What do you need to remember?
Relevant and irrelevant missives
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A song I’m loving:
It’s safe to be wrong. It’s safe to be correct. It’s safe to not know. It’s safe to let people down. It’s safe to practice living your values. It’s safe to fumble. It’s safe to trust what you know, to trust your gut response. It’s safe to be a beginner. It’s safe to be wise. It’s safe to have unformed opinions. It’s safe to grieve. It’s safe to try. It’s safe to quit. It’s safe to surrender. It’s safe to listen to your intuition. It’s safe to hold multiple truths at once, to let them swirl into something confusing yet still true. It’s safe to be uncomfortable.
You don’t need to read fast, or a certain amount, for it to count as reading.
The grace you practice giving others is perhaps the same grace you can practice giving yourself. Your deservedness of it is mirrored by that of others.
So, too, is your deservedness of joy when it arrives, whether by surprise or routine. Joy isn’t a crumb — it isn’t harmful to let it linger — in fact, you must if you want to be able to genuinely meet all the harder aspects of being human, too.
Choosing to practice seeing the humanity in everyone, including those you disagree with, isn’t naive; it’s an agent of change in itself, one that will continue to change you, one that will keep you connected to your own humanity.
Go to the new Italian deli in town for sandwiches and order a cannoli, too. The cannoli will be an instant reminder that sweetness can exist right here, right now. It will also be the most delicious thing you’ll have eaten in a long time.
Start with empathy. Start with empathy. Start with empathy.
Trying to control other people is exhausting, mostly because it’s an impossible effort that only leads to further distancing from your own inherent power. Stay close to your own next moves, your own actions, your own choices, knowing those are the only ones you really have a say over in the moment.
I’ve realized this year especially, after being almost constantly visible for years prior, that taking the time I need for myself and my well-being is worth what I lose by doing so — whether it's followers or speed of growth or opportunities. I've “lost” subscribers, popularity, and rapid-paced growth this year because I've needed to step away and care for myself in deep ways; I've let go of the momentum I had in order to make space to heal. What I've gained by doing so matters so much more than what I've “lost”, and will ultimately support longevity. Reminding myself of these things over and over in a world obsessed with constant and nonstop visibility. Sometimes, taking space away from the work is the most meaningful work.
Compassion is a practice; be committed to practicing it imperfectly.
Seeing yourself with clear eyes isn’t necessarily easier than keeping the illusions or separation, the shoving down or denying, the hiding or minimizing; yet seeing yourself clearly is a cleaner, more honest kind of pain, and that kind of pain is almost always more manageable than the pretending is. I promise.
Soup is rarely not a good idea. Make the soup. Eat the leftovers. Bring extra to the neighbor. Freeze some. Stay nourished.
It isn’t compassionate to always make yourself at fault when you are not always at fault. It isn’t compassionate to always bypass your feelings for the sake of comforting someone else. True compassion requires honesty, and honesty requires you including yourself in the goings on of your life.
It’s sometimes annoying that the things everyone says are helpful (eating regularly, sleeping, moving your body, hydrating, staying connected) actually help, but they do. Eat. Sleep. Drink. Move. Connect. Repeat. Start there.
Your tenderness isn’t a problem.
Notice the places you can always go, the people who are always there, the rituals that always hold you, the grocery clerk who’s always working on Tuesdays, the way you dry yourself off the same way after every single shower, the things you can count on as Being What They Are. Notice how even those things will shift and change eventually. Notice the inevitability of change and practice not being so afraid of it — practice trusting what will arrive in place of what leaves.
It’s deeply vulnerable to say “I’m confused about what to think” or “I’m not sure what to do” instead of quickly jumping into a false sense of understanding. Letting yourself be confused might be a path toward breaking binary thinking and holding more than one layer.
Being willing to fail makes trying less scary. Being willing to be wrong makes trying less scary. Being willing to change your mind makes trying less scary. Being willing to be embarrassed makes trying less scary. Being willing to change your mind makes trying less scary. Being willing makes trying less scary.
You can trust your heart.
You can trust hope when it shows itself.
Go for a drive. Let the cold air into the car. Open the can of sparkling water in the cup holder and don’t forget to drink it before getting to the estuary. Play the same song over and over if that’s what comforts you. Slow down to watch the baby coyote wander through the field beside you. Notice the way light changes what color the hills appear as. Stop at the bookshop, always. Keep driving and pull over at the estuary. Get out. Let yourself become part of the mist, the fog, the space. Let it remind you you’re always part of something bigger. Keep driving. Keep putting yourself in the way of beauty. Keep going.
Thank you, as always, for being here.
I feel it’s important to say this: just because I share a link, here or anywhere, doesn’t always mean I agree 100% with every part of it. It simply means it moved me in some way, taught me something, showed me a different lens, offered me pause, gave me inspiration, or made me think/feel in some way. I understand, with much practice, the importance of learning to break up with binary thinking and hold multiple experiences at once; I carry that practice into my consumption and my integration of all I take in. This ongoing practice helps me stay fully human.
△ “Put yet another way: Our future depends on us being able to have nuanced conflict, uncomfortable conversations, common ground alongside divergent values, and above all, holding each other’s humanity—and our own—sacred.” from
△ A scene from a special day this week.
With so much care,
Human Stuff from Lisa Olivera is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.