Tiny Revolutions №49: The Tide is High
But I'm moving on 🌊
Hi, I’m Sara, and this is Tiny Revolutions, a weekly-ish dispatch of personal writing and links about becoming who you are. Reply anytime, I love to hear from you.
I’m back! After eight months of writing this newsletter every Sunday, I missed a week. Which was not the plan.
There’s a longer story, but the short one is this: I injured myself by doing something very dumb and very careless. I’m fine now, but let’s just say a Tide Pod (!) and multiple emergency eye washes (!) were involved. (Before you ask: yes, it is every bit as stupid and hilarious as it sounds, yes, it was totally my fault, and no, I shan’t elaborate further.)
So instead of writing my newsletter last Sunday as usual, I spent a couple of days in a dark room. Which was…actually kind of nice!
Before The Incident, I had planned to send you a message about how it is so important to slow down right now. For the winter, and for this brutal year in particular. I’d told my housemate a few days prior that I felt like I needed some downtime, and guess what? I got it.
Not for long, mind you. But enough to realize that I really needed it. Which leads me to my question: do you? Consider it.
On to some things I found worth sharing this week.
“Yang is daylight, Yin is night. Yang is activity, Yin is rest. Yang is productivity, Yin is restoration. And for the universe (and ourselves) to be healthy, balanced and peaceful, we should be half one and half the other, and only together, in equal parts, is there wholeness, equanimity and alignment.”
Every time winter rolls around, I think of this short but profound essay acupuncturist Russell Brown wrote a few years ago, about respecting our need for rest.
“We are now in winter, the nighttime of the year. Winter is the season of utmost Yin. It is the Earth’s time of utmost rest, utmost darkness and utmost conservation. Nature requires it. It is from this fertile silence that Spring is born; it takes this period of consolidation to regenerate the burst of Yang that will crack the seedling and push it up through the soil to reach the sunlight at winter’s end. The balance of the cosmos hinges on this period of rest and recovery. And that’s what I want for you.”
So yes, the good news is that we all have permission to take the intensity down a level or 10, professionally and otherwise. The bad news, however, is that it does require some effort:
The psychological cost of civilization, the scourge of the Sunday scaries, and the lesson of the Ju/’hoansi converge in an insight worth taking to heart: Safe-guarding leisure is work. While progress depends on pinning our hopes on a world that doesn’t yet exist, those who cannot stop planning for the future are doomed to labor for a life they will never fully live.
Lyrics of the Week
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
Here’s an excellent cover of the Steely Dan classic, “Deacon Blues.” Fitting for a week during which one has accidentally exploded a Tide Pod (!) in one’s eye (!!) giving oneself a chemical burn (!!!).
“The depravity of a platform where HR Managers are the rockstars speaks for itself. “
Loved this hilarious, analytical look at the mundane insanity happening over at LinkedIn. The social media hot take we didn’t know we needed.
“All problems with writing and performing come from fear. Fear of exposure, fear of weakness, fear of lack of talent, fear of looking like a fool for trying, for even thinking you could write in the first place. It’s all fear. If we didn’t have fear, imagine the creativity in the world. Fear holds us back every step of the way. A lot of studies say that despite all our fears in this country—death, war, guns, illness—our biggest fear is public speaking. What I am doing right now. And when people are asked to identify which kind of public speaking they are most afraid of, they check the improvisation box. So improvisation is the number-one fear in America. Forget a nuclear winter or an eight point nine earthquake or another Hitler. It’s improv. Which is funny, because aren’t we just improvising all day long? Isn’t our whole life just one long improvisation? What are we so scared of?”
— Lily King in “Writers and Lovers,” a book I devoured a few weeks ago. Would make a great gift for a literature-loving person in your life (maybe you?).
“Grasping the sword of wisdom means bringing human capabilities to their highest flowering”
– Zen master Kodo Sawaki
Brad Warner, the head teacher at Angel City Zen Center, where I practice, makes short videos about Zen Buddhism as it relates to life. I loved this one about the idea that making the best use of your abilities is a spiritual practice. That’s how it’s always seemed to me.
“I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things.”
— Nobel Peace Prize laureate Lech Wałęsa (from this great article: The Benefits of Laziness)
This poem forever.
Friends, I am taking my own advice and going on hiatus for the remainder of the year. Tiny Revolutions will return in 2021, rested and ready to ride on into the grand unknown.
I hope your holidays give you exactly what you need, however you’re celebrating. See you soon.
p.s. Share this with a friend who needs it.