Something Good

1. Things worth considering on Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Dear White People, Before You Post Dr. King Quotes To Make Yourself Feel Good…, and Before you share an MLK quote, understand that you’re quoting a proud political radical, and 5 MLK Quotes That Remain Incredibly Relevant Today, and Before you post that MLK quote, do at least one of these four things.

2. Terry Gross and the Art of Opening Up on The New York Times. “The ‘Fresh Air’ host’s 40-year, 13,000-interview master class in conversation.”

3. Forget hygge, it’s time for uitwaaien. Uitwaaien is “a Dutch word that translates literally as ‘out blowing’ but is perhaps better understood as ‘to walk in the wind.’ Typically used as a noun, it describes the act of undertaking some sort of outdoor physical activity in windy conditions. Wind, as local wisdom goes, refreshes and recalibrates you.”

4. Sidney Poitier was an icon of racial reassurance. But his genius lay in his rage. “Poitier is understandably being celebrated as an icon of cinematic representation and reassurance. But we ignore at our peril the fact that those values coexisted with a rage that feels as palpable and galvanizing today as it did half a century ago.”

5. Good stuff from Lion’s Roar: Three Methods for Working with Chaos (“Times of chaos and challenge can be the most spiritually powerful… if we are brave enough to rest in their space of uncertainty. Pema Chödrön describes three ways to use our problems as the path to awakening and joy: go to the places that scare you, use poison as medicine, and regard what arises as awakened energy”), and Voices and Visions (“‘When the spirit moves into writing, shaping its direction, that is a moment of pure mystery. It is a visitation of the sacred that I cannot call forth at will.’ bell hooks shares how writing becomes a way into the realm of the sacred”), and The Many Faces of Cultural Appropriation (“What does cultural appropriation mean in a Buddhist context? According to Chenxing Han and Trent Walker, the answer is not as simple as we might like it to be”).

6. Wisdom from Seth Godin: Who’s responsible? “Freedom without consequences is a myth. Our actions always have consequences. The question is: who will bear them?”

7. The Other Big Lie. “There are variations of this Big Lie of Defeat. The lie that democracy is irrevocably wounded and can’t be defended or strengthened. The lie that the anti-democracy right is marching across America unopposed. The lie that that we can’t protect each other from COVID. The lie that discussing racism in schools is dangerous or harmful to people who are white.”

8. ‘Self-Care’ Isn’t the Fix for Late-Pandemic Malaise. “What we need is to take care of others.”

9. Worden’s Tasks of Mourning: A Spiritual Exercise. “J. W. Worden identifies four tasks in grieving: accept the loss, acknowledge the pain of the loss, adjust to a new environment and reinvest in the reality of a new life. The tasks of grief are not states of achievement but a fluctuating process to accommodate a new normal lifestyle without what was lost.”

10. I Used to Be a Human Being. “An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.”

11. Adulting in Times of #covid19. This is a great list, but also a bit overwhelming, especially the implication that the author and her partner complete the list in the final few weeks of the year when I feel like it would take me ALL year to finish.

12. Two great Twitter threads from Austin Kleon: Are their any books you recommend to someone who’s just lost a loved one? and another 10 books with important lessons that didn’t make my top 21, for whatever reason.

13. ‘I just want to ride my bike:’ An honest talk about racial bias in transportation.

14. Want to get omicron and just get it over with? Here’s why that’s a bad idea.

15. ‘The House’ Is a Mysterious Animated Trilogy Following Three Generations of Stop-Motion Characters. “A destitute family, an uneasy property developer, and an unrealistic landlady clinging to the past all find themselves grappling with control when they inhabit The House. The mysterious dwelling is the titular character of Netflix’s new three-part series that brings some of the most promising names of stop-motion animation to the major television platform.”

16. Stay alive in the meantime: Notes at the top of 2022. “To be completely honest, I thought this year would begin not with questions but with resolutions.”

17. Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore on Writing on Your Own Terms. “When the publishing industry decides, our work suffers.”

18. Teeming with Leaves and Grasses, Oil Paintings Cloaked in Lush Foliage Evoke the Forest Floor.

19. 3 Ways to Ditch Diet Culture and Forge a Deeper Connection With Your Body. In related news, The Commodification of the Wellness Industry and 5 nutrition goals that are better than weight loss.

20. Photo Essay: The Dignity of Custodians.

21. For Retail Workers, Omicron Disruptions Aren’t Just About Health on The New York Times. “Stores are shortening hours, fitting rooms are being closed and some employees can’t go on break. ‘Morale could not be lower,’ one retail worker said.”

22. Omicron Means Parents Are Doing It All Again, Except This Time Dead Inside. In related news, How Much Should We Lie To Our Kids About Everything Being OK?

23. The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When They Start a Journaling Practice.

24. Using poetry to understand grief during a very difficult year. “It’s been a difficult year for many people. NPR’s Elissa Nadworny talks with poet Danez Smith about using poetry to understand and process complex emotions like grief.”

25. After learning her ‘favorite’ patient’s dog was taken to the pound, amazing nurse adopts him.

26. No social media, no email, no website. And she’s a business success.

27. Creativity can’t be forced. Take breaks and zone out to find new inspiration.

28. After 2.5-Week ‘War’ With 3 Cats, Woman Contacts Vitamix Asking For Empty Boxes To Replace The One Her Cats Took Over With New Blender Inside.

 

Gratitude

1. Gratitude. Yes, on this week’s list of things I’m grateful for is gratitude. I was outside looking at the sky when I got up this morning and I realized that this list could be subtitled “things that keep me from giving up.” Noticing, being aware and amazed, feeling that warm rush of thankfulness that is a strange mix of hello/goodbye, love and grief, full and empty — keeps me from giving up. Sometimes it’s as simple as birds in the feeder or a glass of orange juice or a warm shower, and other times it’s more complicated, bigger than that, like hugging Eric as we stand in our kitchen in a house we’ve made our home for 20 years with a love that’s sustained us for almost 30 years, knowing that we are so lucky and also that it won’t last, that everything we love will die, including us.

2. Morning walks. We were back on our regular schedule this week. It involved some different routes because of the snow still left on the ground. After a few days without more snow coming down to cover it or enough sun to melt it all, the trails where people have walked pack down, with the top layer thawing and refreezing into a sheet of ice, so to walk our normal dirt trails means wearing spikes on my shoes and has the potential to make Ringo’s feet too cold or him slip, so we stay on the city paved trails that are kept clear. Thankfully, there are still spots on these routes where we can see the river.

3. Pink sky. Some mornings it’s so vibrant, it changes the color of the light inside the house.

4. Ringo’s lost & found. I told you recently about the pair of gloves, which started to wear and tear and thankfully he found a bear on a walk to replace them so I could sneak them into the trash. A few days ago, his find was a soft fuzzy duck, this one not for dogs but a baby toy, the kind our Dexter always loved so much. It’s the new favorite. And just to be clear, if we can even guess at the true owner, such as a dog toy in someone’s front yard, we make him leave it. We only take home the truly lost.

5. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Eric was back at work this week and classes start next week, so Ringo and I were missing him.

Bonus joy: hanging out with Chloe’ and Hendrix, tater tots with salt and homemade fry sauce (seriously, the sauce is so good I’ve planned entire meals around it), old school grilled cheese sandwiches (texas toast with “american” cheese slices), new Catfish episodes, podcasts, really good books, my Kindle, snow tires, Wild Writing, vaccines, clean sheets, orange juice, a warm shower, cuddling with Ringo, smart phones, texting with Mom and Chris, feeling better after a couple of weeks of crud, down blankets and pillows and coats, wool socks, practice, physical therapy, gummy vitamins, reading in bed at night while Eric and Ringo sleep.