During zoom yoga with my friend Cate, she suggested that we try noticing what we’re not noticing.
This reverberated in me like the perfect stone skipping across the waters of my consciousness. How do you notice what you’re not noticing?
It is a striking question. Or a request. To notice where my attention isn’t asks me to pause. Intention & Curiosity.
There are of course the usual suspects that I can notice I am probably not noticing, releasing tension in my jaw, there’s that tightness in the ribs I forgot about, oh and the vastness of the anger in my heart, haha how did I forget to notice that, has it just become part of the scenery.
Also the many things I don’t notice because they’re working just fine, a whole subset of forgotten goodness.
Anyway, a weekend check-in (CHICKEN!) is not only a reassuring ritual for me, it is another form of remembering to notice what I may not have noticed. We made it. High fives all around and admiration and some breaths.
Breathing for what was hard, challenging, uncomfortable, not fun…
Obviously THING ZERO before all else, the absolute levels of fear in the collective as we all held our breaths for Inauguration wondering if we would get a peaceful reassuring day or if all hell would break loose again.
Thing One remains the combination of the pandemic and the dissonance between people who are committed to getting through it and people who still don’t seem to take it seriously. This is true for the pandemic and for many other things. A breath for how much I want consensus reality and can’t get it.
Thing Two, a variation on Thing One that I’m not able to articulate yet, something about about how the ongoing work of dismantling the very oppressive systems that I also benefit from, propagate and uphold is made unnecessarily challenging by that reality gap. Obviously this is not a new theme, and it’s an experience that is more challenging for more marginalized people, so this is not a poor me complaint, just a noticing and a noticing about the not-noticings, acknowledging the ongoing challenges of no agreed-upon reality.
(This is something I thought about a lot during the Kavanaugh hearings when most men in my life seemed to exist in a world in which thinking about the hearing was intellectually interesting as opposed to physically agonizingly painful, I am thinking about this now in a variety of contexts, anti-racism work, disability rights, protecting our trans friends, advocating for people without homes, undoing internalized fatphobia, all the big work of amends and internal rewriting. A pebble for the thing I mean.)
Thing Three is the exhaustion and the unraveling. I keep having mini-weeping sessions when I realize just how much tension the last five years of terror have put into my body, but I know a bigger release and possibly a massive delayed reaction meltdown is waiting for its big Broadway moment. Trying to function in a world in which that man had access to nuclear weapons was honestly a full-time trauma that we couldn’t even really fully express for fear of just losing all ground. Can I notice all that I didn’t let myself notice? Not sure I’m ready for that much noticing. Do I even remember what it’s like to not be on edge?
Thing Four: Still missing someone so much, and hating that I don’t have the ability to hold myself in higher regard on that front, but also noticing what is of the moment; intent on loving myself more because I am a human being who loves hard and hurts hard, this is part of being someone who feels so deeply and with such intensity.
Thing Five is this absolutely ridiculous culture we live in that wants January to be productive and about goals, when it’s winter (here in the northern hemisphere) and we all just went through the most stressful hell-month after the hardest year. I have received texts from almost every person I know this week and they have all been on the topic of “I simply cannot get anything done”, and I just want to confirm that the entire notion of getting things done not only needs to be kicked to the curb generally, but specifically as we emerge from this absolutely cataclysmic crucible of the last five years, we gotta just sleep it off and stare into space for a while.
And Thing Six is still not understanding how time works, after nearly forty four years of doing this being alive thing. I am in the middle of trying to undo a story about how I did not set up my day well / didn’t prepare well / didn’t understand time, because that is not true and that’s not how my wise selves experience me or time or my relationship with time.
All I know is that I can believe I am planning well and allocating time and attention beautifully, but even at my most focused and attentive, maybe one of the six things I think can fit in a day can get some love. A breath for this confusion and this process, and tending to my ADHD brain trauma brain with tenderness.
Breaths of Acknowledgment & Legitimacy for the hard things being hard, recognition that they really are a lot.
Breathing for what was good, reassuring, joyful, sweet
- Thank you, peaceful Inauguration day miracle. I watched absolutely none of it and instead committed to holding the force field for peacefulness. I took the word AUGUR from Inauguration, and spent the day as the Muse of Peacefulness. Drew cards, did a reading, gentle bobcat yoga all day, 365 sun salutations, five meditations, steady breaths all day for the collective. I’m not saying that’s what did it, but I’m not saying it wasn’t. Haha who knows if it helped at all but what matters is that I followed what felt strongly indicated for the day, and if it helped steady some of my friends, then that’s a sweet bonus.
- A breath for remembering hope, some joy, vital first steps, grownups in the house, we can work with this to move towards what matters. Brand New Day superpowers. A breath for what is possible.
- In an absolute miracle, got some focus, and everything that needed to get done somehow fit in without rushing.
- The Inauguration brought the rains to Tucson after the driest winter, I woke up to it and breathed relief.
- Heroically dealt with some things that are not my favorite, and it went okay, a trillion points to me.
- My wish of Delicious Food, Beautifully Plated is still happening every day. I cannot emphasize enough what a huge deal this is. Not only because it’s been my wish to treat myself as well as I treat others, but given the reality that two months ago I was too depressed to feed myself at all, and couldn’t manage much more than grabbing a snack from the mini fridge in the absolute hellish tiny house where I was staying in the middle of Tucson.
- Incoming me aka That Bitch, the me who knows about how to hold myself in High Regard, the one who doesn’t ever use the phrase “high maintenance” because that’s just Appropriate Standards, the one who remembers how to be the cat, the one who laughs when I say (as I so often do when I am mad), “I was born on an avalanche, I came out with abs and I’m here to fucking destroy you and your family!”. I love this self and the gifts they bring in images, dreams, bits of poetry, reminders, we talk all the time and are so in love with each other, blissful.
- Two weeks ago I said, “I want an impossible want (a substantive apology from someone who hurt me, for starters), the only way to get my wish is to bathe myself in love until I can let it go.” And today after a long difficult conversation, I did receive the heartfelt apology I wanted and didn’t imagine I would ever hear, and it meant a lot to me. A breath of gratitude for the unanticipated, someone else taking the time to notice what they weren’t noticing, their intake of breath when they noticed what they hadn’t noticed, that was a gift too.
- Today is the anniversary day of something in my life that is very painful, and I was dreading it, but then a conversation with a friend reminded me of the playful way she shifted a painful memory day for herself by declaring it a Feast Day. So I did the same and maybe I will share more about that later, for now I will just say that I didn’t expect this to work for me, but I ended up having a really beautiful and meaningful day, a breath for all the powers of rewriting, which is at the very heart of Self Fluency.
Play with me in the comments! You know the drill…
I love company! You can always use a made-up name in the comments whether in service of safety or playfulness.
We are all going through what we are going through. So we make this a sanctuary by not care-taking or problem—solving for other people, we can leave each other warmth or hearts of love or pebbles of witnessing. I still have not figured out how to get emoji to work in the comments, sorry!!
How are we holding up? Anything hard and/or good in your week that you want to name here? Sometimes naming helps. I have found for me that taking breaths while I name things helps a lot.
And if that’s not your thing, you can say hi or name something you’d like more of for the coming week.