and walked for an hour, the sun was warm but not too hot, we talked happily and seriously about everything and nothing, moving at a pace that was not slow and not fast, and it was all just right.
How fortunate we are, I said, to be somewhere so beautiful.
How fortunate we are, she said, to know it and witness it and share it.
We saw a lone and very bright white flower in the middle of the field. Look at that brave friend, said Cate.
On the drive back to the isolated wilds, I thought about the difference between a trailhead (here are marked paths, to guide you through this exquisite wondrous landscape) and the isolation of where I live, between the forest and the cliffs, edge-space, edge-spaces.
I thought about the time it will take me to recover, because after a hike, even a relatively gentle one like the one we did, I need the rest of the day to do nothing, and the next day to do more nothing.
And how this recovery time is worth it to me, because I feel so peaceful on the trail and so happy and rejuvenated to see a friend, and to be in the companionship of the fields, flowers and trees.
Walking outdoors through fields of grasses and thriving juniper trees revives me, and that is worth it. Love to be revived. Revival: a word with religious fervor baked in, and also: a coming back to life, a return to vibrancy.
From Old French: revivre. Again + To Live.
That’s just how it is.
I can not-exert and wear myself out anyway from anxiety, and the day-to-day things of staying alive, and I can exert (go for a hike, do some yoga) and wear myself out that way, either way, I will need more rest than I think.
It is frustrating to explain chronic illness, traumatic brain injury, long covid life, or how I experience these; difficult to convey that an hour of walking can do me so much good that it is worth two days of staring into space, but also that it doesn’t matter because I will be staring into space for two days anyway.
The well-meaning people cautioning me to conserve my energy don’t seem to understand how I personally am experiencing this new relationship with having/not-having energy (mostly not having it) any more than the people who want me to expend more than I have for them.
An hour hike is much less draining for me than a fifteen minute phone call or fifteen minutes at the grocery store or fifteen minutes cleaning the kitchen.
And also: those other things have to happen sometimes, they have to happen eventually, and there isn’t anyone else who can do them for me.
So I do a [something], and then must stare into space for two days, and occasionally the something that prompts this is a fucking delight, like hiking at the trailhead. Again to live! Again to live.
Equinox to Solstice
At vernal equinox, I wrote my spring wishes, and my biggest wish was to become someone who likes hiking. And then for five weeks, absolutely zero hiking happened, I barely went outdoors other than onto my porch at the end of the day for a breath or two of fresh air.
There began to be a monster chorus about how wishes never come true, and what is the point of wishing, when I am the most stuck-in-a-rut person, etc.
And then somehow, the past five weeks have each included one completely delightful and rejuvenating hike that brought joy to my soul.
Delayed Reaction Wish Fulfillment. Ah yes, I remember this from somewhere, from before.
Some of you remember how I used to name wishes here, each Sunday, in the form of Very Personal Ads.
The point was never to get anything, for me the practice of wishing is about revealing what I want. (Which itself is less about revealing and more about being willing to allow a process of revealing to take place, in its own slow time.)
From there, what do my yeses show me about myself or about where I am? How am I orienting myself towards this wish?
Orienting myself towards
Wishing wishes for me is very much not about striving, acquiring, achieving, manifesting, or forcing anything into fruition.
Instead, it’s the intimate and powerful practice of inviting, clarifying, making room for the wanting.
I experience this as a deep inquisitiveness. Can I approach a wish with receptivity, presence and love, making sanctuary for the vulnerability that comes with naming desire.
Now I am remembering how many, many times, I would wish a wish and then weeks or months later, some aspect of that wish would pop up like spring flowers.
The timing is the timing for spring flowers, they are there when they are there. Again to live!
Something about patience
I am taking this as a much-needed reminder about patience, and the fractal elements of being in process, whether with a wish, a goal, or something in-between, here’s to all the beautiful gwishes.
It is frustrating (wishing, recovery, hope) to want what you want, and make room for the wanting and the sorrow and all of it, and perceive that no progress is being made.
And yet, progress is maybe the wrong wish to begin with, and none of this is linear, and sometimes something moves from the realm of impossible to the possible, or sometimes a new possible emerges. Or a new wish entirely, one we weren’t ready for earlier!
I rushed myself to make progress on the wish about hiking, and then at a certain point, hiking showed up for me, and I’m just glad it is here.
Perseverance as revival
Can I bring this peaceful steadiness, this Patience + Presence + Process approach to my other wishes for myself, my healing, my body, the property where I live, the various challenges that present themselves?
Can I allow a little time, even when I am perceiving time itself as tight and constrained, too shallow, too narrow, too elusive?
Can I put my wishes in a drawer or seed them in a pot, blow kisses at them, visit them occasionally, trust their process, undo any perceptions of frustration or shame around their timing that is all their own?
Can I do all that (or even some of that) and keep steadily, lovingly, making room for myself to exist in the world as someone who wishes wishes, hand on heart, still here.
We keep on keeping on. Perseverance is the new revival. AGAIN, to live.
Doing or not-doing = doing what I can
Someone said on a podcast, and it stuck with me: DO WHAT YOU CAN, DON’T HURT YOURSELF.
And I am living by that. Irish accent optional but it does substantially improve the wisdom of this, in my extremely biased opinion.
I also have a sticker that says WORK HARD KEEP GOING, and I am living by that too, though sometimes for me “work hard” means feed yourself, clean up after, good job babe, you did what you could.
I am lighting a candle for this, and for everyone reading who also needs extra support in the trusting, the wishing, the keeping on keeping on, and waiting for the delayed-reaction wish-fulfillment, while we are in the process of readying ourselves for whatever shifting is needed, turning ourselves towards the sun…
Wishing us the hopeful-hope of new flowers, emergence, a change in air, a delicious breeze, good smells, and the bravery of allowing ourselves to want, to get closer to a clear yes, or a good clue.
Or maybe the good clues are on their way to us right now, with the wishes, the yeses, floating our way.
Let’s keep going and meet them. Let’s take breaks as needed along the way, whatever revives you.
Again to live, making sanctuary space for the hope sparks.
Brave like a flower. Fractal powers. Interconnected bravery. We can do this.
Is anyone interested in some new form of a return to VPAs? X Days of Wishing? Some practice of very personal ads and playing with this stuff? I am thinking about some possible forms to play with….
Come play with me, I love company
You are welcome to play with any of these concepts in any way you like. Come play in the comments!
We are experimenting with experimenting, all experiments are useful experiments! What wishes or themes are you playing with? What would help? As always, People Vary.
And of course you’re invited to share anything sparked for you while reading, or add any wishes into the pot, into the healing the power of the collective is no small thing, and companionship helps.
Here’s to locating the supportive rituals, playful experiments & loving compassion we need.
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.
Or you can buy a copy of the my Monster Manual & Coloring Book if you don’t have it!
And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share one of my posts 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. ❤️