a glass of glowing red liquid on a countertop, light streams through the window

Pacing it is also how you make a shrub, and making a shrub is what I do when I don’t know what to do, this is a blackberry ginger chiltepin shrub made with date vinegar, and it is rejuvenating and summery, just what was needed

Announcement & ebook reminder

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have received my ebook (by email) on how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time. The feedback on this has been lovely and heartwarming, thank you!

You can still obtain a copy for now, as a thank you when you give any sum to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund, and I hope you enjoy and find lots of clues in there!

More housekeeping: You can subscribe to posts by email again!

If you aren’t seeing these updates in your in your email and want to, you can click right here, or scroll way down to the footer and click the orange RSS icon.

This will pop up a new page on Follow.It that lets you subscribe via email, newsletter, or RSS reader. They say “expect 50 stories a week”, and yikes to that imaginary number, once a week is the dream.

Pacing It

Sent packing

I have an aversion to packing, an aversion that sometimes borders on panic, an aversion that is simultaneously both illogical and fully, completely, unapologetically, perfectly rational, an aversion the reasons for which could take up a decade of therapy sessions at least…

But the shortest possible way to describe the nature of my aversion to packing bags is this:

There is always a part of me who truly believes, whenever I pack a bag to go somewhere, even if only for one night, that I will not come back.

And that anything I do not take with me will be lost to me forever.

The Known Knowns

There are very known reasons for this fear that gets attached to the process of packing, and yet knowing them has not made it easier to pack.

Nor has it made it easier to unpack the fear mechanism, to disentangle myself from that old, old anxiety that says there will be no return.

Meanwhile, for the past month I have been preparing for and psyching myself up for a very long drive to the place I left exactly thirty years ago, where I will stay for an amount of time that is [not sure yet], and am dreading it, for a variety of reasons.

And yes, these reasons also include the logistical and emotional dilemmas of packing.

What is known? What is useful about what is known?

What is known? Even the most irrational fear is also in some ways rational, grounded in some piece of reality or remembered reality.

What is known? It is extremely legitimate to feel conflicted about any situation, but especially one like this.

So I take some porch breaths, some heart-breaths, and keep practicing acknowledgment & legitimacy.

Test drive

I told you about this last time, but I spent four days in Arizona doing trip prep, while also trying to find out if I can even do a trip like this, as an immunocompromised disabled person with (sometimes high-functioning) Long Covid, and not run out of energy.

The answer: I can, kind of, sort of. And I can coast impressively for longer than should be possible on will power and adrenaline, but then I crash so hard after.

And is it worth it? Haha, no. But is there another way? Not that I can find at the moment.


One of the many things I learned from this test drive, which was both a test drive for the car and for me, as well as for the experience of being on the road was this:

I packed way too much stuff, and it was a pain to deal with.

Light light light light light

It occurred to me this weekend that I need to change the nature of the game.

For example, what if I change the strategy of the game from Be As Well-Provisioned As Possible to Travel As Light As Possible, and if I need something when I arrive in Michigan, I will borrow it from a neighbor or a friend.

How do we shift the game so it’s about light light light light light…?

Which is to say, move lightly, tread lightly, be agile, be light-hearted, be light-footed, travel light, go lightly, be lighter with and about all of this?

If / Then

If less is better (in this specific scenario), but I am someone who fears not having my things with me because of past experiences of unable to return…

Then what supports lightness and also helps me feel anchored, centered, grounded in my own aesthetic reality, in a good way, if that makes sense…

Unanticipated / A Turn For The [something]

My plan was to leave for Operation Circumspice, my road trip to Michigan, which you can read more about here if you missed it, on May 20th.

May 20th, Raylan Givens Day.

A day for eating ice cream for breakfast, and being a tough, bitter, sexy, wild card of a badass cowboy with a good sense of humor, and a moral compass that makes sense to the person possessing it.

I am a fan. We stan a laconic king, we stan eating ice cream for breakfast.


