By Tim Lawrence….

And this is just an aside note. A study has found that there are links to some forms of spiritual training and narcissism and “spiritual superiority”. Read more here.

“sleep late. make love. keep smaller company. go fewer places. move slowly.
celebrate the sun when it’s up for its brief tour. go for walks. read. rest. recover. love.” – James Maskalyk, MD

By James Maskalyk, MD, about a recent NYT article called, “The Long Darkness Before Dawn”. His message is more optimistic than the NYT article.

“The Long Darkness Before Dawn -experts say the coming months ‘are going to be just horrible.’

wow. the only thing horrible, for certain, is this messaging. is this how they expect to encourage positive behaviour change?  they don’t seem so “expert” in human nature. “honey, if you’re not home by curfew, you’ll ruin your life.” eyeroll. sure thing, dad.

and how does one get to be an “expert” in something that has never happened before? by studying patterns of slightly similar, but completely different things in the past? as i looked at this man’s bio, i see he never actually stood on the ground in an epidemic, or even at the bedside very often. how can he be so sure? how can anyone? doctor: humble thyself.

COVID is real, obvs. if you don’t believe that, well, more work for the rest of us. you can get us back another time. also real, is the loss of legitimacy the medical profession is facing if we don’t stop portraying ourselves as all-knowing soothsayers. we’re not taught how to lead societies in medical school, nor should we be. we’re not elected. sometimes we’re conflicted with industry, and the vast majority of the time, news articles don’t cite these biases. some greatly enjoy the attention the legitimacy an “MD” can bring, and will threaten it through clickbaitey promises of magic elixirs or prophecies of doom. or conspiracies, though usually with that one, the only hidden truth is them not liking their clinical job too much, and wanting you to subscribe to their youtube channel so they can do less of it.

they are in the minority of course. most of us love being at the bed of a sick or hurt person (though at least one of us is recovering from actually being that person), and play to our strengths. we tell you what we see from where we stand, what is important to us, and what we would do if we were standing in your shoes. would we stay in isolation these next new months? tough to know. many of us are going to work, and getting paid for it. it’s a bias, for sure, and hard for us to see past. tbh, when I am in clinical mode, I’m not the most well balanced person.  I more or less just work, and recover. I am only expert on those two things as they apply to my own life. oh, and also the microbiological basis of disease (COVID is airborne, wear a mask, wash your hands, meet outside, etc)

to create change, you don’t tell people what to do, frighten or shame them. it creates anxiety, or makes them feel foolish. even a junior clinician should know that. you lead with kindness, explain to them their responsibility, and empower them as much as possible. that is how trust is built, and the first offer of it is you trusting your patient. I love Dag Hammerskjold’s thinking on this: “Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others can receive your orders without being humiliated.”

the times article is worth a read, though full of similar statements.  a note to any college student reading it, or this, your college is not destined to be a “wuhan event”. defy that. bend the curve. for everyone else up here in the northern hemisphere, the next three months don’t need to be horrible. let’s lean into “beautiful” instead.  how about we slow down, as we used to only a hundred years ago, when the light went low. like the moose I hunted and couldn’t get (#veganhunter) sleep late. make love. keep smaller company. go fewer places. move slowly. celebrate the sun when it’s up for its brief tour. go for walks. read. rest. recover. love.

I mean, it is a modern age, and a global pandemic and all that, so you can add mask anywhere enclosed or on tight streets, wash your hands, get tested if you’re sick, and keep track of where you’ve been (easier to do that if, like a social bubble, you choose the fewest possible places).

but hey, I’m no expert. I’m just a dj like everyone else. I do think the next few months, instead of being “horrible”, will be ones we come together on the promise of keeping each other safe, and with that, my friends in the hospital whose faces and hands are red and raw. I’ll be there soon. miss you all.

there, NYT. fify.

deep bow (bowing is the new high-five). x.”

Love this advice by Glennon Doyle on how do you know if you are a writer.

From Astrolada:

“2021 Humanity starts to BREAK the chains of CONTROL and enters Teenage Age!

Saturn Jupiter conjunction in December 2020 will usher in a higher social and connection consciousness between people! Many will rise to claim their freedom of thought, expression, action. Aquarius is the most rebellious sign, humanity will exit its child state and enter its teenage years when nature calls for separation from authority and development of autonomy. “No outer decides how I live and feel, what I eat, learn, etc, but I acquire independent knowledge according to my interests and experiment for myself.”

Just like teenagers, most humans will turn away from the parents (institutions, governments, external authorities) and will turn to their peers. We will realise the importance of friendships and finding our tribe, belonging to a social body! Connection to equals will become the primary motivation, people will start forming communities…

How will this independence and autonomy manifest? We have to look at the ruler of Aquarius to see how the freedom will be gained.
Uranus is in Taurus, the sign of resources, food, money and earth.

