April 29, 2020

Action is hope.

This weekend, yesterday, today, I returned to center.

Continuing on the thread of rethinking the doomsday machine we've built, I've begun thinking about the ways to transform the negative emotions and pains that have resurfaced during quarantine. Keeping self and selflessness balanced is a delicate task, and right now the seesaw is motioning from one side to the other. How can I best serve this new world?

My friend Greg shared this interview excerpt on Instagram a few days ago. For the record, I generally do believe in optimism. Nevertheless, this sparked new energy in me.

From The Bradbury Chronicles By Sam Weller:

"I don't believe in optimism. I believe in optimal behavior. That's a different thing. If you behave every day of your life to the top of your genetics, what can you do? Test it. Find out. You don't know—you haven't done it yet. You must live life at the top of your voice! At the top of your lungs shout and listen to the echoes. I learned a lesson years ago. I had some wonderful Swedish meatballs at my mother's table with my dad and my brother and when I finished I pushed back from the table and said, God! That was beautiful. And my brother said, No, it was good. See the difference?
Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you've done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I'll be damned, I did this today. It doesn't matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you'll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I'll be damned, it's been a good year."


April 26, 2020

And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves.

Where to even begin. I've spent a lot of time trying to process this moment in my journal(s), but I don't know that I have any words of value to offer the world. As of today, I am safe. I am healthy. The same can be said of my family and friends. The people I know of who have been or are sick are still OK in that they are able to recover from their homes. (::knock on wood::) The weekends have felt safer—with the quiet and solace found in comforting activities—but the weeks are hard. Dissonance with working at what feels like 2x the pace, three hours longer per day on average, and feeling so disconnected, exhausted and overcome with grief, confusion, uncertainty.

The American Exception Zadie Smith/The New Yorker
"Death has come to America. It was always here, albeit obscured and denied, but now everybody can see it."

'I Become a Person of Suspicion' The Daily
Jiayang Fan of The New Yorker reflects on being an Asian American in this country. It was really affecting—she speaks of her experiences and memories so eloquently and thoughtfully, even when they're painful.

6 Lives Stolen On New York City's 2 Deadliest Days Somini Sengupta & Andrea Salcedo/NY Times
So much care was given to this beautifully written tribute. They honored lives that may have otherwise been overlooked and they have my infinite respect for that.

The pandemic is a portal Arundhati Roy/The Financial Times
"What is this thing that has happened to us? It’s a virus, yes. In and of itself it holds no moral brief. But it is definitely more than a virus. Some believe it’s God’s way of bringing us to our senses. Others that it’s a Chinese conspiracy to take over the world. Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."