“Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.”
I find I’m at my best when I’m not too emotionally tied to the things that don’t actually require my opinion. Huge swaths of pop culture fall into that category. So too does social media drama, outrage and Twitter mobbing. I find I have no opinion on the right way to eat eggs, make and cheesecake, or wear block colours.
Sometimes the best position to take is simply, “I do not have an opinion that will add value to this topic.” It’s a position that gives you the best opportunity to learn, to grow, and to keep moving. Forming and shouting about an opinion before you’re ready, before you have the facts, is only going to add to the noise and drown out any signals that could have benefited you.
I’ll occasionally find myself becoming awfully worked up and indignant about my opinion, until I stop and say, well after all, who asked you anyway?
Quite often, nobody has asked what I think about the issue. And I’ve not asked it of myself. Which gives me a certain degree of impartiality. It also allows one to sleep better at night.
All my love,
Leave the house without your phone. Go somewhere. Go anywhere. Go anywhere you’d normally take a zillion photos, where the surroundings might be ignored in a doom scroll. And you know what, you don’t even have to be present, or mindful, or appreciate. Just be there.
Pick something to learn. I’ve found that learning is denigrated once we’re past the age of schooling. Spending time on a course is only valued if it’s going to help our careers, or allow us to make more money. But I’d rather not view the world like that. Between YouTube and Udemy there are hundreds of opportunities to learn - anything you want. From calligraphy to masonry. Do it because you want to, and because learning adds spice to life.
Take a good, long, hot bath.
Listen to an audio book if you like. Sip tea, champagne or the tears of your enemies. Enjoy the time away from the world. With added bubbles. Of both varieties.
🎙 5 Questions With…
Who are you, and what do you do - in one sentence?
My name is Renata Miranda, I’m a writer and founder of Read a Girl, a newsletter amplifying the voices of women authors.
How do you practice self care and look after your mental and physical well being?
I have a mix of things I like to do, like reading, gardening and freestyle embroidery. I’m also a big fan of bullet journaling and skincare. But what really helps to clear my thoughts is swimming and working with collages - using paper, scissors and glue to create something new can be really soothing, especially when the mind is racing. I’m also currently doing the 12-week program of “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron, and it’s proving to be really life-changing in a way it’s unlocking parts of my memory I had no idea were blocked to begin with.
What is the one question you’ve always wanted someone to ask you? And what’s your answer?
I self-published my first book, “a spectacularly sad ending”, in 2018. It’s a collection of poetry and prose about love, heartbreak and loss. This is a deeply personal piece of work that deals with surviving an abusive relationship and I guess no one ever asked me this before maybe because it’s an uncomfortable question, but one I would be happy to answer: ‘Why did you choose to make such a horrible experience so public?’ My answer to this is I never really considered people would actually read my book. I wrote it because I needed to get that experience and how it made me feel out of my body and writing was how I managed to deal with it, learn from it, and, eventually, heal from it.
What book would you give to someone who wants to change their life and their path?
I believe books have this amazing transforming power over us and good literature can have an everlasting effect on our lives. A book that changed my relationship with reading was “A Little Life”, by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s a crushing story about friendship, love, trauma, acceptance and so, so much more. It’s not an easy read and is full of triggers, but it is devastatingly beautiful and a book I can’t recommend enough.
What is your Hill to Die On? (IE, the one belief or principle you have on which you’d stake everything)
I think everything should start and end with kindness. I’m a big believer that you should treat people how you’d like to be treated and this is a principle I’ll carry to the grave.
💻 Use: Climatebase
“Climatebase is a platform for climate action, education, and impact.
Our platform — which is accessible to anyone as a free public benefit — empowers the global climate community with the most comprehensive directories for climate jobs, organizations, and events.”
📱 Read: The Diminishing Returns of Productivity Culture
“At this point, we’ve embraced so many new technologies, with so many accompanying mandates to increase our work load — but with so little attention to why, and to what end. To contribute to a stock price that benefits a select few? To check the boxes on our to do list? To spend so much time at our computers that our bodies physically ache?”
🎧 Listen: Happy Place
“Fearne's HAPPY PLACE podcast, now in its ninth series with over 40 million downloads, builds on the success of the top 10 bestseller HAPPY where Fearne draws on her own experiences and shares advice from experts on how to work through feeling blue to finding joy each and every day.
Whatever your reason may be for feeling lost or frazzled from the pressures of this fast paced life, there are ways to put one foot in front of the other and help you unlock that inner happiness.“