The revolution will happen through creating independent such Taurus resources, away from the maibstream. Disconnecting the monetary system from the central government control, growing own food, forming like minded communities (Uranus) which create their own resources and cultivate the earth (Taurus), not depending on external sources for these Essential Taurus things…

Such exciting times ahead! Fasten the belts!”

This is an interesting article (and read the scientific paper here) about humans and friendships – we have the capacity to handle only about 150 friends, according to R.I.M. Dunbar, PhD, a professor in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, and this “limit is determined by the size of our brains”…

“Often, within the 150 limit we have inner circles or layers that require a certain amount of regular interaction to maintain the friendship. Whether that’s grabbing coffee, or at least having some type of back-and-forth conversation. Think about your own social circle and how many of those friends you consider closer than others. Dunbar concludes that each circle requires different amounts of commitment and interaction.

He says we need to interact “at least once a week for the inner core of five intimates, at least once a month for the next layer of 15 best friends, and at least once a year for the main layer of 150 ‘just friends.’” The exception being family members and relatives, who require less constant interaction to maintain connections.”

It made me think about who my 5 / 15 / 150 people are…

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jalaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Bark

New York Times invited people to send them 6 words describing what they are thankful for in 2020.

“The crinkling eye above the mask.

A furtive hug with a friend.

The backyard haircuts are getting better.

My choir still meets on Zoom.

Friends who give me streaming passwords.

Family reunion in January, before Covid.

Miss family, but safer for them.

Saved a lot of lipstick money.

More homemade pasta, no more jeans.

No shame in elastic-waist pants.

Braless at home? No one cares.

Mom, 87, rocking pretty, pandemic ponytail.

Teenage son still likes to snuggle.

My parents live two blocks away.

No better excuse to avoid in-laws.

This stinking year is nearly over.

*

Sunny mornings, a window facing east.

My bicycle, the trail, each morning.

Windows have never been so important.

Toscanini’s recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

5329 games of solitaire, won 5286.

Throwing the football with my sons.

Jonesy got a hole in one.

Still ridin’ my horse at seventy.

Postcards crossing the country — real mail.

Living in the Green Mountain State.

So grateful to live in Canada.

Left US for science-believing Germany.

I am thankful for Pastor Bob.

I’m just thankful for indoor plumbing.

I am thankful to be thankful.

Never been social; now I’m good.

I am bored, but not dead.

*

Ambulance took him. He came home.

Hearing granny laugh on the phone.

It’s just a cold, not Covid.

My parents did not get it.

Reached age 92, grandson reached 3.

I held my dying husband’s hand.

Held my son as he died.

Our kids, after my wife died.

My wife gave me her kidney.

Lung cancer team at Sloan Kettering.

Got sober during 2020, stayed sober.

Wasn’t too late to say sorry.

Wildfires took much but we survived.

Faith, family, friends, dedicated medical professionals.

Dr. Fauci and all truth-speakers.

Volunteers who take experimental vaccines.

Healthcare workers. Healthcare workers. Healthcare workers.

*

Pandemic baby after years of trying.

At twelve weeks, size of lime.

Special-needs child, graduated feeding tube.Love Letter: Your weekly dose of real stories that examine the highs, lows and woes of relationships.

My toddler and my weed guy.

Toddler sees Audrey Hepburn, says “Mama!”

I watched her learn to read.

Water cooler chats with six-year-old son.

Thankful for learning, in my pajamas.

Teachers’ patience. “ … Reminder: no fart machines.”

I teach funny, resilient 8th graders.

High school, even in a pandemic.

Survived first semester of online university.

Six years later, wife completes PhD.

Out of prison with great job.

Rediscovering myself by reading the Bible.

Stole my car, not my books.

Tried. Failed. Failed worse. Kept going.

*

To be a United States citizen.

Americans waited in line to vote.

Thanks for voting, Americans. — Immigrant scientist.

Gritty becoming an icon for democracy.

Once again, my Black vote matters.

God, family, freedom, Trump, health, USA.

Trump is our best president ever.

Vaccines are coming. Thank you, Trump.

Vaccine is coming, Trump is going.

Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter.

Biden won the election — thank God.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia.

Paris Climate Agreement returns in January.

The first female Vice President, baby.

The women who came before me.

Democracy triumphed. Now pass the stuffing.

*

Aunt’s Jell-O salad not gonna happen.

Solitary Thanksgiving means no turkey. LOBSTER.

Alone, spouses thankful for tiny turkey.

Daughter lovingly uninviting me for Thanksgiving.

Zoom Thanksgiving beats an ICU Christmas.

Thankful for sweet potato pie, y’all.

Red or white, and occasionally rosé.

The many people who deliver food.

My restaurant colleagues, who never quit.

248 cocktail hours with my mom.

Empty calendar means frequent dinners together.

There’s really more kindness than hate.

*

We’re falling in love over FaceTime.

Fell in love six feet apart.

