To say hello....
*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)
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.
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 🙏🏻💚
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.
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.
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.
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. 💜
Goodness, just here to say I resonate so so much. Thanks for sharing.
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.
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
And by the way that poem is so beautiful I can hardly stand it.
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. ✊
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.
"I want my relationships to be with all the senses. I think that is part of living an Anishinaabe life too."
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?
"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.”
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.
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.