This week, I pestered a few friends to answer a simple but vital question. What aren’t we talking about enough? I was thinking about what I’d written last week about quietness. Sometimes, quietness must give way to the discussion of important ideas. But what important ideas are missing from the conversation? I got some interesting answers.
I encourage you to click the links to learn about the contributors. Abhi’s will take you to Fracture - an innovative company he founded and runs. He’s a gifted maker and doer. Many of you know Dallas from The Whole 9 and the The Whole 30, and his New York Times Bestseller, “It Starts with Food”. He’s working on some exciting new projects and his link will take you to his page where you can sign up to receive updates. Bryan Davis is a friend from Twitter - he’s sharp, insightful, and kind. I first met Elizabeth in law school. Like me, she escaped the law to some extent. Which is not to say she is a fugitive - only that she spends her time teaching and writing and sometimes over-critiquing my grammar and cautioning me against the High Five’s tendency toward snobbery. “Jeeves! Unsubscribe her post haste!” Anastasia Boulais is a physician in New Zealand. In what I think should be described as a fit of parochialism, she and her husband, Jamie Scott, founded the Ancestral Health Society of … New Zealand. I can assure you the message and the mission are universal. Her link takes you there. Naturally. Jamie and Anastasia are remarkable, to me, in that they walk the talk like few people I’ve known. Finally, Emrys Tetu. Emrys, too, is someone I’d describe as uncompromising when it comes to designing and living one’s life. She is a holistic health counselor, chef, and Yoga Teacher in Connecticut, where she owns and operates Decadent Wellness.
Fear is the conductor of our emotional orchestras, often controlling our actions and lives. Let’s not hide our fears - nothing can vanquish them faster than the vulnerability and courage to admit and confront them. Being willing to share our fears and see them for what they truly are - poisonous figments of our imagination on mental replay - can break the power they have over us, help us develop deeper, more intimate relationships, and ultimately allow us to live our lives more fully, free of so much needless worry and despair.
In my world, everyone is plugged in all the time. The problem with being connected is that we’re actually disconnected from the people around us: family, friends, coworkers, strangers. There’s a startling inverse relationship between perceived quality of human connection between two people and the presence and/or usage of handheld devices. Want better communication? Make sure your phone is invisible and silent.
Bryan Davis / Critical Thinking
When you listen to an authority, an expert, a politician, or even a political commentator, you are going for a ride. The narration is rhetoric, an impactful performance art, and whether or not the teller intends to mislead - they’ve attempted to change the world. Sharp, mindful vigilance is required. Teach your children (or yourself) grammar, rhetoric, logic, and unleash the power to reason, determine truth, communicate, and affect positive change.
Elizabeth Young / What Makes a Good Life
I loved the article Gary linked last week, “What If All I Want is a Mediocre Life
,” so much so that I posted it on my own social media. But the more I thought I about it, the more I was bothered by why the life the author described is one society considers mediocre. Because isn’t living a contented life, one full of love, security and faith, the kind for which we should all be striving? And shouldn’t we be discussing the importance of finding this sort of internal happiness as a measure of a person’s success as much or more than her test scores or how much money she makes?
We need to talk more about gratitude. Gratitude for our comfortable beds, our gluten-free, dairy-free chia puddings, our overflowing wardrobes, our white middle-class privilege, our time to sit down and talk about gratitude.
I had a very nice happy childhood but I still remember things that were beyond the realm of normal to many folks I meet today.
I remember going to take a shower once a week to a friend who lived on the other side of town because our side of town had no hot water that week and it was -40 degrees Celsius and warming up litres of water on a gas stove was a pain in the butt.
I remember having green bananas for the first time because dad wanted to surprise us and I had my whole class come to my house in twos and threes to see them and touch them because they have only ever seen them in books. We worked out pretty quickly that green bananas didn’t taste so nice.
I remember my brother and I being the first ones to walk out of the house to go to school just in case there was a shooter outside for my dad (there was an unspoken rule not to kill the children). And then giving dad an all clear through the window and stepping 20 meters back from the car just in case it exploded on starting. In post-Soviet Russia it was easier and cheaper to assassinate your business competition than make deals. We were learning capitalism.
So I am grateful. I am grateful every day for my warm house, the safe streets of the city I live in when I can bike home after a midnight finish in the clinic, for my online Icebreaker addiction, for my “could I get this gluten free, please?”, for my new bike accessory, for the luxury to worry about my health and to argue about carbohydrates on Twitter.
I also know that I can live, survive, and be happy without all those things. They are nice extras. But extras nonetheless. And that also makes me feel grateful.
As part of meditation-in-action & yoga-off-the-mat, I think a lot about Savoring. It is such a powerful tool to bring us into the present moment and instantaneously release stress. Since the quote attributed to Buddha about suffering being the human condition is thought to actually be more accurately translated as “stress is the human condition” and stress is known to be caused by wanting things to be other than they are, we know that we have the power to relieve ourselves of this often challenging facet of our humanity at any moment simply by choosing to want things to be as they are. How much more joy and ease could we experience if we were able to cultivate savoring each moment, even in the moments it seems impossible to do so?
* Lots of food for thought here - a heartfelt thank you to all. Perhaps this weekend you might take some time to ask yourself some of these questions: How big of a role are you allowing fear to play in your life
? Are you willing to put down your phone and be truly present with a loved one
? How much of the “story” we’re bombarded with every day are you hearing - is your filter strong enough to differentiate signal from noise
? How are you measuring your life
? Are you cultivating an active gratitude practice
? Do you allow yourself to savor the present moment
I know I have work to do.
Have a great weekend,