Eleven days into October I had a 2-hour video call with Nicole Antoinette and my retreat group from January, to reflect on the past quarter and look ahead to the final months of 2020.
Afterwards, I spent an hour or two quietly working through Nicole’s Q3 reflection workbook, answering journal prompts freely, with only myself as witness.
Below is some of what arose from those reflections, but first,
wtf happened in September? some space for September.
A Look Back: September
With just a week’s notice, I drove 535 miles (x2) to visit a friend over a long weekend. Refreshing to escape my bubble and remember how familiar it feels to sleep in Elereen, while at the same time it exposed the need to release and grieve a friendship which isn’t serving me. (But which, of course, I want to hold on to, for Reasons.)
That blended into the fires, the poor communication here, neighbors packing up cars in case of evacuation. And then upon returning to work, dark clouds settled in with the smoke, and some other energy consumed me. Impatience for anyone, no desire to be at work, wake up and cry, fill fuel and cry—is this in any way related to grief, out of nowhere? What’s happening, where did I go? Who is this person in my body, who has lost the ability to humanize those around her? Why did she crack? Is it really that bad? Being pissed at others for who they are doesn’t feel good. Why are we doing this? Oh right, it’s taking every ounce of juice to walk to work and get through this moment, and the next, and the next, when you’re feeling so utterly down, gutted, alone, so there’s absolutely no energy remaining for a second of patience or compassion, I got it. So we adjusted to the circumstances, without needing to know Why the circumstances were, and did the best we could, gave ourselves grace and compassion and kindness and new books and the world’s most delicious vegan chocolate chip cookies.
A very social weekend at the end of the month shifted energy, and I could feel the clouds begin to part. Now we’re more-or-less back to my Crater Lake “normal,” which isn’t my ideal “normal,” but I will gladly take it.
That said, here are bits of September through the lens of my three Q3 priorities:
1. Health Appointments
- Go to night guard dental appt. (+) Did this, and they amazingly were able to make the night guard that same day, so I picked it up after getting groceries/doing errands—saving me 3 hours of driving.
- Schedule Medford appt. (+) The fires closed down the clinic in Medford, but a bit into October I was able to schedule the appointment. It’s next Friday.
- Keep up with Energy Body Mastery course. I’m on the second half of the last lecture. I haven’t been doing qigong at all, as we’re supposed to, not doing daily visualizations. But I have the materials forever, and can return to them and build the practice on a timeline and way that feels sustainable for me.
- “Anne” song. I recorded a video of me playing and singing the song. I have harmony for a small part of it. I would have to page through my notebook to know the last time I touched my uke; perhaps that weekend in September when the energy changed? I’m slowly playing around in Garage Band, playing around with how to harmonize the chorus, wishing I had a piano in front of me.
A Look Back: Q3
Back at the end of June, I felt the guiding theme of Love coming forward.
During Q3, I wanted to feel:
These were the three focuses (+ additional areas) I’d highlighted for the third quarter, with updates of movement.
1. Health appointments.
I found an eye doctor, made appointment, went to the eye doctor, got a new prescription, bought new glasses, and submitted receipts to insurance. (Yay!)
I found a sliding-scale dentist, filled out a buttload of new-patient paperwork, printed income/tax info at a Staples to mail in, went to new patient appointment, had a cleaning, got two wisdom teeth pulled, two fillings done, and a night guard made. (Great job!)
I went to Sky Lakes twice—the first a visit where I felt un-listened to and un-cared for, the second some imaging I begrudgingly did, even though it found nothing (as I suspected) because of my age and reasons. I have an appointment for a return to Medford, to see how we proceed. But also, I am moving away from this area in three weeks. Can we please get some closure so I can be at peace in my body? (A breath of love for June me, July me, August me, September me, and October me, who have all been doing their best on this uncharted journey.)
2. Deepen spiritual practices.
I continued reading Marianne Williamson in the mornings, which is molding my mind in a way that I like.
I learned of and invested in a Body Energy Mastery course, as well as two shamanism books I have waiting for me to begin.
I turned to simple practices and short mantras when darkness was consuming.
3. Touch ukulele weekly.
I had a pop-up ukulele concert! And I fell in love with a melody I wrote, to a Mary Oliver poem. The song is constantly stuck in my head, and I’m having fun trying to put the feeling/energy to music.
After tracking actions week after week all summer and fall, it’s much more woven into my everyday/awareness. I’ve varied who and what I read. I’ve been painting BIPOC for my portraits project. Snapshot: Yesterday while painting, one of the audios I listened to was Janelle Monáe on The Breakfast Club. It was glaringly obvious to me that all of the resources I recently shared and my biggest influences are all from white folks.
Internally, my awareness has definitely changed, which is always the key. It will continue to change, bit by bit, which ripples out as it does. I have a long way to go, but looking at a snapshot from May-me to October-me, I can feel the difference in awareness, the shift in direction, more towards where I’d like to be going.
I painted #97 yesterday, and am so ready to complete this project and close that chapter. Three to go.
I recently got into Yoga with Adriene videos, and have been using them weekly to connect with my body, stretch my muscles, etc.
Many of these were cheered for above, but here’s an additional hodgepodge of some of what I’m celebrating from the past three and a half months:
-Learning new job
-Learning new skills at job (uncomfortable, being a beginner in front of judgmental eyes)
-Expanding compassion and patience; humanizing people that are difficult to be around.
