Almost not a newsletter
I wasn't planning to send out the newsletter this week because I received some big, not good, news on the family front that dampened all will to do anything and changed any plans. But this mailing list is still fairly small and I know most of you in real life (or indirectly), so maybe I can share this with you, and you can just skip ahead to the links if it’s too much.
My grandfather passed away on Tuesday morning.
We were close. He was the first person in my family to hold me in his arms when I was born, I learnt how to do a chakra on his yoga mat even before I could walk, and he is the reason I am where I am today. The morning I found out, I wrote a little (1500 word) note, perhaps to process the shards of feelings I was walking on in that haze. As someone close and wise said to me when they found out, “Writing is healing, writing is processing” and also, “It must hurt.“ So here it is if you want a glimpse of the person who paved every single stone of the way to where I stand today. Writing it did help me to begin the process of unraveling this journey of healing.
The wise person is also right on that other account; it does hurt. I thought the length of my grandfather’s illness would make me prepared for this possibility. I thought logic and philosophy and meditation and physically living on the other end of the planet would mean I could take everything at a distance and give it some perspective. But the truth is, for two weeks before it happened, I had been sleeping with my phone clutched in my palm, the terror of waking up to an untimely message making my heart pace each night. And the truth is also that since it happened, my world feels like it shattered a little and I can’t put it back together again. I haven’t felt normal. I feel like half the time little lima beans are jumping up and down inside me making my heart race, and half the time they are melting into puddles on my face. (How can lima beans melt into puddles, N?) I can’t even put together a decent metaphor.
Anyway, this just to say, I’m sad. I know it’ll take its time, and I know my sister and I have been luckier than most to have had the joy of experiencing our grandparents for as long as we have. So I’m just sitting with it, really feeling the deepness of my love and gratitude for him. And people have been so, so kind.
But while I dwell on that, here are this week’s links for you (make sure you read the last one!):
This episode from the 10 Percent Happier podcast, which you will see plenty of plugs for although I am not getting sponsored (yet). Host Dan Harris talks to mega monk Haemin Sunim in a fresh way about so many things that have relevance to life, I had to stop every two minutes to transcribe them. For example, his definition of love:
“I think one of the wonderful expressions of love is paying attention. When you love someone or love doing something, you pay attention to it. And in paying attention to it, you don’t think about yourself. When our mind becomes quiet and can pay attention to whatever that is, in that moment there is a quality of love. The ‘you’ drops away.”
Wherever you are in your journey, you’ll probably want to hear this.
This Guardian article on how all of humanity’s problems come from human beings’ inability to sit in a room and think.
This Vittles article about imperialism and indigenous food traditions, or if that’s too serious, this one about cultural revolutions and culinary evolutions through deep fried snacks. Vittles doesn’t sponsor me either, but I encourage you to check out their archives and maybe consider sponsoring them.
This Zine from one of the few people on here I haven’t yet met in person but really want to, Ida Yalzadeh. I know there are a few of you on here who are women of colour on your way to university and so on, so here comes a highly, highly recommended guide of things you will wish someone had told you. If you’re not or around the academic scene, a woman, or of colour, this is probably helpful to you as well. Check it out, and check out Ida’s newsletter while you’re at it.
And finally, this wonderful article from my sister on our grandparents. It is sweet, funny, generous, thoughtful, incredibly well-written, and I can’t think of a more fitting close to this newsletter. Her intimate observations do justice to our grandparents and their often comical characters. If you read only one thing today, make it this one.
That’s it for this one. I’ll be back in two weeks.
As always, stay safe, share with a friend, hit reply, and pick up the phone and call your loved ones.