For a long time I noticed myself avoiding Clarity.
Specifically, I would avoid asking for clarity, or wishing any Clarity-related wishes, especially if I had the sense that Clarity was what I needed most in the moment.
Or I would bravely put Clarity in my compass and then not want to even interact with my compass.
It’s so reasonable if you think about it…
Let’s be honest. Clarity can be a little scary.
Do I really want to know, do I really want to see clearly, do I truly want the insight I think I am asking for?
Stopping just before (turn left for Clarity)
Clarity lives at round 38 in my morning sun salutations, each of which gets its own word or words, a quality or blend of qualities, and for the longest time I would just inexplicably get either mysteriously tired or suddenly extremely bored about halfway through round 37.
Until eventually I realized that this was just another way of not interacting with Clarity, not interacting and not approaching. Holding back. Coming close and then freezing.
Not approaching it as an intellectual concept, not as spiritual essence, not as anything.
Was I tired-bored or was Clarity too much to contemplate, even in wish form?
Nah I’m good, no thanks
I could let myself get close-close-close to wishing the wish and then be like, nah I’m good, don’t show me what I’m asking to be shown actually.
It’s such a thing, isn’t it, to crave something and run from it.
Sometimes I am the magnets drawing towards, sometimes I am the reversed magnets pushing away, sometimes I want and resist the want.
This is not something I judge myself for. It’s something I notice and am curious about. That itself is progress, and the kind of progress that emerged from past moments of Clarity.
Being patient with my distrust of Clarity (or the distrust of wishing the wish) is what eventually brought me to some Clarity about that…
Add Compassion and stir
A quality I meditate on sometimes is Hesed, a Hebrew word that often is translated to Loving-Kindness.
I love love love Loving-Kindness. Sometimes you just need a good hyphen.
Sometimes one word isn’t enough and the other isn’t enough, and you need a blend, like mullein leaves and lemon balm in tea, something happens when you let them hang out, each one knows how to amp up the other.
I love Loving-Kindness for its poetic feel, and I love it as the translation to an impossible-to-translate feeling, something warmer than Mercy, sweeter than Grace, kinder than kindness, an enhanced kindness.
Add Compassion and stir.
A softening into
Maybe Kindness all by itself can feel like a should? Or just too out of reach? Being kind is work, or it can be, and now we apparently also need to be kind to ourselves????
Ooooof. That’s rough.
But Loving-kindness is softened, it’s a vibe. It’s not something I have to do, be or embody, it’s something I can nestle into, a puffy white cloud, a comfy blanket.
I love that the way [a loving approach] can temper the kindness and turn it from a perceived chore into a warm hum in my heart. A softening into.
Hesed. Hesed. Hesed. I can feel myself tuning myself to this, a self-tuning, attuned to the loving intention that informs the kindness.
What else can we transform with [Loving]
This question is how I arrived at Loving Clarity.
When I interact with Loving Clarity, I know I am asking for a clarity that is not harsh or cruel, it isn’t a monster-driven, self-critical “here’s all the ways you should feel terrible for fucking up”, it isn’t judging me in all the ways that I am prone to judge myself for being human, messy, complicated, confused, sensitive, or lost.
Loving Clarity is not tough love, it is loving love, even when the thing it is clarifying might be challenging or hard to receive at first.
Loving Clarity is devoid of shame. It delivers the clarity with a warm hug, and so much patience.
It is easier for me to be receptive to Loving Clarity and not fight it, I don’t get tired doing sun salutations when I reach the Loving Clarity set.
Here’s what it looks like…
Loving Clarity meets my compass
I use a compass of bobcat-like qualities when I walk through my slow, patient, very-modified sun salutations:
I am Fierce, Fearless, Powerful, Striking, Of The Earth, Wild, Glowing, Alive.
And then these take on, or blend with, the qualities of each round, each time around the compass gets a new word.
So for example, round 1 is Tough: I am tough & fierce, tough & fearless, tough & powerful, tough & striking, tough & grounded, tough & wild, tough & glowing, tough & alive.
Reversing the compass: Fierce & tough, living my life & staying tough, glowing my glow & staying tough, wild & tough, grounded & tough, strikingly tough, powerfully tough, fearlessly tough, and back to fierce & tough to return north.
