I am fairly certain that I am a bear. In my head.

Let it be known, for the record and for those reading who worry about me and take things literally, that I am very much not a bear. But you know what I would love?

A cave!


And really, mostly: permission to hibernate.

What we want.

We, of course, being the Campaign to Bring Back Hibernation. Of which I am a founding member.

Much like my secret bear identity, this also exists primarily in my head.

Here are our demands! What we stand for! If we were standing. But we aren’t. That would take way too much effort.

Wouldn’t it be so lovely…

To stop when it’s dark. Or cold. Or dark and cold.

Or not to stop. But at least to have the option of stopping.

Designated warm, schnuggly, blanket-filled spaces to curl up in and hide out in.

Candles. Light. Time. To be cozy and have spaciousness at the same time.

To activate the time-space wormholes so as to be in bed more than usual. To hide without being embarrassed or annoyed about needing it.

To choose seclusion, knowing that seclusion is not isolation.

Just ask Metaphor Mouse

For me, hibernation is also a symbol.

For example, having a more conscious, intentional, playful, inquisitive relationship with time and this crazy idea that there is enough of it.

It’s all forms of intentional Not-Doing. Like meditation and napping and old Turkish lady yoga.

Hibernation is advanced sovereignty practice — the kind of thing I’d be able to do if I had more faith in my knowledge that rest is good, useful, healing, and at certain times more necessary than other times.

And it’s everything I’m already doing to take care of the borders of my kingdom. Like the Gracious No (not a band!). It’s a metaphor for choosing safety.

How to approach this more hibernation-friendly lifestyle?

I’m not entirely sure. Of course it’s definitely related to the Book of Me and the Dammit List.

I will be spending this week at the Rally (Rally!) figuring more of this out, since we’re giving special attention to Book-of-You-centered thinking.

One of the suggestions I’m taking from (the brilliant and inspiring) Cairene is to approach this experiment as if I were writing an almanac.

Because pretty much every November I’ll feel angsty, and in January I’m going to want to work less. And come August I’ll just want to write and write and write.

So I can sneak notes to my slightly future self. I can remind her that if X is happening, I’m not sad — just in need of extra hibernation. And if Y is happening, I need more Z.

Actually, I pretty much always need more Z.

We are having a parade!

For all of us who want and need permission to hibernate a little more, to hide a little longer.

I am imagining a fabulous parade, with ticker tape and confetti. We are all going as slowly as we like. Definitely not in a hurry.

In fact, maybe we’re just riding on floats or being pushed along in rolling carriages. Or riding tricycles. It’s rather a meandering parade.

We wear large sashes, like the suffragettes. And we have placards that say things like “Mmmm, tired” or “Schleeeeeeeeepy and proud!”

And we make bear paws! You know, pause. Paws! That gives me pause.

We wave permission slips. And maybe wear them too.

We have hot toddies. Or pots of tea. Warm cider. Giant sweaters. Fuzzy slippers. It’s marvelous.

Come join the campaign.

It works like this.

You have permission to feel anything you feel.

Tired and worn out? That sounds normal. Good grief. It’s January. A very acceptable thing to be going through.

Or maybe you feel excited and energized. Why not? The Hibernation Movement is a very thrilling thing to be a part of. We can use your vim and vigor.

You can wave a sign. Or not. Wear slogan-covered pajamas. Or not. Cheer as much as you like. Or call SILENT RETREAT and hide.

And comment zen for today.

We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. It’s a process.

What I’d love: cheering and happiness for the Campaign to Bring Back Hibernation. Sign ideas. Outrageous slipper descriptions. Ridiculous acronyms!

What I’d rather not have today: advice, practical or otherwise. Or facts about bears.

That’s it. Yay for national hibernation week! And for my imaginary hibernation nation! And for yawning, stretching and pillows!

The Fluent Self