A small celebration / cake time
A small celebration: we made it to March of miracles, miracle of miracles, I thought about this (“I march for miracles!”) while jog-walking figure-eights on my kitchen rug as the sun rose Wednesday morning, illuminating through the clouds, hello, new month, we made it to another threshold.
I was thinking about how nothing is linear and yet process is cumulative, and how this ritual of kitchen-jogging held me in the dark of winter, supported me and kept me going.
Noticing a spark of insight, something about how this practice of moving while not going anywhere, aka “apartment hiking”, to borrow a marvelous turn of phrase from Ian Dukes, is both similar and different to a wish I had earlier in the week about getting to know the trails in my area.
Something about maps as a verb.
What happens when I map my terrain, when I ground myself in a sense of place? Is it a time for landing here?
A new familiarity
Time to build a new familiarity, reorient myself in place.
I am also doing this in my mind thanks to traumatic brain injury, relearning who I am or might be.
March (the month) as an experience, but also as a location in the year that is both familiar and new; march (the verb) as an experience but also as a transformative process, striding and eliding, moving through.
Steady steps, feel the ground, a new understanding of where I am in time and space. Location location location, I am locating myself in the calendar and in my home, in my environment.
Like the sign says
Like the sign says, YOU ARE HERE.
Is it helpful information? I don’t know, maybe, maybe not.
A breath for being here now, a breath for being where I am.*
Lionesque / lioness
March marching in like a lion with wild winds and swings of barometric pressure, and why not, storm it up, I can nap through it, I like being lion-like, I aim to be a big cat.
Roar and thunder, nap and stretch, I can wait patiently, that’s what lions do, lions play the long game.
Stay dangerous, stay ready. Stay ready and wait.
And of course, a parade for bravely and heroically making it through both the longest-longest month (January) and the longest month in disguise (February), now we’re getting somewhere, less than two weeks until the time change brings more light here, and just three weeks to vernal equinox, a move into new quarterly quarters.
Good job. Go team.
We’ve basically/mostly made it through the worst of the winter storms, here in the northern hemisphere, at least where I am in southwestern New Mexico, in the southwestern United States, and I am waving to all southern hemisphere friends, I hope you had-and-have plenty of popsicles and an abundance of cooling, soothing comforts to get you through the heat waves of summer.
A lion’s breath of powerful release for all of us, doing our best in intense circumstances, sometimes also in intense weather. Brain-weather and external weather and all of it. It’s so much.
I am thankful for the comfort and long distance companionship of friends and readers of the blog, we are all trying to get better at doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t, without judgment, the process is the process, and it helps to know that I am not alone in the ongoing work of self-fluency and self-treasuring.
Sometimes when I finish dishes, I will say TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK, even though it is just me. Sometimes the Go Team is a very, very small, extremely local team of me. I appreciate the virtual company too.
A Monday Meeting on a Wednesday / a March meeting in a storm
I wanted to write some March wishes, but also I skipped my Monday Meeting this week because I had to urgently commune with a hot spring (neck pain emergency), so let’s do both and combine them.
Also I wrote these wishes during a snow storm: in like a lion!
What are some themes that I already know are coming up?
- obsessing in a good way
- reorienting (in space and time)
- the earth, the earth
- R&R & R&R and more than you think
- bridging dissonance / build dissonance bridges (bridge like in a song? write the bridge!)
- towards, again (this is also orienting)
- miracle mind
- time-adjacent celebration day (aka my birthday is this week, thanks to Jason for the delightful phrase) & of course related wishes about Solved By Cake and Cake For Days…
Let’s start with a couple of these and see where they lead, everything else can go into the pot!
Talk to me: who is at this meeting
The Monday Meetings are a gathering space / journaling practice where I hear from incoming selves or aspects of myself, that’s the joke, a meeting in the sense that I am meeting them, sometimes I invite fictional characters or a persona version of someone I admire, someone on my council or in my imaginary support group.
Whoever shows up is who shows up.
Who do we have here to welcome in March?
I pick up my pen and wait for stragglers, and we do roll call. Who all is here today?
Talk to me about the wish of place & getting to know the area
Alright, friends, talk to me please. Tell me what you know…
But first maybe I should explain more about the wish?
