Announcement & reminder about the ebook!
If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary last year or this year, you should have gotten my ebook by email about 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!
And if you gave to Barrington but didn’t get it, I am so sorry if anyone fell through the cracks, please email me at my name at this website, Havi AT fluent self DOT com, with any emoji, and I will send it.
You can also 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!
A season of do-overs
Do-overs forever, we keep experimenting
Anyone who has been hanging out here for any length of time knows that I love a do-over. And not just one, I love dozens of do-overs, infinite do-overs, the expansiveness of remembering we can give something another try, or do it entirely differently, or keep experimenting.
And I especially love February, the Month of Do-overs.
Starting, for me, with February 2nd (Groundhog Day), the Holiest Feast Day of Do-Overs.
Edit: Okay I just reread that piece from a year ago after writing today’s piece, because I was searching for links to previous writings about do-overs, and was astonished by everything in it, bless my mind that writes and erases…
The second day of the second month of second chances
I love that Groundhog Day falls on the second of the month, itself a sort of do-over for the first day in case that didn’t work out. The second day of the second month of second chances…
We’re always practicing, we’re always trying things. We can take it slow.
Recalibrating, reconfiguring, renewing, each second is a form of seconds.
There is so much fractal magic in a symbolic restart, in doing something slightly differently than usual, with intention.
And either way, we made it through January, a thousand points to us.
January of many things / January is rarely easy
To be clear: if January is easy for you, then I love this for you, and am delighted on your behalf, may it only continue!
For me and for so many people I know, January can be such a challenge of a month, loaded as it is with so many external expectations, and located as it is in the calendar, in the cold, grey times if you’re in the northern hemisphere…
It can be a gloomy and/or stressful time for many of us, and then add to that being constantly exposed, through media, social media and the bigger culture, to people going full speed ahead on new habits and loudly excitedly talking about all the changes they are making (forcing).
Or about how stuck they are which isn’t really about an experience of stuck at all, it’s more just about how change and force don’t get along.
February is a beautiful reminder that January was, if anything, a very slow warm-up, barely a dress rehearsal, for any new qualities and practices we might want to invite in this year.
And now we get to take what we learned, add some compassion and grace if we can, and practice trying again, differently this time.
Maybe more slowly, maybe with more kindness, maybe with more realistic expectations, ideally with some Loving Clarity.
I have been enjoying the sky (blue bits peeking from behind clouds) of the last day of January here. If you are in other parts of the world it is already February for you, and I hope it’s feeling beautiful and hopeful there, but in case it isn’t, then I am lighting a candle for you.
And either way, I am lighting a candle for me, and for entry into the new month.
A candle for more beauty, more hope, more do-overs, more good movement, more miracles, more bravery and tenacity, and/or more of whatever is needed, since I am not there and I don’t know.
An interesting (to me) thing about this past January is that, unlike last January when writing was hard for me, this year I wrote every single day.
Meanwhile another intriguing piece of this is that I have felt positively allergic to editing these words and sharing them, and I’m not sure why or which part, but maybe the why doesn’t matter.
Maybe it’s related to the rawness, maybe it’s related to not wishing to be seen, maybe it just isn’t the time for sharing those words, maybe it just so happened that I had a lot to say to myself.
But today I feel pulled to share words with you, new ones, and so I am going to attempt to “move the water” of the words inside me, kung fu style, for a forty five minute hour, to see if they wish to take a shape.
Moving water / moving with water
I was half-listening to radio, and someone was talking about kung fu, and how the idea is not to move your body, but to be fluid and liquid in such a way that you imagine moving the water inside of you.
They suggested imagining you have a bottle of water, and instead of trying to move the bottle, you are shifting your mind into a fluidity state, and imagining that the water moves the bottle.
What a beautiful reminder for me that I live in a body, and my body is a body of water, literally mostly water, and just like a lake or a river is a body of water, so too am I.
