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*chants "less apps less apps less apps" in the background.

Sometimes I'll say to my coaching participants that "the world needs you in all of your imperfect beauty." There's no app for showing up fully in your own life, and never will be. (Thank heavens)

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

"There's no app for showing up fully in your own life, and never will be. (Thank heavens)"

This, so much this.

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Agreed.

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Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

Reading this was a strange mix of discomfort and relief, as I’d been thinking this last week of taking everything out from behind a paywall. Having all these notifications shoved in my face (and I *cannot* figure out how to turn them all off, no matter how many layers of toggles I find to click on) made me more tired of it all than ever. I’m this close to just offering to mail people some printed sheets to help all of us get offline. (I think those are called magazines, though.) The more the hustle presses in, the more I want to slow down and do less.

I’ve been thinking a lot about attention. I don’t subscribe to that many newsletters—and especially very few that publish frequently—because I can’t give my attention to very many. It feels disrespectful to have a bunch piled up that I either delete or skim or click “like” on without really reading. The thought of people doing that with my writing makes me feel sad and a little annoyed, so why would I do that to others? You might not believe it, but I’m sure I’m not the only reader who finds yours one of the few irreplacable ones. Maybe the only irreplacable one.

Driving to Butte the other day, I saw 4 Migiziwag! And on the way home saw several osprey and relatives, and heard a meadowlark while sitting with a friend talking through a horrific thing that happened and trying to think of how more to help; and then the sky couldn’t stop being immense and powerful and fluid and everything that mattered.

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Well, if you're wondering, turning off ALL the notifications works well ... except for the newer ones, which I'm still getting. Yes, the ones I don't want to see. Makes me wonder if that is just a bug in the rollout or that they figure if they notify us relentlessly that we ultimately yield. Not gonna happen! *shakes fist*

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I think they're trying to force everyone into the kind of "engagement numbers," willingly or not, that make the company appealing for investors and/or a buyout. But that might be me being too cynical. Maybe they're just incompetent at that part of the tech! All I want to see are comments and responses to comments and that seems to be the only thing I CAN turn off.

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I totally think all this is about puffing up the "value" for a big sell-off.

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It feels very much like that. 😕

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You know what will be much more value add for us instead of this short spans of attention that we give to our writer friends? - A monthly online writer’s cafe or something, where we read poetry and randomly talk about our local nature and ecosystems. Something without an agenda, something that inspires true attention, true connection. And nobody feels the pressure to catch up if they don’t want to. It is like grabbing coffee with friends and talking about the dreamscapes floating in your head or things that weigh you down, things that you want to write about. This I believe will replenish our exhausted creative well better than more random internet conversations.

I might be all in my head while saying this but I truly feel that great work comes out of a strong supportive network of individuals who are unique and visible to the masses in their own ways. In my head I call it ‘The not so dead poet’s society’

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This sounds wonderful. Definitely something to consider....

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I like that name! My writing group used to meet online to workshop essays once a month -- on Google Hangouts, long before Covid and Zoom -- because we were all in different locations. Then we stopped meeting to workshop and just met once in a while to catch up and talk about our lives. It's very infrequent these days but it's been a 10-year relationship for all of us and we've been through some awful things and some wonderful things and whatever we've built with one another through it all is quite real. I like to think that's still possible.

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Wow it is great to know that you have actually lived through this experience. I always thought that the pursuit of writing is quite lonely, but lately it seems like it is certainly something that can be done well alongside people who are as invested in writing great stuff as they are in discovering and reading great stuff too! I think that alone is the whole worth of this network- our aligned values and some shared world views.

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There is something big in having found so many people hungry to talk about these things, in whatever medium. It's one reason I'm not sure doing a print-and-mail version would work as well. Even if people aren't talking much to one another in the comments, they often read them and there's that feeling of connectivity in being online with one another in a space like this that I'm not sure can be undone. People would miss it.

Writing itself will probably always be a thing done alone -- in the end it's just you and the words -- but having people you can talk with about the work, or struggles, or any other aspect of it, can help with some of the stickier parts. My writing group rarely does that anymore, but sometimes. And we still support one another, writing or otherwise. It's not a bad thing to have!

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Understandably so. For a writer, being connected to a community online where feedback can be exchanged real time has reduced the role of media gatekeepers as mere intermediaries or at best alternative sources. It has been a powerful tool, even before substack, to be able to write for an online community. It is hard now to undo those past few decades of growth and freedom that writers have experienced- but coming back to Chris’s main point - at what cost? The same question that your recent release has highlighted as well!

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All of this, absolutely. One of my not-so-minor obsessions is data centers. Every time I see someone recording their bike ride with a GoPro, every discussion with someone who keeps all their photos in the "cloud" (which is a real place that requires a lot of energy to keep running!), every single time I save something in Google Docs (which my job requires me to use a LOT), *everything* we do online takes its energy from a place. A real place with real life whose needs are bent to maintain the electricity, cooling, etc., solely to allow those of us who use it to save our often unnecessary life materials. And that's not even getting into cryptocurrencies. The cloud isn't abstract. It has a cost and all kinds of life pay it.

