Ok, so it’s cold where I am. Maybe not as cold as where you are, but cold. It shouldn’t be below 60-degrees inside a house, I think. I’m not sure I understand california architects that built houses with little or sub-par insulation. Were they, too, believing the hype about california sunshine, even though they lived in the rain and the fog and the chill?
So, pull on your slippers and cap and come on in.
Last night we went to see SARK down at Book Passage in Corte Madera. She’s touring and talking about her new book, Glad No Matter What. I was super proud of myself for being able to get there on the bus. (And don’t we sometimes get super proud of ourselves for things like that? look! I navigated my own way there, all by myself, even though I didn’t have good directions and so had to listen to my instincts — and they were right! So this morning I wrote a little “good for you!” note to me, which feels like something SARK would do. I often distrust my instincts and intuitions when I’m with other people, so it’s powerful to have reminders that my instincts have useful stuff to tell me if I would continue to pay attention, even when other outside voices are there.) SARK told stories and encouraged us to think of ourselves, to understand ourselves, as ‘transformational change agents.’ And we each are, aren’t we? I’m in an especially heavy place right now, so it was a gift to get to be with this idea of going in to change and the feelings it brings up, instead of resisting it — maybe even creating art or other new and delightful stuff from that place of discomfort. And, of course, the other thing she talked about was the power of being, and being honest about, where we are: So, when I come into a workshop and I’m feeling depleted and I try to pretend like everything’s fine (for instance), I generally feel out of whack and tense and frustrated. Because, of course, everything isnt’ fine. But when I come in honestly and say, “I’m feeling tired today and low energy, and so if I seem a little off, that’s what’s going on — it isn’t you! Let’s do our work together and just know I might not be able to hold our energy as well as I’d like” then we all have permission to be imperfect and to maybe be a little softer with each other. I think.
So, here’s what I’ll say: I’m sad today and wish I could spend the next several days just curled up and nesting, making good teas and comfort foods and reading and maybe even doing a little bit of writing, just a little, no pressure. The sad is just thick and old and filling the places in me that have felt depleted and so I’m noticing and being with it and maybe there will be some time to tend it, even.
It’s a self-care thing to be honest about how we feel, isn’t it? To let it just be. To let us just be.
A prompt and a workshop write for today: create a couple of lists, one titled “Things I miss (you miss//she/he/ze misses)” and the other titled “Things I don’t miss (you don’t miss//she/he/ze doesn’t miss).” Take a couple of minutes for each list, let the ideas come as they come: you might have lists that all center around the same time or person or thing or place, or that describe things you or your character miss and don’t miss about several different things.
Then you might choose one item from each list as your starting place, allowing yourself to write about both the missing and the not missing. Follow your writing wherever it seems to want to go.
Here’s my response to this prompt, from last spring:
I don’t miss the way I was so sure of everything, at 20, and how I was knocked down into, knocked back on my heels with new learning. I mean, I don’t miss the taste of eating crow, eating my words, but that’s only because it’s still a regular experience for me.
What else — I don’t miss the vision of my culture as a bleak, emptied universe and I had to write on all of these before I could touch on something I do miss — how my sister and I used to share secret languages, and the certainly that behind every new encounter with the world, she would be there, wanting to hear about it, holding me up like morning — steady like that, and rosy-bright and true.
I can hardly remember that time, when we were nemesis and true companions, how she was my heartbeat (wasn’t she?) and the thing I wanted to be farthest away from because she was a tether, something holding me to the now, in her pastels and confident girlness and the kind of attention and adoration that only a little sister can offer a big sister — I’m thinking too much about this and because I don’t want to write the story of how we got our heart strings severed, it’s difficult to sink into the story of what it was like Before.
But this much is true: even in the worst times, when we were each other’s betrayers, we were each other’s truest — what?–each other’s truest smile, too, each other’s most and least safe space. This doesn’t show you anything, you can’t feel her fierce smile and the way it opens her whole self like grace and how broken we were just when she was at her most depressed, when she called me, desperate for reassurance, and I realized, there on my linoleum floor, sitting with the phone to my ear and my back to the kitchen cabinets, 300 miles away from her and utterly unable to save her. How can I miss what I only remember the faintest trail of, what I can barely sniff out, in the wind: how sisters craft the tenderest spaces for each other, and when those spaces are wrecked, there’s barely any rubble left where you could leave a marker, or flag, something to indicate where the unearthing could begin, the work of recovering, of resurrecting what connection still remains?
Thank you for the tenderness you’ll offer yourself today, the moments that you’ll trust your intuition, what you know is true and best for you and others. Thank you thank you for your words.