Motion is happening, flow is already there, in play, at play. I don’t have to make anything happen; I can just be with the water and love the sea. I love the sea.
Twenty years later…
This August will be twenty years since I got the domain for this very website and it went up the next day, and what a time, it felt so exciting and so weird at the same time, and I could not have imagined that I would still be writing things here twenty years later.
But I am. Some days it flows, some days I have to remember how to move the water inside me. Some days I do not wish to share my words, some days I don’t even want to share them with myself.
We keep on keeping on, and it’s so brave to just be, never mind to listen to ourselves.
What am I listening to when I listen to myself
And by listen to ourselves, I mean the practice of separating out from all the monster-thoughts, the self-criticism, the inherited cultural and social expectations, the ideas that we receive from the world or from people whose opinions had power or perceived power over us at some point in life…
Listening to what is beneath that, listening to my heartbeat and my breath and the sounds in the room.
And also skipping a stone into this body of water, asking a question and letting it reverberate into the waters of my consciousness…
Then listening to the parts of me who are kind and funny and warm, they are not worried about me, they are unburdened by doom-stories, they love the sea…
I have been noticing when my brain has been working overtime, and trying to remind it that February is the month of do-overs. Part of do-overs includes not trying so hard, not forcing, not pushing, more being present with the want and the water, with the remembering and the noticing.
Similarly, I am trying to remember that training for a marathon (whether real, metaphorical or, in my case, a proxy) doesn’t happen in huge chunks but with slow steady pacing and focusing on small incremental progress, like gradually improving timing.
Let’s talk to my marathon self. Marathon self, what counsel do you have for me?
Marathon Self advises…
A marathon is never as far out as you think, so start training earlier and more often, in small pieces.
Focus on what’s already working. You have endurance, stamina, posture training, core training, and most importantly, you have the ability to be alone with your thoughts.
You think running alone is a negative, and that you wish for companionship, but actually I am there and your various other incoming selves, so really you are running in a pack.
You love backwards walking, you can absolutely get excited about backwards jogging…
What does this mean
Me: I still don’t even really get what this is about at all, like what are we actually talking about?
Marathon self: You just want to train for things, and that’s great, it’s a sign of life.
Can we (we can) also train in other areas, from daily writing to moving forward, from journaling to finishing the many half-finished essays?
Or consider the daily cooking club projects that lead us towards a well-prepped kitchen…
And of course a marathon is about being victorious. Not in the sense of coming first. The victory is in the training. And then there’s another victory in showing up. And a third victory in finishing the course.
These are the victories we care about.
Victorious Marathon self says…
Even on a day when you were absolutely wrecked from a [situaton], you still managed to do your clubs, a symbolic non-zero version or amount of the things that are important to you in a day, this is not nothing.
Can you apply this to love, in general? Whether to your relationship with yourself or to healing past relationships through living differently now?
What would it take to be entirely unattracted to workaholics and deeply attracted to living intentionally and with ritual, run towards (ritual, for example), and if no one else is running that course, then who cares, you are still doing the marathon, you are still victorious…
Can you also release all vestiges of workaholism / fear that you will return to that mode of being and therefore dreading work, and find a renewed source of joy for creating?
Alright, let’s notice what worked in January
I love the January holidays.
For example, Carl Wethers Day. January 14 is his birthday but we can celebrate any day, and I celebrate with baby you got a stew going, and make a stew.
Do I usually make risotto? Yes, but that’s fine, it’s basically a stew. This year I also made Leave Your Family beans, and they were delicious, and I will tell you about that another time.
There’s Dolly day on the 19th when I channel Dolly Parton superpowers of celebrating being a baddie. I entirely made up this holiday (unlike all the other holidays which are obviously very real like making stew for Carl Wethers – who doesn’t celebrate that?), but it was her birthday, and it feels important to channel some extra unapologetic sex appeal in January.
*Even if I have been — allegedly — wearing the same sweatshirt and leggings for a [REDACTED] number of days.
