The Delights of Distraction No. 46

The weather over the past week in Delhi has been spectacular. The sun was dazzling, there was a hint of drizzling and then an intermittent cool breeze in the air. We spent time on terraces and balconies trying to freeze-frame these wistfully ephermal moments where perfect weather conditions exist. It felt good to be out and chin-wagging with friends -  though conversations inevitably lead to staying healthy, keeping energy levels up, and how one has plans to get back to the fitness grind at some point (a goal that inevitably gets postponed to the Monday after an indulgent weekend.)

But fitness, like starting a business, has the same principles apply: We learn as we go. The best way to get started is to get started. This principle applies to anything we're trying to change. Fight the instinct to overthink. Instead, cultivate a bias toward action and learn as you go. So how does one start to get fit? Begin a practise of daily movement. And how does one do that? Simply begin.

Stop thinking. Start moving. Just start with only the warm-up.

For all of you that might have trouble knowing where to start - here’s a list of 20 types of Youtube exercise styles you can start with, choose a 10-minute video and start there. You can change it up every session or stick with the same thing for a month and then mix it up.  

But how does one even begin? Here’s a philosophy that helps us; one that applies to fitness, business and pretty much everything: ‘Trivialise what you do.’ If you are betting your self-worth on everything you do, it’s easy to crumple under the weight of your own expectations. You don’t need shredded abs in 3 months or to launch an IPO in 3 years. If you can find ways to convince yourself that whatever you’re doing is just silly and fun then you can simply begin and do whatever you can without dreading the consequences of it not going exactly how you had planned.

You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously.
– Richard Feynman

And onwawrds to the recommendations for this week:

To Joy Scroll: This is a fascinating collection of images that shine a light on how folks back in the ye olde days expected the future to look like. It’s almost sweet how naive people seemed then of the paradigm shift that communications and technology would bring; their future phones look so harmless and inept - though we wish air travel managed to be as luxuriously awesome as they imagined.

To Read: Bijal Vachharajani pens a powerful essay in Adda on grief over the loss of her partner, and the panic of forgetting him, and in her pain echoes the loss of our world and wilderness.

Another great read: For many women, life and sex are a complex tussle between the need to "harden, fortify, and push away" on the one hand in a bid to maintain autonomy and assert independence, and the need to "receive, dissolve, and allow" on the other to foster connection and intimacy. Women especially know the vulnerability which "reigns over" their lives – "they are made to know this, painfully, forcefully, too often, whether in actual violence and invasion, or in constant reminders of these".

To Self Help: Self-Compassion is not self-Indulgence. A thoughtful take on self-compassion from a trained clinical psychologist. In what should be intuitive but isn’t necessarily so for most of us - she suggests the first and most vital step in cultivating self-compassion is recognizing when you're suffering. 

Growing up with 80s era Indian parents - you’re fed with the fear that self-compassion is indulgent and breeds laziness; that if we go too easy on ourselves we will become stagnant, but this piece makes a case for why that belief is neither productive nor true. You don’t have to bully yourself with the voice of that conditional-love wielding parent or teacher or nebulous idea of society inside your head -  and you’ll be better off for it.

To Ponder: Almost every conversation these days with friends, especially friends who,like us, don’t plan on having kids, seems to revolve around planning a commune for later middle-age. This article details the fantasy scheming process of such a utopia.

To Cook: It is ridiculously easy to make granola - and yet the “organic” stuff seems to cost a gazillion rupees at a store. But all you need to do is smoosh some things together in a bowl and wait 30 minutes. It is also infinitely customizable, with all the fancy mix-ins and hyper-marketed antioxidant nuts and seeds you desire. Here’s a super easy one, and here’s a savoury one to add on top of salads or rice or even pizza. 

To Watch: Kurzegesagt is one of our favourite explainer channels on Youtube, from the philosophical to the scientific. This video was especially helpful in explaining why you might feel innately dissatisfied with life; that you are not successful enough, your relationships not satisfying enough, that you don’t have the things you crave. It explores  one of the strongest predictors of how happy people are, how easily they make friends and how good they are at dealing with hardship. An antidote against dissatisfaction so to speak: Gratitude.

To Listen: If you haven’t ever heard of The Moth, you need to follow them now. A creative venture that began in 1997, the Moth presents thousands of storytellers and their true stories told live without notes. Its very origin is deeply rooted in our desire to connect with each other through shared experiences in stories, and celebrate the diversity and commonality of human experience.
This particular audio tale, narrated by Tim FitzHigham is about his record-breaking adventure when he set off to cross the English Channel in a bathtub. Naturally -  hilarity ensues.

To Life Hack: Tell your friends when you miss them. We think about our friends far more than they think we do. After a year of so much isolation and loss, we need to feel connected, wanted and like we belong.

We want to encourage you to pick up the phone and call someone in your life. Maybe it's someone who you haven't talked with in awhile. Maybe it's someone you miss. Maybe it's someone you've been putting off calling, because they've been through a lot of hard things this year
Drill an automated response, that when you think of someone you message them and tell them. You brighten their day, deepen your relationships and make yourself feel good in the process. No, it’s not easy - but one day in the distant future when you’re old and middle-aged like we are, you’ll regret feeling stupid about NOT telling someone you loved them, rather than stupid about telling them you did.

And here’s a poem from 5 March 1935  - a reminder of how almost a century can go by, and yet the human experience can still feel so uncannily familiar.

ALVARO DE CAMPOS
by Fernando Pessoa

Selected Poems from the Anthology of "A little larger than the entire Universe"

Yes, everything's just fine.
It's all perfectly fine.
Except for one thing: it's all screwed up.
I know my building is painted gray,
I know what the number of the building is,
I don't know but can find out its assessed value In the tax offices that exist for that purpose.
I know, I know...
But I also know there are people who live here,
 And the Public Revenue Office couldn't exempt
My next-door neighbor from the death of her son.
And the Bureau of What-Have-You couldn't prevent
The husband of the lady upstairs from running off with her
sister.
But everything, of course, is just fine...
And except for the fact it's all screwed up, it really is just fine.

To end, we would like to extend gratitude to all of you who write in and tell us about your experience with the wishing chair - what you like about our collections and what we could do better. We love reading your feedback, and we take each concern with product quality and service seriously, giving us the chance to continuously improve.

We think your reviews and comments would be helpful to other potential customers of the Wishing Chair, so please leave reviews on the product page when you can, or write to us and we will share them on the website, so that our community can read about your experience which will help them make their purchasing decisions better.