Yes, it felt auspicious. Everything had been set into motion. The song This Is The Day started playing in the background…

The car was packed, and the mysteries were solving themselves, or at least had temporarily resolved in such a way that my tiny metal art piece / box of a home could be safe without me.

My country mechanic (speaking of laconic cowboys) had given me the all clear for the long drive.

And I’d heroically finished all the food in the house, as one does, to clear the path. A hero’s journey begins with frying up a big pan of the last of the potatoes and using up everything in the refrigerator, so it is written.

It was all working out, and I was pretty sure I could keep riding the adrenaline all the way to that distant pleasant peninsula…

Meanwhile back at the ranch

All was ready for go time, and then it didn’t happen.

Someone sabotaged my car, or they hit it at the weirdest possible angle while it was parked in a parking lot and then ran away. My guess is the first, but either way, my turn signal light is out and there’s a hole smashed in where it should be.

A different country mechanic said, “Wow, someone really did a number on your poor car”, and sent me to a semi-retired auto body guy, and he said he could fix it in two weeks but would need to order a part from Albuquerque.

Meanwhile, the road I needed to take was unexpectedly closed.

Then the backup road got torn up with road work…


I stopped by to the supermarket on the way back, resentfully, to not be stuck at home with an empty pantry, and noticed I had trouble reading ingredients.

It had all worked out so perfectly! I’d used up everything in exact right timing! And now I couldn’t read. Which felt rude.

When did I last visit the eye doctor? It’s unappealing to take care of stuff like that when you’re an immunocompromised person in a pandemic, so yeah, it’s been a few years, got to make that happen before I take off as well…

Bifocal time for me, and being someone who has readers everywhere? Let’s gooooooo!

“You know what they say, getting old ain’t for pussies,” says Raylan Givens.

Luckily, X

Do you remember the superpower of Luckily, X?

It’s when you decide to find some good fortune in whatever is happening. Not forcing it. Not denying or dismissing the real experiences of pain, frustrations, anxiety, irritability that come with things not going as planned.

Just letting the treasure in the situation reveal itself…

And for whatever extremely unknown reasons, this trip was very firmly and clearly delaying itself by at least three weeks.

What does that give me? Time to rethink packing and my relationship with it. Time to put some more things in order. Time to reduce. Time for seasons gleamings and more spring cleaning.

Time for the treasure in this situation to reveal itself.


What Would The Cowboy Do? Chore time.

What Would The Assassin Do? Get out of the ice bath, make coffee, tend to wounds, chill in the safe house, come up with a new plan.

What Would The Leverage Team Do? Compile a dossier!

What Would Raylan Givens Do? Stay ready, wait patiently, take action as indicated.

What would happen deep in the training forests of Nanda Parbat? Experience a dedicated place and time in which to practice being fierce and deliberate, switching direction mid-leap like a cat.


Here is a clue that also brings Operation Circumspice into sharper focus:

Real skill is revealed in how we navigate the unforseeable.

Okay, sitting with that, I guess. I certainly have some time to think about it. How do we want to navigate? What are the skills already available to us? We trained for this…


I am staying close to this beautiful journaling question or stone to skip:


Not just what works or might work, not just what will get me there, not just what will extricate me from the stuck places, but what is enticing?

This is another way to shift the nature or purpose of the game, with lusciousness, with enticements, with a reminder of why I do anything. A breath for this.

Another clue

I wrote this down after hearing it, and can’t remember where it is from, but here is a clue in case you need one, and if it is not for you, then maybe it is someone else’s clue:

“I am, by nature, and by training, suspicious of coincidences.”

Maybe leaving on May 20th felt auspicious, and that was a good feeling to feel for a trial run that went nowhere.

A striking number of things clarified that this was not the day to set forth, regardless of how indicated it may have felt in the moment.

Even if my coincidences are just that, or, to channel Lily Tomlin’s existential detective from I ❤️ Huckabees, “your coincidence is meaningless”…

Even if it’s meaningless, I am still noticing how circumstances came together almost elegantly to change my plans for me.

