On Finding Your Purpose: An Extraordinary Letter by Hunter S. Thompson (via Tranquil Monkey)

My friend came across this letter from Hunter S. Thompson on Tranquil Monkey and sent it along to a group of us gals who talk about our goals and purpose in life.

Yes, goals groups are a thing, and they’re great. Get together with some friends every few weeks and talk about your goals. Seriously.

Anyway, here we have a not-yet famous Hunter S. Thompson writing a letter on the meaning of life to a friend. Man, I can’t remember the last time a friend sent me a letter, and I’m pretty sure it didn’t contain the meaning of life, or any Shakespeare quotes.

Whew, it’s good stuff. As these things often happen, my friend sent this just as I was debating something along the same lines, whether to float with the tide, or swim for a goal.

When you’re freelancing and building your own business, it’s inevitable that something will come your way wanting to take you out of the water. And swimming is hard, so you contemplate it. It’d be so much easier to just take a regular job, you think. Give up the dream for a paycheck and benefits like most everyone else does.

But I think what Hunter S. Thompson is trying to tell his friend, more or less, that when presented with two choices (or eight), you either know if one is right for you, or if neither feels right, and you’re feeling stuck enough to ask for advice, you’ve gotta find a third (or ninth) way. You gotta stay true to you and keep going for the life you want.

Something like that, right?

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Notes from a Shaman: Moving Negative Energy and Why the World Is in Upheaval

My friend sent me this article from Goop.com — yeah, the Gwyneth Paltrow site is still around, and yeah, she’s still using that name — because she knows I love all things shaman.

Shaman Durek
Shaman Durek

Notes from a Shaman: Moving Negative Energy and Why the World is in Upheaval

“When you react to negativity, you send a signal imprint to both yourself and the universe that this experience of negative energy has value to you. Obviously, it does, why wouldn’t you react? If we spend more time reacting to the joyful, beautiful, and pleasurable things in life, it shows the value of those things and we create more of them.”

Read the entire Q&A, it’s fantastic. Nice work, Goop!

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Pema Chödrön: Life Is Glorious, and Wretched.

I absolutely adore this quote by Pema Chödrön, especially the part about grief. It’s so true, when we’re in pain, we’re able to do things we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

I’m pretty sure either Beavis or Butthead said something similar, something like “You have to have stuff that sucks to have stuff that’s cool.” Pema is just as bad-ass, and a lot more eloquent:

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest…

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both.

Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.

On the other hand, wretchedness—life’s painful aspect—softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose—you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discouraged, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple.

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

— Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chödrön

Get more sleep… for the economy

These days it seems the only way to make anyone pay attention to something we wish would change is to tie it to the bottom line.

I thought it was cute when I read this New York Times piece by Sendhil Mullainathan, Get Some Sleep, and Wake Up the G.D.P.

“Most of today’s workers rely on their mental and social skills. And if those workers don’t get enough sleep, their lethargy, crankiness and poor decision-making will hurt the economy in assorted and significant ways.”

It’s not enough to notice people are lethargic, cranky, and making poor decisions, we have to make it meaningful by tying it to a nation’s gross domestic product.

Fine. Whatever drives the message home.

People need to get sleep. This culture of burning the candle at both ends we all seem to be encouraging isn’t really getting anyone anywhere.

But if you need proof, Mullainathan references a study showing that people waste more time surfing the web aimlessly on the day after the start of daylight savings time, when people get one hour less sleep.

He also mentions a study showing that full-time workers are getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night more often now than in the ’70s.

We live in a society that is valuing sleep less and less, but our bodies and minds are still wired the way they were tens of thousands of years ago.

Use the economy argument if you want to, but really, it’s biology. We need sleep.

P.S. Do you need help getting more sleep or creating a more regular schedule, so you can wake up refreshed in the mornings with time to get your day in order?

I’m naturally a night owl, but getting up early sets me up for a better day, so I’ve been working out how to change my habits for a couple of years now. I’ve made many mistakes (some that really negatively affected my health) and have since learned how to safely, naturally retrain my circadian rhythms and set myself up for a smooth morning.

I’d like to share what I’ve learned with you in an 8 week class, currently under development.

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