I have nothing against moon circles. Living inside the “crystal bubble” here in Venice, CA I get invited to to a lot of them. They’re the new cocktail party. Without cocktails. Or the party. Reconnecting to nature and the phases of the moon, stating intentions, calling in what you desire and letting go of what no longer serves you. It’s all very worthy stuff. Yet there’s something brewing on a larger scale that’s bugging me.
I have a growing sense of expert fatigue. Is everyone with a mailing list and an Instagram feed offering themselves up as leader in their respective world / field / imagination, leading transformative ceremonies? In my experience, meditating for a year doesn’t make someone an expert on meditation any more than 6 months of Kung Fu classes would transform me into Bruce Lee.
Carl Sagan, who put the bad-ass in astrophysics, wrote these words in 1995: “I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time - when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all of the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few; and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when people have lost their ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”
Okay, so that’s a bit dire. Science isn’t dead and personal transformation isn’t dictated solely by data. But I like evidence, I like a shot of bracing data in my mystical tea. And maybe that’s why writing is my practice of choice. It isn’t questionable, it’s fact, it works and not just because I feel like it does. Multiple studies have been done on the benefits of keeping a journal and the list of things it improves is not short: improving one’s mood, reducing stress, healing physical wounds (and emotional ones), improving sleep quality, abating disease including asthma and arthritis, diminishing schizophrenia and many more.
So here I am, sharing my explorations with you. Please don’t do as I say just because I say it. I’m here figuring it out alongside you, sharing what I discover along the way and hoping it sparks you to probe further, investigate, explore. Maybe RSVP “yes” to that moon circle and see how it suits you, then put pen to paper and write about it.
Speaking of discoveries, we have a load of them in this installment of “AllSwell Reads” including some words about my own struggle-is-real phone addiction. Hope you’ll find something here that makes you “knowledgeably question” the opinion stated and go deeper into the subject.
The idea is an obvious one, but it’s incredibly powerful, and it’s something we’ve talked about before: Figure out what’s core to your identity, the things you’re truly passionate about, and dive into them head-first. If you’re not all-in, just say no. Read on at the link up top.
By its nature, skateboarding produces boundary breakers: at its core it’s a sport of doing something that has never been done before in a place where no one has ever done it. Skateboarders are people who look at a curb, a crack in the pavement, or a cellar door and see opportunity. So why are there so few women in the sport? Click through to find out.
How do we receive the wonders of digital media while maintaining a peaceful, focused mind that can actually enjoy it? Is there a way to rethink how we’ve built some of the web? Chris Bolin, an MIT-trained engineer thinks so, and with his latest venture, The Disconnect, he’s doing something about it. Learn more at the link above.
Play is easy to recognize in children — like, say, an impromptu game of tag or chase — but what does it look like in adults? How we play is as unique to an individual as a fingerprint and could mean tossing a football, reading a book, scouring flea markets or climbing Mount Everest. But what all play has in common is that it offers a sense of engagement and pleasure, and the experience of doing it is more important than the outcome.
New words that enter the dictionary must meet three criteria, says Merriam-Webster lexicographer Kory Stamper: widespread use, sustained use, and meaningful use. And in this podcast Stamper dives into that process, the adaptation of language over time, and more.