Accidental Fudge

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Tag: spring

Spring

Tuesday was officially the first day of spring.

In Chicago, we had just-above-freezing temps and some pretty brutal wind to ring in the new season. A lot of places in the US got a significant amount of snow.

The weather may not feel very spring-like here yet, but I am trying to tune into the change of season on a mental level. I want to appreciate the lengthening hours of daylight, and celebrate the chance for new beginnings. I want to clear out some mental clutter I’ve been hoarding. I want to keep getting better at keeping my apartment relatively tidy.

I’ve been in a quiet, introspective place for a while, which has sometimes made it hard to blog. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface, but not a lot I’m ready to articulate.

I’m starting to feel, though, like as spring emerges, I am also entering a time of emergence. Ideas are getting closer to the surface, closer to being ready to bring into the light of reality. As overwhelmed as I can be by new endeavors, I think I’m mostly looking forward to letting the energy of spring sweep me along for a while.

I still don’t have much to articulate quite yet, but I think it’s coming. Meanwhile, I’ll lean into the feeling that new life is emerging around me.

Spring Cleaning

Last weekend was the vernal equinox – the first day of spring. From here until the summer solstice in June, the days will be getting longer. As much as I like to say that I don’t mind winter (particularly because, as a knitter and an exceptionally warm-blooded person, I am rarely cold, but easily overheated), I’m definitely ready for more daylight and the opportunity to ditch my winter coat for a while.

At some point last year, when I started looking into various forms of earth-centered spirituality, I came across the idea of taking the standard pagan “wheel of the year” – marked by the equinoxes, solstices, and four holidays that fall between each, based largely on an agrarian calendar – and create a sacred calendar that speaks to your own life, traditions, and seasons, which may or may not have a lot to do with planting or harvesting. I came up with some ideas for marking the changing seasons, based on a combination of general tradition and things that are important to me. The big thing that came up for springtime was the idea of spring cleaning.

Last year, it seems like most of my spring cleaning happened on an interpersonal level – letting go of toxic relationships and situations that weren’t making my life fuller. This year, the focus feels like it’s shifted to a more literal sort of spring cleaning, the sort where I let go of physical possessions and make an effort to tidy my living space.

To say that I am not particularly tidy would be very kind and quite a bit of an understatement. While I am slowly getting better as I get older, I am fighting years of packrat tendencies, mental illness, and housework-related inertia, and all of this amounts to a lot of good intentions and a frequent lack of follow-through. But, like I said, I’m getting better. I’m learning that I actually to appreciate tidy space, and I do not need clutter to function, and I feel better about myself and the space that I occupy when I take care of myself and that space.

Last weekend, aside from chipping away at the list of weekly housework my partner and I try to keep up with, I tackled two areas in our apartment that I’d been avoiding for months in one case, years in another. While it didn’t hit my conscious radar until after the fact that I was doing this over the equinox, in retrospect it makes a lot of sense – in a lot of ways, the arrival of spring feels like the true beginning of a new year, and I want to start things out right, without a lot of baggage. The cleaning I did last weekend feels like a major step in the right direction. Now I just need to stay motivated!

Introspection

The past couple of months have felt pretty chaotic – I’ve had places to be four out of five weeknights for the past eight weeks, we’ve already started plotting out our summer (which seems unreal, as it’s approximately 37°F outside as I write this), we’re in the midst of a major purge of the things that have piled up in our apartment, and last weekend we had a friend staying with us.

This is my last week of the four-weeknights-out madness (at least for a while), and as that winds down, it feels like a good time to take a step back and look inward. When life is busy and noisy and full of things to do, I sometimes forget that it’s important to let myself just be sometimes, too.

The friend who stayed with us last weekend is someone we love dearly, but by the end of the weekend, my partner and I were exhausted. It was when I took a step back after they left and realized that they are one of our few extroverted friends that we finally understood why we were so tired when they seemed like they could have kept going forever. It got me thinking about how I have always been an introvert, but how that has manifested differently at different times – and how those different manifestations are often major indicators of the rest of my mental health. I am a different sort of introvert than my partner is, at least some of the time – I need my quiet time at home, away from people in general, but I crave total solitude less frequently than he does. When I am tending toward total isolation, it is often an indication that I am not at my best – that I am trying very hard to hold it together, and it is easier for me to do that if I don’t have to fake it in front of anyone but myself. There is a point at the lower levels of mania where I am much more likely to be intentional about being social, because I actually have the energy to spare for it, but if I’m not careful and my ManicBrain hits a fever pitch, I shut myself away to avoid melting down from the overstimulation of public spaces (and to avoid spending everything in my bank account and beyond).

Because I have been recovering the energy I spent this weekend, and particularly since the weather turned a bit colder this week, I have been trying to be gentle with myself, to let myself be more of a hermit than I might otherwise be. I’m finding that I am drawn more than usual to meditation and quiet, and that has been refreshing. I’ve found myself doodling absently (or resisting the urge to do so in meetings), which is a creative outlet I haven’t explored much lately. I think, much like the rest of the world, I am in a tender place here at the changing of the seasons, and I am trying to learn as much as I can from this place of openness and vulnerability.

Thinking of Spring

We have once again reached that delightful time of year when I am frequently overcome by the beauty of nature (read: watery-eyed, sniffly, exhausted, and allergic to every blessed thing outdoors). As obnoxious as spring allergies are, though, I am thoroughly enjoying the warmer (but not-too-warm) weather, the sunlight we’ve had so far, the longer daylight hours…perhaps it’s just a function of the enthusiastic reproductive efforts of the local flora (and fauna, I suppose), but there seems to be a renewed sense of vitality after the drabness of winter.

I am finally getting around to dealing with some personal things that I have been avoiding for several months. I haven’t had a huge increase in energy, but some things that seem impossible during the grey and dreary times of year become possible when the sun and the green start to come through again.

This weekend, we have a friend coming to visit us from Minnesota. They are one of those friends whose company we don’t get to enjoy often enough, one of those rare souls who leaves me feeling emptied, renewed, and refueled after contact. The weekend promises to be intense and exhausting in some of the best ways, and I’m very much looking forward to it.

I’ve been thinking about relationships lately, and the defining characteristics of the various relationships I’m in with people, from my partner to my friends to my family. This season of renewal and rebirth has me contemplating a sort of social spring cleaning – not necessarily cutting people out of my life completely, but working on strengthening healthy boundaries when dealing with dysfunction, and taking stock of where I am most supported and most relied-on for support, so that I can balance the two. I think I spend too much time wondering how in the world to make new friends, and not enough time cultivating the friendships I already have.

I guess changes in weather bring out my contemplative side. There’s a lot of planning going on, and some big things coming down the pike this summer. It seems it is time to come out of hibernation so that I can enjoy the relative calm before life picks up again. If only I could do it without sniffling…

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