We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Mountain Mahogany, Cercocarpus montanus

If you feel like a tornado picked you up sometime in the last few weeks, spun you around the earth and sky, and recently dropped you back on land, I'm right there with you.  If you find yourself looking around, re-orienting and asking yourself "Where am I?  Where do I go from here?" you're not alone. We just experienced the last eclipse of eclipse season, on the night of July 4th/5th.  This year's "season" began on June 5th, so we've been in it for about a month.  Eclipses can facilitate major change, and we've been watching that play out.  Over the last week or so I've seen people in my life deal with unexpected housing shifts, health scares, and breakups.  As a nation, some of our cities are making earnest efforts to defund the police.  Black Lives Matter may be the largest movement in US history.  Discord and fatigue prevail over our handling of the Coronavirus.  It seems that all of us are exhausted. This is also Summer Solstice season, a notoriously busy time.  The Sun and heat are at their peak in the Northern Hemisphere.  We're running around, accomplishing, tending our metaphorical and real-life crops.  There's no end of projects and goals.

While you may see clearly all that needs to be done, or you may have lost your bearings in the whirlwind, overwhelm is upon us. If you close your eyes and take a deep breath right now, if you linger here for a moment, and ask your body what it needs, what does it say?

Penstemon strictus

In times of overwhelm, our care for self tends to fly out the window.  Don't forget to take care of yourself.  Sometimes it's all you can do to focus on the most basic rituals: guard your sleep like a treasure.  If your sleep is unavoidably disturbed at night, schedule time into your day for a nap.  Drink the water.  Eat the food.  These reminders can feel boring or uninspiring, but when these needs are met with care and attention, everything changes.

Another really life-giving thing I've been making sure to do for myself is drawing healthy boundaries with the news cycle/social media/internet.  I usually like to send these newsletters out at full and new moons.  This one is late because the internet has been out for about a week at my rural home.  My time without internet has opened my eyes to how much I depend on it, and also how much better I feel when it's silenced.  Setting reasonable goals like "20 minutes of news a day," or "one action for social change a day," or "no internet browsing from x hour at night until x hour in the morning," makes giving yourself space doable.

These practices are not turning your back on all the work that needs to be done.  These practices make that work possible.  When you take a nap, or power down your phone, you do it so your best self can show up to do that work right.

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