solstice light in the high desert, blue sky, open fields, juniper trees, the open road

Solstice light in the high desert: blue sky, open fields, juniper trees, the open road…

Announcement – New product alert!

If you’ve already given to Barrington’s Discretionary this year, you got my ebook by email this weekend about how I approach and plan my year, how I think about time and am in relationship with time.

(And if you didn’t get it and were supposed to then please email me with any emoji, and I will fix that!)

Anyway, you can also still get a copy 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!


Okay, onward to today’s post, which is about Solstice Wishes, the period of hibernation (for me) that takes me from solstice through to New Year’s, and as ever, an opportunity for me to sing, mostly to myself, but also here:

We wish you a merry chrysalis and a happy new year…🎶

If only because that is running through my head constantly, sorry about that!

Solstice Wishes

Revisiting, again

I revisited a favorite labyrinth for solstice, and I revisited past wishes, past rituals, past stones skipped, for example these solstice stones or these, and appreciated how now is new and different (now is now), and also how it it also remains similar and familiar.

Revisiting and refining. Reconvening and recalibrating.

Appreciating all of it. The circular, spiraling nature of time, here we are again, but it’s different this time…

Or maybe not…

Maybe it doesn’t feel that different this time, or maybe hard to discern, or maybe just barely different enough…

Or: maybe not we’re not appreciating all of it!

Maybe we can appreciate aspects of it, while at the same time noticing the parts where we might be running headlong into old patterns or external perceived expectations or [whatever is going on for us right now].

Good job, on the noticing. Noticing is the real work.

The sweet surprise of a revisit

For winter solstice (or at least it’s the winter one for me here in the northern hemisphere), I reread the piece I wrote six months ago at summer solstice, and much was familiar, and much was already forgotten.

But the way it began really struck me.

I did not remember writing this, but it feels so very appropriate for this moment, right here, right now.

For where I am here, from the place in the year where I am writing to you..

I revisited and was surprised. A surprise revisit: different than a surprise visitor.

Broad into narrow into the broadening again

Broadly, here I am, in the northern hemisphere, winter solstice, the depths of the cold, dark time, cultivating hope sparks, any and all hope sparks, amen v’amen.

And, also, at the same time, zooming in to where I sit, perched on a blue bench in a tiny, tiny house out by the forest in southern New Mexico, looking out the window at my tree friends, imagining you can hear me…

Yes, I want to revisit and repeat that segment, to say those exact words to you (and to myself) again, the words from then, to renew them, like an incantation, like a prayer…

Let’s say it again. I think it needs to be said again. There is something beautiful and surprisingly powerful in the repetition, in the act of renewing. That’s why we revisit.

Quarters, again

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.

Winter Solstice, 2023

I keep having this sensation or perception that I don’t know where to begin or where to go, but that can’t be true.

It’s far more likely that I know, that the information is here, and I am just hiding it from myself for a while, for [reasons], so I guess let’s start with the animals, speaking of visitors…

The rabbit

A month ago, a beautiful rabbit died next to my house. Just the prettiest rabbit you have ever seen, a white rabbit with soft, soft ears.

The rabbit seemed at peace next to my house. No visible injuries, I do not know what lead to its end, or why it decided that next to my house (and not beneath the porch, where I often see rabbit friends hiding themselves away) was the right place to exit this life.

In a way I almost receive this as a compliment. That is to say, I myself landed here in this peculiar, extraordinarily peaceful spot when that was what I needed. So if this is where peacefulness radiates, of course that’s where our poor sweet rabbit friend would want to be.

But also, at the same time, there’s the more practical concern of hey there’s this half-frozen rabbit corpse next to my house and I don’t love that.

Except I cannot do anything about it because I cannot bend or lift things. One of the many annoying aspects of Long Covid is that these activities make me very dizzy. And it feels unsafe to risk dizziness when I am so isolated.

An elegant simple solution

I was trying not to fret about the rabbit, but also I was fretting about the rabbit.