(This has been an obsession since I read a long article once about a small-scale hydropower dam in Washington State that had mostly destroyed a long salmon run, and the author mentioned in passing that the dam powered a Google data center nearby. I would like to read a book about this issue!)

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I’d also not mind passing the $50 or whatever around quite so much if Substack and Stripe didn’t take a cut every time it changed hands. I have one subscriber who sends me money orders instead because he doesn’t want to pay them.

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I have a couple of those wonderful check-in-the-mail subscribers too and I love it.

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I like your printer sheet idea. I’ve been thinking of handwriting a newsletter and photocopying it to send out. Your newsletter is one of the ones I have found thanks to being on here so grateful for that connection!

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I would totally pay for one of these.

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Same! And I bet a physical one that you specifically sent out would be just beautiful.

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I agree with you. I would also never allow myself to miss all these notices from interesting channels, because I respect what this author writes.

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I find your words a tonic - special Chris La Tray tonic - to the undercurrents of fame-seeking and capitalism that I am as susceptible to as the next person, even with my decades of spiritual reading and my repeated experience of it not being what it's cracked up to be when you get it anyway. Thank you and deep bows from here 🙏🏻💚

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I'm all too susceptible myself, which is why I have to barricade myself against it when I can.

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Good to have some companions behind the barricades 😊

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

I don't know you at all, but your posts do indicate someone who is living with integrity (to me, anyhow! In as far as we can know each other via these platforms.) Miigwetch.

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Miigwech to you too, Genevieve.

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Miigwech, Chris. And thank you. I was thinking on similar lines recently. I am content. And it is very frightening. I like writing my newsletter twice a week, going on little jaunts on foot or in the car, and exhausting myself on my bike a few times a week. I work from 9-5 but compared to the jobs I've had for the past 25 years, it feels as close to retirement as I ever expect to get. I'm afraid to allow myself to enjoy it. I have been telling myself I am not enough for so long. Earn more; write more; achieve more. Write a book that lets you write full time forever after. No. I am enough. Thank you for telling me what I was feeling and how to confront it. And thank you for your beautiful poem.

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You are definitely enough, my friend. I'm really happy we've gotten to know each other a little better through this medium, seeing how we've been in similar orbits for quite a number of years.

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Likewise, Chris. I'm glad to know you.

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

I love this so much. I want more out of life than digital chains. I’m thankful for it being a portal for connection to your lovely writing, yes! But I will not allow my human essence to be boxed up as consumer. I’m going to follow your lead regarding the notifications.

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"Boxed up as consumer." That's really the irksome part. Thank you.

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Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

You always seem to articulate so thoughtfully and well how I've been feeling of late observing all of this, trying to write, read, trying to weigh how to make a living while resisting the grow mentality that has been pushed on us forever. I feel like we're stuck in groundhog day, handed histories and a world made for us and we just follow along with its rules. Substack and commerce relationship is no different. Thank you for writing and sharing and thinking through it all with us. I think it's telling that we push through so many things that give us pause or discomfort because that's just the way things are done. Those misgivings need to be listened to, and we can't forge a different way if we continue on the models that are pushed on us, that we don't choose for ourselves. I so love that miigwech means enough. We should all repeat that to ourselves and each other. How beautiful. Thankful to be connected with you writer friend. Also, that poem. So gorgeous Chris, so necessary. 💜

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"Those misgivings need to be listened to, and we can't forge a different way if we continue on the models that are pushed on us, that we don't choose for ourselves."

This. So much of "that's just how things are" is really "that's just how I am letting things be" and the revolution against it is a struggle. I appreciate you very much, Freya. 🙏🏽

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I would surely miss your writing on here if you left. I’m constantly juggling the idea of ridding myself of all social media but in my current isolation it provides me with the human interaction im missing out on. But perhaps I’d find new ways of interacting. Hmm. If I hadn’t already promised to house sit I would absolutely be there for the workshop. I’ll try to participate from afar, sitting in silence and writing in a beautifully simple semi off the grid island house. ❤️ miigwech always

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Thank you, Tess. Luckily I'm getting a few hours of human interaction every week that I haven't been for some time, and that is making it easier. Otherwise I think bailing on social media would be much more difficult for me than it has been.

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Giving up social media is a big step, and I don't think I'm ready for it yet. So far, it's a difficult decision for me.

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Goodness, just here to say I resonate so so much. Thanks for sharing.

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Thank you, Lisa.

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

Oof. You've once again managed to articulate (brilliantly) how at odds making a living feels with actually living in this moment. FWIW, your sensitivity to this tension is something that has always resonated with me, Chris. That quote you shared from Holly really nails it, doesn't it?