Me: Okay, so here’s something I’d like to run by all of you. I had this strong wish come up when I was in Las Cruces hiding from the big snowstorm, something about how I want to really know the area where I live, to explore and have a relationship with different trails, to be at home here.
This is partly a wish about companionship because I would like company for some of these adventures, and partly a wish about healing, and partly a wish about bridging dissonance.
[background: I have long covid, a chronic and seemingly incurable situation, I am unable to predict which days I will have energy or if my body will agree to either standing or moving, or for how long, so how do I tend to the boundaries required to care for myself and protect myself in a world where people pretend this is not happening or insist that I am on the verge of getting better, when I know I am not….]
And also in its simplest form, this is a wish about belonging.
I fell in love with this area, moved here to be close to this particular spot, and then due to [reasons no one could have anticipated], the place I moved to became uninhabitable, and now nearly three years later, I am MAKING IT WORK because there are no other options, but it does mean that I am always cold, there is no heat or hot water, and pretty much everything is broken. So, conflicted emotions about being here.
The Cowboy says…
You can talk to the land from your kitchen, sitting on your heated blanket, looking out at the trees and the cliffs. You do not have to climb to the top to commune with the spirit of place, you are still connected and interconnected. I don’t stop being a cowboy when I am resting in my bunk.
Things take time, and the transition from moving here to actually living here full-time took more time (and more of everything) than you anticipated, and that’s not a sign that it wasn’t the right move, it just didn’t come to pass in the way you imagined.
That’s a truth worth remembering: Not everything goes smoothly, it doesn’t say anything about you.
Stay in miracle-mind. Do what you can at the pace that is available to you. Keep wishing on stars, or on whatever you want. A wish is a wish, and wishing is a good habit.
The Assassin says…
Ah yes, the whole waking up in a bathtub full of ice thing, recovery is hell, but you’re a fighter and fighters go through a lot of recovery periods, recovery is part of fighting, you can’t rush what you can’t rush, it’s all part of the training. Fighting the recovery though…that’s just counter-productive.
To hone your lion skills requires a lot of stretching and yawning. It isn’t all pouncing and claws and being devastating. It’s sleeping eighteen hour days and not caring.
Anyway, you set the pace. If people want to come with you for slow steady walks that end when you say so, they will. And if they don’t then borrow someone’s dog. You can also scope the area by driving, that’s another way to get to know the lay of the land.
The Baker says…
Every day a new experiment, and sometimes the experiment is months and months of refining something you already know and love. Just like you like to read recipes, you could find books about the area, read up on trails, revisit favorite spots.
Your oven broke and so you decided to make a raw cake instead, apply that wisdom and ingenuity here.
Easy come, easy go, keep wishing your wishes, stay innovative and playful, clean up your workspace and start again tomorrow. It’s all learning and improving.
The Lion says….
Injuries heal. You adapt. Fierceness just is, either way. You don’t lose in prowess just because you got scratched up. You haven’t stopped being a force to be reckoned with, you are just learning new ways.
It’s called lion’s breath for a reason. Big loud full-body exhales. Growl your way back to yourself. Luxuriate in taking the time.
Evangeline: You won’t listen to me because you don’t like me
me: come on, I literally invited you to the meeting, or whatever, maybe I didn’t, but even if you invited yourself, we all know you’re here because your insight is needed here
Evangeline: You think I’m manipulative and untrustworthy
me: okay sure, and maybe sometimes it’s good or useful to be manipulative in certain situations, if I perceive you as manipulative then you are the shadow I avoid, you are someone who goes after what they want and makes things happen, so show me what I need to learn, help me understand what is the treasure in what I fear or don’t understand..
Evangeline: To set yourself up well on a hike, you want things in place, a map, water, comfortable shoes, tell someone where you’re going…
me: okay, I get the analogy, now what
Evangeline: I need you to be more ruthless, and also more clear on what’s important to you, stop compromising on what matters, and start setting things up so they are in place for what you want
me: okay, working on it
Evangeline: And you’re not having enough fun
me: how do I have more fun
Evangeline: Your power lies in the things you are already good at: ritual and repetition, just do what you already do but make it fashion (make it witchy), and yes, go for a hike…
Hiking Day self says…
I am not sure about this name but what I mean is the version of me who loves hiking, nature, being outdoors, a marching self?