One day I got a text from a friend I haven’t seen in a few years. He was driving from Iowa to Arizona, in the company of a very sweet dog I know, and wanted to detour my way for afternoon tea.

Of course, I agreed. It is a rare joy for me to have a visitor out in these parts, but also I was worried the dog might want to investigate the rabbit situation.

As it happened, she was entirely unconcerned by the rabbit or anything else, and remained gloriously unbothered, my favorite superpower and one I want for myself. My friend got the shovel from the shed, and slid it gently beneath the rabbit who fit perfectly inside it.

“What a pretty rabbit,” he said. And took the rabbit into the big field and there we said a goodbye. Goodbye, rabbit friend. Safe travels. An easy passage.

The rat collective

The State of New Mexico mailed my car registration for the coming year, so I applied the new sticker and went to put the paperwork in the glove compartment.

Inside the glove compartment was an enormous rat nest, taking up the entire available space. Which is a good reminder to me to open it more often, I guess.

Apparently they know all the other places I look, and that’s why they’re there.

I removed the nest, and deep cleaned the glove compartment, and also wiped it down with lemongrass oil, just to let them know that they have a worthy enemy in me.

My friends all said variations on, “ew I could never”, and honestly that’s not even the grossest thing I’ve removed from my car, I wouldn’t even put it in the top five. But it’s nice when other people think you are brave, even when you can’t appreciate it.

The javelina

An absolute unit of a javelina came to visit me this month, I’ve never seen one alone before.

Usually you see a family, traipsing across the street in a line, or enthusiastically knocking down trash bins if you’re in a city.

They are extremely smart, and also matriarchal, which is cool, and known to strike terror in the hearts of Texans and small dogs, but this one seemed very chill.

Very, very chill. The javelina just hung out by my fence and grazed, did not seem to mind anything at all, and then casually loped off after about half an hour.

An odd omen for an omen, if it’s an omen, I hope a good one in any case.

Miracles of fall quarters

So many beautiful and magnificent miracles.

It’s not nearly as bitterly cold inside as last winter, thanks in part to a mild winter so far, but mostly to the two new windows that have double-paned glass and were correctly installed.

I have running hot water! Indoors! For the first time in nearly two years. In the kitchen too! Shower still doesn’t work but I no longer have to heat water in the kettle to wash dishes or to wash me, and it is genuinely life-changing.

Didn’t know what to do about the mysteries of the half-frozen rabbit corpse, but it solved itself with my friend’s surprise visit.

More focus, more energy than three months ago. The imaginary clubs are helping, early to bed is helping, kitchen-jogging is helping, patience is helping.

Luck is a miracle, bravery is a miracle, keeping on keeping on is always a miracle. A thousand points to us, at least.

Bravery, endless bravery

I couldn’t listen to music the other morning during the power outage so did an hour of morning jogging/pacing alone with my thoughts, and it was okay, actually. As in: not nearly as bad as I feared.

Intense, sure, yes. But not a bad experience, astounding news to me.

My friend who much higher standards than me texted back regarding my unlikely morning win:

That is literally the bravest thing I have ever heard, I would not spend an hour alone with my thoughts if someone paid me a million dollars. Okay, maybe for a million dollars. But not a penny less!

And yes, she has a great point. Truly no one should have to be that brave, and we should all be well-compensated for it when we are that brave. I mean, yes, I AM BRAVE ALL THE TIME, WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT.

And here we are, brave and keeping on.

Back to the labyrinth

I revisited the labyrinth and walked it twice, once for the quarter that just passed (equinox to solstice) and once for the quarter to come, solstice to equinox, here we are, embarking…

It showed me how I became the Tough Survivalist of the Bunkhouse, the tough cowboy who gets things done without hurrying, it showed me how I am stronger than I realize.

And then, on the second round, it gave me a task, related to these processes of hibernation and hermitude.

So now I’m just letting that information sit and percolate, and in the meantime I’ve been talking things out with my incoming selves…

Talk to me about these quarters

Talk to me about the next three months, this passage into the new year.

