Discover more from An Irritable Métis
And my groping after your wallets....
Greetings, friends! For some unknown reason I am the beneficiary of a pile of new subscribers, so for all of you newcomers: thanks for your time and attention! Real quick I thought I should explain how things work around here. This post is an example of what is roughly the mid-week edition of the newsletter, where I do my best to not really rant about anything but instead share things I'm up to, draw attention to things other people are doing, etc. Then in a few days will be another post, likely more in keeping with the "Irritable" part of all this. I don't really intend for it to be like that — the irritability, I mean — but it just happens sometimes.
Season of Giving
As this post goes live it is Giving Tuesday. I know it's tiresome being asked for money all the time (*cough* see near the bottom of this newsletter *cough*) but there are worthy organizations out there who deserve support. I would like to draw your attention to the Freeflow Foundation, which is connected to the Freeflow Institute. The Foundation exists to provide funding for Freeflow programs; gear, scholarships, etc. You will learn all about the mission HERE. But I would love if you would consider participating in the org's inaugural online auction, either to try and score some righteous swag, or even just donate. It doesn’t have to be a lot; if 10% of you threw even $5 their way it would make a huge impact. You can get in on the action HERE. I’ve done a few things with these folks and they are the best people imaginable doing important work. Truly.
Thoughts and Prayers
Here’s a decent piece from the Atlantic called, “‘Land Acknowledgments’ Are Just Moral Exhibitionism” by Graeme Wood. It's a good take. I've talked before about how, to my way of thinking, land acknowledgements are the progressive's version of “thoughts and prayers.” In other words, solemn, soothing words and no friggin’ action. Especially today, when there is still so much colonial bullshit going on. I like this example from our relatives to the north:
The point being: don’t pretend to be in solidarity with Indigenous people over our stolen lands and yet remain silent while corporations and governments continue to practice genocide against us. Because as @TheAgentNDN says, “Conditional solidarity is sabotage.”
I’m going to be talking about my Silence: The Daily Practice workshop in Yellowstone National Park, from the Lamar Buffalo Ranch, for a while yet. I know the cap is 12 students and I don’t know how many have signed up yet. I don’t know what the minimum is either. It takes some commitment to get to, I know, but it will be so worth it. Trust me.
Here is what the workshop is (allegedly) about:
Silence and observation are key to the creative process, whether that process is found in some discipline of art or in simply maintaining a well-lived life. This workshop will focus on writing, even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer.” It will feature unique exercises that include sitting in observation; walking as a key element in breaking free creative energy; and practicing live storytelling. You will be encouraged to recognize the importance of making time for reflection; to celebrate the absolute importance of being curious and kind; and to recognize the importance of your personal story.
If you’ve got time and some extra money, you can register here. It should be gorgeous there by February.
First I Look at the Purse
Here’s me groping after your wallets! Because you can still subscribe to this newsletter!
Or give it as a gift! The holidays are nigh upon us!
You can also get One-Sentence Journal, still going strong more than three years later, HERE.
And the new one, Descended from a Travel-worn Satchel HERE.
Both books also make wonderful gifts.
I’ve shared thoughts from my friend Dogo Barry Graham before. But the following, called “Medicine and Sickness,” came from an email earlier this week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Check this out:
In this week’s Dharma talk, I mentioned a parable that’s been on my mind lately. I don’t know its origin — I’ve heard different versions, some attributing it to the Zen or Taoist traditions, but I haven’t been able to find its source, and I don’t think it matters. Here’s the version I discussed:
In Hell, everyone is starving, even though they’re all sitting at dinner tables laden with food. The problem is, they have chopsticks that are three feet long, and that’s all they’re allowed to use, so while they can pick up the food, they can’t get it to their mouths. They’re eternally hungry at an eternal feast.
In Heaven, the conditions are exactly the same as in Hell, but no one is hungry. Everyone uses their long chopsticks to feed other people, and so everyone is being fed. They’re eternally feasting at an eternal feast.
Both realms are where we live, but much of the time it’s not obvious to us. One example that presents itself to us every day now, in this time of plague, is why we should wear a mask. The current medical consensus is that while masks are somewhat effective at preventing us from being infected with Covid, they’re much more effective at preventing us from infecting other people if we have the virus. If we’re only concerned about our own safety, we might be careless about masking. If our concern is to keep everyone safe, no matter how safe we feel, we’ll naturally put a mask on. When we try to protect everyone, motivated by compassion, rather than trying to protect ourself, motivated by fear, we all keep one other safe.
This applies to much more than health precautions in a pandemic.
I’ll leave you with that. Please be kind to each other out there….