Hello dear ones, and BIG HUGE thanks to those of you who took the leap into paid subscriptions for extra Insider posts. For the month of February all Insider posts are sent directly and personally to you from the liminal cottage at Moy Mell. Once again, if you want to receive these and don’t have the means, or wish to try for a month, just reply directly to this email and I’ll comp you in. But if you can support this work, I’m more than grateful.
I really tried to send today’s issue to you before the end of the week but life here has become so involving. Now that I’m no longer doing freelance work for clients (big cheer, thanks, and onward!) I thought I would have more time to focus on what I love - writing, nature, meditation and learning directly from life. “To know and understand life better,” as they say.
I’m naming this phase Open Sorcery as I write all about it here in Personal Papers. This idea of learning directly from life has taken a new turn, and I’m decoding it as I go along. Something to do with being immersed in it. Somehow, like water, the stuff of living always flows in to take up any extra space or time I’d imagined would appear. Being involved as a participant in all this means there isn’t any distant vantage-point of observation from which to write, so I have to do it on the fly, and that, too, becomes part of the swirl of this life, whether it is real or mediated.
For all is not navigating the deep, or even living on the surface. This Open Sorcery includes the nifty stuff I’ve seen in the mediated surface world of screens where I may be spending far too much time (according to my phone stats.)
Too much becomes a kind of hibernation, combining dream with a counter-spell: just one more, just one more. Looking up, I see time has passed. The sun has moved, but I haven’t!
True story: A few years ago I wore a fitbit that also tracked sleep patterns. It registered that I’d been napping one Sunday morning from 10 until around noon. At first I thought the device was defective. Then I remembered I’d been tapping along on the laptop with intense concentration during that time. I mustn’t have moved, my heart rate was in some other mode, and the fitbit registered it all as sleep! I’d gone. But gone where?
Where do we go when we zone out in this kind of liminal place? I hear Claire Danes as Temple Grandin saying, “Where do they go?” Any idea?
Looking for perspective and balance? Time to look past the screen zones and snap out of the drifting entrancement.
How? The way may be much like recommendations from the optometrist: look up from the screen from time to time, expand the vision away from the tiny tight focus and look at the treetops, beyond the treetops, then closer, then farther. This advice is good to open all sorts of vision. Look at your thoughts, look to the end and edge of the thought, even farther. Then zoom in close again. That’s the idea, look close, look far away, look closer again, give it a 180, even a 360, then come back in. Expand the perspective. Let more in! And stretch everything.
Be Mine, Valentine
I can’t leave this newsletter issue without mentioning that the most absurdly hilarious valentines of this year are featured in Janelle Shane’s AI Weirdness. Yes, AI generated Valentine’s Cards! I laugh every time I look at these, and there are more at her site.
As we round the corner into the weekend, thanks for letting me drop these brief thoughts into your inbox today. I’m so happy that you’ve chosen to follow along as I jot down notes on my thoughts and findings. If you see any birds, crocuses, snowdrops, or other signs of spring as you’re looking around 360, pop a note into the comments here—
My (aspirational) Personal Papers schedule is still TBD - So far, the regular free issue comes out sometime during the weekend, and the Inside issue is sent to paid subscribers early each week.
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