Love a Feast of Liberations
Endings are beginnings are Feasts of Liberations, and making a feast day out of a formerly painful day is also a form of do-overs.
In January I celebrated freedom and more freedom, and also my tree friends, and today, January 31 is a holiday I call Reconfigurations Day because once, in the past, I got a piece of unexpected bad news on this day and had to recognize how to speedily recalibrate and reconfigure everything at once.
Here’s to the swift and less-swift recalibrations and reconfigurations happening with great ease, yes to unexpected great ease.
Here’s to remaining gloriously unbothered by perceived upheaval. And, also, here’s to falling apart if we need to fall apart, which is so reasonable, and then we can run do-overs later.
It’s all good, it all works out, good job to us.
Looking for another clue
Each time I look up, the sky is doing two wildly different things at once, depending on which way I move my head.
Just like how a lot can happen (or the water can move and be moved) inside of a fifty minute hour or a forty five minute hour, so the sky is a body of water.
Can I focus on the water within me, and moving as if I’m in a pool? Can I love the sea within? Maybe that is a theme for the season of do-overs too…
Oh, and something about season like seasoning, how do I wish to season these do-overs and change the flavor with each new experiment!
I forgot to tell you that I refer to the month that was as Tempestuous January, which comes from a tweet a couple years ago from someone who said: “It’s the birthday of Pola Negri. Do something tempestuous.”
And I remember thinking, oh hell yeah, I’m gonna be tempestuous all month long, for good luck.
For good luck, and to practice. BE TEMPESTUOUS JANUARY.
A lot of the time this just involved doing something completely normal with a bit of a tempestuous spirit and flair, but also I talked to my most Tempestuous Self in addition to Bravery & Tenacity and tried to get some clarity on what these versions of me know that I do not (yet).
Anything else I want to keep in mind?
Whether for welcoming the season of do-overs, or in general?
The Cowboy: Do-overs is not about perfectionism, it’s not about trying to make something “better” each time, it’s about devotion. Your devotion to practicing and being present with the experience in a new way.
Like your yoga teacher used to say, how you do anything is how you do everything. That’s what I’m thinking about when I do chores on the ranch. Do-overs as a form of refinement, but without judgment. Gaining experience through repetition, changing some small element each time.
The Assassin: Training is about repetition, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
Victorious Marathon Self: I was going to say the same thing. Add some lightness. Laugh a little. Go backwards. Let moving the water be playful.
The Outlaw: You love hiding out, you love hunkering down, you love hibernation as a doorway to recalibrating and reconfiguring, so go with that.
Tempestuous January self: You did good, kid. Just keep finding more joy. Don’t give so much time and energy to not-joy, or even to trying to solve the not-joy.
Focus on accruing joy dividends! Let the pursuit of joy be joyful in its own right.
Delicious Obsessions self: Dive even deeper into what is appealing and what makes it appealing, take things that are working and switch them up, use what you have, add something extra!
Happy Season of Do-Overs!
Come in, come in, all helpful attributes for this season.
Clarity, Devotion, Playfulness, Integrity.
Sustenance, Intuition, Trust, Light-heartedness.
Letting go of expectations. Just trying things, here and there.
Here and there
Those both feel equally important to me: letting go of expectations, on the one hand, and just trying things, on the other. Here and there. Where we can.
Dancing it out, making small adjustments and checking in to see how it’s going.
Checking back in with these qualities and attributes, how is the body of water that is me changing and moving when I add these to the mix?
All this is what I’m casting into the waters, with love, of course you are welcome to invite whatever is appealing to you into your own pool of water.
I’m imagining the waters illuminated by moonlight, just like Tempestuous Me would like, but also I’m thinking about all the things I might be ready to release.
What a good time for a season of do-overs, what a good time to be unhurried and move deliberately. Lighting a candle for all this and more.
Come play in the comments, I appreciate the company
You are welcome to share anything that sparked for you while reading, or anything that helped or anything on your mind. 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!
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. ❤️