I live my life in quarters, reveling in the double meaning that is quarters as living space, sanctuary, shelter, or all of the above, nestled alongside the parallel meaning of quarters as segments of the year, a way to be in relationship with both time and seasonality.
And I love the imagery of quarters as containers for wishing wishes, letting them percolate, all the superpowers of Three Months Later…
Where are we now? YOU ARE HERE.
Take me to my quarters. Am I ready to embark? Not sure. Am I ready to ready myself for the embarking? Yes, let’s find out what is here.
Here in the northern hemisphere, things are heating up.
My tiny home does not have climate control, and only two of the windows have screens. Last week reached highs of 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30.5 Celsius), and I’m looking at 99 degrees (37 Celsius) coming any day now.
“It’s not so bad, still under 100 degrees”, said more than one friend, forgetting that they are blessed with air conditioning. It is bad though. My brain is cooked. I can’t have a cooked brain on top of damaged brain!
It’s too much. So much is too much. A heartfelt sigh for the state of the world, and all related big feelings, noticing the way this more generalized anxiety blends with immediate situational anxiety.
(Brief pause for processing big feelings!)
What am I noticing?
I am experiencing distress-anxious feelings about the climate in general! I am experiencing these feelings in a more specific way thinking about getting through an especially hot summer in the metal dragon that I live in!
If I’m not paying attention, I can let each flavor of distress-anxiety fuel the others until I am too overwhelmed to access any perspective or Loving Clarity on this. Can I make room for the feelings and also breathe into some new possibilities…
I am slowly getting better at remembering when to close curtains (earlier than I think), when to open windows, when to retreat to bed which is the coolest spot in the tiny house. And refilling the ice tray, though that is also a challenge when I can’t remember what I’m doing for longer than fifteen seconds.
My small portable chiller that saved me last summer stopped working, which sent me into a panic. I am asking for this too to solve itself.
Grounding myself in curiosity and compassion: What is the opposite of a panic? What forms of surprise ease might already be here that I can’t see or feel yet?
The opposite of
The point is, I have been dreading summer with its trials and tribulations — fire danger, monsoon flooding, captive in my tiny captains quarters aka my bedroom because the rest of the house is too hot to exist in.
Okay, that’s so reasonable, babe! And, let’s find out: What is the opposite of dread?
Is it my old sweet friend Anticipation, my favorite quality in the entire world?!
Can I shift from dread and anxiety into the practice of What Can I Be Excited About, and How Do I Tend To Myself With Love And Care?
Where’s the anticipation, and how do I generate some sweetness for this new space, the quarters of this quarter?
What do I want, what is important to me, what are my wishes, what will help?
Seeding the seeds by naming the seeds
A seasonal ritual for me is carving out time to write my wishes — or seeds, as someone suggested in the comments, so poetic, so beautiful, yes to seeds!
I do this at new moon and full moon, at equinox and at solstice. And any other time that appeals, but always at these times.
Since new moon was just a few days ago, these turned into a combination list, and nearly everything on it surprised me. I love to be surprised when it comes to wishes!
As you may know, I have a favorite way to meet a wish or a seed, or many wishes or a collection of seeds, and that is with a heart-felt breath:
Oh wow, what beautiful wishes.
Here they are. What beautiful wishes.
The Solstice Wishes
- Do the things that help
- Always Be Making A Shrub (this is about rituals & sweetness)
- Ahead of the count in all things
- Ask what I want / what is important to me (over and over and over)
- The best views, the most expansive space
- Luscious Minimalist Something Something (the somethings aren’t important)
- Praise as practice
- Scent as practice
- A Good Obsession to the nth degree, so many things to deeply obsess over!
- Figure out how to make the transitions fun and appealing
- Reduce & Destroy (pare down)
- More forms of imaginary ADHD meds please
- Make connections, wish the wishes, trust the process
- More good days
- Devoted to the color yellow, for example
- It Solves Itself (welcoming and staying receptive to the simple elegant solutions)
What do I know about these wishes so far?
I’m noticing a lot about ritual and practice, and I see some sparks of hopefulness.
A love for aesthetics and the delicious deep dive of a good obsession.
