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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal
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Shaping Our Selves and Our Environments

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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal

Book mentioned: “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport - https://calnewport.com/writing/

https://theAPSociety.org/AWW2023/

Remember, we welcome comments, questions, and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com.

S4E16 TRANSCRIPT: ----more----

Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-Based -Paganism. I'm your host, mark.

Yucca: and I'm Yucca.

Mark: Today we're going to talk about bringing the natural world that's outside where we live. More into integration with the natural world that's inside where we live. Having more of a sense of connectedness between the two of those and kind of a, an approach to worldview that helps to feed us and help us to be happier.

Yucca: Right, so really talking about cultivating our environment. Environments, both on an external level and on that emotional internal level as well.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Yeah. So I think this is a really fun one, especially as we're getting more into spring and into this warmer kind of time of the year. But yeah, let's, let's go ahead and get into this idea of kind of, Bringing that in, or as you were saying before, kind of blurring the lines between the outside and inside.

Mark: Sure, and I really agree with you. I think that springtime is a great time to talk about this because. There's so much that's really beautiful that's happening in the world right now in the, in the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lot of how much we're going to get out of that depends on our mindset,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and it depends on what kind of habits we've developed for ourselves.

We were talking before we started recording about how the, the human sensorium is geared to look for problems. Because problems threaten us. Right? And so solving problems becomes a way that you keep yourself from getting eaten,

Yucca: Right. The person who didn't worry about that, Those weird noises that they heard around the campfire got eaten and then didn't have babies. So those people aren't our ancestors. The ones who were anxious and worried are our ancestors, right?

Mark: Exactly. So we're already swimming against the current a little bit when we decide that we want to cultivate a worldview that actually reaches out for what makes us happy, for what brings us awe and wonder and contentment, and a sense of hope and aspiration, all those kinds of things. So we're gonna be talking about all that stuff today.

But to begin with, there's this nature in nature outfit,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: and if you're anything like me and all the pagans, I know you've got rocks and sticks and plants and dried flowers and just all kinds of stuff, seashells and. Fossils and just all kinds of things from the natural world inside your house because those things bring you joy.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. Yes. A lot of those things end up in our pockets and you know, first they end up in the laundry pile and then it all has to come out of the laundry, and then it gets arranged around the house and, and all of that. And I think that's, it's about what are we paying attention to? Right. Because those things are everywhere, the beautiful, I mean, next time you're sitting next to some gravel for a while, right?

Gravel seems like it might be boring, but if you are sitting there because you're waiting for a bus to come or whatever it is, just start looking at each of those individual rocks. And just the way that the light is shining off of each of them and thinking about the history of how that rock formed, how many millions of years ago, and how it's been tumbled and all, what has happened to it.

And I think that the, the collecting of those things is a reflection of the interest that we have in them and the interest that we have in the world around us.

Mark: Right. Right. And that kind of curiosity, which of course is one of the Ethiopia Pagan principles, that kind of interest in the world is part of what engages us with the world, gives us a sense of being connected to the larger whole. Gives us a sense of valuation of. Of all that is right. So, yeah, when you're looking at that gravel, I mean, you'll, you'll see there are stones of different colors and obviously very different derivations all there kind of mixed together in that gravel.

And each one of those has a geological story. You know, it's, it's got a chemical story. You know, the reason that they are particular colors is because they're made up of particular chemicals and. Being curious about those things and. To be, to be completely honest, you don't need to have a deep background in geology or in chemistry in order to appreciate this, to understand that, that in the earth, these rocks were formed.

And then tumbled in the, the process of erosion, usually by water, but sometimes also by air. In order to form those little beads of gravel that you have before you. And when you have that revelation Sometimes what will happen is the, the, the ground will drop out from underneath you metaphorically, and you'll find yourself falling into this sense of amazement about the whole nature of deep time and the fact that we're here and the fact that we're a part of this wondrous, amazing hole that is planet Earth.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: And you'll probably take the rock with you.

Yucca: Yes. Now if you don't, right, if you are practicing some form of very strict minimalism or anything like that, no judgment,

Mark: That's fine.

Yucca: fine.

Mark: It makes you happy

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: that, you know, we, we as, as we keep saying in naturalistic paganism, in atheopagan, there is no. Cosmic task master that wants you to do things a particular way, there is no Pope who's going to lay down the rules for you. It's about developing a practice and a perspective and a set of personal habits that feed you on a spiritual and emotional level so that you can be a happier and more contented and more effective person, and you can experience more joy out of your life.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: That's the deal.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Yeah. It's amazing. It's, it, it's amazing how rarely you hear anybody say anything like that in our society. You know, do what? Just do what feels good.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: anybody, just do what feels good. Do that, do that some more. Cuz it's, cuz it's good for you.

Yucca: Right,

Mark: But we're here to tell you weekly that, that's, that's. That's what we recommend.

Yucca: right. So what are some of the things that you particularly enjoy in terms of do you, you know, is it dried leaves or sticks, or, you know, is there something that you really enjoy bringing into your home?

Mark: You know, it depends on the season. I live about 30 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, and I don't get out there nearly as much as I would like to because 30 miles is enough to be a little bit of an impediment. I. But and I have to go through all this magnificent redwood country to get there, which kind of sidetracks me sometimes.

But when I do go to the beach, I inevitably come home with a bunch of rocks and maybe a shell or two. And it's because. It's a combination of them being polished very to, to a pretty high gloss for nature. And also that they're often wet and so you can see their colors and their patterns more vividly than when they're dry.

