The start of July marked the halfway point of 2020, the end of quarter 2 and beginning of quarter 3. Like any human-made unit—week, month, quarter, etc.—this is an arbitrary unit, but I like to use the occasion as a chance to stop turning pages and instead plop in a bookmark. A pause. Some deep breaths. A look back.
After our 2-hr video call Q2 reflection with my retreat group last weekend, I used Nicole Antoinette’s mid-year reflection workbook “Now What?” this weekend to guide a deeper reflection sit-down.
A Look Back: Q2
First, a look back at where April-me wanted to place my attention during Q2.
I wanted to feel:
My three focuses were:
Since I last wrote in April, much has changed. I now live in a new state, a new climate. I have a full-time job (for 5 months), and should soon be health insured through this employment. I have one in-person friend here, and live an hour and fifteen minutes from the next big town (where I grocery shop biweekly). I have a housemate and internet.
During my first month here, I put energy (money, time) into making my bedroom feel more homey to me, because it felt like a dark place that I didn’t want to be.
This was necessary, and has a big impact on how I feel each day.
Now that I’ve somewhat settled into the new job and surroundings, my energy still feels limited/low. Many factors are coming into play here, including:
a) Less me-time (as compared to Zion, especially during covid). During covid I worked max 3 days/week, and 8-hour days. To go back to four 10-hr days, more physically demanding than back in January and February, it takes up my energy during the week. I have about two hours, from 6-8pm to eat dinner and do whatever else before I settle into bed with a book. I’m usually quite exhausted and don’t spend that time intentionally or feel very present.
b) Loss of control over daily surroundings because I no longer live alone. I really lucked out in Zion, such that my housemate was super quiet (and often at her boyfriend’s on the weekend), and that our walls weren’t paper thin. She moved out in early March, so I’d been living by myself for three months, and didn’t realize how much that played into my grounded feeling. Losing control of what I see, what I hear, what I smell each day in my home has had a bigger impact than I realized.
c) Loss of in-person community. In Zion I could walk to town, see my postal workers, see my librarians, walk into numerous houses on our street, and I knew the maintenance workers in other divisions (roads, housing, irrigation, etc.) because we interacted. So far here it’s been a much smaller circle: my immediate trail crew of six others and our supervisor. I’m meeting other faces when I can, but we’re usually not in the maintenance yard. Also, adding covid on top of our already isolated location means most of the admin are working from home, there are half as many seasonals as usual, and I keep my town trips short/solo. It’s a strange time to move to a new place. All will change, it always does, but this is a snapshot of how things are feeling today.
Life Path Reading
I had a Life Path Reading with Victoria (of Soul Garden Companion, with whom I did some in-person sessions pre-covid in Utah) over the phone a few weeks ago, and much of it resonated. I feel like I’m at the start of a big pivot, and want to turn onto the path of energy healers / soulful teachers.
It feels very distant and unknown, as none of my friends are involved in this realm. Victoria is the only one I know who is deep in this spiritual world, practicing for herself and offering the service to others. This will change, I will meet others, but again I want to take a snapshot of my humble beginnings. And before I met Victoria in Springdale, I didn’t know anyone in real life who practiced these shamanic ceremonies and rituals.
From all the fields I’ve walked into as an adult beginner—i.e. francophone world, watercolor painting, trail work, SUV RVing—I know it makes a huge difference when you’re surrounded by a community of folks who do the thing you want to be doing. So, I know I must find a community or gathering or workshop or class with others who are also drawn to this realm. I’m excited for the journey, but I still want to give space to how far away it feels and how unlikely it can seem, when you’re the only one you know working towards a thing.
Creative Energy Check-in
Finally, I want to create another Bigger Thing, another zine, something this quarter. I’m allowing the mind to compost by taking walks, and trying to stir the pot with StoryLoops. I’m toying with the idea of creating a year-end reflection this month, since I never mailed one out in December of 2019. Maybe seeds will sprout by the time I finish my 100 portraits project, and I can then dedicate that energy elsewhere.
Looking Ahead: Q3
Guiding Theme: Love.
As in, look through a lens of love. Affirm love is my priority. Make the mental choice of love each day. Be consciously aware of love.
Also: Truth. Sacred Space. Be yourself. Follow your heart. Listen to your soul. Speak your truth.
I want to feel:
After I did my Q2 reflection, I pulled a card each from two different oracle decks. They both confirmed what I’ve been feeling drawn towards:
A day or two after doing my reflection, where I lightly chose “love” as a guiding theme, I laughed as I saw the three books I’d recently started sitting side by side:
That was not intentional! I didn’t realize the coincidence until that moment, but very much appreciated the sign.
1. Health Appointments
There are three health appointments I must schedule and go to this quarter. Although these tasks feel very not fun, it’s absolutely my top priority. This is the first time I’ve had health insurance in years, so I must take advantage (although the vision and dental aren’t covered, unfortunately, and that’s the bulk of my needs). I will use my increased summer income to pay for whatever dental work I need, out of pocket.