Here is what asking for Loving Clarity looks like…
Or what it might look like in this context, I flow with whatever words come as I go:
I fiercely welcome Loving Clarity with love,
fearlessly inviting Loving Clarity with love,
standing in my power welcoming Loving Clarity with love,
strikingly steady and asking for Loving Clarity,
grounded and of the earth, welcoming this Loving Clarity,
in the wildness of my wild self, asking for Loving Clarity to reveal itself lovingly,
alive in my aliveness, requesting Loving Clarity,
fierce in my Loving Clarity,
living my life, asking for Loving Clarity to guide me,
wild in the wilds, receptive to Loving Clarity,
grounded grounding, come in, Loving Clarity,
strikingly steady, ready for Loving Clarity,
powered by these powers, receptive to this Loving Clarity,
fearlessly welcoming Loving Clarity,
fierce in my fierceness, show me this Loving Clarity!
Slow Time Tea
I made a blend of tea from dried mullein leaves & lemon balm, let it steep for a while and added a bit of my rosemary-lavender simple syrup. It is a cool breeze day, raining on and off.
The clouds move and shift, sun and rain show up at the same time.
I am watching the clouds, the changing skyscapes, the impossibly green juniper, silvery cottonwoods shimmering in the breeze.
So calm and peaceful. Anxiety this morning, but not now, my mood weather changing like the New Mexico sky.
Waverly’s book, Slow Time, sits next to me on the table, as a reminder, and for company. I love how she still reminds me to bring a kindness to slowing down, to find the sweetness in going slow.
I want to ask her how she feels about Loving-Slowness as a companion to Loving-Kindness. I wish she were still with us.
A breath and a glass of tea for that.
What can be added, what can be blended, what needs more time
Considering Hesed and tea and blending words and missing people who are gone also makes me think of my mother, because her word for this was Rachmanut. Compassion.
Add compassion and stir.
Is it a slow process? Sometimes. Can I add compassion to that too…
If it’s not kind, it’s not wisdom
This is something I reminded a friend the other day, and often need to remind myself.
Sometimes I will have a thought that comes disguised as clarity or insight, but is really just monster criticism, more shoulds, more self-admonishing, just another way of being deeply impatient with myself and how I am, or how I am experiencing being a person in a body with a lot of trauma.
Maybe there’s a kernel of truth or utility in the criticism mechanism, but mostly it’s just another way to be mean to myself. If it’s not Loving Clarity, then it’s not clarity.
It’s more about “ugh just do it already” or “why are you so stuck on this”, which isn’t actually helpful, instead of a clarity that meets me in the moment with no agenda other than love, curiosity, patience, wonder.
If the wisdom is unkind, then how wise is it really?
(The parenthetical asides)
Obviously I’m not talking about the times we need to call each other in, and ask each other to do better, and I’m not certainly advocating for sugarcoating all messages at all times, this is more about how can I interact with myself with great compassion, and welcome a form of Clarity that is deeply kind.
And obviously we don’t need to engage the trolls or meet the assholes with love, definitely not suggesting that. Block & report! Safety first! Sometimes the answer is a good dose of shock and awe, just saying.
And obviously all of this parenthetical-asides-ing is me trying to avoid being misunderstood, a desire which is a constant in my heart and which the internet tells me is also an autism thing, how fun that literally everything about me turns out to be that, or that plus trauma, or that plus adhd, or that plus a lifetime of being misunderstood!
Can I meet this with compassion as well?
Also existing online is just by necessity the experience of being consistently misunderstood on all topics, so that’s a known entity too.
All that said, just as an idea, if we begin to add Loving- to anything and everything, as a general practice, maybe we can transform these patterns as well. Can we assume good intentions, at least when it comes to people we love, whose good hearts are familiar to us?
Or can we approach with warm-hearted intentions ourselves, ready to have a hard conversation when needed.
Maybe as we get better at clarifying with ourselves what is wisdom and what is clarity, as we get better at welcoming Loving-Wisdom and Loving-Clarity, we can also have more ease when it comes to discerning who is not going to learn or engage IRL, versus the people with whom we can have those genuine connections and the Add Compassion conversations together.
I am still thinking about this, and about how it relates to Slowness, and to Clarity.
Something about miracles
Yesterday I was lucky to experience several of the kind of miracles where a bad thing doesn’t happen, and it’s such a relief when you realize what could have happened but didn’t. A blessing in disguise that is also a blessing in surprise?
Obviously I love this for me, and I love it for the collective. More of these miracles for all of us, please.
May it be so or something even better!
And also, without shitting on that kind of miracle, I find myself deeply craving the other kind of miracle, the kind where something just unequivocally GOOD happens, you know?
The Loving Clarity of miracles. The kind, sweet, tender caring miracles. The this-is-just-a-good-thing miracles.