And so I'll end up, you know, bringing those home I Anne, a participant in our Saturday mixer on a regular basis. Had a suggestion this morning that she says she puts them in potted plants. You know, the, okay, I got a cool rock. Now it's going into potted plant. If you're getting them from the ocean, rinse the salt off first.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That's important because you know, most plants are not very salt tolerant. They don't like it.

Yucca: Right. We actually do that as well for very practical reason as we have a cat in our house. And sometimes he decides that other things will be his litter box, and so we put pine cones and, and rocks and things like that into the potted plants and that prevents him from doing that.

Mark: Oh, wow. I, I have not heard of that problem before, but that

Yucca: Oh, really? That's a, that's a cat. Yeah. I mean, he's pretty good about not doing it now. But when we lived in a smaller apartment, yeah, sometimes he would just decide that that was gonna be his litter box instead. So, but the shells and the wet rocks we actually, so. Two weeks. But the reason we missed the podcast a couple weeks back is that my family, we went out to Florida for my brother's wedding.

And so I took the kids to the beach for the first time in their life and they were, they were delighted. And of course, we came back with several gallon bags of shells because that was, we, I mean, how, how could you not, right? Shells and rocks and little you know, dead. Dried up coral things and, and all of that.

And one of the things that we've done is taken a big vase and put some of the water in it and them in the water, in the, the glass vase. Because there just is something about it being in the water, right.

Mark: They're just much more visible that way. That's wonderful. That's a great idea.

Yucca: Yeah. And of course we have ones that aren't, and you know, they're, they're being sorted by color over and again and all of that. But that, that's just been my favorite thing so far. And actually we took a few little pieces of dried up seaweed that was left on the, and that's in there too. That won't last quite as long as the rocks and shells will.

Mark: Well, that's really great. I am, I mean, I love the desert and I've spent a lot of time in the American desert, but the op, having the opportunity to see a place that's, that has the ocean and is very wet and all that kind of stuff, you know, for your kids, I'm sure was just really magical.

Yucca: I have to share just one thing as we were, we flew there. And so this was also their first airplane trip and we went, we. We stopped in, you know, Dallas on the way to get there and my daughter was looking out the plane and she looked down the, cuz I made sure to get window seats for the kids since, you know, they're gonna be first airplane try ride.

And she's looking down and she goes, mom, the ground is green because, you know, we, the farthest we'd ever been is, is into Colorado with her, which is very similar. Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico are very similar. So she hadn't really seen anything like that before. And just them seeing that kind of grass, we have plenty of grass here, but it's golden.

Right? And it will pop green for like a month during the, the monsoons, but the rest of the time it's just this golden brown. And so they were just fascinated at seeing. You know, grass on the ground and seeing all those kinds of trees. So yeah, we spent a lot of time and there were so many things we, you know, they wanted to bring back, but I had to inform them and we, unfortunately we can't take this on the airplane.

And, and those big, giant beautiful leaves are not gonna last when we

Mark: Oh yeah, yeah, like the giant monster and the banana trees and you know,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: wonderful things.

Yucca: and we have a banana tree plant in our house, but of course it gets to like three feet tall. And the ones that we were looking at, I mean, they were just humongous. The leaves were as big as their bodies and going, you know, we're gonna take some photos, but those aren't gonna come, those can't come home with us.

You know, we could take the cool rocks and the shells, those will last. So that's something to think about in your own environment. You know, you know, we cut things and bring them in sometimes, but some things are gonna stay very well in the home and some things aren't gonna stay very well,

Mark: Right. Yeah. So you were asking about what kinds of things I bring in, and one example was, Rocks from the, from the coast. For whatever reason, we have very few shells on our coast now, and that was not the way that it was when I was a child. There's been a tremendous die off of of

Yucca: acidification maybe?

Mark: probably from a combination of warming and acidification.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So I don't see that as much as I did when I was a child. But. But the rocks are there and of course the, the, the California coast is very rugged, that's got these sort of cliffs and bluffs and stuff, and it's really just very beautiful to be there. And even on a weekend, I can usually find a cove on the Sonoma coast where I'm entirely by myself,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: which is amazing.

Makes you feel like the last person on earth.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So yeah, bringing in those things. And you asked about dried leaves as well. I actually go on an excursion to get colored leaves for my focus, my altar.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: In the fall there's a particular breed of a tree called a liquid amber, which I believe on the east coast is called a Sweet Gum.

Yucca: Okay.

Mark: And they, they hold their leaves for much longer than many other trees. They'll hold them sometimes as long as into December

Yucca: Okay.

Mark: they.

Yucca: Is this a broadleaf tree or is it

Mark: It is, it's a broadleaf tree. And they go through these beautiful evolutions of color until they're, they're sort of a maroon red when they're, when they're at the end of the whole cycle.

But you can, you can pick them in various stages of development. And then you have these. Leaves that are sort of green at the root and then yellow fading into orange and then red at the tips of the leaves. Just, just very, very beautiful things. And I like to decorate for the fall for, for harvest and for hellos with those kinds of things.

There's just an awful lot of wonderful nature out there and, and it's, it's hard not to want to bring it all back.

Yucca: So do you have a certain, so you've got your focus, do you have certain places in your house where you gather things or is it just sort of spread out everywhere around the house?

Mark: we, we have a joke that our, you know how people talk about architectural themes,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: different kinds of architectural styles? Well, In our house, the theme is Welcome to the Museum of Natural History. We have glass cases with all kinds of various interesting things, historical things and natural things.