What do you think I should focus on, what do you want me to know or keep in mind?

This is what I asked of my various selves, including The Cowboy, The Assassin, and anyone who wanted to show up…

The labyrinth says

The Three Months Later of solstice to equinox can be a strong and steadfast a container as you make it, as powerful a chrysalis as you decide.

Come up with goals and a plan that can be broken down to weekly, with a lot of repetition and go way deeper into hermit time and hibernation. Use the practice of clubs to hold and tend to your wishes.

The Cowboy says

You gain so much from being tough and needing little,
but that doesn’t mean you should stop welcoming in plenty,
you want to expand your capacity to receive and to ask,
you just want to be very pared down and seek pleasure in that as well
always thanksful, the joy of these tea lights from your faraway friend, the joy of support,
the joy of learning from people you love, the joy of rain on the roof, it’s all beautiful and magnificent,
consider also the joy in compiling, and let’s also not forge the joy in releasing,
and of course the joy in ease
(can you take more joy in ease,
can you find more ease in joy?)

The assassin says

Take the clues where you find them, don’t look too hard, just stay receptive…

Take time during the day to breathe, experience relief, relax your jaw, find the good, we zero in on one mission and then the next. Bear in mind that hermit time is recovery time but it’s also a gathering..

For example: gathering inward, gathering your various selves and parts of you, gathering strength and powers, and gathering together what you need for your assignment..

You are training hard and you will be training even harder, finding more pockets of time in the day, making the transitions between clubs even more powerful and enticing, giving yourself more credit, liberating more.

Sorcery self says

Sweetness helps, keep adding sweetness and intention

Gleaming is a way to keep your space sweet, and hiking is a way to have sweetness

Winter cheer self says

The main thing is the rituals, one thing and then the next thing,
today you got a little out of the routine and started to flounder,
always know what your next club is and have a plan,
do writing time first, even if it’s just asking questions and seeing what comes…

Miracles self says

Miracles abound, see them everywhere

And when you don’t see them, there’s still no reason for worry…

Even when you think this practice is silly or unserious somehow, keep looking, stay receptive…

You can always find small things to appreciate.

Self of solstice to equinox / winter quarters says

Did you know…?

You can get rid of more than you think,
there is nothing to hold onto,
make space and even more space,
you have the elements in place, and you have insight,
put it to use

Disability advocate self says

Sleep matters, and it matters more than you think, protect your sleep time and get cozy.

Know your needs, know your known yeses, and when they are deeply known, you won’t need to defend them, because following that wisdom will be so automatic, there will be no more need to fight with yourself or with anyone else on this.

Choose Calm self says

Clearing space will help, movement will help, light will help…

But mainly just keep remembering that you can choose towards this.

And when it doesn’t work or doesn’t happen, we don’t need to be reactive about that, we can be compassionate, warm and loving about not-calm too, a human response is a human response, meet it with love and sweetness, and keep it moving.

Back to bravery

Okay, it remains extremely unfair that we have to constantly be brave, and yet we soldier on, and we are.

I took the advice from my incoming selves and spent some time contemplating and appreciating the beautiful miracles of fall quarters.

Including the fact that I thought I didn’t make a fall shrub for solstice, but there’s a cinnamon cardamom spiced apple shrub at the back of my tiny fridge.

Calling on all superpowers of bravery and joy.

Bravery and joy, bravery in joy

Taking joy in hibernation, in this intentional hermit time, the deep chrysalis of the last week of the year.

Yes, that’s the plan: seeding seeds, taking small steps, resting more, wishing more wishes. A hot beverage. Porch breaths under the stars

And imagining Mariah Carey singing, ALL I WANT FOR CHRYSALIS IS YOOOOOOOOUUUU.

A breath for that. Happy in-between-time, a good crossing. Bravery and joy.

We wish you a merry chrysalis and a happy new year!

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 clubs, hopes, wishes, dreams…

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

New product alert!!!

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

Anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) will get this bonus material 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. 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.

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