As tempting as it may be to focus on what’s falling apart, I’m in awe of the generosity I’ve experienced and witnessed lately, and doing my best to pay it forward.
All this time
The Sun never says
To the Earth,
“You owe me.”
With a love like that.
It lights the
Ashley Sharp invoked this twice during the yoga class she streamed yesterday from her Pudding Creek refuge. Whether written by Hafiz (Hafez?) or Daniel Ladinsky, these words released an enormous sense of… relief? gratitude? after weeks of feeling so incredibly fortunate while also wondering: “Am I doing enough to help?” Not to mention the more frequent thought, “I know I could do a LOT more, but wow I’m exhausted.”
I am beginning to recognize that my desire to keep doing more and more is an attempt to avoid feeling certain emotions: anxiety, grief, confusion, overwhelm. I would like to trust that we’re all doing as much as we can with whatever edible, technological, financial, and emotional (etc) reserves we’ve got available.
A remarkable gift emerging from these times is that we suddenly have unprecedented access to healing practices offered from afar, so we can continue to fill our own cups! I am so grateful to many of my favorite yoga teachers from my California days for making their teachings available online (see list below).
Last weekend I had the immense privilege of taking Devi Daly’s first remote yin yoga teacher training course — thank you thank you thank you Devi for a lovely and inspiring three days! — and yesterday I taught my own first remote yoga session ❤
If you feel you would benefit from a bit of yoga instruction in your living room, here are a few resources from teachers I love:
Two years ago today, Scott and I had been in Auckland barely a month. We were still living in this weird residential apartment in the CBD (Central Business District), directly next door to the record store where Scott now works.
We came out of a movie and I checked my phone, as one does. Amanda, a close friend of Scott’s and one of only three people Scott and I had in common before we met, had just posted a photo of Johnny, another close friend of Scott’s; he’s also a music producer and DJ. Before we left San Francisco, Scott and Johnny had spent weeks hanging out together at Green Apple Books as Scott trained Johnny to take over the music side of things there.
As I switched over to my Facebook feed, I started to piece together what was happening that night in Oakland. In a bizarre and modern version of “real time,” we witnessed our other friends’ collective scramble as news of the Ghost Ship fire spread through an endless stream of Facebook comments.
Despite everyone’s efforts, there was no news about Amanda and Johnny until the next day. We eventually learned that they had both died in the fire that night, along with so many more.
Everyone had something to say in the days that followed. So many posts and articles and replies and clueless reporters and only a few that, at the time, I believed came close to appropriately capturing the complexity of what was going on (thank you so much Gabe Meline!).
Here is what I wrote a week after the fire, mostly for myself, as I struggled to process it all. Looking at these words now I am struck by my desire to do something despite a deep sense of helplessness. The relief / guilt. The felt sense of being oh-so-far away. How hard it is to comfort those who need comforting when our own holes feel so large. It still feels important to hold space open for Amanda and Johnny. For Scott and Shanna and Andy and everyone else who remains, and for everyone who loves anyone.
In addition to calculating how much money we’ve earned over our entire lives, and what we have to show for it (aka our net worth; this is Step 1), we’re instructed to calculate our real hourly wage, a function of our life energy, and track every cent that comes into our goes out of our lives (Step 2). And we get into the habit of tallying up our spending by categories that are relevant to our lives, and we regularly convert those monthly spending totals into hours of life energy (Step 3).
My new workspace arrangement has completely transformed my room from a place I rarely used to a place I can’t wait to come home to / spend all evening / all day getting creative / hanging out in.
Ever since Scott helped me set it up, I’ve had these words from a Jean LeLoup song stuck in my head:
Mon lit est un navire
Un atelier où je vais pour l’éternité
…which roughly translates to, “my bed is a ship / a studio where I’m going for eternity.”
I had been doing a project that required more space than my little desk could accommodate, and had brought a whole pile of books / post-it notes / big sheets of paper / pens / my computer out to the dining room table. Several days later, it was really bugging me to have all that clutter in our living space, but I still wanted everything to be accessible… so I decided to move my big table from the garage and into my room.
After trying out several configurations of furniture, Scott suggested I leave BOTH desks in there, move my wine-box bookshelves (which hold all my writing and painting tools in addition to books) next to the main desk, and move the bed under the windows. And there’s still tons of room for yoga in between.
Insight Timer is my first recommendation when people ask me about meditation or mindfulness apps, but it’s not actually the one I use most frequently. When it comes to actively strengthening the muscles of focus and attention, Pocket — yes, the app that lets you save articles and videos from the web to check out later — is my favorite.
Mindfulness is becoming aware of the distractions in our daily lives, in our minds and hearts.
When we become aware of our distractions we are empowered to make a choice. We can either indulge in our distractions or come back to the task that we were initially focused on.
Developing mindfulness in our daily lives allows us to function at our full potential.
Meditation is the most widely-recognized tool for cultivating mindfulness. I’ve been meditating more-and-less regularly since 2009, and this practice has definitely helped me become more aware of my well-worn thought patterns, knee-jerk reactions, and compulsive behaviors… ever-so-gradually opening up more choice in terms of how I respond to the the things that life brings my way.
Surprisingly, using the Pocket app has also significantly deepened my awareness of the things that distract me, and given me a greater ability to focus… and not only while I’m browsing the internet.
I spent an absurd amount of time over the 4-day Easter weekend bumbling my way through the process of permanently deleting my Facebook account while saving as much of it as I could for posterity. This second part was important to me, and it’s really not as straightforward as it could be – as far as I can tell there are 6 things you need to do BEFORE requesting that Facebook permanently delete your account to ensure that your data is as protected as it can be, and to make sure you still have access to as much as you can reasonably collect from Facebook before saying goodbye.
I consulted a bunch of different How To articles and videos, went down several dead ends, screwed up (and had to cancel/restart the deletion process) multiple times, etc etc just to get to a place where I genuinely believe I did as much as I was willing to do without running some random script.
To add to the body of knowledge around this topic I decided to write up everything I’ve figured out so far. I sincerely hope this will save you some time and stress! I may be geeky but I’m no Facebook expert, so please please please let me know if I’ve misunderstood or misrepresented anything so I can update this article accordingly.
Good luck! This was a pain in the ass, but if I could do it, so you can you 🙂
Step 1: Download a copy of your Facebook data (and be amazed / disappointed with what you get)
You can read Facebook’s own instructions on how to do this here (Settings > Download a copy of your Facebook data). I’m suggesting you do this before Steps 2 and 3 so that you’ll have a record of all the Apps etc that used to be connected in case this list becomes useful at some point in the future…
Female pleasure is still largely a taboo topic in most societies, which is exactly why Lydia Daniller knew she needed to use her voice as an activist and storyteller to speak up. Driven to educate, inform and destigmatize, Lydia launched into a truly ambitious project: a sexual pleasure research website called OMGYES. This kind of honest radicalism isn’t new to Lydia – from early on in life she’s been crafting the unexpected through her love of poetry, photography and videography. “It takes a lot of bravery in general to do anything big and bold and new,” Lydia tells me. “Trust in that thing that you want to do… Of course, you’re going to doubt it, and of course you’re going to be insecure at times.” Listen in as Lydia talks about making time for the things that are really important to you, and why sometimes the best move might just be to step back from something you started. Xero Gravity #81 – Get ready for a feel-good episode!