Burning emails

Once upon a time, I predominantly used the email address I was assigned through my college for all of my emails—both school related and personal. Then came a day when I graduated and that email account was going to be completely closed…forever. It dawned on me that I had so many emails that I had a special attachment to and I wanted to save. Good god, what an enormous task!

 

Going back much further into time, when I was a kid who wrote notes and letters (pre-cell phone days, pre-computer days), I would save those notes in a box that I could much later sift through and make a pile of letters to burn (so liberating!!), and those that I would then sort out into different categories to place in their own special places. Even if I never looked at them again, they were kept in an honoring, and in a beautifully hand-decorated box. This is a task that my brain can grasp on such a physical level, because it is a physical action of holding things in my hands and making visual piles in front of me, and placing them in a ‘home’. I can see how large or how small the piles are at a glance. I can visualize the little book of special letters from my parents. My computer doesn’t quite allow for this same experience, and I find it frustrating, so I am frequently trying to re-create this type of feel ‘inside’ my computer. I make lots of folders nested inside other folders; I have icons with pictures; I color code things in my own made-up categorical system. It sort-sort of works, but it’s just not the same.

 

Then today while going through my emails and trying to determine which ones are actually important to save and which ones can be “burned,” I remembered the experience of having to “move-out” of my old email address. This was a crazy process that took at least a week of really diligent work. It was a full-time job, and it made me emotionally and physically exhausted. My eyes burned. So what did this process actually look like? I sorted out the most important emails, and I actually printed them out (sorry trees!) and then I put them into a notebook. It created this immense feeling of relief for me. Its like I knew where they were (And I still do—They are currently in a bin in a tree house). They are no longer sitting in ether somewhere, where I was trusting that the internet will live as long as I do. Now they have the freedom to burn in a forest fire, rather than have a tech-problem wipe them out. So much more romantic of a death!

 

So now, I am looking at all of my many folders in gmail and feeling that I have WAY too many emails. I feel like it clutters my brain to have them all saved. And my god, to attempt to go through and sort through 5GB of emails. What does 5GB of paper letters even look like? I don’t even have a clue. Would it fill my closet? My bedroom? A small church? Whatever it looks like, it feels like too much. Do I want to spend the time to sort them out, to save and to burn? Should I just delete everything?

 

The predominant feeling is to do the same thing I did years ago, and to re-discover the very few that are actually worth keeping, to print them out (maybe on hemp fiber this time) and delete the rest. Moving forward, I vow (yikes!) to do this process more diligently as I go so that I don’t have all this mental clutter in the form of zeroes and ones occupying gigabytes that I will so likely never glance at again.

Debilitating emotional stress

Image

Ughhh!

Debilitating emotional stress, sending this familiar and awkward discomfort in my chest and stomach. It’s one of those situations where I’m overwhelmed with way to many things to do. I need to find several new places to work (teaching yoga and doing figure drawing modeling) since I just moved to a new state, new city; and I don’t really know where to start and it feels so vulnerable to really completely put myself out there, and then it would be really helpful to just do something relaxing like go for a long walk, or sketch in the garden, or do yoga, but then all of those options also feel overwhelming and I don’t know which one to do, and if I do any of them then it will take away time from what I ‘should’ be doing, but that’s not really getting anywhere at the moment anyway and I’ve already researched a bunch of places since I arrived here late Saturday night, so I should give myself a break, but I’ve not really found anything quite yet either, so I should just keep on going, but it’s already 7pm and so places are closed anyway and they won’t be there to answer the phone or to go visit, but then it might be good to just keep looking up places online while I’m at it…

and so my heart rate just goes faster as my mind is spinning and not letting me breathe much, and I feel nervousness of not having put myself out there like this in such a long time.

At this very moment I can feel the fascia of my entire pelvic region starting to bind up against the bones. A great protection of my core is starting to happen, but it is protection against these emotional fears. My skin feels achy like when I have a fever.

Oh what things I work myself into as a human being!

Thus begins the next stage of endurance…

Laying on the fluffy carpet

looking up at the slanted ceiling

breathing

everything’s going to be just fine

Watching ants and playing piano

Image

This serves as a personal reminder about some of the things which often allow me the opportunity to completely forget about myself and all of my attention and thoughts become absorbed in what I’m doing. I was reminded of this today while getting lost in playing the piano.

The new space I live in has a converted little church and inside is a baby grand piano that basically sounds amazing no matter how I play around with it—even some of the strange dissonant notes that happen. I love it so much and I’m not playing for any audience other than myself.

