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Letting go is an inside job, something only we can do for ourselves.

 

SHARON SALZBERG

Dear Reader,

XXX

 

Yours,
Fellow humans

ISSUE 19

MARCH 2023

BALI, being

A   N O T E

 

 

Support women

 

On 8th of this month, it’s International Women’s Day. The global holiday officially began in 1911 (following three years of unrest and protest) and is marked around the world (in Germany, as of 2019, it’s a public holiday). The day focuses on a variety of issues, such as the gender pay gap, women in technology, and women’s health, and encourages a diverse array of activities, from parties to marches. This year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity, encouraging folks to bring attention to discrimination and bias against women, and call for equality.

A L B U M S   F O R   W H E N E V E R

 

 

 

 

MTV Unplugged (2017)

Bleachers

 

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Nirvana, 1994, NYC

Shadow - Carly Rae Jepsen — Terrible Thrills Vol.2

Don't Take the Money - Gone Now - Lorde

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L O N G   R E A D

 

 

Energy and Objects

 

 

1.

We’re all familiar with inanimate objects coming to life. Most of us grew up voicing the concerns and desires of our cuddly toys, dolls, or action figures. Pixar have established an entire XXX around it. There is something magical and appealing about objects having spirits or personalities.


2.

Scientifically, we understand energy to be a generation of power, movement, light, and motion, able to exist in various states, such as kinetic or thermal. We also know that our bodies consist of energy-producing particles (thanks, GCSE Science). But we’re imbued with another kind of energy, too. In her book The Energy Secret, Jane Alexander explains that subtle or vital energy is ‘the unseen force that moves through all of creation — through our bodies, our homes, the landscape and throughout the universe.’ 

 

Many eastern cultures view energy as life’s nucleus. In Chinese culture, energy, known as qi, is the focus of everything, from how health is determined (e.g., if any meridian pathways are blocked) to how to arrange a room (feng shui). Prana is the Indian Ayurvedic equivalent to qi and looks to doshas (metabolic patterns) and chakras to find balance. Japan is the birthplace of reiki — a type of energy healing widely practised around the world. Mongolia, Tibet, and many other cultures have their own practices relating to shifting energy, including shamanic rituals and ceremonies. In fact, most ancient civilisations believed that we — people, objects, animals, plants, etc., — are more than just physical entities; we’re made up of an invisible force.

 

3.

Ruth Ozeki’s The Book of Form and Emptiness centres around Benny, a teenage boy who hears inanimate objects speak to him. At first, he just hears random sounds but eventually realises that they’re voices coming from the objects around him. ‘I decided they could be called voices because the things were still trying to say something meaningful, even if they weren’t alive. I might not be able to understand exactly, but I could sense their emotions. Things are very good at communicating their feelings. You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure, like when your keys go missing (…)? That shit means something even if you can’t hear it, and if you can hear it, it’s even more intense.’

 

After an incident at school when a pair of scissors tries to convince Benny to stab his teacher and ends with Benny stabbing his own leg instead, he’s diagnosed with ADD, given medication, and admitted to a psychiatric ward. But, in a way that can’t be articulated, it’s clear that Benny doesn’t have ADD and the voices aren’t ‘in his head’. If the reader is ever in doubt, they need only look at the structure of the story: it’s told by two viewpoints/voices — Benny’s and The Book’s. The Book speaks to the reader and to Benny, embodying the idea that inanimate objects have something to say. Even before Benny realises that the objects are talking to him, he understands something integral about their nature and energy: ‘I think they were just saying stuff, maybe to each other or maybe to the molecules in the air - just expressing themselves into the universe like they’ve always done’.

 

In the acknowledgements of the book, Ozeki references organisations dedicated to supporting those who hear voices (Intervoice is known as the ‘international hearing voices network’) and see visions.

 

4.

Away from media, it can be hard not to reflexively intellectualise (and thus reject) the idea that objects contain a spiritual, personal energy. But one way to go beyond our logical brains is to take a good look at the item. If it’s made of wood, you can likely see the grain. From there, if you’re so inclined, you can envision someone working with the wood (and creating a new energy). This reminds you that this wood came from a tree, which was a living, breathing entity. Everything is made from something natural (even plastic — for better or worse, it starts with oil from the ground), so this technique is fool-proof.

 

5.

Whether or not you believe in the healing powers of crystals (a therapy completely embedded in today’s wellness zeitgeist), one thing is undeniable: their vibrations are potent. The frequencies and electromagnetic properties of different crystals power the technology we use daily: watches, computer chips, liquid-crystal display TVs, radios, record player styluses, etc. Each crystal offers a specific function and, as there’s no one-size-fits-all explanation, trying to wrap your head around it all can induce a bout of brain pain (in us, anyway). Instead, we simply like to remember that crystals have been here on earth for millions of years — meaning they’ve been receiving, storing, and emitting energy for eons.

 

Another reason people believe that crystals can heal humans is that both are constantly vibrating. Physical vibrations in humans include heartbeats and breathing rates, but there are other, smaller vibrations happening in our bodies on a cellular level, too. One health practice used in the west that’s specifically aligned with vibrations is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) — a relaxation technique based on acupuncture that involves tapping certain points of the body to free blockages and resolve emotional issues.

 

6.

In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, she notes that in Potawatomi culture ‘the nature of an object is so changed by the way it has come into your hands, as a gift or a commodity’. She explains that the energy and value of an item is incumbent on the relationship between the giver and the receiver. She writes, ‘wild strawberries fit the definition of gift, but grocery store berries do not.’ The item, if a gift, also increases in value the more it is shared and passed on to others, accumulating further energy of a positive,

reciprocal nature.

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B O O K S   F O R   W H E N E V E R

 

Pachinko — Min Jin Lee

If youre a fan of epic family sagas, Pachinko is for you. The book follows the life of Sunja, a teenager living in a small Korean fishing village in the 1930s, who falls for a member of the Yakuza. The relationship turns her life, and that of her struggling family, completely on its head. Pachinko explores the hostilities between Korea and Japan at the start of the 20th century (and the underrepresented Korean Japanese culture), what it means to survive as a young woman, and the depths of family loyalties. It spans four generations and transports us from pachinko parlours to elite Japanese universities, street markets to New York City, and beyond. Pachinko, Lees second novel, is the ideal read if youre looking for total immersion in another world. Lee also talks about the book (specifically the start of Sunjas journey) on an episode of Book Exploder (found on Song Exploders podcast page on Spotify).

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