I crave this. I welcome this. May I find a way to be unequivocal in my wishing.
Some of the first kind of miracles yesterday also involved some big scares, and my nervous system and body are still recovering from that. It’s uncomfortable. It’s the Clarity without the Loving- part.
I am still working on Add Compassion And Stir.
I was at the laundromat and had just parked. Opening the car door, I saw an absolutely enormous wolf spider in the doorframe, and then I am not sure what happened, but I definitely scream-panicked and slammed the door.
If you don’t know what a wolf spider is, I am not telling you to google it because you might never sleep again.
Okay, they are harmless but also terrifying, because in the moment when you see one, it’s hard to remember that they aren’t there to hurt you.
Kind of like Clarity.
At least there’s that
A wolf spider is like, hmmm, how do I describe it.
Imagine a giant hairy tarantula that is also a speed demon? Good lord, they are so fucking fast.
At least with a tarantula, you always know where it is. It’s exactly where it was before. Tarantulas are predictable, unlike Clarity.
So when I opened the door again, the wolf spider had already relocated from the back seat to the front seat, and I screamed again, which was fun.
Always be a screamer, if you can
I haven’t seen one since I lived in Arizona, and honestly would have been fine to never see one again.
Anyway, it was in my car and I wanted it not-in-my-car.
And a van pulled in next to me, a mom dropping off her teens, and I was like OMG PLEASE BE MY MOM TOO even though she was probably significantly younger than me. And she took care of it, bless her fighting spirit, braver than the marines, amen.
She said, “I have to warn you, I’m a screamer.” Me: “Oh, I absolutely LOVE screaming, I am pro-screaming, please scream. I will feel so much better if I am not the only one screaming.”
So maybe it was more like please be my girlfriend. I am not good at flirting when I am terrified.
It all worked out
Okay, whatever, in the moment, I was entirely incapable of dealing with a humongous wolf spider that could have walked on me, possibly while I was on the freeway and then I probably would have driven off the road.
Do you see? So many miracles in the category of things that didn’t happen.
My new not-mom / not-girlfriend was super nice about it, and she also had a huge knife on her, which is honestly so hot, and we ended up not needing that or my shoe, and actually neither of us screamed, and it all worked out and now my car is, I hope, wolf-spider-free.
Blessings upon this, as my friend Cate would say, because I honestly don’t think I could have driven home with the speediest, hairiest tarantula-lookalike of all time tearing around my car like a vilde chaya.
So much good fortune. So many good surprises, including an unlikely ally at the exact right moment.
I drove back much later than anticipated, the sun slowly setting as I made my way along the winding country road.
The sunset was so hypnotic, directly in front of me, swaths of peach melting into lavender, swirling into each other, what a sky, just devastatingly beautiful.
And I had the thought that I needed to stop looking at it, because the thing about country roads is there are deer and elk, and wandering cattle, all manner of creatures. It was a clear thought, so very clear.
Stay very focused on the road babe, don’t let the beauty distract you, came the Clarity, Lovingly.
Came the Clarity, Lovingly
I was reminded of the road trip I took with Waverly after she died (the road trip was real, her companionship imaginary) and how she told me to slow down in the exact right moment and prevented a tragedy.
And so I focused intently on the road, and, maybe a minute later, two carefree country dogs just ran right in front of my car. I wouldn’t have seen them in the dusky light and anyway it happened so fast.
Another miracle of nothing bad happened / the bad thing didn’t happen
I braked fast and may have given myself some light whiplash.
One of the dogs, the larger one, stopped itself just in time, almost next to me, and the other made it all the way across the road.
Breathe, breathe, babe. You did great. Nothing is wrong. Everything is fine. You were attentive, you were lucky, it all worked out. Loving clarity.
And sure, maybe my neck got fucked up but see also: the miracle of nothing bad happened, which is a big miracle.
Still here, good job
I thought about this more as I headed home to my parcel of land and my miniature home.
How fucking awful would I feel forever if I hurt or killed a dog, it strains my heart. Loving-kindness for anyone who has been there, no one should have to go through that.
And then I was also thinking about how if I had hit one of them or both of them, I would have had to walk up to some Trump-ey homestead in the dark, and they would have yelled at me or possibly shot me (love this country), and I would have to be like, yes I feel terrible and also why are you letting your dogs casually wander across winding country roads where the speed limits are not low, and then they definitely would have shot me, so bonus miracle, I am still alive!
The dogs are alive and I am alive today too, good job. Go team. Blessings abound.
