Friday, June 21, 2013

Solstice Bonfire of the Vanities

Solstice has become one of my favourite days of the year. I'm not one of those hippie-pagan neo-faeries who wear wings to drug-free raves and live in "love constellations," although, you know, if you are: namaste, weirdo.

As much as I poop on the hemp-wearing citizens of this little blue marble, I'm taking teeny baby steps in that direction myself. It's deeply embarrassing; I used to be cool. Now, the highlight of my day is the moment when my boyfriend walks in the door. I'm getting off on the interpersonal connection, and man, it's groovy. I've traded Coke Zero for sparkling water (who am I?) and have taken up Nia and yoga. I use words like "yang" and "hara." I went to the used bookstore last week and fruitlessly searched for a book on chakras.

I am a skeptic by nature. I am distrustful of optimists and people who claim that they're "lucky" in any area of their lives; this goes double for people who get good jobs, publish high-profile writing, or get knocked up on their first try. I generally want to know what they're eating and what side of the body they sleep on and if they're listening to any particular music genre and if they're using a special cream or something. And, in addition to being skeptical, I'm also kind of dark. I tend to focus on the negative things (my apartment is messy! I'm a fattie! I'm unemployed!) while scanning past the good stuff (I live with an awesome partner! I've beaten an eating disorder! I have a ton of free time!). Long story short: I can be kind of a bummer.

So this sidestep into hippie-dom is good for me, I think. Focusing on the light in my life leaves me with less time to be a little raincloud, all pouty and whining, "When is it my turn?" when friends embark on exciting adventures like international travel or engagements. And it forces me to pay attention to my own awesome life. Yesterday, I made a floral crown and watched three hours of Top Gear. On Wednesday, I danced in the park with a dear friend and made friendship bracelets. Today, I'm writing and dancing in a museum. All three of those days, I was healthy of brain and of body; the people I loved were a short bike ride or phone call away; I had clean clothes and a good-smelling body wash; there were fresh figs and iced tea in my fridge. Etcetera.

The trick will be if I can translate that focus on the "small & good" into the "big & not necessarily on the track I want it to be on." Exhibit A: my professional life is a little bit...even typing the words "my professional life" made me sigh out loud, so maybe I should just leave it at that. But while job hunting is bone-meltingly tedious, unemployment allows me to dance a lot, make a lot of home-cooked food, get stuff done around our apartment, and think big-picture thoughts. Not owning a house = no mortgage payments, plenty of flexibility if we want to move, and nothing tying me to a lifestyle I don't necessarily want to maintain. No wedding? I'm not paying off a one-day party two years later. No kids means my waist, hips, sleep schedule, and bank account are staying right where I've parked them. And so on. It's loosening my tight little envy knots.

The solstice is a good day to do this kind of stock-taking work. It can be tough to drill down and let the sunshine in to our dark places, but the day is long and full of light. Traditionally, there are bonfires to bring luck and ward off spirits; now, we usually celebrate with patio drinks. It's all part of the wheel of time, which is a good image to hold in my mind when I'm feeling rather squashed by that particular wheel. Everything runs in cycles: me, the seasons, the world, and the people in it. Let's fill ourselves up with light today.

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