-Getting back into reading groove
-Going through dark September
-Time with tea
-Deepening friendships with Em and Liz and Ellie.
-Drive to Yosemite (whim, long drive, trusted, stuck to my priorities)
-New friendships (art group, fire ppl, the woodworker)
-Adapting to pandemic
-Snail mail sent
Breaths of Gratitude for
Working vehicle, job with good wage + health insurance, safe home, safe neighborhood, books, tea, good food, full kitchen, my own bedroom and bathroom, PO Box, computer/phone, wifi access, RTR friends, Liz, Em, Ellie, time for snail mailing, space for emotions, Alexandra Franzen’s energy + classes, Catan with Luke + Jacki, new connections, letters and emails from Mom, carpooling with Ellie, angels on crew, dental clinic with sliding scale, financial assistance at my other doctor, kind people at Planned Parenthood.
What’s Feeling Complete?
100 Portraits. Already touched on this, but I’m very much ready for the feeling of completion on this project. I only painted two in August, two in September, which shows it’s felt more chore-ish lately than delightful, hence feeling ready to let it go. But this is one where I will push through and finish. Sometimes when things feel chore-ish, it’s best to let it go, incomplete. And sometimes, it’s best to push through.
Trail work. This chapter is also feeling complete. No idea what lies ahead in terms of how to make income, but I’m curious to find out. Resistance is very high to another season of trail work.
Instagram. I’ve been checking the public pages of ten or so people from my computer or phone browser, on a “fake” account I’d made for that purpose. After our RTR reflection, it was clear I wanted to cut out this final thread of social media consumption. So I signed out, moved the folder, and shared with my RTR friends—many of whom have signed out and deleted the app for the rest of October for their own personal experiment. (Note: If you haven’t seen the documentary “The Social Dilemma,” I recommend it!)
Looking Ahead: Q4
Nature Wastes Nothing
Guiding Theme: Nature wastes nothing.
To me, this means you don’t have to “try”/”push.” Just be you. Go with inclinations. Swim downstream.
No matter where I am or what I’m doing, I will have experiences that will teach me things. I will learn and grow. I will have new ideas, I will make things, I will pursue curiosities. Every fallen leaf and downed tree is recycled in nature, and brings about new life.
Thus, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing or not doing, whatever happens or doesn’t happen, and however I’m feeling, I’m a part of this Whole Thing, just doing what a Rebecca Rose does, noticing what I notice, slowly getting polished like the stones under the flowing river, blooming wherever my seed has landed–as the flowers do.
Self-reminders: Surrender. Release control. Enjoy the journey. Keep affirming the belief that my quiet, joyful existence is powerful and meaningful.
On my altar: Lakshmi and Athena
“Stop worrying. Everything is going to be fine”
“This is a kind universe, and everyone within it is working in your favor. There are no tests, blocks, or obstacles in your way, except your own projections of fear into your future.”
“You know what to do, trust your inner wisdom, and take appropriate action without delay.”
Create a tiny project.
I have been feeling creative energy lately, which is an amazingly wonderful feeling, no matter how slight. I’m thinking all the time about how to express ideas in writing, how could you even communicate xyz, how would I begin to tell the journey of how I’ve changed in the past three years, etc. And the thinking is something. So, anyway, I’d like to make a tiny something in these last 74 days of the year.
2. Write daily / return to gratitude.
I’ve hardly journaled during my five months at Crater Lake. I’d like to get back into daily journaling, and a quick gratitude list would be an easy-access way to revive the practice, like last October when I was overcome by grief on my drive out West—but committed to writing daily. (Gratitude doesn’t feel too present these days either, and adding some in will do nothing but nurture. How do I go about adding some in, by the way? First things first, I changed out the card in my bathroom today, so I’ll get a visual reminder multiple times daily.)
3. Clear energy weekly / connect with inner self.
This has come up again and again this summer: I’m not with myself, I’m not making the space to actually go there, I talk and think about it–but am not doing it.
I realized during my reflection day that I need to give myself a container to do this thing I want to do. And I thought, why not go with slips of options, like I did for creative play earlier in the year? Draw a slip each week. Make it easy and accessible. So, I’m now adjusting my boat to steer in this direction.
4. Body Flow / yoga weekly.
Finally, I’ve recently found a fresh energy here via Yoga with Adriene. Yesterday, I rubbed an essential oil on my temples and lit a candle before I did the yoga video. I want to keep at this practice, to see if I can’t weave it into my everyday, like so many others that have since become second nature.
One practice that feels good to me on month-end or end-of-quarter reflections is to make a big list of what’s hanging over you, what are the loose ends that would feel good to tie up, the tasks you never seem to cross off, what would you love to leave behind and not take forward with you?
Because my reflection happened so “late” into the month, I’m kind of using October as a transition month—to clear the things on my list of “clear the decks,” rather than jamming it into a single day. I’m giving myself the full month to not take things things forward (i.e. 100 portraits project, lingering emails, snail mailing, sorting thru things before moving again, etc.) This feels like a good pace, especially since now we’re down to the final two weeks of the month—my final three weeks in this house and with this job.
How have the last three months felt for you?
What are you proud of, what were your tiny wins? (Have you celebrated? You rock!)
As you look forward, what’s feeling important?
Where would you like to shift your attention?
Sending light and love, and a deep breath for all of us.