Reading and rereading your newsletters reminds me that this struggle of trying to live a less derivative, less over-abundant life is every bit as difficult as it feels. It's validating as hell to hear from folks who also see the seams of the capitalist project and are trying to navigate their own carrying capacity in a system that sows and rewards unnatural excess. Solidarity always, my friend. ✊

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Hell, yeah, Jackie, thank you. It is always a good day when I hear from you. ✊🏽

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Still a lot of snow over here so bring your warm clothes -- hiked just outside the park boundary last weekend, up in Jardine, and boy howdy do we need some green grass. All our ungulate relatives are very skinny.

But the bluebirds and sandhill cranes are back. Saw a blue heron on my dog walk yesterday, and someone said the pelicans are back. So maybe, just maybe, spring will come.

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There are sandhill cranes all around me and I love it.

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I think it’s so interesting how things surface up at the same time. I just cracked open sacred economics by Charles Eisenstein, not sure if you’ve read him or what you think of his work, but he used a Creative Commons copyright which means (also assuming you know what it means but for anyone who doesn’t) all his work is free to share and reprint except in the case of carrying advertising or for profit, and he keeps all his posts open here, and I have also been contemplating this move as well, counting on energy exchange vs dopamine hacking lol. I love that miigwech means enough. I love that you’re one of the people that’s come into my life because of my little earth ruining screen. With you and will keep paying for your writing as long as you write.

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Thank you, Holly. The feeling is mutual.

Eisenstein is definitely on my radar and I've read a couple things by him. I really need to pick up one of his books, though.

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Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

"I just want to simplify it all so I can give more of my attention to the things that really do matter, that I will miss if they are not there."

Clicking on your links has taken me on journey after fruitful journey. Fascinating what James Vukilich had to say about the history of Miigwech. Wanting to know the spellings of other Ojibwe words he used, I clicked on Closed Captions, which hears Miigwech as "meet wait." The Ojibwe word for "That one I am inextricably linked with" is heard as "Donegal bit chicken." Ha!

The less time I spend on screens, the better. I find what matters when I limit my screen time.

"You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.”

(William Blake)

Yesterday I looked out my window and saw a beaver swimming in Scudder Pond. Without one of your links today, I would not have learned this:

4. Wisdom – Nbwaakaawin

The beaver represents wisdom because he uses his natural gift wisely for his survival. The beaver also alters his environment in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way for the benefit of his family. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom. Use your inherent gifts wisely and live your life by them. Recognize your differences and those of others in a kind and respectful way. Continuously observe the life of all things around you. Listen with clarity and a sound mind. Respect your own limitations and those of all of your surroundings. Allow yourself to learn and live by your wisdom.

As long as this community is here with you, I'll be here. Your honesty is enough.

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There is beaver sign all over my usual haunts but I haven't seen one in a while. I need to try a little harder.... 🦫

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And by the way that poem is so beautiful I can hardly stand it.

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❤️

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You are right.

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Apr 23, 2023·edited Apr 23, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

"I want my relationships to be with all the senses. I think that is part of living an Anishinaabe life too."

YES!!!

What a beautiful Sunday read, thank you.

My favorite way to read newsletters is through the website on my laptop. I'll read on my phone through the app in a pinch. I wonder how that shows up in our analytics?

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My understanding is that it shows up on the dashboard under Traffic Sources. For example, right now, this post is showing 90% came via email, 5% came via the app, and 4% came via "other."

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Apr 24, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

There are also those stars next to our subscriber emails, I need to research if that data is derived from email opens only.

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There is a LOT in the data I don't understand. Some day I might try and figure more of it out. 😏

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The part I hate the most in this substack network bonanza is a lost value of creating genuine place of deeper reflection rather than eco chambers or outreach war. I admit I participate, but I do at my own pace and I share the things that I otherwise won’t in long form writing. I’m mindfully detaching from both praise and indifference that it inadvertently brings. That has been my practice anyway as a writer who doesn’t always write about easy or entertaining stuff. But I completely support you in your abstinence from the abstracted world of online ecosystems and I specially respect the fact that you do it in agreement to the way of life that your ancestors upheld. The difference between abundance and excess as you rightly pointed out, will haunt me now for days to come.

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I just hope we are able to maintain our separate little weird corners as they have been because that really is what I've enjoyed too, and yours is definitely one of my favorites.

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I pray the same for us Chris. May our weird little spaces prevail in this world of full of digital noise !

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Meeting you has been one of the gifts of this little ecosystem, Swarnali!

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I feel the same about both of you! 💜

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Same, Freya! 🧡

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Same here too Freya!

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I reciprocate this feeling Nia 💜🌼

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Apr 28, 2023Liked by Chris La Tray

Strong and loud words. You said it the way it really is.

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Thank you Sabrina, I’m glad to see my thoughts are reciprocated across more writers in this community! 💜

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My thanks to you for being in this community. There aren't many people here who evoke such positive emotions in me. 🧡

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