We have you know, bookshelves and all that kind of stuff. And, and to be fair, every horizontal surface has some cool thing on it. And. If it doesn't look like a cool thing, when you've heard the story about what it really is, you'll know what a cool thing it's,

Yucca: Nice.

Mark: Like here, here's an example. I, I have a piece of obsidian that's about this big, it's kind of, heart

Yucca: about a golf ball to your, your whole, the audience can't see your

Mark: Oh, that, of course. Yes. It's, it's flat, but it's about as big a round as a golf ball, and it's sort of heart shaped and it's heavily worn and eroded. And other than that, it just looks like a piece of obsidian that's been eroded and worn and all that kind of stuff. But what that is is a dinosaur gastro lift.

Yucca: Oh.

Mark: You, you find them in the rib cages of fossil dinosaurs and they're, it's from the gizzard of the dinosaur, right. That collects gravel to help them digest their food.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So, I mean, it's an amazing thing. My grandfather found it. And I've had it since I was a kid. So even the

Yucca: rock swallowed by a dinosaur to help it digest ground up and digest its food.

Mark: That's right.

Yucca: Wow.

Mark: Yeah. Cool thing to have, eh? So, I mean, it's gotten to the point where I actually wrote an interpretive guide for our house so that people know what all the, the various exhibit things are that sense of wonder. Is something that, and we'll talk about this later on in this episode, that's something that I really cultivate

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that sense of amazement.

Like, wow, maybe a hundred million years ago, a dinosaur swallowed this rock. And then it did duty for long enough to get all the edges worn off of it into a nice, smooth pebble until the dinosaur died.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: know, just extraordinary thing to think about.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So how about you? How about I. I, I didn't really answer your question.

We do have other places where we'll put things like colored leaves in the fall and stuff like that, but it sounds like you do more elaborate kind of household changes over the course of seasons.

Yucca: Yeah. Our house is constantly moving. Right. And, and part of that is simply the, the age range of the people who live in the house. You can't really have something on a. Flat surfaces that are low down do not get left alone for longer than 10 minutes. So there are certainly, you know, we have got bookshelves and things a little bit higher up that are slightly more permanent, but most things are, are changing very constantly.

And there's just.

Mark: kids are getting taller.

Yucca: And the kids are getting, they're always getting taller and they're climbing, right? No, they're pretty good now about not climbing onto things that they shouldn't, but they've, they've learned,

Mark: Hmm.

Yucca: And. That the gravity has helped them learn about that. But, you know, things are, are changing and I purposely change things as well throughout the season.

It's just something that, you know, ev I, I just start to kind of get that itch of I wanna change things around. And, you know, things are coming into the house and things are going back out of the house, and it's a just a, it just seems. To flow quite a bit. Things are always flowing and moving out. There are a few things that do end up staying for, that are more kind of treasures that'll stay for longer.

Like those seashells, right? Those are, some of them will probably make their way outdoors eventually, but those things will probably stay

Mark: Sure.

Yucca: right.

Mark: Yeah. I, I have seashells. I'm, I'm looking at one right now that I picked up on the Costa del Soul in Spain when I was 11, and it's still here with me.

Yucca: Yeah. And so, but then there's certain, like most of the windows are full of the, I really like the glass Vs. With things in them, right? So we've got lots of those things and there's a snake skin in the window that we found a couple weeks ago and a, you know, that kind of stuff. And so it's just a very. I dunno, it just feels to me like the house is cha changes with the season so much.

And that's. Some of that is just the style of how we live, and some of it was very purposely cultivated. You know, it's, and some ways it's easier for us because we are on this kind of homestead out, away from people and live kind of half outside anyways. But when we did live in a city that was, that was kind of a way for me to try and feel more connected because I, I definitely would start to feel very overwhelmed with the city of everything.

So I would try and change the colors. I would bring things in. I don't do this anymore because where we live is so surrounded by creatures and things, but I used to play bird songs, right? I had recordings of water, of water flowing. I'd have recordings of, and birds, and I would just have that going on in the background as just a way to kind of, One to block out the sound of the city, right?

Cause I found that very stressful of there's the car alarm and then the police car going off and the this and the that, and the, you know, all of that. But, but just being able to sort of cultivate that. But now, you know, now the bird is like two feet out my window and, and being plenty loud, so. And then certain places seem to collect certain things.

There's around the bathroom sink, there's just rocks of all kinds, and I think that's because they get brought in and washed off and then, then they start to live there. And so now it just feels like, yes, of course bathroom sinks is where rocks go, right? Yes.

Mark: Sounds reasonable to me.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: I mean, I can't think of anywhere else in the house that's more reasonable for rocks to go set maybe in a potted plant.

Yucca: In a potted plant. Yes. My four year old seems to think the shoes by the door. But you know, it's amazing how often Legos end up in shoes by the door.

Mark: You know, as you talk about all this and and I give my own examples and stuff, the word that comes to mind is curation,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and it seems as though. One of the things about being alive is that there's this fire hose of information that's just kind of blasting us all the time. Right. All the different sensory information and the news and the internet and, you know, the, the community events and scuttlebutt and gossip and what's happening with all the different people.

We're connected with all that stuff and it is, so we're kind of being bombarded all the time and. I think a part of the, the life that we, you and I Yucca envision for folks living in naturalistic paganism, and certainly I do for myself, is one where we curate our experience in a way that's empowering and happiness.

Producing rather than stress inducing or depression inducing or anxiety producing.

