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vol.44: the simple and ordinary
to remember in film
Welcome to Wellness Wisdom - A newsletter for the thoughtful by Patricia Mou. A medley of resources and thoughts on wellness start-ups, personal development, mental health and philosophy.
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Hi lovely humans,
Back in 2018, I started a daily gratitude journaling practice (after many failed attempts). The one twist this time was that I snapped photos throughout the day of small pockets of beauty and gratitude. I then uploaded them at night onto my journaling app.
Slowly I began to train my subconscious to automatically note beautiful moments throughout the day. Like a mental snap shot happening without even needing to think, my baseline happiness meaningfully improved. Least to say, the gratitude habit has stuck with me 3 years later.
Filming has a similar effect on me. Except instead of snapshots, it’s an animated reel that lasts 5-10 seconds. Kind of like the looping images in Harry Potter.
The added dimension of movement allows me to recall and sink into moments of gratitude a little more poignantly.
The way light dances across shadows, an eye crinkle gathering up skin, bokeh emphasizing its subject. The simple, beautiful things.
I want to collect these little reels to remind me that the bone marrow of life is not in the grandiose, expensive, or novel. Rather, it’s in the quiet and undecorated pockets of love.
Whether at the end of a tough day, or at the end of my life - I imagine these reels will flash before my eyes, as my soul melts into contentment.
After all, aren’t we all just visual vessels for the essence of life to seep though? Widening our apertures, we can allow love and light to flow in. The nuance lies in whether we choose to see it that way.
I loved her perspective on starting both restaurants at the age of 44, well beyond other chefs at her caliber:
I never thought oh, you’re going to be 44 when you open this. But now I look at it, and I say, Lilia wouldn’t be Lilia and Misi wouldn’t be Misi if I hadn’t taken the time to learn all the things I learned.
And to take this very slow journey that a lot of people aren’t willing to take. They are better restaurants because I took that time, and because I spent probably an extra 10 years learning from other people or practicing without the risk.
One of the engineers I work with recently taught me recently about the concept of “customizing our commitments” via Andie Nordgren’s manifesto for relationship anarchy. Some core tenants that I loved:
Relationship anarchy questions the idea that love is a limited resource that can only be real if restricted to a couple. You have capacity to love more than one person, and one relationship and the love felt for that person does not diminish love felt for another.
Love and respect instead of entitlement. Staying away from entitlement and demands is the only way to be sure that you are in a relationship that is truly mutual.
Organize based on a wish to meet and explore each other — not on duties and demands and disappointment when they are not met.
Choosing to assume that your partner does not wish you harm leads you down a much more positive path than a distrustful approach where you need to be constantly validated by the other person to trust that they are there with you in the relationship
Relationship anarchy is not about never committing to anything — it’s about designing your own commitments with the people around you, and freeing them from norms dictating that certain types of commitments are a requirement for love to be real, or that some commitments like raising children or moving in together have to be driven by certain kinds of feelings
Re-surfacing a good ‘ol 2007 post on luck summarized by pmarca:
Luck that occurs is completely accidental. It is pure blind luck that comes with no effort on our part. 👉 you can’t influence it
Luck with motion added. A certain [basic] level of action “stirs up the pot”, brings in random ideas that will collide and stick together in fresh combinations, lets chance operate. 👉 favors those who have a persistent curiosity about many things coupled with an energetic willingness to experiment and explore.
(personal sensory receptivity) Luck that is discovered via a special receptivity, discernment, and intuitive grasp of significance unique to one particular recipient. Chance presents only a faint clue, the potential opportunity exists, but it will be overlooked except by that one person uniquely equipped to observe it, visualize it conceptually, and fully grasp its significance. 👉 favors those who have a sufficient background of sound knowledge plus special abilities in observing,
(personal motor behavior) Luck that favors the individualized action. It develops during a probing action which has a distinctive personal flavor. 👉 favors those with distinctive, if not eccentric hobbies, personal lifestyles, and motor behaviors.
So to optimize your likelihood for luck index on asking yourself these 4 questions:
How energetic and inclined towards motion are we?
How curious are we?
How flexible and aggressive are we at synthesizing?
How uniquely are we developing a personal point of view?
Mark spent 2 weeks at a monastery and had some interesting insights about autonomy:
Autonomy in a disciplined retreat setting comes from within. Instead of “freedom from external control over my external circumstances,” it meant “freedom from external control over my state of mind.”
Just like you can trade money for freedom, you can trade autonomy for spirituality. “At first, I thought that the residents had given up their autonomy, but I soon realized that they had actually traded it. They had decided that spiritual progress was important to them, so they traded their autonomy for daily instruction, group accountability, and a tight-knit community of like-minded peers.”
True autonomy is being able to control both our circumstances and our state of mind.
“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”
— Alan Watts
With this purpose come two insights: “you must be present in your experience, and you must live your experience. Don’t be distracted, don’t avoid certain experiences or emotions, lean into them. Feel them fully. Experience life raw and direct. Don’t follow others, live your truth. Embrace your preferences, make your own choices, because these are the sacred gifts you have been given as a unique embodiment.”
[tweet] Is it true?
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I’m Patricia and have a full-time job but curate this newsletter in my free time as a labor of love.
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