Snapped by Aaron Brimhall
I think I have officially become a California girl. I am so laden down with self-care rituals that my morning routine resembles the Venice version of Portlandia. After the oil-pulling, Ayurvedic tongue scraping, yogic stretching, neo-Buddhist meditating, detoxifying hydration, elixir-mixing and supplement-taking do I really need to sit down and journal for 15 minutes?
Yes, I do.
While my morning self-care sinkhole seems like it could sprawl right through noon (clearly I do not have children), the piece for me that is my touchstone is putting pen to paper. Here’s how I know: if I stop doing it I don’t feel as focused, content or connected. I don’t feel like me. I might skip oil pulling for a couple days but it doesn’t have the same deficit effect.
And it really doesn’t matter what I write, it’s the act of putting pen to paper. I rarely go back to re-read my old journals. That feels about as tempting as going for a swim in toxic sludge. I get all that junk out on the page, expelling it rather than carrying it further down the road. That’s why I started AllSwell, to invite others to participate in a simple, inexpensive resource that you can do anywhere.
So yes, I sit and I write. All this before I mindfully eat my GMO-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, locally sourced breakfast featuring at least one fermented food. My New Yorker former self might roll her eyes but it tastes great.
Speaking of coastal identity, this month’s AllSwell reads is a roundup of singular identities, people that have crafted well-lived lives that are (or were) unique, multifaceted. From Da Vinci to Petty, we hope their stories will inspire you to create some of your own.
Free Falling With Tom Petty, New Yorker
“He wrote with deep restraint and concision, which is why his songs always feel airborne, but what kills me are his articulations of ordinary, 3 p.m.-on-a-weekday business. Petty understood how to address the liminal, not-quite-discernible feelings that a person might experience in her lifetime (that’s in addition to all the big, collapsing ones—your loves and losses and yearnings). He had an astute ear for the strangeness of just kicking around Earth—the way that agitation and anxiety can, on occasion, subsume a person for no good reason, the way that we get bored and start looking for new ways to make trouble.”
Diagnosis: Cancer. Treatment: Climbing with Devoted Friends, Outside Online
If you haven’t already figured it out, we’re big proponents of outdoor adventures, specifically when it comes to healing. Good clean air, tall trees, deep seas, and a rugged exertion of energy does the body good. In this writer’s case, it may not have healed his disease, but sure did give him peace of mind. Tune in up top for a story on friendship, family, and climbing.
My Place: Stephanie Gilmore, Nowness
Spaces are inspiring, like really, really, inspiring. A home is no different. Take a tour of surf legend Stephanie Gilmore’s self described, “country club for mermaids” in Malibu, a space that drives her to do better, be better, and allows her to create. Her carefree attitude makes everything seem effortless, even her house.
Alter Egos and True Identity, Monster Children
Personality is vast. It’s not a cut and dry, one way or another sort of thing. You can be a kick-ass painter and a corporate lawyer, a professor and family man and a youth inspired Instagram mastermind. Sounds cliché, but it’s true, and the Monster Children dive into the multiplicity of the mind through a Q&A with the man behind LORD BIRTHDAY, an Instagram account with a seemingly millennial perspective. Here’s the kicker: it’s run by someone who’s the exact opposite. Click on for more.
The Science Behind Mona Lisa’s Smile, The Atlantic
All the greats - be it painters, writers, designers, illustrators, etc. - let their work be influenced by something other than their known medium. Henry David Thoreau? Nature. Franca Sozzani? Politics. For Leonardo Davinci, it was science. He understood anatomy to such an extreme, that he was able to craft the ultimate image (which took 16 years), Mona Lisa’s smile. Dive into his creative process at the link up top.
Walden Wasn’t Thoreau’s Masterpiece, The Atlantic
“Thoreau’s real masterpiece is not Walden but the 2-million-word journal that he kept until six months before he died. Its continuing relevance lies in the vivid spectacle of a man wrestling with tensions that still confound us. The journal illustrates his almost daily balancing act between recording scrupulous observations of nature and expressing sheer joy at the beauty of it all.”