My Brain: From Pixels to Projects
The Monday morning I began my “sabbatical sort of” two weeks ago, I felt like my brain was operating on pixels, a thousand random thoughts flying through mind all at once. I do not have ADHD of any kind, but I might have watched (or taught) too many webinars for too many months in a row, scheduled too many Zoom sessions in a row for too many days. I felt buzzy and foggy at the same time.
And as soon as I stopped spending so many hours on the computer, and more time in nature, more time with friends chatting on the phone rather than via Zoom (grateful as I am for Zoom!), the more settled my mind became. And then, of course, to begin diving into the books accumulating on my living room table.
I noticed I had stumbled upon a theme from the beginning: role models of resilience who were also compassionate humanitarians on a world-wide scale: HH the Dalai Lama (The Open Road: the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Pico Iyer); Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road); after seeing the film Oliver Sacks: My Own Life, diving into one of the few Oliver Sacks books I haven’t yet read, The Mind’s Eye.
And to celebrate so much to be grateful for on Thanksgiving Day, I began to read Barack Obama’s new book A Promised Land, a deep dive into an intelligent and humane analysis of why our democracy has become so fragile in recent years.
All of it good food for thought. All of it grist for the mill to evolve my own thinking and teaching about resilience beyond the personal self, toward the larger context and larger community. All of it to be mulched into a new online course in January 2021 on cultivating a resilience mindset.
One more thread that has proven fascinating to follow, which actually began with my post announcing my “sabbatical sort,” Downshifting for an Uplift, which included a link to the Center for Humane Technology’s podcasts Your Undivided Attention. I dedicate a portion of time each day to reading transcripts of the interviews of Tristan Harris with experts in so many fields on the intersectionality of digital technology and our attention economy with climate change, racial profiling, teenage depression and suicide, corrupting elections. Fascinating, and more grist for the mill of how to recover and sustain resilient communities as well as ourselves.
However you might choose to downshift and take some time for slowing down and focusing in on the deeper, broader questions as we lean into winter and year-end reflections, I hope you find inspiration from some of the many role models we have in our world who work for and embody a deeply compassionate commitment to solutions for all the sufferings in our world. We all can use that kind of uplift right now.