Yucca: Yes. Yeah, I love that. I, I think that's a wonderful way of putting it. Because really there's, there is so much around us, right? And, but what do we choose to focus on? What do we choose to bring into focus? That's something that we do have. Power and influence O f R. Right.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: You know, we don't get to, there's a lot of things that we don't get to change in life.

There's most things, the vast, vast majority of things we have absolutely no control over, right? But what we're focusing on, what we find important we do have control over that. And that really changes our experience of what it's like to be us.

Mark: Right. Yeah. We do have control over those things and. It's, it's one of those situations where you have to make the decision to grab the wheel, right? Because otherwise you're basically at the mercy of two things, which is the randomness of whatever information is flying towards you, and that evolutionary pre predilection for looking for problems and the negative.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So if you choose to be in more control around this, if you choose to be a curator of your experience, then you can get in the habit of smelling the roses along the way when you're walking from the parking lot into your workplace. Stopping to look at what the clouds are doing. Stopping to watch tree branches blowing in wind.

You know, enjoying those rocks and shells and leaves and seed pods and all the cool things that nature makes.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. You know, this reminds me of a book actually that I read a few years back and it was really, really influential and it was, it's called Digital Minimalism. It's by, I believe, Cal Newport. And it isn't what the title sounds like. At first the title sounds like being like anti-tech or like a Luddite or something.

But it's actually about really. Being thoughtful about the role that the screen and digital things play in our lives. And he does this a very beautiful job of one he does spell out. Kind of the, the terrible state some of that is in and how the attention that that's all designed to hold our attention as long as possible.

And it's not really done in a way that is, that's thoughtful about our wellbeing. It's more about the pockets of the people designing these programs. But it, it does a really lovely job of, of. Walking one through to think about what are the things that they, that you really value, and how do you cultivate that?

And how do you create a life in which you can focus on those things? And how do you use tools like the, how do you use digital tools to help you do that? And how do you let go of the ones that aren't helping you to do that? So I just,

Mark: great.

Yucca: Yeah, so I'd really I, I like quite a bit of Cal Newport stuff, so that's digital minimalism if anyone is interested in

Mark: Why don't we put a link to that in the show notes?

Yucca: Yeah, let's do that.

Mark: Yeah, because when you think about it, one of the few things that we really have choice about in our lives is our attention.

Yucca: mm-hmm.

Mark: Right. We, we can make considered thoughtful, informed decisions about where we're going to apply our attention, and that can be on things that. Bring anxiety or bring, or, or help us to, you know, re-experience trauma and we call those triggers.

I heard a wonderful term in the mixer this morning from our community member Summer who said that she heard this term glimmers, which are like the opposite of triggers. They're things that fill us with hope and inspiration and a sense of joy in living.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: can, we can look for those things. Right? I had this moment yesterday.

I was sitting in a cafe waiting for a friend, and the door to the cafe opens and this little boy trots in. He's on the move. He's, he's, he, he must, he couldn't have been more than four. I don't think he was three

Yucca: Okay. So real little, little

Mark: Yeah. Beautiful little black kid with this gigantic grin on his face. And his mother comes in behind him and closes the door and he was just, and, and then he stands there with his feet planted and his hands kind of out by his side.

He's like, this is a cafe. Wow. And you could just see that he was drinking In this experience of having come into this new space and looking around, you know, what are people doing? What are they doing? This place, what's it all about? And you know, with, with this, this. Just this glow of happiness and I just, I, I couldn't help but smile.

I wanted to watch that kid for a while, you know? So that was a glimmer.

Yucca: Hmm. That's such a delightful idea about a glimmer. Right. Because, and I, I think that there could be a lot of power in just taking a moment to think about what are the things that, that are your glimmers or could be your glimmers, right? Because we can, we can choose to have those associations as well.

That you're taking the time to focus on, okay, what are the things that inspire awe in me and that make me hopeful, or whatever it is? And just taking the, the time to think about those I think is really, is really great. And then finding them throughout the day, right.

Mark: right. And, and figuring out maybe some. Rules of thumb for how to keep yourself in that state to as great a degree as possible. Now, I'm not saying never watch the news. You know, I, we ha I feel like as a responsible person, I have to be engaged with what's happening in my society, and I need to make what effort I can to have things go in, in a way that's consistent with my values, but that there's a difference between that and being obsessed.

With the news and it's just wave after wave of, oh my God, they can't do that if they're, oh my God, they're doing that. You know, this, this terrible, terrible, you know, wave of feelings. So you can curate that. You can narrow it down. You can tell yourself, okay, I'm gonna log on to my favorite news site once a day and I'm gonna read the headlines and I'll read a couple of stories that seem like they're useful.

You know, for me to know, and then I'm gonna move on and I'm gonna do other stuff that feeds me more.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. I think that's really important and to create that balance and that by, by choosing to log off after that time, you're not being. A bad citizen, right? You're not being a, like, you don't have to buy into the, the guilt around it because those moments of joy, like you were talking about the little kid coming in that is as valid as.

Any of the other stuff, right? That is as much valid part of existence and this life in this world and giving it your attention is something that it's one, it's worth the attention in its own, but also it's good for you.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: are gonna do a better job being a more effective person in the world when you are.

More balanced and, and healthy and happy. If you are miserable, you're not going to do it. You're not gonna be able to do a good a job taking care of the things and helping whatever the situation is that you want to help. Right,

Mark: because despair is disempowering.

Yucca: right.

Mark: Fundamentally, when we despair, we throw up our hands and say, well, that's the way the world is. Nothing I can do about it. And it, it just sucks. But that's life, and that's a terrible message to tell to yourself and to anyone around you. I, you know, I, I frequently go back to the deathbed test, right?