Some of this is about letting my ADHD self run wild and frolic, and some of this is about playful forms of supportive structure.
Let’s talk to a solstice self
Let’s talk to a solstice self.
Who is the me of this quarter (and these summer quarters that I am inhabiting), this year? What do they know?
I think this self is my outlaw self, aesthetically very Sharon Stone in cowboy drag if you ever watched The Quick & The Dead, though I am imagining a version of this archetype who is not reacting to everything from trauma.
This is the quick-draw self of the wild wilds, who needs an expansive vista so they can stare off into the horizon, who craves adventure and a cozy bunk in equal measures. In pursuit of justice, in pursuit of the pursuit.
This is the self who has already been through whatever this summer holds, and can guide me through. Head me off at the pass, cowboy Sharon Stone! Yeah, okay, that’s hot.
An adventurer self who is also a homebody, and sees zero contradiction here, even though I still do, because I have not yet acquired the wisdom of this solstice to equinox self.
Alright! Hot Cowthey Outlaw Summer let’s goooooooo!
Solstice self / hot cowthey summer outlaw self, talk to me please
Solstice Self: You are a visionary, who lives in the visions.
This is good and sometimes hard to move into the practical, you are getting better at this. You are working from circumstances that are not ideal —- the heat, the mysteries of funds, a lack of appropriate fuel, the lack of a working shower which would help in the heat especially, the mysteries of waiting on other people for input you want now, etc.
And yet, still, you are the one who accesses visions, holds them, allows them to shift, you are so much witchier than you think.
You already know this: your powers are accessible and enhanced when you are feeling grounded, stable, and powerful like a bobcat or a mountain lion, so yes, do whatever it takes to support that state.
Do the things that help
Me: Is that what Do The Things That Help means?
Solstice self: Yes. Sometimes you wait to do the things that help until you need them. It used to be that you would wait until long after you needed them, so this is an improvement, good job on that.
Now I want you to do them before you need them. I want them automatic and ingrained.
There is simply no need to wait for an emergency or a panic to do the things that help in an emergency or a panic, just do them without a need arising. This is the advanced practice.
Me: So, like, preventative medicine?
Solstice self: No, not like that. The old pattern of perceiving [doing the things that help] as medicine is what exacerbated self-destructive behaviors to begin with. New metaphor, new consciousness.
Me: So I do these rituals and practices, not because I will need them later but because they are what I do. These are the things I do, not as medicine, just as a way of being.
Ritual & repetition, again
Examples of the things that help:
So much of what I do is heavily routine-based, and that’s mostly because I live in a state of Perpetual Goldfish Brain, thanks to traumatic brain injury from a concussion, Long Covid erasing what was left of my ability to remember what I was doing at any given moment, and ADHD.
Thanks to ADHD or the combination of autism and ADHD, my natural tendency is to either space out or deep dive. I am either drifting in my own dreamy world of thoughts and imaginings, or I am hurtling down a rabbit hole of enthusiasm needing to learn everything about whatever my latest obsession is.
Add a traumatic brain injury and Long Covid, and I do not ever know what I’m doing, what I meant to do next, or even what I am in the middle of.
And so my day is very scripted. I wake up, dry brush, hydrate, do my slow kitchen jog of figure eights and think my thoughts, take imaginary adhd meds round one (a vitamin), do a six minute meditation, do my bobcat stretching and so on, each step leads to the next, otherwise I will get lost, and even with all these steps in place, I still quite often get lost.
Let’s talk to solstice self again.
I don’t know what the question is
Me: I want your guidance and I don’t know what to ask, I don’t know what the question is, just show me what is needed please…
Solstice Self: You already have such supportive structures in place, we are just going to be shoring up the transitions, and also focusing on the joy.
You love Cooking Club, so that does not need to be perceived as a chore, writing feels good when we have arrived at the right topic, and it does not feel good when we are forcing a topic.
So what I want us to work on is, instead of getting frustrated when writing feels like forcing, just calmly and casually switch topics until one is yes.
No forcing, just percolating and keep it moving
No forcing, no pushing, just move on to the next topic. Whatever needs to be forced is not ready, and needs to percolate. That’s a good thing, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.
