Some thoughts I had today, on Other’s Day, on making our own feast days, and naming some wishes.
Also I learned from an email that it’s national hummus day, whatever that means, so if you want to opt out of a more conventional holiday and haven’t made up one of your own for the occasion, I’m all for celebrating [dip & spread] life.
Odd and bewildering
It is a bewildering experience to fully contemplate just how much our culture loves othering.
(In general, and also the intense othering of people who don’t do or aren’t a part of rhymes-with-othering, or for whom the day is a source of great pain and grief, truly so many ways to be othered today.)
Deep breaths this morning
Yes, it is a lot. I am again taking time to really think about how we just exist in of a culture that is built around pushing so many people away to purportedly celebrate some, a culture that as a matter of principle seemingly cannot or will not extend compassion, or be inclusive and welcoming, not to save itself and not in the name of kindness.
Today is one of those extra-aware days in this category, here in the United States, as this country celebrates a thirty five billion dollar industry that built itself up around what was originally a feminist labor cause: to recognize, honor and name the work of mothers for what it is, actual difficult labor, unpaid and invisible.
It’s a beautiful and important wish, to honor this work and its complexity and those who undertake it, and also [having a day about it] in the collective brings up big feelings and identity stuff, and sometimes also an enormous amount of trauma, and wow, we have not figured out a better way to do any of this. I hope we do someday. I have ideas!
But here we are
But here we are with what we ended up with, a holiday that induces stress for most and pain for many.
(Oh and it also often generates even more labor for the very people whose labor we were supposedly originally trying to acknowledge!)
And, for whatever unknown reasons, we seem disinterested in rewriting it to make it better, because we could be making this situation better, both for those want a day for celebration and acknowledgment, and for those who dearly need sanctuary space, a safe haven, on or even from this day.
There is certainly more acknowledgment than there used to be of the many small (and less-small) cruelties of the season, but never do we try reinventing new holidays that are loving and compassionate and serve a greater good. I know why, but also I don’t.
You know how I love a feast day, a feast of the small gods, or a week of feast days, or a chrysalis for trying times. A feast of liberations to mark a painful past experience, or whatever we need to mark time.
And also as a way to reclaim the calendar, may it be a safe haven, or at least a place that can be more comforting, loving and supportive than external culture, with its limiting expectations.
Our individual and collective pain memories exist in time, what if we made more room for them and for self-tending?
Here is what I am doing on this Other’s Day, a holiday that is not for me but exists in the collective:
- checking in on friends who are having a tough time today, lighting candles, sending memes
- baking coconut tahini banana muffins (thank you, Garret, for the tiny toaster oven replacement), because Imaginary Cooking Club is the most predictable way I can center myself
- imagining what a better culture might look like, how might we tend to ourselves and each other if we genuinely cared about crafting a compassionate and just society, not just in this way but in all ways
- extending that imagining to an imaginary farm, if I had friends living here with me in the permaculture / small organic farm / commune of my dreams, what holidays and feast days would invent, and how would we cherish each other in meaningful ways, in a way that can exist outside of the options external culture has given us…?
- vacuuming and dusting, because when in doubt, ritual & repetition, finding harmony, a re-congruencing
- renaming wishes, reading recipes, and of course, rolling around on the floor.
Feast Day as always is a matter of trial and error, and that is okay
At one point I found myself in a state of great overwhelm, and so I sautéed a mess of onions in coconut cream and zaatar, added spinach and then peas, and fried up a pile of spicy potatoes, and made a garlicky lemoney tahini dressing.
Many things can be, if not solved by deliciousness, at least improved.
MORE THAN I THINK IT WILL BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I NEED IT TO!
As with so many experiments, it fell into the confusing category of Helped Not Enough And Not As Much As I Hoped, But Also So Much More Than I Thought It Would.
Yes, hello, my old friend HELPS MORE THAN I THINK IT WILL BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I NEED IT TO.
We have spent so much time together.
