January Highlights

Remember Peaco? Never heard of Peaco? Peaco is my UglyDoll. He is a gift I received many years ago before UglyDolls went mainstream. Before they were sold by big box retail stores. Before a multinational conglomerate bought out the original creator’s cottage business. Before there was an animated movie about them. In the parlance of our times, waaaay before they were cool. Peaco is so old he is no longer in production. In fact, one can only find the pea green original from collectors and secondhand retailers. At some point his clones became pepto pink instead of green but even pinkco Peacos are out of stock now.

Peaco is a wellness tool because he fosters a spirit of play. In my case, childlike play as an adult. Low tech adventure, mirth, silliness, glee, make-believe; all of which bolster creativity and wellness. To kick off 2021 my friend Kristen and I gave ourselves a weekend retreat to rest and revitalize. A lake, a luxurious Airbnb, a fireplace, in one of those energetic charge-up places I wrote about last month. Such events are prime time for Peaco to shine. The photo above is his peekaboo view from my backpack. He gave me the exact same smile when I told him he made the cover for January’s highlight reel. He gives me the exact same smile when I tell him anything, but I remain convinced he was pleased.

So we will start with Social Wellness & Relationships this month.

Quality time with my friend. In semi-seclusion. Hours of talking, sharing, confessions, and dreaming up new year goals with soul, as Danielle Laporte puts it. A sense of remoteness automatically creates rest. A day’s travel still counts as travel, which automatically imparts fun. If you are Out of Town you are traveling, whether it is an hour away or several states away.

We cooked food. We played music. We went for a walk in the rain and built roaring fires. We played with Peaco. We felt ease and flow and comfort. This is a wellness practice, friends, which is the point of highlighting it. We wanted to set a precedent for the new year, which is to spend more time together. Resolutions require action to make them work. Make a start and then practice, practice, practice.

The second highlight in this category was a deliberate action to create more safe, healthy, socialization in the coming months so I signed up for a Spring tennis league again, which doubles as …

Physical Wellness

I restate and reaffirm my gratitude for the privilege of a team sport which can be played under current COVID restrictions. Continued isolation/restriction will require continued vigilance to include safe forms of togetherness and communion. Keep up this work, friends. Community and socialization are still critical for humans to thrive, even under viral oppression. We don’t cease to need contact with each other within pandemic conditions. Seek out ways to be safe and social if for no other reason than a boost to your immune system (a known benefit of positive human contact). You know what’s safe for you and others, so be smart about it but look for ways to make it happen.

As for the other physical practices, they remain yoga, running, hiking, and tennis. Still vegan. Nothing new to report; only the ritual of practice. Continued practice to maintain robust health and physical wellness in between sporting seasons and/or independent of any goals.

That last statement probably seems anti-January (or un-January) in that goal-setting is a January tradition; especially for fitness goals. Perhaps this is my only highlight — that I did not set any fitness goals for the year, nor any goals related to competition. No mileage to gain, no weight to change, no speed or skills to improve, no hours per week to achieve. These things will happen naturally as the seasons change. I’ve been doing all of this long enough to recognize there are cycles. Speed and strength and endurance and skills wax and wane with these cycles. I don’t have to force or initiate them.

There is also the caveat that I’ve been doing all of this long enough to appreciate the benefits without rewards for achievement. My motivations have changed over the years. Incentives like medals and trophies aren’t important to me anymore. I boxed up all that clutter and sent it to the basement long ago. These days I am less likely to sign up for an event if it automatically comes with with a t-shirt, finisher’s medal, water bottle, and other assorted swag. I just don’t want all that junk anymore. I play, run, and practice for the privilege of maintaining wellness and the joy of each activity and that’s enough these days.

Intellectual Wellness & Creativity

One blog post this month. Only the one. And all these photos. No highlights but I am loathe to leave out this category simply because it was a quiet month. I took a break from trying to put up a weekly post and kept studies light in January. I did do some amazing things in the Let Me Organize Your Shit department though. This is one of my enduring superpowers. I made a joke yesterday that if there was a job called Life Coach For Your Space, I’d be a millionaire. Although most people consider it a chore, it energizes my creativity to the point that if I do a lot of it in a single month, I don’t necessarily need to do much more.

So maybe it is a highlight. It’s not the same as Kon Mari. If you want your stuff/space to function or support your life in a certain way I can organize, rearrange, and facilitate it without necessarily buying anything or getting rid of your stuff. It’s magic. I can walk in with fresh eyes and see how you want it to be and then help you make it happen. And it is fun for me. And I love it, ergo I bring fun to the process. I will admit that reducing stuff often helps but what I do is not based on minimizing unless the stuff in question is hindering the way you want your space to support your life. I did a bunch of this in January on request; an office and two homes and very little needed to be purged. It’s a gift to others and a boost for me, because I feel like I make that particular little part of the world a happier place. I also consider this my Environmental Wellness highlight for the month.

