Hey There,In April, we - Vivita and Avneet, the co-founders of The Wishing Chair, released the "Delights of Distraction" newsletters; a grab-bag of some of our favorite links across the internet that lent some diversion, inspiration and solace during these unsettling times. We hope to continue this weekly correspondence as long as it resonates with you, our readers - our true sources of joy and delight.It's rather curious that the season of mostly sitting still has also been the season of incredible flux. There have been "winners" and "losers" in the pandemic, but the most exalted have been "Pandemic pivots" - stories of people or companies who have scurried to develop new skills and models to adapt to the shifting landscape.
We ourselves have been whisking ourselves into new avatars, trying to figure out what sticks, which is a little tricky when the ground beneath acts like quicksand. From turning our humble little cafe into a @home bakeshop, trading in retail space for warehousing, and seeking different channels in marketing - we're learning on the fly. We're sure many of you have been plonked into a new situation where you have to learn new skills, unlearn old ideas, and teach yourselves new ways to adapt. It's not easy to find yourself a reluctant student all over again, especially when you're practically middle-aged (as we are!) New concepts don't quite whizz through the cogs of the mind as they did during our college years when the brain was like a thirsty sponge.
However, there have been two main concepts that have informed our bumbling learning trajectory, which we hope you might find helpful:
"Whatever you’re doing, a sense of superiority will make you worse at it. Humility, on the other hand, will make you better. The moment you think you’ve got it all figured out, your progress stops. Instead, continue to advance and improve by reminding yourself how much more there will always be to discover.
Confidence is positive and empowering, but arrogance is deadly. Be confident, but not at the expense of your respect for others."
"Instead of mercilessly judging and criticising yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings and bump up against your limitations - you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. The more you open your heart to this reality, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life."
So we plod on, with humble awe in the knowledge that guides us, and with gentle compassion for when we inevitably trip up. And now for our favourites of the week:
To Read: Okay folks, enough with the Goopy immunity-boosting nutritional supplements, probiotics, detox and beauty tinctures, detox teas, healing crystals, and super-food packed smoothies. They are just empty mirages that have been created by the Great Wellness Industrial Complex to help lighten your wallet. Real wellness doesn't cost you much except a little time and dedication and ensues from the things you would least expect; read about what really works here.
To Marvel: Do check out the works of British satirist and illustrator John Holcroft here. He uses humour and sharp insight to comment on the current zeitgeist and modern behaviour with eviscerating wit, using the style language of 50s advertisements. He touches upon technology, society’s greed, politics, and of course COVID 19, through a sardonic, imaginative lens. Try to figure out the concept he's commenting on before reading the explanation in the caption, it's more fun that way :)
To Watch: This might be the most exquisite thing you look at today: A mind Sang,is an animation of impressionistic inkblots and pen strokes is a series of optical illusions that materialize one after another. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on an illusion, the vision changes, and the camera reveals another dimension of the story that was only visible from a different angle. Evoking themes of transformation, rebirth, and perspective; this is a hypnotic visual journey in just 6 minutes.
To Cook: It's full-on mango season and so here's a list of 27 smart places you can put these saffron-hued, buttery fruits of delight, ranging from salads to souffle. Our personal faves are the genius "lassicles" (a frozen mango lassi on a stick" and the mango shrikhand; but that's just because we've got obnoxiously over-active "sweet-teeth".
To Do: Write a letter to your future self - a memory capsule initiative helmed by the Serendipity Arts Foundation." The transformative power of putting words to paper, jotting down our thoughts is even more relevant today, as we must create opportunities to connect within ourselves." If you could send a letter to yourself, across the wide leap of time, and take a moment to ponder—what would you like to say to your future self? Go, contribute to these unprecedented histories of our time.
And to sign off, a quote from a letter on the Serendipity Memory capsule page, that Stan Lee wrote to his 16-year old self, which seems so prescient though it was written over a decade ago: "So bear this in mind my impulsive 16-year old self - nothing ever stays the same. Tastes change and culture changes. The important thing is to stay on top of what is au courant and be resilient enough to go with the flow and change with the tide."
That's all for now, as always, stay safe and keep carrying your light,
Viv and Avneet