Ninth 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 September’s rituals, shared here to inspire, encourage, and sometimes enlighten as a wellness enthusiast.

Intellectual Wellness & Creativity

September’s work required so much of me that my wellness rituals were pared down to the essentials. But I more than made up for my lack of posts with photos this month. Brace yourselves. This is like those old school vacation slideshows over post-dinner coffee with polite neighbors who are pretending not to be bored.

I’ll admit it may have been a form of coping. There were many days the few moments I took photographs were the only moments I wasn’t working, managing dog poop, untangling leashes, de-stinking endless loads of sweaty laundry, or discussing the finer points of overall fatigue. But it’s been a pretty month through the camera lens, as you can see.

I managed to offer you only two blog posts this month other than this highlight reel. I’m not sorry. It was the best I could do. The pup will sprout over the next month. I’ll get more sleep. I’ll get back to blogging as usual.

Books read: When I Was You, by Minka Kent

Documentaries: does Hamilton count? I think Hamilton should count. Otherwise it was just the Thrive docu-series on Gaia, which was all about ayurveda.

Physical Wellness

Hiking and extra running/walking to keep the dogs exercised:

Lotsa tennis. Hella tennis. Training, practice, league, and my first tennis tournament.

Yoga. Always yoga. Blessed yoga.

Still vegan. A coworker asked me to help him with a special project at the office. He said, “If you can manage to get this approved I will buy you lunch.”

I got it approved, of course. Upon notifying him of my success he replied, “Well, I guess this means I owe you lunch. What do you eat?”

I grinned, paused for effect, and answered, “I’m vegan. I eat plants.”

Blink, blink, blinkblinkblink. “Okaaaay, so would a bushel of kale make us even?”

Chuckling, “You bet it would.”

Financial/Occupational Wellness

COVID 19 restrictions for retail and grocery shopping have turned out to be among those COVID silver linings folks like to toss around on social media. How ironic, right? The damn restrictions themselves end up making life better than before. For me, at least; let me go ahead and acknowledge my privilege.

Financial wellness gets an automatic boost because COVID 19 restrictions keep me out of retail stores, which means no browsing, no sucker-deal sales, no clearance racks, and no suggestive selling. I’m spending less because I’m staying out of brick-and-mortar stores. And the double irony is that I’m not rejecting stores to avoid COVID 19 as much as I am avoiding all the procedure and protocol of restriction. The mask is only part of it. The folks policing the lane directions and herding me like errant livestock can get militant. I know everything I use or touch will have be sanitized by someone immediately after I use it so there’s the added pressure of making someone else’s workday more cumbersome (and risky).

As for online shopping, it’s often just too much stuff, too many options, and too many comparisons to make to justify the time investment. Online retailers have responded to COVID 19 by offering you a version of every sock available under the sun if you happen to need any sock. Three to five options have mushroomed into 35 and here are 75 other things you might like. If the live stores have fewer options than before (a complaint I hear a lot), the virtual stores have way too many. Going online to buy something has become a get in and get out exercise just to save myself the hassle of avoiding a spiral of endless clicks and click-backs. It is now a ritual of austerity:

  • Identify the sock needed/desired before I go online
  • Decide on a retailer who offers this sock before I go online
  • Go to that retailer and get the sock into a cart
  • Ignore sale and clearance menus – I only need a sock
  • Do not spend more money to get free shipping
  • Pay, get out, and then immediately get offline
  • No FOMO
  • If I know I will not need another sock within 30 days, delete the f-ing coupon that will end up in my email

You may ask why I chose a sock to make this point since no one buys or sells single socks. Because they do sell them; they just don’t admit it. My favorite tennis socks died a holey death so I bought a new pair online. I paid for a pair of socks but received only one sock. Yes, with the foldy hangy cardboard packaging still wrapped around it as if it was a pair. But it was not a pair. The mate was not in the box. When I contacted the online retailer about sending me the second sock or replacing my single sock with a pair, the response was the equivalent of getting laughed out of the customer service department in a sitcom.

Yes, I really had this argument with a live operator. I can’t prove they sent me one sock instead of two. I can’t prove I didn’t lose the sock myself, ergo they do not consider themselves responsible for the missing sock. No, a sock lost under unknown circumstances does not render the remaining sock defective or damaged. One cannot return a single sock for credit, refund, or replacement. So although I paid for a pair I am stuck with a single sock. I will never buy any socks from this particular retailer again, of course, even though they offered to sell me another pair at a discount for my trouble. Nope. A single sock just cost you 30 years of loyal patronage, suckas.

As if I would grift someone out of a pair of $7.00 socks by concocting a missing sock claim scheme. But this a sign of the times, y’all. They don’t check your account to find out you’ve been a customer for 30 years and never once tried to squeeze a single extra sock out of them. They just read from a script now. Stock responses from a manual for negotiating with dissatisfied customers. Or rather, not negotiating with them; just working in a way to upsell while telling us No.

And the odd sock? Repurposed it as a homemade dog toy. Filled it with rubber balls and tossed it to the hounds. They chewed it. They slung it around like hunted prey. They sloshed it through the mud. Lost it, found it, accidentally peed on it. I didn’t complain at all when they ripped it to shreds during Tug of War. Never has an ending felt so right.

Social Wellness

The only social wellness ritual involving humans (other than coworkers or family) was to take an afternoon off and finally see Hamilton curled up slumber party-style in a friend’s basement. We got snacks and drinks and turned off our phones and made the world go away for a couple of hours. Regarding the play itself, I went in skeptical but interested in the source of all the fuss. I came out with mind blown. I get it now. I’m still stunned at how much I liked it.

The rest has been training dogs. On the leash, off the leash, in the car, on the road, on the trail. But they finally made friends with each other, so the domestic unit is flush with a boost of emotional wellness (relief, specifically). Go ahead and try not to smile.

As for the aforementioned family rituals, I did get to see the Grandcub a fair amount this month and if you aren’t dying of canine cuteness yet prepare to be slayed by the little boy variety. I gave the Cub his first haircut. No one else in the family could/would do it and his baby curls had become a full-on mullet. He morphed from year-and-a-half to three years old right before my eyes. I cut away his babyness along with the mullet. Now he looks twice his age; one cool dude rollin’ in a sweet ride with a fresh haircut and a devastating stare. You know it. He knows it. As the kids say these days, I can’t even.

You’re smiling again.

This is where I’ll leave you. If the pup swells enough to fail to fit through the fence in October, I’ll have more than photo highlights to share this time next month. The heat has broken. Summer has sailed. Pumpkin spice and blogging weather beckon. Thanks for sticking around, y’all.

Be well, friends.

— Mercy

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