We are staying at a friend’s house while some building work takes place on our home. It wasn’t until last night that I discovered I don’t have any mobile or wifi signal in the new place. We’re going to be living there for a couple of months so while I can get online in the usual public spaces, my home life is going to be an internet and mobile phone-free zone. It already feels eerily quiet…
[There is a] stubborn power of politeness over time. Over time. That’s the thing. Mostly we talk about politeness in the moment. Please, thank you, no go ahead, I like your hat, cool shoes, you look nice today, please take my seat, sir, ma’am, etc. All good, but fleeting.
Here’s a polite person’s trick, one that has never failed me… When you are at a party and are thrust into conversation with someone, see how long you can hold off before talking about what they do for a living. And when that painful lull arrives, be the master of it. I have come to revel in that agonizing first pause, because I know that I can push a conversation through. Just ask the other person what they do, and right after they tell you, say: “Wow. That sounds hard.”
I have my reservations about politeness as a kind of vacant template for communication that lacks human intimacy – a shabby substitute for authentic kindness – but Paul Ford’s essay on how to be polite is worth a read.
I want to address the issue of compassion. Compassion has many faces. Some of them are fierce; some of them are wrathful; some of them are tender; some of them are wise. A line that the Dalai Lama once said, he said, “Love and compassion are necessities. They are not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
I believe that women and girls today have to partner in a powerful way with men — with their fathers, with their sons, with their brothers, with the plumbers, the road builders, the caregivers, the doctors, the lawyers, with our president, and with all beings. The women in this room are lotuses in a sea of fire. May we actualize that capacity for women everywhere.
It’s pretty simple really: trying to maintain a daily home yoga practice with a baby is hard. So I’m not doing it at home. I’m combining it with something most likely to send my son to sleep: a walk. Weather permitting I’m aiming to take my practice to Clapham or Wandsworth Common every weekday afternoon. I have to admit it does make me feel pretty self-conscious at times, but the alternative is…
Radamés Figueroa, who goes by “Juni,” is an artist who set aside his brushes to live in the trees….
"Tree House–Casa Club" (2013) is the result of the artist’s collaborative efforts in the Naguabo forest, where he and his friends built a tree house from raw materials found by the artist in San Juan over the course of nine months, and from readily available materials in the forest, such as stones and water for cement mix.
Figueroa grew up using what he calls “tropical readymades”—riffing on Duchamp’s found object art—by turning his shoes and footballs into planters.
Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points. If you always do just this, said his grandfather, and even if you only do this, with no other revision, you will be okay.
Don’t most children turn out fine? Won’t my son figure out that walls are not to be coloured on someday, no matter what I do or don’t do now? Let me bask in gratitude for my little boy, who, after all, might have died or could die at any moment (ever-present awareness of that fact *is* the maternal instinct). I’d at least like to fatten him up, emotionally speaking, before the cruel world starts to eat away at him.