Me: Okay but isn’t that how we just end up with ten thousand mini drafts? And isn’t that the opposite of reducing and paring down? Ohmygod please do not tell me to trust the process, I can’t.
Not trusting the process is fine actually, but what about this?
Solstice self: If cowboy-drag Sharon Stone said, “do you trust me?” and held out her vengeance-seeking cowboy hand, you’d follow, right?
Me: Yes, I am a sucker for cowboy drag Sharon Stone, that movie was my bisexual / pansexual awakening, that and Nicole Kidman in To Die For, oh, and maybe also Julia Roberts in Sleeping With The Enemy, good lord the early 90s were so intense.
Solstice self: If you won’t trust the process, will you trust cowboy-drag Sharon Stone?
Me: Oh, interesting. So I’m disinclined to trust the process, because I’m disinclined to trust anything, but sure, I’ll follow Sharon Stone wherever. Yes, okay, I get it, I’m in. What happens next?
What happens next?
Me: What happens next?
Solstice self: You already wrote it down, in the wishes. You do the things that you know help. You commit to ritual and repetition. Always be making a shrub. Make sure you have an expansive view. You don’t have to trust the process, but you can trust Sharon Stone in cowboy drag on a mission of vengeance.
You can start small. Scent as practice? Light a tea light with some of the loose incense you made at equinox. Heat some cloves in a pot of water on the stove.
Let everything be Imaginary ADHD Meds, including lighting a candle or drinking a shrub.
Shrub shrub shrub shrub
I think I already wrote about my obsession with shrubs and how much I love them (yes, in The Horchata Proxy!), and how much I love the word itself, which comes from the Arabic sharab, a drink.
I love the simplicity in that. We are drinking a drink, and this is the drink.
And of course I love the process of combining ingredients, giving them space and time, and coming back to find that they have become something new and magical, which is also a form of trusting cowboy Sharon Stone.
Last summer I was deep into shrub life, and then got out of the habit, because winter was so cold, and my refrigerator is so small, and I kept forgetting to get vinegar.
The shrub I made last week is strawberry ginger, I used date vinegar from the middle eastern market in Tucson. It is sweet, acidic, complex, all the things I want from summer.
Simplicity, sweetness, surprised by magic. Isn’t that enough? Can I let it be enough?
Where do we go from here?
I have seeded the seeds, by naming them.
Whether I continue to explore them through journaling and stone skipping or not, they have been seeded.
My job now is to notice and pay attention, stay receptive to clues and good surprises, notice where I am tripping myself up, and continue to do the things that help, with tenderness and care.
Doing the things that help, then keep doing them
Light a candle, stretch like a bobcat, do the things that help. Make a shrub, find a good obsession, stare into the horizon, do the things that help.
Notice what works, notice what hurts, love myself a little more if I can, make space for what is if I can’t.
No need to trust the process, it’s doing its thing either way, and there is some liberation in that if I want it, and even if I don’t.
Here’s to simplicity, sweetness, surprised by magic, lighting a candle for the seeds doing their beautiful seed thing while I sail through the seas of the season on my imaginary ship, the good ship Solstice.
Two things, actually.
First: I was considering sharing my baseline outline for how I set up or schedule my quarters and build each season, maybe how solstice to equinox looks for me as opposed to equinox to solstice.
Is this something you’d be interested in reading more about? If so, let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see in a future post!
The other thing is I’m hearing from people they are no longer getting these posts via email, apparently the plug-in that runs rss email subscription is no longer supported, so if you know someone who wants to try to solve that, I’m seeding a wish for a simple solution. 🤞🏼
Come play with me, I love company
You are welcome to play with any of these concepts in any way you like. Come play in the comments!
Do any of these solstice seeds resonate with you! Or maybe you wish to seed other solstice seeds and wishes for yourself! Have at it.
All experiments are useful experiments. What wishes or themes are you currently playing with? What is in your list of Doing What Helps?
Share anything sparked for you while reading, or add any wishes into the pot, the healing the power of the collective is no small thing, companionship 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.
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. ❤️