Hello, friends! Happy Sunday! I hope that you are finding small moments where you are able to access peace and joy, or something close to it. I suspect I am not the only person feeling heartbroken and exhausted by the state of the world right now. I feel helpless in so many ways: I’ve given money and sent my thoughts to friends, I’ve called my representatives, and I’ve tried to listen and learn about this complicated situation, and to check my own biases and feelings. I’ve been thinking about humanity, and how I can’t fix it all, but I can take care of my side of the street, my own nervous system, and the people within my sphere of influence. Right now, that feels like the best I can offer.
Last year, when I was driving to work, there was the most stunningly beautiful sunrise. I am absolutely That Friend who will make you look at the moon or the pink of the clouds or a flower. As I was driving that morning, the sunrise was quite literally making me gasp and pull over to take photos. While I maneuvered slowly through my neighborhood, I noticed that many people were outside watching: a man leaned against his car, a couple snuggled up in a blanket in their driveway, parents walking their children to school. For just one moment, everyone was focused on this peace and beauty. It made me cry. When I’m feeling anxious about the state of things, I like to remember that moment because it connects me to others: how even when we are amidst a world that feels terrifying and confusing, we share a sky, a love of beauty and awe, and the desire to share that with the people we love.
I hope you see something that stuns you today, and that you get to share it with someone you love — or better yet, it connects you to someone you don’t.
• How to help civilian victims of the war. (The Cut)
• One thing about me is that I love what I call a “morning nibble.” I get up no later than five every morning to have time to read, write, and do a short meditation. I’m never fully ready for an actual breakfast, but I do like to have a bite of something to have with my coffee while I enjoy the stillness. Naturally, Joy has some of my favorite recipes for exactly this, like browned butter banana bread, browned butter blueberry muffins (one of my all-time most-baked recipes), and apple-walnut flaxseed bread (Joy The Baker).
• Because I’m old, I’ve been on the internet forever, and I found this piece about Julia Allison, one of the first “content creators” fascinating and sad. (Rolling Stone)
• After years of being a Dateline/true crime devotee, I’m trying to wean myself off of podcasts about murder (especially while going to sleep) to try to calm my anxious brain. Recently, a friend introduced me to Nothing Much Happens, which is designed specifically to help you fall asleep. Nothing Much Happens has an adorable little community/universe built within its stories and I am obsessed. Kathryn Nicolai, the creator, also has a meditation podcast called First This, and I have been loving it as a start to my mornings, specifically this teeny, tiny pep talk episode. If you need a bit of calm or compassion, I recommend them both. Most mornings, I listen to The Slowdown, a poetry podcast that starts with a lovely reflection (I highly recommend going back and listening to Ada Limon’s seasons from before she became our national poet laureate — they are so soothing) and Up First by NPR, which gives me a nugget of news. (Spotify)
• I am an unabashed lover of office supplies, and I have two fun recommendations. First, this metal desk organizer. It is so dang cute, and I love that it’s portable and feels like a little toolbox for my writing supplies. Secondly, I am really into these dot markers. I bought them first to use with a habit tracker; however, now I use them for decorating packages and wrapping paper, and anything that I think needs a little razzle-dazzle. Small joys. (Amazon)
• Though I found it deeply rude to me, an elder/geriatric millennial who is still basically a baby-faced child, I really enjoyed this piece about How Millennials Grew Up And Got Old. (Culture Study)
• As someone who reads and writes a whole lot, I found this piece on the aesthetics of “bookishness” and books as status symbols so fascinating. Similarly, I think this idea of a “literary it-girl” is so wild. I grew up in an era where our bookish accessories were a library card, a backpack that weighed more than I did, and a pass to the library at lunch to help the librarian and read in peace while eating a sack lunch, but I’m glad people are finding reading sexy or whatever. Also, a reminder that book snobbishness is truly gross (let people read what they want, truly who cares) and also, my queen Samantha Irby on how to deal with people who judge your “basic taste.” (Dirt, Nylon, Medium, Harper’s Bazaar)
• Lastly, may I suggest a little Pema Chodron for these times? Having Things Fall Apart in my ears has been so soothing. (Audible)
Sending you all good things this week.