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plan b; when "b" stands for better

Ink and pen drawing I Finally Finished this weekend (started it last fall).

My good friend FOMO came to visit me this past week. We had tea together, caught up, and rediscovered why it was that we hadn't seen each other in so long. We then thanked each other for lessons learned and adventures had, and bid each other adieu until The Inevitable Next Time.

My friends, what is our Deal with never seeming to be doing enough, for this constant often self-imposed pressure to be involved in everything, to be full-to-bursting with the satisfaction of having Outings and Whatnots 24/7? Even though I now find myself in Portland, literally living the dream that I'd dreamed for so many months, the instant that things don't go exactly my way and I can't seem to stay in control (albeit, were we ever really in control in the first place?) and do all the wonderful things I'd planned on, I blanch. My heart races. A murmuration in my mind takes me, bird by bird, down The Rabbithole. I find myself struggling to cope with The Future and Uncertainty. Friends with anxiety, you, like me, may feel that this "struggle" actually is more on par with fighting a gropey stranger in a bar, except that you can't see them and therefore you can't fight them and your mind/fist grasps and grasps into thin air and all you end up doing is upsetting the drinks and having to clean up a huge, boozy mess at the end of the night.

Me, not grasping just at thin air, but at small, plastic handholds while bouldering last week. Go baby calluses, go!

***Note: skip the next paragraph if you don't need a blow-by-blow, Therapist Approved account of my stressful day in your life.

Essentially, all you need to know is that for me, last Tuesday was one of those days where I feel like the Universe is paying particular attention to me, and not in a good way. "Have you learned the lesson yet? How about now? Now? NOW???" With each cumulative anxiety-producing event, I went against everything that I've learned; I ignored how I was feeling, pushed myself to go to a yoga class all the way across town by bus because I'd had to take my car into the shop because the previous night when I got home the hood had been smoking and so I had to take an hour-long bus ride instead of a 15 minute car ride and the yoga class was great but then I learned how expensive it would be to repair my car and continue the yoga class and my heart failed a bit as I don't have a "proper" job, and all I really wanted at that point was fried chicken because I was starving after class even though I try so hard to stick with vegetarianism but it took an hour for my food to come out which gave me ample time to think about what I was doing with my life and why did I think I could ever be a writer when so many people want to be so many things and we don't all get what we want and I'm just a white woman with so many privileges why can't I just be happy with what I have because I don't really feel I deserve this opportunity in the first place... etc. etc. etc.

A pic of some crazy orange fungi for everyone, especially those who read the preceding paragraph.

(A huge thank you to @Maggie, Diarra, Alex, Mom and Dad for talking me through my feelings even when I very much did not feel like myself!!! I feel so very blessed to have y'all in my life.)

Once I started feeling physically ill over the next few days on top of the stress I'd accumulated from external events, I took a cue and simply rested. On Friday, I slept in, I slept for an hour and a half on the community acupuncture reclining chair, and I went to bed early and slept in till 11am the next day. It wasn't my initial plan, but boy was it a good one. Once I was rested and my stress levels rested at a minimum, I realized that what I really wanted more than anything was a weekend full of puttery creativity. I didn't want to go out, I didn't want to socialize with new people - I simply did not want the energy of Outness. And though sometimes I want that very much, I realized that a lot of my unhappiness the past week stemmed from feeling like I wasn't having "enough" adventures, that I wasn't doing as many things as I'd planned to do, believing that time was a scarce commodity, that this adventure won't last so I better make the most of it while I'm here - filling every moment with it till I'm sick with inundation and stimulation and then - but only then - will I allow myself to collapse.

Spring being Spring.

Friends - the real adventure is Presence. I see that now. I want to last. I want to be the elder with long, white hair, just tellin' people like it is. Being totally Okay with it all. Acceptance and gratitude. Not just Enoughness, but Abundance. No more Grasping. Just Being.

All that is to say that instead of forcing myself to do Plan A this weekend, I went with Plan B:

1) I puttered

2) I took things at a slower pace, really getting in touch with what was right for me in that moment

3) I baked plantain chips (inspired from sunchoke chips I'd made last weekend)

4) I made a big pot of @Aunt Connie's lentil curry stew

5) I revisited the age-old trade of knitting, and started on my first scarf

6) I went on a jaunt around the neighborhood and in smelling the buttercuppy smell of the blossoms was inspired to write a poem that I'm really proud of

7) I worked on and finished old, unfinished ink and pen drawings

8) I turned the soil in the garden bed, added compost, and planted some Hakurei turnip seeds

plan b (Apologies for the chip-heavy collage, I was just so heckin' proud)

We are beings of context. We're tasked with constantly evaluation and re-evaluation of our evolving external and internal environment and signals that give us information to deliberate upon and make the decisions that will accumulate and eventually turn into the rest of our lives. The real challenge is doing that, but also taking it all oh-so lightly, as a leaf relents to the breeze that blows it into the roaring river.

The weather's supposed to warm and the sun peek out from behind its cloudy masquerade sometime this week, and I could not be more excited.

Miss and love y'all oodles and oodles.

xoxo grace

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