Spiritual & Emotional Wellness

I confided to a friend that I was still mourning the loss of another friendship which can be never be mended or rekindled or revived. After five years I’m still fussing with my loss and associated emotions. The friend I lost didn’t physically die but rather went through a transformation into a completely different person. As a result this friend withdrew from all relationships which existed before the change. As if they never happened or mattered — poof! Gone. With no warning or negotiation.

All friendships were immediately terminated. All associations severed and disavowed. Even my friend’s marriage; cruelly shut down and ended. So it wasn’t just me. Lots of people were wounded but five years later I’m still struggling to get over it. In advance of the transformation I was supportive and loving and accepting. After the change was complete I was rejected with the particularly painful blow of my friend claiming not to know me or remember me from before.

I’ve been waiting for five years to reconcile this. I kept crying over it and calling it unfinished business. I regurgitated it to anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby when my friend’s name came up in conversation. This month someone sat across from me during one of those vomits and suggested I have a funeral for my former friend. For our friendship. Since I insist on describing my ongoing angst over it as mourning, I should have the damn funeral and say goodbye. Finish the business on my end. A funeral for a living person. And for a fake friendship, I suppose. I had to spend some time with this suggestion to soften my resistance to the notion that I needed to adjust more to something I felt never should have been dealt to me. But this is my Year of Honesty (dammit).

The friend I knew doesn’t exist anymore. (Maybe never existed.) The emergent person isn’t someone I would welcome in my life. Since it cannot be ruled out that my friend was always this person on the inside I’ve been mourning for something (someone) that probably wasn’t real. Oof. Worse than losing my friend is the notion that my friendship was being perpetuated by a persona rather than an authentic person. And since I’m dead/unknown/forgotten to my former friend anyway, perhaps a funeral for my own expectations was in order. I expected that my former friend would remain the same person but simply have a different presentation. I expected our friendship would continue in closeness and affection the same as before, only I’d have a friend who looked different than before. Nope and nope.

It took five years to acknowledge none of that was ever up to me just because I loved and supported my friend though the process. My lunch mate was right. It was time to finish that business and move on. The day of the funeral I planned a ceremonial fire but of course it rained, so I had to do it indoors with candles instead. You know what a funeral is — same drill, only no attendees and no corpse. I said a few words, cried a few tears, sang a few notes, and offered a farewell blessing. I just hope this isn’t like washing your car to make it rain. You know, say goodbye and then more former friend comes knocking. That’s not my expectation (or hope) but if it happens there will definitely be more to follow on this, you can be sure.

Occupational/Financial Wellness

I didn’t get a stimulus check. I’m the only one I know (locally) who didn’t get it. I got one the first time around but the second one never came. After weeks of waiting I finally went to investigate. It’s not because I make too much money. According to the IRS it’s because the government got too overwhelmed processing payments so close to tax season so they pumped the brakes at about the 68% mark. Around 20 million of us got stiffed. I’m the only kid on my block and folks who got paid don’t believe me but it’s true. Google it.

Instead of a check I’m supposed to claim some special exemption on my tax return. This is NOT the same as a cash payment, folks. I admit I took umbrage. But — more Year of Honesty — it’s not like they took something away from me. It was free money I didn’t get. And I wouldn’t have done anything stimulating with it anyway. It was an interesting lesson though; processing the irony of disappointment over the denial of a handout. Logically I know much of the government’s money comes from taxpayers so I wasn’t getting money from the government but rather getting money back from the government. But the government forces me to pay up when it’s time, I sputtered. I expected the government to likewise pay as promised and when it didn’t I got my knickers in a twist. I’m embarrassed to admit I wasted a couple of days bitching about it. Then I felt like an ass.

In big picture zoom-out I am not in hardship. I am in the early throes of changing my relationship with money and I can/will/do have plenty of it because this is my intention irrespective of unkept promises. I’m simply done haggling over money. Money is a foregone conclusion because it is time for me to have it in sufficient supply to support the path of life I’ve identified and chosen. Like the lovely proverb about leaping from a cliff to encounter either a net or freshly grown wings, money will come. Money is imminent. The Universe is conspiring to support me in multiple ways. I shall have all I need and so much more I’ll be able to give it away as a co-conspirator. This is how it’s done, y’all. Focus on what you lack and you reinforce lack. Focus on abundance and you reinforce and invite abundance. Say it with me.

Prosperous. Thriving. Flourishing.

Rich. Lush. Well. Grateful.

Ready. Willing. Manifest.

Words are energy. Let that energy serve you. Make that energy serve you. Help that energy serve you.

Feels like a good place to marinate (luxuriate) so I’ll wrap up for the month and enjoy my day of rest. Thank you for reading. The point of sharing and articulating my practice is part celebration and part revelation. Wellness work isn’t a formula. Every day’s work to restore or sustain wellness is different than the next. Writing this post is another form wellness work for me. I don’t get to choose what it is for you but my intention is always to inspire you to recognize and invigorate your own wellness practices. If these suggestions aren’t relevant to you today they might be helpful on another day or for another reader so I offer it all in good faith and continued encouragement. We need not be perfect vessels to be of service to the world. We need only to be willing ones.

— Mercy

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