It’s Friday for me, possibly weekend for you, an absolute madness-inducing moon (for me), here we are.
Newness does its own work
This week has been rough sailing
You might have gathered this from social media or from my lack of an essay this week.
This has been a really hard week for me (understatement), and I spent it mostly in bed.
It’s partly due to seasonal stuff (the anniversary of my mom’s passing is a week from today, for starters), and partly due to loud neighbors being loud.
It’s partly due to how deeply miserable long covid is, I wish more people talked about how miserable it is, and partly due to the intense cognitive dissonance I feel about seemingly no one doing much to avoid it.
It’s partly due to circumstances — not having running hot water, for example, but can put many things in the category of [circumstances]
And, also, putting aside all the instances of partly this and partly that, it’s mainly due to a very intense reaction I’m having to someone who was in my space being very pushy about something they had no business being pushy about to begin with.
And then they did not stop pushing when I clearly wanted them to stop. Just more and more pushing.
Forever in reaction to pushing
It’s always about more pushing (for them). But what is it about for me?
Okay, so then for me it becomes a question of whether or not to disappear.
It becomes about all the ways I choose to disappear or choose not to disappear.
A crossing of boundaries
Unwanted pushing is of course a symbolic replication of other forms of violations and violence I am still upset about, so there’s also that.
Better said: I went through a crossing of boundaries that impacted me more than I expected, a violation that I wasn’t fully able to clock as a violation, and have spent this week in bed, trying to get a sense of who I am and the why/how of everything.
The repercussions (for me) of boundary crossing
Like I said, I either disappear or I don’t disappear, and honestly both of these are less than ideal.
I either blank into blankness, a steady receding, or I am here but fucked up, too fucked up to function.
There must be a third way, I just haven’t found it yet, so I’ve been back and forth between my two known points: receding and fucked up, receding, fucked up. Here.
Waiting to be restored, or waiting to begin the process of restoration…
Restoration, a process
I was feeling very angry this week about what happened (and about many other things that are happening, ongoing), and I am thinking, as I so often am, about what Karla McClaren said about anger.
She describes anger as a messenger with only one message; a boundary has been knocked down and needs to be restored.
Yes, this is the crux of it all. How to restore and be restored.
Which, if you think about it, are good questions for this time of year anyway.
Here we are: the good questions for this time of year
What restores me to myself?
What needs to be restored, repaired, revisited, re-visioned and re-envisioned?
I don’t know yet, but remembering that I am the one who gets to ask the questions is both what put me into this state and what might get me out of it.
What do I mean by this time of year
Fall equinox, here in the northern hemisphere, as we make peace with the seasonal shift towards winter and towards 2024, which here in the United States where I live, will be a gruesome election year.
In the Hebrew calendar, this past week was new years, and new moon in the month of Tishrei, Monday is Yom Kipur and then Friday is Sukkot
A lot is happening.
A lot is happening, what is happening
The air is crisper in the morning. The sun sets surprisingly early. When I wash my hands, I remember how miserable it is to only have cold water and I feel the waves of dread about the coming cold days.
Everyone I know is in some sort of crisis or mini-crisis. It’s just a time of big change, I don’t know how to describe it better than that. It’s a time of in-between and possibilities, for better and for worse.
Sometimes it feels hopeful, sometimes it feels grim. Just really fucking grim. Waiting for the hope to return, but I know it will.
What is needed, what is here
That’s the question, isn’t it?
What is here? What is needed?
What needs to be restored and how do I approach the restoring? With gentleness, sweetness and compassion, of course, but what do I do next?
Let’s name some of the superpowers of becoming restored in this new year, this passage into what is coming.
What are the superpowers
I am invoking the superpowers of Expanding My Capacity for Handling Joy, and the power of Nourished on a Fundamental Level, which might even be the same powers amen or at the very least extremely related.
I would like both please.
In great quantities, as much as I can handle. See also: expanding my capacity for handling good things.
What is an example of these beautiful wishes
I love whipped honey and never buy it, and until last week, I did not know that you can make it yourself! It’s so easy!
These discoveries always mess with my head. On the one hand, it’s such a delight to discover that something you thought needed to be produced can be replicated easily in your own kitchen.
And on the other hand, I get mad that I didn’t know! I feel frustrated, everything is a lie!
Anyway, it’s very easy to make whipped honey, which is such a luxurious way to consume honey, if you consume honey.
A memory of chopping ginger by the window
Last August, in 2022, I chopped up a bunch of ginger and put it in a jar of local mesquite honey. I remember standing by the window, chopping, when I could stand to chop. Now I do most of my chopping seated, it takes too much energy to stand.
There’s a joke in here somewhere (can’t stand, can’t stand it anymore), but also nothing is funny.
This is one of those thing people don’t talk about when they are not talking about what covid can do to you. Remember standing to chop things? It’s gone now. Only on special occasions when I magically having standing and chopping energy, but mostly I do not.