Other things with this mysterious nature that is there sometimes and absent some other times:

creating pieces of artwork—especially meticulously detailed tiny things

yoga—especially once my body is totally warmed up and I’m just doing whatever feels super amazing…like really fun balancing poses that make me fall over, or getting deeper and deeper into monkey splits.

dance—especially when the music completely takes over and I’m just following, or I get a really strong visualization that is akin to magical childhood imagination

watching ants—especially when they are doing something particularly mysterious that gives me the opportunity to puzzle out what these tiny creatures are up to day and night

Japanese Sunlit Shrine

Image

I was in a Japanese room… wide open, walls of windows, and a great stretch of woven beige floor. Wooden pillars enhanced the warm glow of the room, and sunlight came in from every direction. The wooden shades which enclose the room in the evening were all pulled up like a daily ritual to welcome the sun into the space.

I felt the presence of my teacher, and could see him in a misty, translucent form—a young japanese man and enlightened being.  He was instructing me in life.  This particular lesson, he was walking with me along the inside of the temple instructing me to open all of the shades in my own house as much as possible everyday to let all of the sun in.  He followed this instructing to go outside into the sun everyday.

We walked together outside, along the edge of an unmoving river.  Along the shore were floating, miniature shrines and temples.  We stopped at one which was dark black wood and an intricacy of drawers and carvings.  There were two small metal hands held with palms out.  I set my hand on them, and they started flapping.  I bent down and peeked in to see who was making them flap.  I saw a pair of eyes peering out… but recognized them to be my teacher.  I stood back up, and touched the hands again.  Again they start flapping more insistently this time.  I opened the drawer and peered in again, seeing the same set of eyes… but with a better look and as my eyes adjusted, realized that it was actually a little girl.  I closed the drawer, and held my hands out at a gap at the bottom of the miniature shrine. “Come here, it’s okay.”  I tell her.  She held her hands out from underneath to reach mine, and I helped her out, scooping her up and holding her against my chest.

Sharing isn’t free…

…oh, wait… yes it is.  That’s what sharing actually means.

Image

 

As most of us probably know, there’s a new term floating around called ‘Sharing Economy.’ And the more I think about this, the more I realize what an oxymoron it is, and it’s not quite the exciting movement I hoped it would be.

 

Friday night, a group of us got together as part of a kick-off event for Peers.  Peers describes themselves as a grassroots organization that supports the sharing economy movement.  None of us knew much else about Peers other than that, but when we all got to our gathering, we all wondered how transparent Peers was really being, and what was their intention anyway?

 

From what we can gather, it seems as though their main motivation is to support many of these new so-called ‘sharing’ companies like Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and Lyft.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these are bad ideas, and in fact, many of them provide much better options than what is currently out there.  But like many other folks, I don’t feel that it’s fair to call them ‘sharing’ companies.

 

The first time I heard about ‘Sharing Economy,’ and all that was springing up as a result of this movement, I felt very excited about what kinds of possibilities it could potentially provide, but I realized quickly how much of that was my own projection.  My own projection being the idea of free sharing.  Of actual sharing, and not a company I pay money to so that I can ‘share’ with others.  That’s not sharing.  That’s capitalism in cool-looking hipster clothes from Buffalo Exchange.

 

Still, I belive all of this is some kind of move in the right direction, even if it is a bit mis-guided.  I think it offers a lot of hope for transformation, and perhaps more importantly it is also offering new ways of looking at what we acutally need, and the fact that there is an abundance of creative solutions for achieving this.  Sharing obviously isn’t a new idea.  It’s something that is likely engrained in our very nature.  And it doesn’t apply only to stuff.  Sharing is something that builds community, and creates a sense of together-ness, and I believe it has the ability to connect us in ways that are much closer to our human nature.

 

Sharing means going next door for a cup of flour.  It means loaning your extra bicycle to the couchsurfer who’s in town for an aquaponics conference.  Sharing is teaching a friend how to rock climb, and letting them borrow your shoes.  It’s playing music together, hosting potlucks, volunteering, and long meaningful conversations with dear friends. It’s also long, emotionally challenging house-meetings where a group of 10 people all have to figure out how to make living collectively more harmonious.

 

Sharing isn’t about money—it’s about giving, and it’s also about the art of asking for what we may need.  And the amazing thing about technology is the ways in which it is allowing us to somehow be more connected.  It has the ability to be an incredible tool for sharing in ways that were never before possible.  I can post things online that I no longer have use for, and have another person come pick it up from my house.  When I’m in a new city, I can feel safe to stay for free at someone’s house I’ve never met before.  And the more we all navigate these tools, we more freely explore with creativity, and open up even more opportunity and potential.

 

So while the ‘sharing economy’ is not quite the movement many of us hoped it would be… it also shows us a piece of what is possible.  I believe in free sharing.  And while we still live in a world that is largely based on systems of money, I feel that there are many of these systems that will eventually become obselete through the power and the art of our ability to share freely.