The coincidence or not a coincidence of the chipper

Thanks to every road in half of New Mexico being torn up at more or less the exact time I needed them, I spent quite a bit of last week at a standstill, waiting to make a turn.

The flagger, the person whose job it is to tell you when to stop and when to go, was both extremely bored and also easygoing and chatty. He took a good fifteen minutes to share with me everything he knew about road work, which was actually pretty interesting.

I asked how long the roads I need are going to be torn up, and he said, cheerily, “It should take two weeks!”, and then gave me a look.

Me: “Okay, so will it take two weeks, do you think?”
The Chipper Flagger: “Hahahahahahahaha, oh no, the chipper is broken! This is going to take a very long time.”

That’s the way the road crumbles

Okay, sometimes the chipper is broken. Sometimes you wanted to go and it’s not go time.

Sometimes this is infuriating but sometimes it is just extremely funny.

And then it hit

The exhaustion, first. And then the big moodiness and some more frustration. But first the exhaustion.

I napped for most of the five days I would have been driving. And read a bunch of horrifying news stories about the tornadoes and weather nightmares I would have been driving through, had I left “on time”.

But mainly it was clear that adrenaline had gotten me to the start line, but no further.

So it all worked out, and I have been resting, and IIWIMI (It Is What It Motherfucking Is), but also it’s useful to be reminded that recovery is a long haul.

Stand Close

I have been listening to the song Stand Close by California Gold, because it came up on random, right after I got back from the mechanic, and my mind is currently tethered to the line, Stand close, let me carry your burdens.

Can I adore myself and carry my burdens, but also carry less in my car…

Can I trust the path to hold me, and the timing to be what it may, and to do what needs to be done until I get on the road, to go through whatever process is being asked of me?

And if nothing is being asked of me, can I take this time as a chrysalis of readying?


Despite everything I said in the last paragraph, or maybe: along with everything I said…

There is also a part of me that feels annoyed and irritable about all these changes of plans. Something about [perceptions of trapped and hemmed in], as though forces are acting on me and I am unable to take action.

So I decided to shake things up with some action. What would Raylan Givens do? Shake things up with some action. Also: ice cream for breakfast.

Can I stand close to the part of me who knows how to wait it out patiently, and also stand close to the part of me who needs to shake things up and set something into motion?

La anticipación a largo plazo

Anticipation is my favorite high, and I like when it gets pulled like taffy. Stretched out desire.

I love anticipation and I love when it’s long term, long range, wanting.

So there’s that. Where is the anticipation here and where is the pleasure?

It might not be in the trip itself, but it’s somewhere. Where can I locate my anticipatory drive?

No worry no hurry

A favorite radio person said something the other day about how it makes sense to drive relaxed because relaxed is how you want to get there.

And then he added something interesting, saying that most of the time, he doesn’t even want to get to where he’s going, so why hurry. All the more reason to travel relaxed and get there calm and stable.

Logical, correct, accurate, so real.

(An aside about context)

Obviously I get that this did not come out of nowhere.

His train of thought is related to a new series of PSAs from the Israeli national authority for road safety, trying to get people to stop driving angry and stressed and way too fast in heartbreakingly bad times.

As well as a distraction from what’s actually important: protesting the government, and more protesting.

(And to be clear, fuck the current Israeli government, if I haven’t already said that a hundred times. Safety and sanctuary for all who are suffering because of their cruelty and endless bullshit, amen.)

And also, in the moment, a clue for me

All this aside or all this considered, in the moment itself, it felt as though my long-distance imaginary friend, the DJ of the rock hour that keeps me company while I kitchen-jog, was kind of winking at me, specifically.

Winking at me in a warm and friendly way. As if to say, no judgment. It is not a secret that I am not psyched about this trip.

Maybe it only matters that I travel calm and arrive calm.

For reasons, again

Partly because it is a thing that needs me to do it, and not something I feel pulled to do for reasons of pleasure, enticement and anticipation. Partly because there are reasons I took off thirty years ago and didn’t return.

