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.


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. ❤️

The Fluent Self