“The opposite of play is not work, it's depression.”

EA

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #6

Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology
| by Cal Newport

The urge to pick up our phones every few minutes has become a nervous twitch that shatters our time into shards too small to be present. Our addiction to tech leaves us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this timely book, professor Cal Newport shows us how to pair back digital distractions and live better with less technology.

Introducing us to digital minimalists — the calm, happy people who can hold long conversations without furtive glances at their phones or obsessively document everything they eat — Newport reveals how to live more intentionally in our tech-saturated world.

By following a thirty-day ‘digital declutter’ process, you’ll learn to:

– Rethink your relationship with social media.
– Prioritize ‘high bandwidth’ conversations over low-quality text chains.
– Rediscover the pleasures of the offline world.

Take back control from your devices and become a digital minimalist.

Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To
| by David A. Sinclair

It’s a seemingly undeniable truth that ageing is inevitable. But what if everything we’ve been taught to believe about ageing is wrong? What if we could choose our lifespan?

In this groundbreaking book, Dr David Sinclair, leading world authority on genetics and longevity, reveals a bold new theory for why we age. As he writes: “Aging is a disease, and that disease is treatable.”

This book takes us to the frontlines of research many from Dr David Sinclair’s own lab at Harvard—that demonstrate how we can slow down, or even reverse, ageing. The key is activating newly discovered vitality genes, the descendants of an ancient genetic survival circuit that is both the cause of ageing and the key to reversing it.

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“The feeling we know someone is the constant enemy of getting to know them properly.”

EA

Love is in the small

Nearly two and a half years ago, I had a call from my hometown. It said I should come home to my mum. It said she is very sick. It may be the last opportunity…

Last opportunities, lost possibilities, fears that we can never truly get back from without a scar.

I’m living in the farthest land to my hometown, Istanbul. New Zealand is far far away in the corner of the world. I held onto minutes. Minutes like hours. As I counted one by one; for a while, for whole a lot while; I went back home to my mum. That’s when I learned that the length of “for a while” can’t be measured. At least by the person who’s in the waiting.

My mum; her name is Elcin. It means cicada. Her singing never stops. She takes the darkest silence of the night and creates a symphony of it. She is full of life, loves to experience everything, to the very edges that sometimes she get lost in the moment to find herself again and again.

After her visit to Cuba, she got sick. First, she thought it was a common cold, turned out to be fungal pneumonia. Untreated for days, the sickness carried her to the ICU corner. The whole family, three of us, my brother and I at the hospital corridors and my mum behind doors; we fought.

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“Let us not be a society where 'honest in public' equals 'weird'.”

Stuff I’ve been reading recently – #5

The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath.

Death has never been busier and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery.

So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found. But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jewish fist-fighter in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.

The Book Thief is a story about the power of words to make worlds. In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Conversations with Friends
by Sally Rooney

Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and darkly observant. A college student in Dublin and aspiring writer, she works at a literary agency by day. At night, she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are profiled by Melissa, a well-known journalist, they enter an exotic orbit of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence.

Initially unimpressed, Frances finds herself embroiled in a risky ménage a quatre when she begins an affair with Nick, Melissa’s actor husband. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances’s intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new – a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. But as Frances tries to keep control, her relationships increasingly unspool: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi.

Written with rare precision and probing intelligence, Conversations with Friends is exquisitely alive to the pleasures and inhibitions of youth.

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“Easy and simple are not synonyms. If anything, they're antonyms.”

EA

An Invocation for Beginnings

One of my all-time favourites. <3

Below is the script of the video. I highlighted the lines that resonate with me more.

What part you’re resonating the most? Go start that shit up!

***

Don’t call it a comb-back; I’ll have hair for years.

I’m scared.
I’m scared that my abilities are gone;
I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up;
and I’m scared of you.

I don’t want to start, but I will.

This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun;
who’s stuck in a terrible place between zero and one.

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“Here is to us, taking risks, leaving our comfort zone, open our minds and hearts to life and embracing all. #waytobe”

EA

Meditation journeys #1 – Intro

I love meditation. It has profoundly transformed my life in such a way I never thought it was possible. Without exception, I always learn something about myself after every session for many years now.

There are many ways to meditate, and I’d like to share how I see and practice it.

Meditation is not about stopping thoughts and clearing your mind, AND it is not about forcing yourself to think and feel in a certain way.

I don’t use meditation to infuse my mind with specific thoughts. I don’t use it simply to change my behaviours. I don’t like to listen to scripts or follow instructions because it doesn’t work that way. Because it doesn’t come from me, they are not my thoughts, not my feelings. I cannot genuinely act on them.

Think about repeating yourself for 10 minutes every day that you are the king. Say it “I’m the king. I’m the king. I’m the king…” Yes, maybe you can end up with a royal ego with a grand illusion. Alas, it doesn’t make you the king.

Behavioural therapies require more than thinking and listening; you need repetitive actions to improve and fix them. Thinking by itself doesn’t give you the ability. Thinking is not doing.

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