Anyway, I turned this ginger-infused honey into whipped honey with cinnamon and vanilla, and it is extremely intense and very delicious, a punch of flavor, a luscious delight…
What if delight can be easy, actually?
Invoking the superpower of what if delight is surprisingly easy, actually?
Low effort pleasure? Low effort pleasure!
Low! Effort! Pleasure!
I live for this and all its variations. What if things can be easy? What if even easier than that?
What a beautiful thought: It comes to me! With ease!
What comes with ease?
The new windows
Last year, when I had chopping energy, I stood by the window.
A year later, I have finally replaced two of the windows that got tweaked when my tiny house got dropped when it was brought here from the coast.
It was a long and arduous process from measuring to researching to acquiring to installing, and just about everything that could go wrong did, don’t ask.
A barrier quandary
Thinking now about how I’m so grateful, so deeply thankful for these windows (a better barrier, double paned, with screens, they will keep warm air in when winter comes) but also they had to come into place via the three people I have the most barrier issues with.
Do you see? A window is a beautiful boundary, a source of clarity, delivering light and a view, a refreshing evening breeze when needed.
And also wow, the boundary issues, it’s really a thing.
Hard and then easy, easy and then hard
Things are hard and then easy, easy and then hard. I wrote that and then I forgot what I was writing about.
The process of installing windows, maybe, or the process of restoration.
Or am I talking about whipped honey that contributes to the most delicious holiday cake, and accidentally finding my way into a new new-year tradition…
I don’t know. Would you like to know how to make whipped honey?
How to make whipped honey
Note: this works best with light colored crystallized honey.
You put the honey in a heat proof bowl above a pot of hot water until it’s soft (not hot), aka the double boiler method cheat, because who has a double boiler, not me, I live in a tiny tiny house.
You give it a good stir and when it’s cool enough, it goes into a blender with whatever spices you like.
Or you could use a hand mixer if you have one.
Leave it out or in a cupboard if you can — if you keep it refrigerated, it will seize up again but no worries, you can melt and re-blend as needed.
Variety is the spice of life, spiced honey is a source of variety
Not just for dipping sliced apples. You can also use your flavored whipped honey in baking and cooking, not just for dipping everything into it, or eating by the spoonful.
A third of a cup of whipped ginger cinnamon vanilla honey went into the bourbon chai honey cake I made for Rosh Hashana, new tradition, we love a new tradition.
And I added a generous spoonful of the whipped ginger honey to the cilantro lemon chili crisp tahini sauce I make each week and put on everything. (Have we talked about homemade chili crisp yet? This has ruined my life in the best possible way.)
The point is, you can’t go wrong. Add it to everything.
I always thought whipped honey was something you had to get in a store? I assumed it was complicated. It is not complicated. I love things that are not complicated.
What else is uncomplicated or has the potential to be uncomplicated. What else am I over-complicating unnecessarily, through not knowing that it can be simple…
My mom used to buy a brand of whipped honey for Rosh Hashana, the tagline was INCREDIBLE, IT’S SPREADABLE.
My brother and I would lose our minds laughing about that bit of copywriting, but also the honey was so delicious.
I don’t have my mother’s holiday honey cake recipe, or my grandmother’s, and I’m sad about that. But that’s where new traditions come in.
And I had to figure out how make my bourbon chai honey cake gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free, so even if I had the family recipes, I’d have to change them until they were new too.
Can I let the newness be comforting, even when I am longing for the familiar? Maybe. Can I find some magic in the not-doing, when I cannot be in a state of doing…
Finding some magic in not doing
This new year transition and fall equinox time have been extra challenging for me.
In part because of low energy, and in part because I really thought the new window install would be the perfect new year’s gift to myself but what actually happened was having them installed was so unbelievably stressful and exhausting that it sent me into bed rest and a deep depression.
So most of my usual rituals and practices didn’t happen, which means it’s time for something new.
Instead of seeking the symbolic forms of newness that I am familiar with and crave, I need to trust the newness of the year itself to do its own work, or to work its own magic.
Newness does its own work
That’s a superpower too.
And so is letting newness do its own work, work its own magic…
Not pushing, not disappearing. Letting the newness do what it needs to do.
Maybe I don’t have energy to welcome the year or to do any restoration.
But I’m calling on the newness to do it for me for now.
Words on words
I had other things I wanted to tell you about. They will wait.
In the meantime, I hope you got some good clues or threads to follow, something to accompany you on the transition into the new season, or whatever passages you are currently going through.
Wishing you all the support, sweetness and insight you need, or something even better.
I like to think we can find new ways to virtually share honey cake or companionship, or whatever is needed most. Here’s to restoring and restoration, with sweetness and a new twist.
I love you, I’m here, let’s keep going. Steering towards sweetness, newness and aliveness.
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…
And! Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) will get these by email as soon as I finish editing them…
Come play in the comments, I love company!
Share anything sparked for you while reading, 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.
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. ❤️