I recognize your face.
“It's hard when, you're stuck upon the shelf.” ~ Eddie Vedder
In my last email, I said that it feels like Covid-19 has stolen a year of my life. I’ve been “stuck upon a shelf,” and I’m done with it.
I also said that I have some news to share with you. So here goes:
Five years ago, I set out to get something out of my system. My psychological release started with a crazy idea for a movie, and it poured out as a screenplay, an esoteric self-help book, a novel, and an online course. My intention was, and remains, very simple: to change people’s perspective of life and counter the apathy and rigidity of our times.
The online course finally went live in 2019, as a guided, paid program. It has helped many people deal with their discontent with the status quo, and to see the world, and their place in it, in a fuller, more exciting way. And then, just like that, the status quo was shattered. The pandemic swept through the world, leaving havoc in its wake, and with it, an incomparable stupor of mind and spirit.
I have never seen anything quite like what we’re experiencing (and I was around in 1968): anger, mistrust, paranoia, and extreme self-concern. Isolated in our bubbles, we look out and see a hardening and resentment towards others and towards the magnificent possibilities of life.
I can almost hear the sad lyrics from that Pearl Jam song:
A few months back, in the midst of this malaise, someone asked me, “Did you create How to Be Alive! (the online program) specifically for these troubled times?” Her question caused me pause. I didn’t intend to, but maybe, just maybe, I did. And that strange thought gave me another thought: perhaps I need to set the program free and see what happens. Maybe that’s how everything is supposed to unfold.
The Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote, “The greatest need of our time is to clean out the enormous mass of mental and emotional rubbish that clutters our minds and makes—of all political and social life—a mass illness. Without this housecleaning, we cannot begin to see. Unless we see, we cannot think.”
It’s time for us to clean out the rubbish that was 2020, think clearly and compassionately again, and come fully alive in 2021. I, for one, am going to do my very best to do just that.
And I also… recognize your face. I know that you are brave and beautiful and full of potential—passionate souls driven to change things. So please don’t succumb to the prevailing sentiments and let your hearts and thoughts fade. Let’s make 2020 the year the future was born!
And never forget that I am here to help.
P.S. Here’s the link to the program, my gift to you and available only on YouTube:
And please… share it with your family and friends:
If you’d prefer to listen to the program, as a podcast, I’ll be releasing the 9+ hours of content (minus some visuals and quotes), in smaller segments. You can sign up to be notified at this link:
P.S.S. It looks like the screenplay may finally be coming to life, as a movie and as a TV series. We shall see. :) I’m also working on a new book to further elucidate these ideas, which should be available sometime this spring. I’ll keep you posted.
Random information for January
* Welcome to the 21st year of the 21st century. In Tarot, the number 21 is related to the card The World. One of the many meanings is to have the world at your feet! Also, 21 grams is the physical weight of the soul, according to the physician Duncan MacDougal. He calculated this by measuring the body weight of 6 patients before and after their deaths.
* MacKenzie Scott, Jeff Bezos’s ex-wife and the world’s 18th richest person, has donated more than $4 billion to 380 charities during the pandemic.
* The UN no longer considers marijuana among the most dangerous drugs. The decision opens new gateways for cannabis to be used for medicine and research.
* A new US Air Force satellite could send solar power to Earth. The Helios project will test beaming solar energy to other spacecraft, and maybe terrestrial receivers.
* Early humans may have survived harsh winters by hibernating. According to fossil experts, disruptions in bone development show that Neanderthals may have slept through winters like cave bears and bats.
* Researchers calculated the size of Japan’s Demon Slayer economy. The manga series about a teenager’s quest to kill the demon is expected to generate ¥200 billion (US $1.92 billion) in revenues.
* The UK set a record for wind power generation. Thanks to Storm Bella, more than half of the country’s electricity came from wind turbines on Boxing Day.
* A record 41 female CEOs are slated to soon be running Fortune 500 companies. At least 10 of them will be leading retail chains, including Kohl’s, CVS, and Rite Aid.
* Sony will buy AT&T’s anime business for around $1.2 billion. The deal will give the Japanese electronics giant access to the 3 million paying subscribers of Crunchyroll, part of AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment.
* Marketers are expected to spend $110.1 billion on digital ads this year, or 51 percent of the $214.6 billion total U.S. advertising-spending forecast, excluding political ads. Newspapers, radio, magazines, and local television now account for just 21 percent of the U.S. ad market.
* Water bottle expiration dates are for the bottle, not the water. After a while, the plastic will start leaching into the liquid.
* Ravens rival chimps’ intelligence. A scientific study pitted animals against each other in a battle of the brains and found that even young birds kept up with adult monkeys. I wonder where humans came out.
* Manmade materials now weigh more than all living things.
* Japan is hoping to leave no trace in space. Researchers are working on wooden satellites to cut down on the debris orbiting Earth.
* Archaeologists discovered 12,500-year-old rock paintings in the Colombian Amazon. Tens of thousands of artworks depict humans and Ice Age animals including mastodon, horses, and fish.
* Breakdancing is coming to the Olympics. For the Paris Games in 2024, the International Olympic Committee also confirmed skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing.
* Faster and fluffier than Usain Bolt. America’s fastest dog is a four-year-old rescue from Maryland.
* Giphy released its most viewed gifs of 2020. For a year like the one we’ve had, they seem surprisingly sincere.
* Want to try on someone else’s face? Get one of these hyper-realistic 3D-printed masks.
Take a look
Humans are amazing (when we want to be)! Watch and listen.
Think about this
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“The future is always beginning now.” ~ Mark Strand
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver
And don’t forget
I’m here for you and I value your feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading.
And please share the online program with your social networks. Who knows? It may change the life of someone who is struggling: www.howtobealive.org