Sweary even more than usual Foul mood …for no specific reason Neck pain Back pain Dreading people Why why why Smoke alarms of mind and body Where is the fire …Maybe there isn’t one Maybe it’s just everything (‘everywhere all at once’) Work stress Shorter, darker days Capitalist materialist holidays Poor sleep Homesick for the mountains Impatient for social progress Shootings everywhere …world going to hell So …don’t miss a workout Make healthier food choices whenever possible Uphold boundaries Breathe deep …and again Stay connected Stop over analyzing Let it go …or at least loosen the grip …ease the pursuit Take care of self anyway …all the better and more Do what you know to do It will balance out What you need to know will emerge eventually
Here in the last week of 30 daily posts, some themes have emerged. Liberated was initially intended as a description of growing more irreverent with age, and ‘the value of your opinion to me…’ was all I had to say about that. As I thought (and wrote) about what I really feel liberated to do and say at this age, it really did circle back to bolder bids for connection, especially at work, with patients.
Smooth With Edges also started out with more of a defiant, rebellious feeling. The meme about Hecate came across my FB feed and vibrated immediately with deep resonance–of holding divergent, soft and hard, smooth and edgy parts of myself together in harmony. I like that I’m playful, curious, lighthearted, and nerdy. I also see myself as strong, taller in personality than physical height, and a force to be reckoned with when needed. It was too much yet to try to express in prose, so I chose stanzas instead. It spilled out in seconds, and by the end was no longer about me, but about Daughter and every girl or woman who holds back any part of herself in any way, about my urgent desire for us all to shed our constraints and own our power in full.
One kid has cleared the launchpad; the other now readies in the hangar. For almost twenty years they have been the two foci of my elliptical life orbit. I have done nothing in all this time without considering and accommodating them first–waking hours, meal plans, social activities, vacation dates/locations, professional meetings and engagements. Mom liberation occurs in stages: from nursing, from carseats, from dependent cook, obligatory chauffeur. While both kids lived at home, simultaneous attunement and attachment to both was 24/7, the default. The center of my logistical world was always our house. I felt most secure when my two life hubs were home, my universe a tight sphere. Now one nucleus is flung 1700 miles away, and my heart space has expanded exponentially, in a familial big bang of sorts–and I celebrate it.
As the kids’ independence grows, I find myself with bandwidth reserves now available for other pursuits–my own. It’s not that I subsumed all of my own needs and priorities to the family, and some constraints were still very real. Sometimes now I feel like my lung capacity is bigger, my breaths deeper, my armspan longer. How fascinating.
Last year my 30 November posts were a consolidation, a legacy capsule series to reference when the primary source is deceased. This year, like Sven the sourdough starter, I rise. I expand, multiply, propagate–ideas, connections, reach. I get to play, noodle, experiment, riff–make more. How exciting!
Friends! What’s on your bookshelf/nightstand/desk to read these days?
I am a creature of serial obsessions. I nurtured Sven to one year of life; the sourdough starter microbes are now well established and able to survive unattended for prolonged periods in the fridge. Bread baking/experimenting was great therapy, and now I’m ready to move on.
Similarly, I feel my romance novel binge tapering soon. I’ve devoured 56 audiobooks in 2 months, which is quite remarkable, no? What a fun diversion! Now I’m ready to stimulate my book brain in the usual way again. The library has grown exponentially and I’m undecided in what order to consume my volumes. Maybe you can help?
Have you read any of the books in the photo? Below I’ll share some articles I’ve read lately, and a list of books I’m considering over the winter break. If you’re familiar and/or have any comments/recommendations about these or anything that comes to mind, please share generously! Thank you in advance!
Indra’s Net — Recommended in the comments of a past post by friend Diane. A densely concise and intriguing validation of the interconnectedness of the universe, referencing The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot and Hua-Yen Buddhism by Francis H. Cook.
How I Learned the Art of Seduction — NYT essay by author and writing teacher Melissa Febos–hightly recommend! She describes first hand experience with sexism, misogyny, and capitalism through work in restaurants and as a professional dominatrix.
One Foot in the Present, One Foot in the Past: Understanding EMDR — NYT; an introduction to a relatively new therapy modality that has already helped many vetarans with PTSD. This, along with re-emerging evidence for the benefits of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy (psilocybin, MDMA), makes me so hopeful that the people whose trauma has as yet exceeded the power of conventional therapies may soon have reliable access to effective remedies to ease their suffering. I have already binged Michael Pollan‘s How to Change Your Mind and This Is Your Mind On Plants, and watched the 4-part Netflix series at least twice.
What Unites Buddhism and Psychotherapy? — NYT book review of The Zen of Therapy by Mark Epstein, due out in January, 2023. “He seeks to uncover the fundamental wisdom both worldviews share, and to show, as a practical matter, how it might help us wriggle free from the places we get stuck on the road to fulfillment.”