How am I gonna feel about how I chose to operate in my life when I'm dying? And what I hope is that I'm gonna look back at all this and go, wow, what an adventure. There was just such amazing stuff all along the way with that and just such beautiful times and moments, and what a world this is. Rather than, well, I didn't solve world hunger, so I guess I failed.

Right. You know, something like that. Some kind of unreasonable expectation that's informed by a, a situation that's really kind of beyond any one individual's capacity to change.

Yucca: Right.

Now I think that there's also another part, another kind of side of this is when we're looking for the things that are going to bring us joy and the things that make us hopeful and inspire awe and all of that, that there will be times in our life when we don't feel those things. Right. There will be times when we aren't happy about something.

There will be times when you get cut off or in traffic or your spouse says that thing again, or all of those. And that's, those things are part of life and those are things that for the most part, we really don't have control over. Right. And that's okay. But

Mark: Yeah. I mean, if you're in

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: if you're in grief, you should not be expecting yourself to. You know, carefully cherry pick all the, the beautiful things about the world because you are in grief. And the same is the same, I, I have to say, as someone who has lived with major depression since I was a little kid depression does not indicate a failure of what we're talking about in this podcast.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Depression is a neurochemical condition. It's something you can't help. It's something that's not your fault. It's not a moral failing. And if you find that your world is really dark and gray and and dismal because of it, don't pile on top of it. All the other messages you're getting from your brain that you should be, you know, Looking for butterflies.

That's, not fair to you and it's not accurate to the situation That is, that's, that's not a realistic statement.

Yucca: Right. It's not a, and it's not a failure on your part.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Yucca: So there's, there's things in the world that we really, we do not have control over. But. But a lot of the things that we're talking about today are the things that we, that we can influence and focusing on which of those things can we influence And, and those are the, those are the places where I think we have a lot of power is figuring out what, what do we actually have power?

Over, which isn't a lot, but actually when you really get down to it, it is right. I don't have pow power over what you're doing, mark, but I do have some influence over how I'm gonna respond to whatever you're doing is. And that's gonna take time, right? It's not like I can just magically say like, oh, I'm not, you know, I'm gonna respond this way.

Like, no, it doesn't really work that way. It's something that we practice, and that's where I think a lot of the stuff that we talk about on the podcast, like rituals and different kinds of practices can really help because they're a way for us to practice and learn how to change our responses.

Mark: Yes. Yes. That's really well said. I'm, I mean, I know, I know some Pagan people, just a few. A handful who's, Ritual practices have fallen way off after years of, you know, religiously, literally religiously observing all the sabbaths and, you know, having a personal practice and all that kind of stuff. And what's happened is they've gotten to the point where they're able to curate their lives. that there is a sense of celebration and interconnectedness and appreciation going on most of the time. And when it's not, it's for good reasons and they have tools for, for working with that.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So, you know, when we talk about having a ritual practice, The point of having a ritual practice is not to have a ritual practice.

The point of having a ritual practice is to create moments. Moments when we celebrate, moments when we're joyful, moments, when we're connected, when we see ourselves in the true magnificence of what we are. Right. And. So that, that's why we encourage a ritual practice, right? But, but the point, the point was always the outcome.

The point was the happiness and the improvement of happiness in the world. That's, that's, that's where we're going with all this. So if you don't have much in the way of a ritual practice, And you still find yourself feeling very contented and appreciative, and humble and connected and all those things.

Well, good for you.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: You, you know, if it ain't broke.

Yucca: Right. But you know, there's, the great thing is that there's a lot of different ways to, there's a lot of different ways to live,

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: right? And each of us is gonna have something a little bit different and our goals are gonna be a little bit different and there's gonna be different ways of, of meeting those goals.

And so that some of the things we've been talking about today are, are tricks and. Tools that we can use to cultivate some of that, right? And sometimes that may be really paying attention to that gravel and bringing a little peace home with you. And sometimes it, maybe it's that finding what your glimmers are, and maybe it's having a nightly practice with your focus, right?

Or a circle. At the solstice or something like that. So I l I really appreciate mark, that we get to explore some of these ideas on the podcast and that all you folks are here listening and sending your emails in and being part of that discussion.

Mark: Oh, me too. So much. And it is so gratifying when I see. On the atheopagan Facebook group or the Discord server, or in one of the Zoom gatherings, when people say, you know, oh, I, I discovered this through the podcast, or you know, that podcast episode two weeks ago really resonated with me and it's changed how I do X and y.

I mean, that's what feeds me and keeps me going, right? The idea that you know, it's not like you and I have all the answers. But we can share what perspectives we have

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and collectively we can all get better.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Which is you, you know, the rising tide, right? Raising all the boats And so, you know, that's, that's really what I find moving and, and motivating about, you know, doing this.

And once again, I am so grateful that you you suggested doing a podcast and we were able to collaborate in this way. I think it's worked out so well.

Yucca: that's, it's been a joy really. So,

Mark: This sounds like we're stopping. We're, we're, we're not we're, we're

Yucca: oh yeah.

Mark: we're just a mutual admiration society.

Yucca: Yeah. But we do have something that we wanna mention another venue format for more of this great stuff,

Mark: Right.

Yucca: that's coming up.

Mark: You, you may, if you're in the atheopagan community in one way or another. You have probably heard by now of the atheopagan Web Weaving Online Conference, which is going to be held by Zoom on June 3rd and fourth. And we just wanna remind you that that's gonna happen. If you, and we'll put a link to the, the.