I have someone I can hug.

Even after I cheated, she stayed.

The freedom of filing for divorce.

Lost job. Lost boyfriend. Found happiness.

I might marry Coronavirus Boy Toy.

Gayer than ever, very in love.

Postponed wedding, having a baby instead.

Fell in love at age 75.

I proposed and she said yes.

Will you marry me, Taylor Hollenkamp?”

What are your 6 words?

Our family’s are:

  • Blessed with family, friends, health, hikes. (mine)
  • Thankful for family, health, employment, Newfoundland. (hubby’s)
  • I got Skate 3 in 2020. (14 year old son’s)

By Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, in her New York Time editorial, on The Losses we Share:

“…So this Thanksgiving, as we plan for a holiday unlike any before — many of us separated from our loved ones, alone, sick, scared, divided and perhaps struggling to find something, anything, to be grateful for — let us commit to asking others, “Are you OK?” As much as we may disagree, as physically distanced as we may be, the truth is that we are more connected than ever because of all we have individually and collectively endured this year.

We are adjusting to a new normal where faces are concealed by masks, but it’s forcing us to look into one another’s eyes — sometimes filled with warmth, other times with tears. For the first time, in a long time, as human beings, we are really seeing one another.

Are we OK?

We will be.”

From Elodie’s (Astology) Weekly Forecast group:

“I think almost everyone is happy to see the Sun transiting in Sagittarius after a year of feeling like things haven’t been moving very fast. We are definitely gaining some momentum as the year comes to a close. Sagittarius is the visionary of the zodiac, and is able to say YES to what hasn’t happened yet. It’s often a sign associated with potentiality, and the opportunities that come from the ability to take risks. Chance resides here. You don’t know if you don’t try, and Sagittarius is willing to try.

Before the adoption of the word luck at the end of the Middle Ages, Old English expressed the notion of “good fortune” with the word speed. There’s something to be said for Sagittarius ability to jump on opportunities when they presents themselves. Sure, there’s elements of proper timing, but more extensively there is something about the readiness to seize luck in mid-flight, and be willing to change your trajectory at the last minute to create an opening. This talent for turning on a dime is not given to all the signs. This is why we associate Sagittarius with the Mutable modality. To a certain extent we create our luck with our ability to take a gamble, to have faith, to trust that it’s going to work out and to lay cynicism aside but also to ACT on a conviction. Throwing yourself into the unfamiliar while being motivated by potentiality can be very very scary for some but it’s something Sagittarius usually excel at.

This year however, Sagittarius season is coloured by the Nodes of the Moon currently transiting in Gemini and Sagittarius, which basically means the eclipses will be occurring on this axis until December 2021. The North Node/Rahu or the Head of the Dragon is transiting in Gemini while the South Node/Ketu or the Tail of the Dragon is transiting in Sagittarius. The South Node is bringing its smoky influence to the archer and confusing its aims. Where do we shoot our arrows if the horizon is unclear? Where does luck resides while we cross this collective threshold into the Air period?

The Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30th will most likely bring a lot of information noise. The overdose of anxiety-inducing news and data could be a very real thing as we spin on the Wheel of Fortune. The over-saturation of details, facts, and figures could render decision making difficult. The second eclipse coming will be a total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14th, and could challenge beliefs and what we assumed to be true in our personalized echo chambers.”

I have been finding comfort in astrology lately….

By Jana Roemer, Astrologer:

“We start the day with the Moon void of course in Capricorn before the Moon moves into Aquarius at 12:25pm PST.The moon in Aquarius is very community oriented, yet, it wants FREEDOM and won’t stick around for anything less that authenticity. Let go of the script, the ‘shoulds’ and anything expected of you that doesn’t fit your genuine expression of individuality. Quirky, weird tendencies may bubble forth in a way that you just have to roll with it. Follow your curiosity into innovation or even rebellion. We have the closing square between Saturn and Venus today as well. This is interesting because it will be the most intense dialogue between Venus in Libra and Saturn in Capricorn. They’re both at home in their signs. Venus negotiating for peace and harmony with unparalleled diplomacy while Saturn thunders in with why it won’t work or demanding higher integrity or placing boundaries where you want freedom. Just remember that Saturn is often working for your uplevelment, so that boundary could be protecting you or the flaw in the system being pointed out may prevent much bigger blunders in the long run. Trust. Let the discomfort of today turn your attention inward to feel for the sweet spot of self love before proceeding.

The Sun in Scorpio is sextile Saturn in Capricorn potentiating a transformative underbelly to whatever it is that you’re building.

If there’s one piece of wisdom that I could drop in today to carry through the rest of the year, it would be to loosen your grip on everything to allow for the space for things to transform. There is a future coming that most haven’t even imagined yet.

REMEMBER: The Universe is working for you with your best interest at heart.”

“You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.

But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude.

Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar.” – Jeff Foster

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