Greetings from the hybrid chicken-VPA!
Hello, friends, I’m back! Back from my trip! My trip-of-much-agonized-anticipation!
Consequently, I’d like to send a message to me-from-one-week-ago:
And that is the sound of me being very amused about how Me-from-one-week-ago envisioned her coming trip.
Having just returned, I can report faithfully that it had nothing to do with:
- Cozy cafes with my journal
- Journaling in any form
- Shiva Nata
- All my stretches and back-bends to avoid back pain
- Any waking-up rituals whatsoever
- Mindfully checking in with myself
- Any other of the good mind-awareness stuff I planned in last week’s VPA
Nor did my preparation for the trip include much exercise, as I had also planned in last week’s VPA.
Not unless you count hysterical weeping as meaningful exercise. Because that’s really all I did. I processed a lot of Sunday hurt and then I had a little bit of a breakdown on Tuesday evening, instead of packing.
(What happened? I suppose you could say that the secret thought, once a quiet epiphany, turned into an apocalyptically larger sadness and despair and loneliness. Among other things.)
What did I learn while I was away?
Mindful self-care and awareness is an infinitely nervous creature who can be startled and sent into hiding very easily during things like Cross-country Trips To A Friend’s Wedding Where You Also Visit Family In A City Where Your Other Friend No Longer Lives Because She Is Dead.
However, I did okay. Perhaps this is because my self-care just looked radically different while I was traveling.
I didn’t do any journaling but I did do a lot of singing at the top of my lungs to bad disco while hurtling down the highway in my rented Dodge Charger.
I didn’t do any Shiva Nata but I did practice balancing on the subway (oh how I missed taking the T out to Wonderland!) and radical self-silliness during glow-in-the-dark mini golf.
And I practiced wonder: at the autumn colors and the fierce winds in Rockport. At the taste of New England clam chowder. At laughter with new friends. At tears of joy at the wedding.
I practiced gratitude: for my extended family for being so familiar and so welcoming. For the family who opened their guest room to me for two nights. For free shuttles. For serendipitous good fortune and unexpected coincidences. For good seatmates. For my first anxiety-free air travel in over eight years.
And because I can’t start the week without a VPA…
Here is my Very Personal Ad No. 12: Something about transition.
What I want: This week is all about transition. I don’t know what to do with it. It’s all around so maybe I better say hi to it rather than pretend it’s not here.
I’m back from my trip. With jet lag! Only two days before my spouse leaves on his trip. Just after the quiet yet somehow still loud realization that I need to think very carefully about my job. Just following the escalation of certain workplace dramas. Just prior to the arrival of certain other workplace transitions.
How am I going to get through this? What is it supposed to be like? What do I need?
How this could work:
Well clearly it’s going to take lots more questions.
Questions that are hard to answer. Questions that are curious rather than agonizing, hopefully. Questions about safety, about enoughness, about sovereignty, about identity.
I could give this transition lots of intentional space: leaving work early if needed, or talking through stuff, or writing here, or ask for childcare help if I need an emergency evening alone with my monsters.
Or I could discover that this transition is actually really easy, or just at ease with its own chaos and wilderness, and it doesn’t need much from me simply to be.
To bring curiosity whenever possible. (Thank you Havi for the timely reminder!)
To bring gentleness when curiosity feels like too much.
To especially bring gentleness to the Me that would rather hide in the wilderness of transition than deal with silly real world things like buying groceries or getting any work done.
To acknowledge that part of the wilderness of transition is that things will look different when I emerge from it: transition does not always mean you exit the jungle only to find familiarity on the other side. There will be elements of familiarity, yes, but possibly also a good deal of newness.
I have so much trepidation in my heart about all this transitional stuff, but I also want to acknowledge the sheer goofy-grinned happiness I felt on Saturday witnessing the marriage of my good friend to her soul’s companion. In a high nor’easter wind. With candy! With funkified dancing and poetry and tasty food. It was beautiful and I felt lucky to be there. I want to take all that good warm loving funky good-humored smiling glee and bring it with me, this week. Love and celebration is so good for the soul! I want it to be my candle against the darkness.