Hiking Day self: Honestly I don’t care whether you take up hiking or not, I think the research part will be a good rabbit-hole for you, and maybe this whole exercise is a proxy mission, who can say.
Start with finding a short hike you love, and go from there. Maybe that’s the only thing that needs to happen. Maybe it only needs to happen once. Maybe I’m just pointing you in a direction. But you love to obsess over things so obsess over this. This can be your spring obsession.
Get outdoors, we’ll go from there. The clues will reveal themselves. Just start.
Sorcery Self says…
A spell is a period of time as well as a magical incantation. Do something for a spell, and do it with intention, and then rest.
You already know how to magic-up space, magic is a verb you excel at, so what’s stopping you?
Light a candle. Take a breath. Feel what is needed. One step at a time, fractal results. This sort of energy acupuncture in a space is a thing you know how to do.
It’s a boring cliche to say that you fear your own powers but also it’s not wrong. Find out what you can do by giving more time to ritual.
The self who excels at rest and recovery says…
Let’s name what is working. You are doing great at Early To Bed. You’re doing great at Closing Eyes for X Delicious Hours. You’re doing great at being kind and patient with yourself when [night terrors, etc].
You’re doing great at morning and evening stretches. There are more things in the category of What’s Already Working than you think, give yourself more credit here.
You are correct that you vastly underestimate how much you can do, the extent to which doing (anything) wears you out, and vastly underestimate recovery time and overestimate your ability to snap back.
This has always been true, and you are also adapting to new limitations. And you’re doing it in the cold, in a pandemic, all alone and in the wilderness under very trying conditions, so good for you.
Let’s just keep building in more recovery time. Whether that’s during the day (good job, you did some cooking or washed dishes, now let’s get on the floor) or taking way more time for some good healing nothing after driving yourself to an appointment.
This is the worst kind of “trust the process”, I know, it’s so hard to trust and it’s scary and can sometimes be kind of miserable, but also you gotta do it. Rest is medicinal and a form of resetting.
The self who excels at the pursuit of pleasure
I have been referring to this self as Comically Young Area Mermaid, which is a joke, I said something to a friend of mine who is a younger boomer about how creaky I am feeling, and somehow turning forty six this week, and she said, OH THAT IS JUST COMICALLY YOUNG.
And then when I was sitting in hot water letting my neck release, I thought about mermaid time and what it would be like to just be Area Mermaid, in a news story. Area Mermaid finds cure for neck pain. Comically Young Area Mermaid enjoys the healing powers of water. Okay, now you’re caught up. What does this self have to say?
To excel at the pursuit of pleasure is about not saving pleasure for later.
Pleasure is not the reward, it is the everything. Pursuit of pleasure is not just about the pleasure, the pursuit can also be a source of pleasure itself. Stop thinking about endgame and start bringing attentiveness to the joys that can be savored in this moment.
Small pleasures are available that you don’t know about yet. Savoring what is here now is also a form of pursuing pleasure.
Mainly: stop putting off joy until you think you’ve earned it. Devote yourself to the pursuing.
I believe in miracles, you sexy thing
This is the first time this self has shown up to a meeting, and I know nothing about them other than this line from a song, let’s see what they have to say…
The self of I believe in miracles, you sexy thing (IBIMYST) says: Stay in miracle mind. Breathe into left and right hemisphere. Breathe into wherever. Make space. That’s miracle-mind. It doesn’t require anything of you.
This is a practice of remembering that perfect, simple, elegant solutions are possible and available, beyond what you are able to currently picture.
This is not a practice of seriousness. This is a ritual of lightheartedness. Let some silliness bubble up.
Dance it out. Laugh out loud for no reason. Cultivate an appreciation of the ridiculous. Have dessert for breakfast.
R&R and R&R and more than you think
Rest & Recovery
Ritual & Repetition
Recalibration & Reorienting
Resonance & Reverberation
Release & Receive
Recharge & Reset
And of course Remember To Remember…
Remember to remember
I always need so much more rest and recovery than I think I do. However much I think is enough is usually a small fraction of what I need just to get back to baseline.