The webpage where you can go to register and download the program and all that kind of stuff. In the show notes, the the keynote speaker is going to be Jared Anderson, who also goes by the crypto naturalist. He's this beautiful poet of nature and appreciation for the cosmos. Just really lovely stuff.

And I was interested to learn, he's, he's actually got a book coming out, I think in two years which is about his struggle with depression and how that has led him to the natural world which sounds awfully familiar to me.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So I'm looking forward to reading it when that comes out. But in the meantime, we get to hear him as our keynote speaker.

And so really encourage you to register for that and to come to that event. It's over those two days, June 3rd and fourth. Lots of interesting workshops and activities, opportunities to socialize. So, go ahead and click that link down below and we hope to see you there.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: So thank you so much, Yucca. This is, this has just been another lovely conversation. I really appreciate it.

Yucca: likewise, and we'll see you all next week.

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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal

Book mentioned: “Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport - https://calnewport.com/writing/

https://theAPSociety.org/AWW2023/

Remember, we welcome comments, questions, and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com.

S4E16 TRANSCRIPT: ----more----

Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-Based -Paganism. I'm your host, mark.

Yucca: and I'm Yucca.

Mark: Today we're going to talk about bringing the natural world that's outside where we live. More into integration with the natural world that's inside where we live. Having more of a sense of connectedness between the two of those and kind of a, an approach to worldview that helps to feed us and help us to be happier.

Yucca: Right, so really talking about cultivating our environment. Environments, both on an external level and on that emotional internal level as well.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Yeah. So I think this is a really fun one, especially as we're getting more into spring and into this warmer kind of time of the year. But yeah, let's, let's go ahead and get into this idea of kind of, Bringing that in, or as you were saying before, kind of blurring the lines between the outside and inside.

Mark: Sure, and I really agree with you. I think that springtime is a great time to talk about this because. There's so much that's really beautiful that's happening in the world right now in the, in the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere, and a lot of how much we're going to get out of that depends on our mindset,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and it depends on what kind of habits we've developed for ourselves.

We were talking before we started recording about how the, the human sensorium is geared to look for problems. Because problems threaten us. Right? And so solving problems becomes a way that you keep yourself from getting eaten,

Yucca: Right. The person who didn't worry about that, Those weird noises that they heard around the campfire got eaten and then didn't have babies. So those people aren't our ancestors. The ones who were anxious and worried are our ancestors, right?

Mark: Exactly. So we're already swimming against the current a little bit when we decide that we want to cultivate a worldview that actually reaches out for what makes us happy, for what brings us awe and wonder and contentment, and a sense of hope and aspiration, all those kinds of things. So we're gonna be talking about all that stuff today.

But to begin with, there's this nature in nature outfit,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: and if you're anything like me and all the pagans, I know you've got rocks and sticks and plants and dried flowers and just all kinds of stuff, seashells and. Fossils and just all kinds of things from the natural world inside your house because those things bring you joy.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. Yes. A lot of those things end up in our pockets and you know, first they end up in the laundry pile and then it all has to come out of the laundry, and then it gets arranged around the house and, and all of that. And I think that's, it's about what are we paying attention to? Right. Because those things are everywhere, the beautiful, I mean, next time you're sitting next to some gravel for a while, right?

Gravel seems like it might be boring, but if you are sitting there because you're waiting for a bus to come or whatever it is, just start looking at each of those individual rocks. And just the way that the light is shining off of each of them and thinking about the history of how that rock formed, how many millions of years ago, and how it's been tumbled and all, what has happened to it.

And I think that the, the collecting of those things is a reflection of the interest that we have in them and the interest that we have in the world around us.

Mark: Right. Right. And that kind of curiosity, which of course is one of the Ethiopia Pagan principles, that kind of interest in the world is part of what engages us with the world, gives us a sense of being connected to the larger whole. Gives us a sense of valuation of. Of all that is right. So, yeah, when you're looking at that gravel, I mean, you'll, you'll see there are stones of different colors and obviously very different derivations all there kind of mixed together in that gravel.

And each one of those has a geological story. You know, it's, it's got a chemical story. You know, the reason that they are particular colors is because they're made up of particular chemicals and. Being curious about those things and. To be, to be completely honest, you don't need to have a deep background in geology or in chemistry in order to appreciate this, to understand that, that in the earth, these rocks were formed.

And then tumbled in the, the process of erosion, usually by water, but sometimes also by air. In order to form those little beads of gravel that you have before you. And when you have that revelation Sometimes what will happen is the, the, the ground will drop out from underneath you metaphorically, and you'll find yourself falling into this sense of amazement about the whole nature of deep time and the fact that we're here and the fact that we're a part of this wondrous, amazing hole that is planet Earth.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: And you'll probably take the rock with you.

Yucca: Yes. Now if you don't, right, if you are practicing some form of very strict minimalism or anything like that, no judgment,

Mark: That's fine.

Yucca: fine.

Mark: It makes you happy

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: that, you know, we, we as, as we keep saying in naturalistic paganism, in atheopagan, there is no. Cosmic task master that wants you to do things a particular way, there is no Pope who's going to lay down the rules for you. It's about developing a practice and a perspective and a set of personal habits that feed you on a spiritual and emotional level so that you can be a happier and more contented and more effective person, and you can experience more joy out of your life.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: That's the deal.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Yeah. It's amazing. It's, it, it's amazing how rarely you hear anybody say anything like that in our society. You know, do what? Just do what feels good.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: anybody, just do what feels good. Do that, do that some more. Cuz it's, cuz it's good for you.

