Eighth Month Rituals

Here we are again; a ritual return. Ritual highlights are ready to reel. Back when this became a wellness blog I called each of these end-of-the-month posts my Work Release. To support my 2020 theme of Ritual, I have elected to describe and observe these monthly posts as Rituals themselves, in addition to being filled with rituals which support wellness. Welcome to a highlight reel of August’s rituals, shared here to inspire, encourage, and sometimes enlighten as a wellness enthusiast.

Social Wellness & Relationships

It almost never fails. In the story of my life there is a repeating theme. As soon as I get involved in something I get nominated for leadership, promoted to leadership, or requested for leadership. This happens time and again without me striving for it.

I don’t deliberately seek them but leadership opportunities always find me. Someone always wants me to captain, chair, direct, or hold office. I almost always say Yes. I’ve accepted that I must exude something directorial. It’s an ancient archetype, as I understand it.

I’ve been half a dozen kinds of President. Director of things. Leader of groups. Head, lead, manager, chief, supervisor, guide, officer; pick your favorite rank or title and that has been or will inevitably be me. It happens because I show up. In fact, I don’t necessarily have to be good at the thing or task in question. I have natural leadership qualities which are independent of any required expertise, ergo I get thrust into leadership positions even though I am not an expert. I am usually willing, ergo it is an ongoing ritual.

It happened again in August. I’ve already established I am only a yearling tennis player, but out of the entire team I was asked to be Captain. Of men and women; some of whom have more experience, knowledge, and court cred than I do, and yet even those folks want me to do it. I tried to defer. It didn’t work. So here I am again observing the ritual of leadership. It happened at work too — at my brand new job, mind you. I’d been there eight days and as if the Universe MUST have this, I get promoted to more responsibility.

I don’t worry about whether I am a good leader or a bad leader. I am a willing leader. Years ago I established that a person need not be a perfect vessel in order to change the world. A person simply needs to be a willing vessel. So here I am again observing the ritual of willingness. It’s good for the soul. And since there are no life terms, leadership can always be passed. Or rather, leadership is always passed. It’s simply my turn again.

Intellectual Wellness & Creativity

Creativity nosedived at a certain point during the month (right around the middle point) but as a trade-off intellectual wellness swelled with learning on a certain topic.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen it.

If your screen space allows then by this point in the scroll you’ve already seen it too.

It (she) was a surprise to me. Not planned. And I could have said No but I didn’t. Ergo, my time and creative energy were monopolized because this happened in August:

She’s an English Pointer, eight weeks old by the middle of the month. She looks like she knows things, no? I wanted to name her Margot, Hazel, or Odessa but since I’m sharing her the final say was a compromise. Her name is Lizzie. On her official registration: Lizzie’s River Pearl. I can live with it and she seems to like it.

And my other pooch? In dog years Tucker the Destructor is in his 60s now. Although he is very gentle with her the effect is similar to a grumpy old man babysitting a kindergartner. He’s mostly annoyed by the chaos she conjures but she will sprout to be much taller than him. Once she’s no longer underfoot friendship might come easier.

Training is a struggle right now and I’m perpetually exhausted with this neediest of her phases, so all I managed were a few posts and these photos. I need both hands free to manage her and leisure time is usually siphoned away by exercising her early and late to avoid the heat of the day. It will get better as she grows up. By next month we’ll be in a whole new stage of development and I won’t cry so much. And then I’ll write more.

Books read: Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang and The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram

Documentaries: None this month but I greedily absorbed a shit-ton of training videos.

Physical Wellness

No changes this month. Still vegan. Still practicing the rituals of yoga, hiking, running, tennis, etc. Most walks with the dogs include some running, so we have simply added partners to the existing slate of physical pursuits.

Hiking is easier on baby joints and it keeps paws off hot pavement. It also includes car rides, which seem to be doggy delights.

Although I didn’t take any photos of it this month, yoga has rarely felt so restorative. The pup life has beaten me up inside and out, which brings us to …

Emotional Wellness

I mentioned the crying. Not even going to lie, y’all; I’ve done a lot of it. Puppy training is miserable for me. It absolutely sucks. I understand how important it is and I’m committed to seeing it through but I’ve been reduced to sobbing in frustration multiple times. Managing human relationships feels easy by comparison. Progress is agonizingly slow. We are getting there a little at a time but I break down more often than the dog does. On the couch, after she’s asleep in the kennel, of course. A ritual unraveling and release.

I’m not at all ashamed to admit I’ve been emotionally bested by an 11 lb. baby dog. This is the ritual of truth-telling. I like her but I hate this. My tension and stress only make it harder for both of us so I’m training myself as well — to relax and stay calm and remember she’s the equivalent of a toddler. I keep reminding myself not to magnify the struggles over the aspects that have come easily. Kennel training = aced it. Like a pro! Leash training = going okay. Better every day. Verbal commands = 50/50.

Not chewing, nipping, or chomping humans and electrical cords? Ugh. Shitty. Suck-o-rama. This is the crazy-making, maddening, painful part. I’m not giving up or giving in after all this work but it feels impossible to bond with her right now. She’s just being a dog but oh how it triggers my internal frailties! I fail more than I succeed and it punches me in the feelings to keep reading articles telling me even though I’m the one bleeding and crying, I’m still the one doing it wrong. And yes, I know we will both grow out of it.

Ritual patience. Ritual endurance. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Financial/Occupational Wellness

Homegrown food production is coming to an end. The garden is drying up for the summer. All that is left to harvest now are hot peppers but it was a successful experiment. We easily doubled our investment (around $50) in food yield. The freezer is full of surplus and we used some to trade/barter with the neighbors. This afternoon at the fence we discussed staggering some of the planting next year so it was clearly worth everyone’s while. It wasn’t that hard — really — and the portion of the yard given up for it wasn’t being used for anything else so it did not feel like a sacrifice.

As for the other rituals, transitioning back to the commute after working remotely for a few months means readjusting for commuting costs. To reduce fuel costs I try to run all car errands on the commute or to and from tennis. If I can help it I try not make a special trip for anything. I’m packing lunches again as well. This means planning and prep so there will be something to pack. Sunday afternoons are often spent getting lunches ready for the entire week. This also helps streamline mornings during the week.

And let’s talk about food delivery subscriptions for a second. You know; the meals in a box? All you have to do is cook the ingredients in the box. I’ve ignored these since I turned vegan because there are so few services with vegan options but also because in terms of cost they are not worth it past the introductory box. The price balloons after you get get suckered into the first shipment. It may save some time and planning effort but the cost is not worth it if you’re trying to improve your relationship with money.

The other reason to pass is that the meals themselves do not produce leftovers. Tons of money can be saved by using leftovers for subsequent meals but meals-in-a-box do not generate enough extra food for lunches, etc. If I do cash in on a half-price box with a good vegan offer it is considered a supplemental treat since I will likely still have to plan and/or purchase food for breakfasts and lunches. The half-off first order might be great but after that it’s a short walk to Cancel Town.

Okay, that’s about all I’ve got. I’m tapped. See you back here in September, friends.

Be well,

Mercy

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