Maybe this is also related to Loving Clarity, and how I want [Loving Clarity > Clarity], in part because it’s apparently the only way to get me to Clarity.
Or at least, the best way to get me to Clarity, and also because kindness is warranted in these tough and bewildering times.
Miracles happened, and I am grateful.
And, also, at the same time, scary and disruptive things happened, and even though I am okay, I am not all the way okay. Recovery time is warranted.
I got on the floor this morning and did a lot of shaking it out, and ninety minutes of slow, slow, slow bobcat yoga, and a meditation about things that lift themselves, which is maybe about Ease, also about Loving Clarity.
Blessings upon the miracles, blessings upon the clarity, blessings upon the recovery, shake it off, shake it out, repeat. Add compassion and stir. Add compassion and rest.
As you know, I love a good double meaning, or layered meanings, and Loving Clarity is so perfect because it is about inviting a form of Clarity that is more loving, and it is about Loving The Clarity that comes.
It is about being loving with myself in the process of seeking Clarity, and it is about clarifying how I want to receive Clarity (lovingly, with Love).
Clarity, be kind and sweet, please. Clarity, be warm and gentle with me. I might still scream, but meet me with love.
Add patience, add slowness, add steadiness, add compassion. Blend gently.
Thanks for the miracles. Can they soften some more? How about some Loving Miracles.
Will who loves all beings
My friend Will, the Wildlife Biologist, the friend I met on the day I asked to learn more about The Wild Life, and apparently my request to the universe was translated as “would you like to learn more about wildlife”, loves all beings.
(It is truly amazing the way he loves all beings.)
What an honor to know such a gentle soul. I am not like this at all.
Anyway, I told him about the wolf spider in my car, and he laughed and said he has two who live in his bathroom. Two! They live in his bathroom!
If it were me, I would simply burn my house down or flee to another country and start all over again, or seduce an El Paso mom into running them out of town, I don’t know, something drastic would have to happen, or something lucky, or both.
But Will just lives peacefully with two wolf spiders.
That has to be a clue about something. Loving Clarity, come in, come in.
Loving Clarity, come in, come in
Do you see the difference?
Clarity, sans Loving, might be something like “wow, I am annoyed by most beings”, but Loving Clarity is more like, I see there are many options here…
Loving Clarity shows me that many things are possible, but it does not judge me for being someone who shrieks in panic and needs the wolf spider out of the car.
Loving Clarity reminds me to slow down and watch the road, even in a moment of being deeply present with wild transformative beauty, but it isn’t a chastising or even a warning. It’s a what-if, a how-about, a let’s-try-something-here…
It is not should-based at all, and yet we somehow quietly end up at radical acceptance of what is in the moment, and an appreciation of miracles. If we can.
And when we can’t, that’s reasonable and understandable, because Loving Clarity isn’t about wow I fucked up again, Loving Clarity is about what is and can be possible.
Add compassion, blend gently. Add compassion, wait and see.
Something about right timing
I started this piece in the first days of December. That is to say, I wrote the words LOVING CLARITY, and then wrote absolutely nothing else. Blank page on Loving Clarity!
Every week or so, I’d remind myself how I wanted to write about Loving Clarity, and I didn’t, until now.
If I was operating from a rushed get-it-done perspective, or trying to force the clarity without adding compassion, I might have ended up writing something else.
But I waited, and it happened in Slow Time, and by the time I was ready to say what I needed (or wanted) to say, new information had come to light, new experiences had offered themselves into the mix, and I had been given more time to consider how Loving + Clarity work in tandem.
Sometimes I tend to feel frustrated when the words don’t come, and yet I keep learning over and over that if I add compassion, the timing will sort itself out. I’m glad I waited and didn’t push myself for the clarity or for the right words.
Invitation / Invocation
I am inviting Loving Clarity, for us, with great love, a form of clarity that can be good to us, shedding light in a way that is sweet and useful, may it arrive in good timing and do what is needed, with softness and no neck pain, with recovery time and built-in grace.
A loving clarity that is embodied and moves with quiet ease. Keep it moving, rest as needed.
What tempers clarity and makes it actionable, or even something I can receive to begin with?
Add Compassion and stir and wait.
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!
What else can we add Loving to? Loving-X?
Loving-Honesty! Loving-Rest? Loving-Simplicity! What happens when we add [Loving-] to other words to amplify them or otherwise enhance their trajectory of purpose, if that makes sense…
All experiments are useful experiments. What wishes or themes are you playing with? What would help?
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 most supportive rituals and experiments, with compassion.
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. ❤️