Yucca: Right,

Mark: But we're here to tell you weekly that, that's, that's. That's what we recommend.

Yucca: right. So what are some of the things that you particularly enjoy in terms of do you, you know, is it dried leaves or sticks, or, you know, is there something that you really enjoy bringing into your home?

Mark: You know, it depends on the season. I live about 30 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, and I don't get out there nearly as much as I would like to because 30 miles is enough to be a little bit of an impediment. I. But and I have to go through all this magnificent redwood country to get there, which kind of sidetracks me sometimes.

But when I do go to the beach, I inevitably come home with a bunch of rocks and maybe a shell or two. And it's because. It's a combination of them being polished very to, to a pretty high gloss for nature. And also that they're often wet and so you can see their colors and their patterns more vividly than when they're dry.

And so I'll end up, you know, bringing those home I Anne, a participant in our Saturday mixer on a regular basis. Had a suggestion this morning that she says she puts them in potted plants. You know, the, okay, I got a cool rock. Now it's going into potted plant. If you're getting them from the ocean, rinse the salt off first.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That's important because you know, most plants are not very salt tolerant. They don't like it.

Yucca: Right. We actually do that as well for very practical reason as we have a cat in our house. And sometimes he decides that other things will be his litter box, and so we put pine cones and, and rocks and things like that into the potted plants and that prevents him from doing that.

Mark: Oh, wow. I, I have not heard of that problem before, but that

Yucca: Oh, really? That's a, that's a cat. Yeah. I mean, he's pretty good about not doing it now. But when we lived in a smaller apartment, yeah, sometimes he would just decide that that was gonna be his litter box instead. So, but the shells and the wet rocks we actually, so. Two weeks. But the reason we missed the podcast a couple weeks back is that my family, we went out to Florida for my brother's wedding.

And so I took the kids to the beach for the first time in their life and they were, they were delighted. And of course, we came back with several gallon bags of shells because that was, we, I mean, how, how could you not, right? Shells and rocks and little you know, dead. Dried up coral things and, and all of that.

And one of the things that we've done is taken a big vase and put some of the water in it and them in the water, in the, the glass vase. Because there just is something about it being in the water, right.

Mark: They're just much more visible that way. That's wonderful. That's a great idea.

Yucca: Yeah. And of course we have ones that aren't, and you know, they're, they're being sorted by color over and again and all of that. But that, that's just been my favorite thing so far. And actually we took a few little pieces of dried up seaweed that was left on the, and that's in there too. That won't last quite as long as the rocks and shells will.

Mark: Well, that's really great. I am, I mean, I love the desert and I've spent a lot of time in the American desert, but the op, having the opportunity to see a place that's, that has the ocean and is very wet and all that kind of stuff, you know, for your kids, I'm sure was just really magical.

Yucca: I have to share just one thing as we were, we flew there. And so this was also their first airplane trip and we went, we. We stopped in, you know, Dallas on the way to get there and my daughter was looking out the plane and she looked down the, cuz I made sure to get window seats for the kids since, you know, they're gonna be first airplane try ride.

And she's looking down and she goes, mom, the ground is green because, you know, we, the farthest we'd ever been is, is into Colorado with her, which is very similar. Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico are very similar. So she hadn't really seen anything like that before. And just them seeing that kind of grass, we have plenty of grass here, but it's golden.

Right? And it will pop green for like a month during the, the monsoons, but the rest of the time it's just this golden brown. And so they were just fascinated at seeing. You know, grass on the ground and seeing all those kinds of trees. So yeah, we spent a lot of time and there were so many things we, you know, they wanted to bring back, but I had to inform them and we, unfortunately we can't take this on the airplane.

And, and those big, giant beautiful leaves are not gonna last when we

Mark: Oh yeah, yeah, like the giant monster and the banana trees and you know,

Yucca: Yeah,

Mark: wonderful things.

Yucca: and we have a banana tree plant in our house, but of course it gets to like three feet tall. And the ones that we were looking at, I mean, they were just humongous. The leaves were as big as their bodies and going, you know, we're gonna take some photos, but those aren't gonna come, those can't come home with us.

You know, we could take the cool rocks and the shells, those will last. So that's something to think about in your own environment. You know, you know, we cut things and bring them in sometimes, but some things are gonna stay very well in the home and some things aren't gonna stay very well,

Mark: Right. Yeah. So you were asking about what kinds of things I bring in, and one example was, Rocks from the, from the coast. For whatever reason, we have very few shells on our coast now, and that was not the way that it was when I was a child. There's been a tremendous die off of of

Yucca: acidification maybe?

Mark: probably from a combination of warming and acidification.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So I don't see that as much as I did when I was a child. But. But the rocks are there and of course the, the, the California coast is very rugged, that's got these sort of cliffs and bluffs and stuff, and it's really just very beautiful to be there. And even on a weekend, I can usually find a cove on the Sonoma coast where I'm entirely by myself,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: which is amazing.

Makes you feel like the last person on earth.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: So yeah, bringing in those things. And you asked about dried leaves as well. I actually go on an excursion to get colored leaves for my focus, my altar.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: In the fall there's a particular breed of a tree called a liquid amber, which I believe on the east coast is called a Sweet Gum.

Yucca: Okay.

Mark: And they, they hold their leaves for much longer than many other trees. They'll hold them sometimes as long as into December

Yucca: Okay.

Mark: they.

