“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.” - B. F. Skinner
Maybe you don’t need to make massive, earth shattering, revolutionary changes to your life. We idolise intensity of effort, and we idolise people who can achieve the biggest goals in the shortest period of time. But there’s more to value in our lives than that. There’s more to be proud of than conquering Everest.
The smallest increase in effort can make the biggest difference. Instead of beating yourself up over how hard you work, how much more you wish you could do, how “busy” you are, you might find some peace in simply identifying one or two areas where you could change your efforts by 10%.
It could be writing 10% more each day. Going to bed 10% earlier, to get 10% more sleep. It might not sound like much, but it will add up. It’s the tiny things that shape the world, more than the things that make headlines. The tiniest changes, shifts and sprouts.
Note! We’ve made some additions to the Tiny Spells format!
Starting this issue, we’ve added a brand new interview section, featuring a creative, an inspiring human or just someone cool every week, talking about their self care, their values and their beliefs. We’ve also started sharing a few recommendations; things to use, or read, or listen to. If you have any ideas for these new bits, we’d love to hear them. Email: email@example.com
All my love,
Stop. Drop. And snack. We have a culture that is designed to eliminate the pure joy of life, in favour of endless productivity. Even our food has to be monitored, calculated, tracked and scheduled to ensure maximum impact and minimum indulgence. I don’t know if that’s always healthy. Snack on something delicious and let go. It’s okay.
Here’s a “hard-to-swallow” pill. Your email account does not equal your value. Whether you’re chasing inbox zero, or the smallest possible reply time, or getting back to absolutely everyone, it won’t make you a better human, sibling, child, spouse, co-worker or FanFiction.Net author. Hide your notifications, hide that red badge of shame, and try to pay attention only to what really matters. IE, emails with discount codes…
Choose a moment to ask yourself some truly difficult questions.
Do you need to drink a little less?
Is there a chance you might have a problem?
Is that something you’ve been scared to say out loud?
Your answers might scare you. I know that. And I’m sorry. But I also know that they have the potential to change your life. Take heart.
🎙 5 Questions With…
Who are you, and what do you do - in one sentence?
My name is Joel Birch, usually I am the front man of a band called The Amity Affliction, however now I am merely an undergrad law student who draws in his spare time.
How do you practice self care and look after your mental and physical wellbeing?
I have a few different ways, however it’s debatable how effective they are in staving off the Black Dog; I surf, I swim with my camera, I draw, I paint, and I read. I do a lot of things, I have a resting mental state that requires a great deal of effort to quiet, and so the more I am doing at any one time the better. Right now I am studying law, doing large scale murals where I can, making commissioned illustrations, writing lyrics for the next Amity record, procrastinating about a novel I have started to write, and something that is taking up a lot of brain power is wondering when I will be able to do my job again.
What is the one question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you? And what’s your answer?
How does people accusing you of monetising your mental health affect you? It is crushing. It’s hard enough to be dealing with the daily tug of war between suicidal ideation and depressive episodes without having to deal with armchair critics making their critiques from a distance without having any idea what it is like to suffer from bipolar and depression while at the same time being successful. What strikes me is how these same people will come out en masse when someone successful follows through and suicides with their messages of grief and support, hence the title of our last album Everyone Loves You… Once You Leave Them.
What book would you give to someone who wants to change their life and their path?
The God Delusion. As many faults as Dawkins has - and he is a pretty repulsive guy - that book has the power to clear the mind of the sewage that is religion.
What is your Hill to Die On? (IE, the one belief or principle you have on which you’d stake everything)
Cops protect capital and not people and are basically useless relics that need to be abolished in favour of more community minded approaches to the implementation of necessary laws to maintain a civil society. The justice system is skewed disproportionately against the poor and Indigenous and the prison system only exists to raise capital for companies serviced by a corrupt governmental system.
💻 Use: Bullet
Bullet helps you manage tasks, write your journal and keep track of events, giving you more space to just be present. It’s a productivity app designed for mindfulness, with a system based on bullet journaling - something I absolutely swear by.
📱 Read: On Beethoven and the Gifts of Silence
“It seems a mystery that Beethoven became more original and brilliant as a composer in inverse proportion to his ability to hear,” writes Brooks. “But maybe it isn’t so surprising.”
As Brooks elaborates, Beethoven’s diminished hearing limited the influence of “prevailing compositional fashions.” Whereas his earlier work was “pleasantly reminiscent” of his instructor, Josef Haydn, his later work was spectacularly innovative. “Deafness freed Beethoven as a composer because he no longer had society’s soundtrack in his ears.”
🎧 Listen: This Podcast is Self Care
Modern living is exhausting and quite frankly, toxic and emotional labor. You should take a moment for yourself, but how? Join comedians Cait Raft and Drew Spears as they and their guests venture into the world of self-care and report on the good, the bad and the bougie. Listen in, because otherwise, they'll just be talking to their houseplants.