There are few spaces on the web that help you declutter. If this isn’t the dawn of a Brave New World then I don’t know what it is. The endless flood of misinformation and propaganda easily overwhelms and I don’t want any of it. I have started curating my social media feed and trimmed my number of friends down to a credible few who deliver fact-based opinion. But even that is helping little.
I’m often tempted to go back to a flip-phone, junk Facebook for good and limit my information exposure to reading. But even Wired posts clickbaits now.
It is thus comforting to find BrainPickings celebrate its decade of ingenuity. And its curator, the good-souled Maria Popova, recently published her summary of core beliefs from which this precious piece of web space is founded. Let me share them here, for the lost reader who may have accidentally stumbled upon this blog, and for myself – some reminders that life isn’t so bad, after all.
Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
Listen to others, practice open-mindedness, tolerate opinion. Understand what is being said and measure it against your own beliefs. Influence, but allow yourself to be influenced. Understand that you do not know everything. Share your opinion generously, but remind yourself that they are not immutable.
Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
Do not get addicted to petty likes or allow yourself to reach an unhealthy level of narcissism for them. Manage your time, dedicate effort towards self-improvement. Pat yourself on the back from time to time and affirm how you did good. Labor towards self-gratification, for a smile from a friend or a random person on the street. Set standards for your own happiness and work towards them.
Be generous of your time, of your effort, of your words. Take time to compliment than critic. Make others know that you recognize their efforts and that you affirm their existence, that you see what they do. Be compassionate.
Build pockets of stillness into your life.
Sleep. Allow yourself to get bored. Stay still, meditate. Go for long walks or take a bike ride to nowhere. You need it.
When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
But believe them when they tell you who they are. An advice from Maya Angelou. People yearn to be understood and there’s no feeling comparable to the knowledge that somebody out there trusts you.
Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard
“Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”
Anything great is worth the wait. Allow for the concoction of the good to take place. Cultivate it. And when it comes, be there in full presence and glory knowing you have took so long to experience it.
Seek out what magnifies your spirit.
I have a Barbara Kingslover book that fucked me up real good. Anna Karenina put me into depression for two months. There are just some books that are too raw they show you parts of reality you’re not even aware of. That is something precious. But it needn’t be depressing. Is taking pictures clearing your mind? Does some kind of music help you concentrate? Madagascar 3 revives my spirit no matter what. Home into these. Have a base point you can go back to whenever the going gets too tough to meet.
Don’t be afraid to be an idealist.
I gave up idealism long time ago but I cannot deny its importance in keeping a lit-up life. People need to believe in something to keep going, else there simply isn’t any point to any of these.
Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively.
Most importantly, never allow yourself to lose your inner child. Get creative. The possibilities are endless. “Today, especially,” says Popova, “it is an act of courage and resistance.”
This morning I curled up on top of a little wooden stool on the office patio, a cup of coffee in one hand, a cigarette on the other. Sometimes, life just hits you too hard that all you can do is smoke the shit out of your feelings. But all it does is numb me down. After a while, it lingers back. Hence why little reminders like these sure keep the existential dread at bay.
Cheers to old souls.