And mainly because tending to my body-mind with Long Covid is so much work even when I am in my sweet little bunkhouse of a home, but add to that an impossibly long drive and traveling in a pandemic, when I never know how much energy I will have in a day, if any. It’s a lot.


I hang on every word of the philosopher Thi Nguyen, and recently I heard him say something about the pleasure of attunement for the sake of attunement itself.

He was talking about pleasurable pursuits, like yoga or rock climbing or dance. And about staying with the experience that makes it pleasurable, disentangling from the striving.

What attunement practices can I bring with me on this voyage, and in my preparation for traveling, in this chrysalis of [not yet, this has been delayed for you]..

And how does this work in tandem with my new wish about light light light light light???

I can’t wait to find out!

Clearing / A Spurt of Mercilessness

This is the superpower I am channeling for packing up, take two.

How would I pack if my approach were not “have absolutely everything I think I need”, but if my assassin self was going through a Spurt of Mercilessness to help me clear the path?

Pacing It, Folks

You know of course how much I love anagrams for problem-solving.

And so I put PACKING and PACKING LIST and everything I could think of into the anagram generation but couldn’t come up with anything good.

A very wise friend suggested a new input: List Of Packing!

This delivered all kinds of good stuff, including: King Focal Tips, Liking Facts Op, Sip of Tackling, Placing of Kits, Acing Folk Tips and Conga Flip Skit (!), and I love them all. So many clues.

But my absolute favorite anagram is this: PACING IT, FOLKS.

Pacing It, Folks

I am obsessed with PACING IT, FOLKS.

Though yes, also very much into I am the king of focal tips, because this mission of packing light and traveling joyfully is very much about focusing, as well as placing and pacing.

Pacing it is such a good reminder to me to not overpack, but also to not overdo it, in general.

Yes, it is funny

I was so excited about PACING IT as a concept, and obviously somewhat less excited when the PACING IT happened to me, first with the car, then with the roads, then with my eyes.

There is something hilarious in this contrast, the zany joy I find in both the anagram and concept of PACING IT, FOLKS, versus how reactive I can get when I am being asked to pace myself, or to attune myself to a new pace.

Steady pacing, folks. We’re pacing it here! I love this when I’m the one pacing it, and I get mad when the pace paces me.

There’s a clue in there too

Yes. Okay. That feels important.

I want to be the one to establish a pace that feels safe and comfortable for me, even if I can’t set the path.

Need to sit with that some more too.

Where is the pleasure and joy in pacing it

That’s what I’m investigating.

Can I find some anticipatory playful joy and pleasure in slowing things down, in taking things as they come? Can I be light-hearted and light light light light light when it comes to Pacing It, Folks?

Where is the treasure in Pacing It, Folks?

What good things are going to come from more rest, more ease, not rushing, packing and doing everything else very deliberately and taking less on? And of course, flowing with the new pacing.

Standing close

Close to myself, being close with myself.

Acknowledgment and legitimacy, again: it’s okay that I hate packing, it’s okay that I did not react well to the piling up of obstacles on the path, even as I want to remember that sometimes the obstacle is there to set me on the new and better path.

Inviting in: Lusciousness. Spaciousness. Shelter. Support. A playful approach. A kind and compassionate perspective. Loving Clarity. A good sense of humor.

Channeling the calm, unhurried cowboy, and the fierce, determined assassin who knows when to wait and when to move. Standing close with myself and these selves, ready, enjoying the anticipation.

Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company

You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, anything that helped or anything on your mind, play with anagrams! I am lighting a candle for all of it.

Or anything you’d like to toss into the wishing pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.

Whatever comes to mind (come to heart?), let’s support each other’s hope-sparks and wishes…

Thank you to everyone who reads, porch breaths, the winding path, the many clues that land when they land, receptivity, keeping on keeping on.

New ebook alert!!!

Aka fun bonus material on how I relate to time and map out my quarters for the year.

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary this week (see below) will get this by email as a pdf!

A request

If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Between Long Covid and traumatic brain injury recovery, things are 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. ❤️

The Fluent Self