All the R&Rs and more than you think!
Some March wishes (march-in-March wishes!) to start with…
Here are my wishes for March and beyond…these are wishes, goals, secret ops, superpowers and clues about what I want….
More naming: naming priorities, naming obsessions, naming iguanas, naming what works…
More reorienting towards pleasure, towards pleasure itself and towards the act of seeking and prioritizing pleasure.
What is the opposite of The Big Fog / The Great Molasses / The Impossible Slog of Slog? Is it the power of A Good Obsession? Is it the superpower of AND I CRAVE IT? Is it the pursuit of pleasure? Let’s find out!
Miracle mind, find out what it’s like to spend more time there. And: Everything is funny / what if everything is funny?
Go on hikes. That’s the clue that keeps coming up for me. What does it mean? I will have to report back.
I still don’t know if this is a metaphor or not but it’s the best clue I have
It keeps coming up so there it is. Go on hikes. I don’t fully know what it means but I know it is a clue, and a clue related to fresh air, new views, perambulation, and craving something, and maybe that’s the medicine.
What can I crave? What can I just OBSESS OVER in March?
Rest, Recovery, Reset, Recalibrate, Ritual, Raw Cake, what else starts with an R or doesn’t but is worthy of a good obsession?
Retraining, Relishing, Resonance, Reconnaissance, Regenerating, Red Flowers, what else?
Wait, talk to me about perambulation
A clue just showed up out of nowhere, I love it when that happens, absolutely my favorite part of journaling, let the words come and then zoom in on the unexpected ones.
Perambulate, verb: to travel over or through especially on foot : traverse : to make an official inspection of (a boundary) on foot.
So it isn’t just a stroll. It is an inspection of boundaries. (!!!!!!)
An inspection of boundaries, you say? On foot, to be extra grounded. Now we’re getting somewhere. Of course this is what is needed. It’s perfect and hilarious. The reason I want to go for a hike is that my boundaries need some close-up inspecting, who would have thought, other than all of us.
An inspection of boundaries might well lead to a RECALIBRATION of boundaries, something that starts with R, and feels very needed these days.
Alright, let’s go traverse a space on foot and make an official inspection of what’s there, where it begins and ends, what exists at the edges?
And: what will motivate me to perambulate? What will support me in perambulating? Oh, I know this already. A good obsession is what works for me. My neurodivergent brain thrives on an obsession, let’s dive into a rabbit hole, let’s special-interest the hell out of this.
If I can’t get motivated, can i get obsessed?!
Or: If i can’t get excited, can i get obsessed?!
Obsessed with the ground, feet on the ground, the scent of the earth, a meandering walk with lots of rests before, during and after, drawing power from the earth, striding forward, a march of March…
Whether it’s Apartment Hiking or mapping out new places in my mind, or going for an actual walk, or inviting a friend to go to the cliff dwellings with me once they open for spring, I am taking Take A Hike as my next directive, with the understanding that I can stop and rest as often as I need to, and that the hiking might need to be metaphorical, that’s okay too.
We are taking steady steps, the next indicated step and then another one, good job, go team. Companionship is a blessing. Thank you for marching (March-ing?) with me, as we find our way into what helps, what works, what might be a more pleasurable way to keep tending to ourselves in these changing and challenging times.
Entering as I wish to be in it, with a lion’s breath (rawr! big unapologetic full-body exhale!), with compassion and curiosity, wishing the wishes, embracing a good obsession, inviting in miracle-mind and a playful spirit.
Let’s keep going. ❤️
Come play with me, I love company
You are welcome to play with any of the concepts here in any way you like. Come play in the comments!
We are experimenting with experimenting, all experiments are useful experiments! You can brainstorm your own. What are some March wishes or fun potential obsessions or themes you’re drawn to play with! What patterns are asking to be rewritten and what would help? If you have any Incoming Selves you want to channel like I did here with mine, love that too. As always, we remember that 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 zone, as a friend of mine said, who knows, the power of the collective is no small thing, and companionship helps.
I wish for all of us the supportive rituals, playful experiments & loving compassion we need, or something even better!
If you received clues or perspective or just 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 trailer and getting through this rough patch.
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 so much. ❤️