The Delights of Distraction No.76: The best decision of the year? Abandon all hope:

On the global front the world feels like a mess, with the invasion of Ukraine; in a situation hard to fathom, changing so quickly with social, financial and political repercussions; and our own helpless situations in all this. Could this be the year you finally abandon hope? Well…not all hope. 
Just the kind of hope that holds you back. 

Author and sex educator Emily Nagoski said it beautifully in a recent interview on Glennon Doyle’s podcast. She's speaking here about the barriers to having a great sex life, but it applies so much more broadly: 
”What makes joy the hard part is that getting to a place where you love all the things you have been taught to hate, taught to believe are the enemy, means abandoning hope that you will ever be that thing, that everybody always taught you that you are supposed to be. You gotta let go.” 

Giving up hope that you’ll have a body that looks a certain way - a 20s aspiration in a 40s reality! Giving up hope that your business will see a J-shaped exponential profit growth. Giving up hope that your partner will share the same hygiene standards as you do. Giving up hope that you can ever have hope in politicians. Giving up hope that your personal lifestyle choices will match your family's expectations. 

The idea of "giving up hope" might sound defeatist, but as Emily says, giving up hope isn't a cop out. It's really hard work - and it's the gateway to moving on so you can find joy. 

As 90s-era women, we were obsessed with Meg Ryan’s genre of rom coms - the film, You’ve Got Mail, has seen a ton of reruns at our home. In the movie, Meg Ryan’s character decides to close down her book store. Her friend and mentor tells her that, “Closing the store is the brave thing to do!” Meg Ryan rolls her eyes - yeah, right. But her friend insists: “You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life!” 

So perhaps we need to cross off the resolutions that take our time, energy and attention away from what lights us up. Dare to imagine that you can have a different life… 

And back to programming - here are our faves of the week: 

To read: 

- For heart: We love the Canadian e-mag’s ‘Before you Go’ series which collects unique, heartfelt letters taking the time to say “Thanks, I love you” to special people in their lives “because we shouldn’t have to wait until it’s too late to tell our loved ones how we really feel.” Heartbreaking, soul-rousing, life-affirming letters of gratitude, regret, loss and retribution; from daughters to mothers, fathers to children, students to mentors - read the mother-lode here.  

- For mind: A really smart read about the decisions we make in our lives, from bestselling author and business professor Scott Galloway.

To joy scroll: Here’s a glimpse into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries; some built hundreds of years ago, with the kind of reverence and care that cathedrals were built in the middle ages; and with good reason, for libraries like cathedrals, enshrine something higher within us. 

To listen: This short story of the Chinese Farmer by Alan Watts, is under 2 mins long and elegantly illustrated the complexity of nature and how we mislabel events as either “good” or “bad”, when really in the grand scheme of things, we have no freaking idea - so we may as well accept what is, as what is. 

To calm: The world seems to be in some sort of death spiral, with World War 3 imminent in the wake of a millennial event pandemic - and we’re barely into a quarter of 2022; obviously you’re going to feel as anxious as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Here’s a little notebook exercise that can’t guarantee world peace, but may help make you a tiny bit less overwhelmed for the day. 

To watch: Happiness and why “happily ever after” is a myth
“ There are only two kinds of people who do not experience painful emotions. The first kind are the psychopaths. The second kind are dead.” Positive Psychology researcher and author, Tal Ben-Shahar provides insight into the elusivity of true happiness, and how the paradox of seeking it makes us unhappier. Instead, we get to happiness through an indirect path, realizing that it’s a lifelong journey. “I do not think that things necessarily happen for the best. However, we can learn to make the best of things that happen.”

To try: Want to assess your level of insight and wisdom? Take the Jeste Thomas Wisdom quiz, which will give you a total wisdom score as well as scores on six subscales of wisdom. You will also see a table showing average wisdom scores based on your demographics, so you can use it to justify all the unsolicited advice you dole out to your friends and family. 

To boost happiness:  Here’s a 100 quick hacks to trigger those endorphins and overall well-being neurotransmitters in your brain. From taking a cold shower, to cooking with a loved one and playing with a pet - they form easy building blocks to a healthier life; small tasks that we tend to forget when we’re on that slippery slope to darkness. We hope some of these work for you. 

To lexicon: 
Apapacho (Spanish, noun) 
The act of giving affection to another person; caring for or feeding another with your soul. 

To cook: There are a secret society of marmalade makers who crawl out of hibernation and meet for jam sessions, sharing notes on preserves, pickling and the joy of turning fruit into bottled edible gold. It’s orange season, and if you have a pile sitting around, then do try the recipe at the end of the article; once you have your marmalade in place, other than slathering it on toast - try adding it to a spicy stir fry for extra zing, or a dollop into a cake batter for cirtusy freshness; don’t be shy about experimenting, possibilities abound! 

For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid 

—William Stafford 

There is a country to cross you will 
find in the corner of your eye, in 
the quick slip of your foot--air far 
down, a snap that might have caught. 
And maybe for you, for me, a high, passing 
voice that finds its way by being 
afraid. That country is there, for us, 
carried as it is crossed. What you fear 
will not go away: it will take you into 
yourself and bless you and keep you. 
That's the world, and we all live there. 

Have a wonderful, restful weekend - to you and yours,

Viv and Ami

P.S. If you are just joining us you can explore all the previous editions here. If you would like to sign someone up for the newsletter, you can just reply to this email. 

P.S.S. We have thoughtfully curated a ton of gift boxes to help you take out the thinking/ stressing about what gift to get someone. There is something for every occassion. Explore the curation here and tell us what else we could add.

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