I had a checkup at Planned Parenthood back at the end of May (paid out of pocket, before insurance kicked in), which both energized me to do the others, and resulted in another appointment I need to make.
I’ve been waiting over a month to be enrolled in my employer’s health insurance. I lost that steam from the late-May appointment, but serendipitously ran into my HR person yesterday in the park (on a weekend! a holiday!), and he confirmed my hunch that I wasn’t enrolled (when I should have been), and then he enrolled me. (I’ve been unable to see my HR rep during the work week because I’m out in the field when he starts, and I don’t come back until he’s already gone for the day. He’s 8-hr, I’m 10-hr days.) So, I should be getting the insurance card in two weeks? (fingers crossed!) And then I can schedule these appointments.
I’m committing to finding doctors/facilities, scheduling, driving to, and paying for:
-The Sky Lakes appt
-Eye prescription check + buy new glasses (no glare! prescription sunglasses too!)
-Dental cleaning + recap my root canal tooth + do I have more teeth coming in? wtf was happening in my mouth in april?
>>> I love my body and want to take care of myself. <<<
2. Deepen Spiritual Practice
Spirituality is still feeling important, as well as an area I can deepen/grow. Some concrete examples of how I can deepen the practice:
-Have a ceremony each month
-Ground/connect with inner self 3x/week
-Weekly release of hucha, energetic cleansing
Something that’s worked well in June, which I’ll continue, is reading a page or two in the mornings from a Marianne Williamson book as I eat breakfast. It felt natural and grounding to do this, even on workday mornings. I recently finished “The Gift of Change” (recommend!), which I’d started last fall, and am now rereading “A Return to Love.” The content is such that one page is more than enough for the day, and it puts my attention where I want it at the beginning of the day. It’s something I look forward to, light, not a task, accessible.
>>> I want to consciously be aware of love. <<<
3. Touch Ukulele Weekly
There was a week or two-week period back in Zion where I was writing little songs and sending them to friends. It felt so fun, light, not-a-task, and freeing.
Since my move here, to a paper-thin walls house with a housemate, I haven’t been playing the uke that often. I still have a vision of writing lots of just-for-me fun songs and seeing where that leads, so a weekly “touch the uke” bar will keep me from straying too far.
>>> I love playful creation, and want to experience/express/create with my ukulele. <<<
Also Feeling Important in Q3
There is much more to any given day than three quarterly focuses. More factors and elements and textures than what you’ll see in the list below, too. But the following are also feeling important at this point in time:
The second week of June, I started adding an “Anti-Racist Actions” section to my weekly spreads in my planner. During the week, that’s where I jot down whatever actions I take—whether it be listening to a podcast, buying books from a Black-owned bookstore, reading Black authors, etc.
While many in my circles were talking about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, it was an email from my brother Luke that sparked Action. (I also waited until I was less overwhelmed from the move and our intense first two weeks of work before I had energy to dedicate to this. You do you.)
Here’s a template he made, which you can customize to your own needs, to keep a collection of BLM resources in one place and to track your learning/activism.
Finish Portraits Project
As I mentioned earlier, I think it will feel good to finish this project in the next three months, which I’ve been working on since 2017. I’ve decided to paint BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) to finish the project. This weekend I painted #89, James Baldwin, so theoretically in 10 weeks I could finish at the rate of one per weekend.
I’d like to be writing/composting more frequently, aka use the books on my shelf for memoir writing prompts, poetry prompts, etc. and play. Any action here will be more than now’s nothing.
Google Metaphysical Schools / Energy Healing
I want to learn more about energy healing, and I also have some AmeriCorps ed award money to use in the next four years. The tricky thing is that many metaphysical schools aren’t “official”/certified schools where the AmeriCorps ed award money can be used.
I’ve done some googling this week—which drains/overwhelms me, and usually results in me closing the computer and leaving the internet—but I can chip away at this over the next quarter, maybe find somewhere I want to go in the fall when this job is done.
Body Flow 3x/week
After starting this more physical job, I’ve been very inconsistent and rare in Body Flow-ing, when my body arguably needs it more than ever. So, I’d like to find a way to make 3x/week of Body Flow feel fun and sustainable and not-task-heavy.
I invested to learn about Incoming Selves with havi brooks back in April, but I’ve hardly spent any time interacting/inviting my incomings. So, here’s another thing I’d like to integrate / put more spotlight on in the next three months.
As always, I invite you to use this bookmark as a prompt/permission to do the same. Put the phone in airplane mode, then in a drawer. Light a candle. Pour a cup of tea. Ground. Sit down with a paper and pen. Whatever feels intentional and sacred for you.
What has your attention these days? What are you curious about? What’s pulling you? How do you want to feel in the next three months?
What’s no longer serving you? What might feel refreshing to release?
Sending light and love your way.
A deep breath for here and now.