Tiny Revolutions №90: How It Is Right Now
+ keep the channel open 📖
Greetings from springtime in Los Angeles, where your girl’s been busy. After a few weeks of travel — a whirlwind trip to NYC, a week in Atlanta to my parents, and a week in Florida to do not much at all — I seem to have returned to a city in the midst of being reborn. The flowers are out and the people are too, and connecting with friends and family IRL has never been sweeter.
All of which is to say, I guess, that I have been spending a lot more time on living lately than I have on writing. But I’ve missed you all so I wanted to share some things that have inspired me recently.
I passed a gorgeous afternoon recently on the Florida panhandle, riding around on a beach cruiser and listening to an episode of Everything is Fine with the writer and teacher Megan Stielstra. Megan went through a huge period of transition during the pandemic that kicked off with getting divorced and involved her moving across the country with her young son and losing 100 lbs. It’s a great conversation about aging and change and making sense of the journey.
One of my favorite parts is when they talk about how when you are in the midst of Big Changes, you’re never really sure whether you’re on a bridge between chapters or whether this is just how it is now.
A strange thing about my life is that I didn’t (haven’t?) experienced a lot of the milestones that people typically use as markers for different periods in life — getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc. Though I certainly have many different eras in adulthood related to jobs, relationships, and locations, it has felt at times like I was living the same way I had since graduating from college.
I wrote an essay years ago about this feeling of frustration about missing so many rites of passage, like the changes I was living through were illegible in some ways to anyone but me and how *annoying* that was. Years have passed now, however, and I am not so worried about that anymore. I’d like to think this is because I’ve put so much time and effort into finding a way to be OK with myself in the world, but maybe it’s just the passing of time. I wonder this about a lot of things these days. Does this shit still matter or am I just too old to care anymore? ;)
The gems! They’re always there if we can see them. Poem by Mikko Harvey from “Let the World Have You” (via Poetry is Not a Luxury)
Keep the Channel Open
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.
Loved this advice from legendary choreographer Martha Graham.
Some bangers from Twitter
It’s never really an either/or, is it?
“A garden is distinct from other landscapes, he writes: like a desert, which signifies passivity and non-movement of both Nature and Spirit. Or a jungle where Nature acts alone, or a village, which signifies Spirit only, acting. The garden, at least according to the biblical creation story is where humans were placed and given their fundamental task: to “cultivate and maintain this ‘garden’” (2002).
What it means practically to cultivate and maintain, writes the author, is that our task as humans is not either to act or allow, rather it is “to work, and to allow growth; to think, and to await the growth and ripening of thought…to will and to dare…to know and to be silent” (2002, italics are mine).
The author’s use of the word “dare” here, in connection with “will” is interesting to me. It shows that exerting will in the world is one expression of courage, but that there’s another way to be brave: to trust what we can’t see or understand just yet, or maybe ever.”
That’s Jessica Doré in another wonderful issue of Offerings, her brilliant newsletter that combines psychology and spirituality and mythology, among other things. Have you subscribed yet?
A tiny suggestion
I should also admit that I’ve been busy creating in other realms. I gave a talk at Angel City Zen Center yesterday on Zen Legend Charlotte Joko Beck’s theory of the core belief, and will post it here when it comes out on the podcast. (I think it will come out on the podcast!)
I also am writing a lot about the wild world of crypto and all the various possibilities for how we can use this emerging technology to empower people, organize in more equitable ways, and create more public goods, among other things.
If you’re curious, you can read more about Crypto, Culture, & Society, the project I contribute to, here, and my work on its behalf here. I realize many people are extremely opposed to what’s going on in the crypto world and believe me, I am well aware of its pitfalls. But I also think it’s a transformative technology that can and should be used for good.
I guess that’s all for me this time. Thanks for being here, and for reading, as always.
I’d love to know — how’s your spring been? Reply or drop me a line in the comments!
p.s. Tiny Revolutions is free to read for everyone, but if you’d like to support my work, you can do so by becoming a paid subscriber. You can also just like this post — I appreciate that a lot!
On changes, a beautiful conversation on of the last episodes of Better Things, speaking that “life is a series of befores and afters.”
Nice to have you back.
oh, I loved the "camera obscura" picture. So poetic!