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Tiny Revolutions №48: Looking Ahead
Walking the walk here 🩰
Hi, I’m Sara, and this is Tiny Revolutions, a weekly dispatch of personal writing and links about the art of becoming who you are. Reply anytime, I love to hear from you.
It's only November 29, and yet I feel like for the past few weeks I've been thinking of this year as already over. Probably this is due to the election feeling like the final event to this most pernicious of years — it's like, we made it! And yet here we are, with a month to go.
To that end, I've already started to reflect on what happened this year, and what I'd like to do next year.
Unless you've been around for a while, you may not know that the reason I started writing this newsletter was because I was going through a period of serious depression, and I wanted an avenue for expressing what that was like. If that is a state you find yourself in currently, here are some early issues you might find helpful:
I wrote these because when I have gone through depressive episodes (I've had a few), I’ve felt so terribly alone, even though I knew I was far from the only person who felt that way. I wanted to do something for people who were going through something similar to feel less alone. I still do, and that's part of why I write Tiny Revolutions.
However, now that I'm in a much better place mentally, I find that my interests skew less toward consolation and more toward activism. Is it possible to share the things that I've learned so that I can help people avoid going through what I went through to learn them? Outside of writing this newsletter, what would that look like?
One very cool thing that happened this year is that I realized that the seed of what I've started here at Tiny Revolutions is actually my life's work. In all the therapeutic practices I've tried over the years — and there have been an awful lot of them — I've come to understand that the most important work you can do is the work to understand who you are, to accept who you are, and to let that knowledge form the basis of creating the life that's right for you. And yet we are not taught how to do this!
Sure, some people figure it out on their own. But for me this wasn't an intuitive process — I was always getting caught in how I thought I should be instead of just accepting how I was. It was extremely difficult to separate what I actually wanted from what I thought I should want.
What's clear to me now is that one of the reasons this was the case was that I didn't trust myself at all. Once I learned how to do that (which is absolutely a practice, by the way), my life got a lot easier. Figuring out what I wanted got a lot clearer. And then it just became a question of developing strategies and practices for getting it.
In this, I’ve had a partner for the past year: a coach. I’d been dipping in and out of working with coaches for short engagements for a couple of years, but I finally committed to working with one consistently, and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.
If you’re not familiar with coaching, it's kind of like therapy, but more forward looking/goal oriented. The main goal is to help people get out of their way to accomplish their goals. As a process, it’s all directed by the client — more than anything else, the coach helps lead them through a process of inquiry and training that helps them to arrive at what to do next.
I've loved working with a coach and it's made a huge difference in my life, so I’ve decided to start working as a coach myself. Which is exciting! And also scary. But mostly exciting.
I think of having a coach as like having a thought partner who has no stake in the outcome — a rare and precious thing in our lives. And, perhaps not ironically, I’ve been doing this kind of thing for companies for many years now. As a communications strategist, I work with clients to help them work out a path for telling stories and content that align with their goals and help them reach the right people. So now I’m going to do that for people too. But, you know, different.
I’m telling you first because you’ve been down this road with me over the past two + years, from depressed and paralyzed to healthy and optimistic. I’ll keep you posted on what this looks like in case it’s something you might be interested in, but in the meantime, rest assured that I’m going to keep writing this newsletter regardless.
On to some things I found worth sharing this week.
Just a reminder that you are not crazy.
As someone who loves to work while listening to music but can’t do it to anything with lyrics, I’m always looking for interesting instrumentals. I stumbled upon these two playlists called Music for Plants by the skincare brand F. Miller via the Public Announcement newsletter and have found them pretty charming.
I mostly study Buddhism these days, but really loved this quote from Catholic philosopher Thomas Merton I came across recently.
“What is the relation of [contemplation] to action? Simply this. He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love will not have anything to give others. He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.”
p.s. If any of this resonated with you, share it with a friend! That helps me a lot.