So many things in this category, for me
So many other things in this category: yoga, stretching, going for a little walk even though I don’t want to, etc.
I don’t necessarily think this is bad.
We try things, and sometimes they help a little, and sometimes they help later, and sometimes the effect is cumulative, and sometimes the important thing is that we tried and paid attention.
Being a human in a body can be so hard. Noticing what we notice is a practice of love, trying things and then trying other things is a practice of love. Just like a feast day.
Some Other’s Day Wishes
Into the soup pot, or into the wishing cauldron, a wonderment of wishes.
Compassion compassion compassion. Grace grace grace.
Belonging. Sweetness. Warmth. Deep comfort.
Hope, a renewal of hope, and some safety and sanctuary too, in recognition of the tremendous tenderness it takes to allow ourselves to hope towards anything in these times.
A dancing procession with tambourines for everyone who yearns for something they can’t have, and also for everyone who doesn’t yearn for the expected things you’re told you’re supposed to yearn for.
May we all be welcomed, thought of with tenderness, cared for and cherished, may we be more than an afterthought or that careless “also you who are suffering”, what if we invented rituals that weren’t suffering-adjacent…
I am also wishing wishes for me about sustenance and sustainability, about Slow Time, and quiet farm life, and community to share it with.
Also I wish I could give you one of these tiny muffins if you wanted one, they are gluten-free and vegan, and also despite the thing I just said, extremely rich, decadent and delicious.
Baking for me is such an immense joy, love delivered in a temporal offering, a layering of flavors, a gift of all sweetness that can exist in the right here, right now.
It also, like so many expressions of love, takes time, repetition, presence, and a willingness to experiment.
I have an enormous amount of love for you and for us, however you are experiencing this day or any day. If it helps, I am lighting a candle for peace, justice, comfort and a sense of well-being, for wishing our wishes, and imagining our way into something even better.
Here’s to something even better, and all the possibility that emerges from Something Even Better.
Come play with me, I love company
You are welcome to play with feast days and self-tending or any of these concepts in any way you like. Come play in the comments!
We are experimenting with experimenting, all experiments are useful experiments! What wishes or themes are you playing with? What would help? As always, 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 the power of the collective is no small thing, and companionship helps.
Here’s to locating the supportive rituals, playful experiments & loving compassion we need.
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. ❤️
The day here ended with a massive thunder storm, a monsoon in May. At sunset, so the lightning was purple against the orange sky & somehow I wasn’t afraid, despite the thunder loud enough to set off car alarms.
I’m not sure what this has to do actually celebratory celebrations but it does, somehow.
“We try things, and sometimes they help a little, and sometimes they help later, and sometimes the effect is cumulative, and sometimes the important thing is that we tried and paid attention.”
Major sparks for this one! I can usually remember this on my yoga mat. But once I’m off the mat, the mental chatter starts, and I forget that it is OK to try things and just notice.
I love your dream/vision of the small permaculture farm so much. May it blossom in wonderful and unexpected ways!
I came here to thank you for many many helpful posts.
Today while my sisters went to put flowers on our parents’ graves, I went to where my husband and son are buried. I thought about what you wrote once about the mystic connection between cemeteries, and while I was in a different place, I was able to talk with my parents too.
Yesterday when we were planting flowers, I thought about fractal flowers, which reminded me that I had not visited this site for a while. One of the posts linked to another that linked to the one about fractal flowers.
I have DOOM piles and DOOM boxes and I remembered a long-ago post about the Piling and the De-piling. And that reminded me of iguanas and using pomodoros (which I think you also wrote about), and then I came across a note I’d made about “tomatoes for the reptiles” — pomodoro is Italian for tomato and, of course, iguanas are reptiles.
Today I made a little progress by de-piling a DOOM pile and emptying a DOOM box, and let that be a fractal flower for a bunch of stuff that needs done.
Also, I experienced (again) a thing I learned from you — that the pile of iguanas and monsters I expected in that DOOM stuff got smaller and smaller, less and less scary.