Yucca: Is this a broadleaf tree or is it

Mark: It is, it's a broadleaf tree. And they go through these beautiful evolutions of color until they're, they're sort of a maroon red when they're, when they're at the end of the whole cycle.

But you can, you can pick them in various stages of development. And then you have these. Leaves that are sort of green at the root and then yellow fading into orange and then red at the tips of the leaves. Just, just very, very beautiful things. And I like to decorate for the fall for, for harvest and for hellos with those kinds of things.

There's just an awful lot of wonderful nature out there and, and it's, it's hard not to want to bring it all back.

Yucca: So do you have a certain, so you've got your focus, do you have certain places in your house where you gather things or is it just sort of spread out everywhere around the house?

Mark: we, we have a joke that our, you know how people talk about architectural themes,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: different kinds of architectural styles? Well, In our house, the theme is Welcome to the Museum of Natural History. We have glass cases with all kinds of various interesting things, historical things and natural things.

We have you know, bookshelves and all that kind of stuff. And, and to be fair, every horizontal surface has some cool thing on it. And. If it doesn't look like a cool thing, when you've heard the story about what it really is, you'll know what a cool thing it's,

Yucca: Nice.

Mark: Like here, here's an example. I, I have a piece of obsidian that's about this big, it's kind of, heart

Yucca: about a golf ball to your, your whole, the audience can't see your

Mark: Oh, that, of course. Yes. It's, it's flat, but it's about as big a round as a golf ball, and it's sort of heart shaped and it's heavily worn and eroded. And other than that, it just looks like a piece of obsidian that's been eroded and worn and all that kind of stuff. But what that is is a dinosaur gastro lift.

Yucca: Oh.

Mark: You, you find them in the rib cages of fossil dinosaurs and they're, it's from the gizzard of the dinosaur, right. That collects gravel to help them digest their food.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So, I mean, it's an amazing thing. My grandfather found it. And I've had it since I was a kid. So even the

Yucca: rock swallowed by a dinosaur to help it digest ground up and digest its food.

Mark: That's right.

Yucca: Wow.

Mark: Yeah. Cool thing to have, eh? So, I mean, it's gotten to the point where I actually wrote an interpretive guide for our house so that people know what all the, the various exhibit things are that sense of wonder. Is something that, and we'll talk about this later on in this episode, that's something that I really cultivate

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that sense of amazement.

Like, wow, maybe a hundred million years ago, a dinosaur swallowed this rock. And then it did duty for long enough to get all the edges worn off of it into a nice, smooth pebble until the dinosaur died.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: know, just extraordinary thing to think about.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So how about you? How about I. I, I didn't really answer your question.

We do have other places where we'll put things like colored leaves in the fall and stuff like that, but it sounds like you do more elaborate kind of household changes over the course of seasons.

Yucca: Yeah. Our house is constantly moving. Right. And, and part of that is simply the, the age range of the people who live in the house. You can't really have something on a. Flat surfaces that are low down do not get left alone for longer than 10 minutes. So there are certainly, you know, we have got bookshelves and things a little bit higher up that are slightly more permanent, but most things are, are changing very constantly.

And there's just.

Mark: kids are getting taller.

Yucca: And the kids are getting, they're always getting taller and they're climbing, right? No, they're pretty good now about not climbing onto things that they shouldn't, but they've, they've learned,

Mark: Hmm.

Yucca: And. That the gravity has helped them learn about that. But, you know, things are, are changing and I purposely change things as well throughout the season.

It's just something that, you know, ev I, I just start to kind of get that itch of I wanna change things around. And, you know, things are coming into the house and things are going back out of the house, and it's a just a, it just seems. To flow quite a bit. Things are always flowing and moving out. There are a few things that do end up staying for, that are more kind of treasures that'll stay for longer.

Like those seashells, right? Those are, some of them will probably make their way outdoors eventually, but those things will probably stay

Mark: Sure.

Yucca: right.

Mark: Yeah. I, I have seashells. I'm, I'm looking at one right now that I picked up on the Costa del Soul in Spain when I was 11, and it's still here with me.

Yucca: Yeah. And so, but then there's certain, like most of the windows are full of the, I really like the glass Vs. With things in them, right? So we've got lots of those things and there's a snake skin in the window that we found a couple weeks ago and a, you know, that kind of stuff. And so it's just a very. I dunno, it just feels to me like the house is cha changes with the season so much.

And that's. Some of that is just the style of how we live, and some of it was very purposely cultivated. You know, it's, and some ways it's easier for us because we are on this kind of homestead out, away from people and live kind of half outside anyways. But when we did live in a city that was, that was kind of a way for me to try and feel more connected because I, I definitely would start to feel very overwhelmed with the city of everything.

So I would try and change the colors. I would bring things in. I don't do this anymore because where we live is so surrounded by creatures and things, but I used to play bird songs, right? I had recordings of water, of water flowing. I'd have recordings of, and birds, and I would just have that going on in the background as just a way to kind of, One to block out the sound of the city, right?

Cause I found that very stressful of there's the car alarm and then the police car going off and the this and the that, and the, you know, all of that. But, but just being able to sort of cultivate that. But now, you know, now the bird is like two feet out my window and, and being plenty loud, so. And then certain places seem to collect certain things.

There's around the bathroom sink, there's just rocks of all kinds, and I think that's because they get brought in and washed off and then, then they start to live there. And so now it just feels like, yes, of course bathroom sinks is where rocks go, right? Yes.

Mark: Sounds reasonable to me.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: I mean, I can't think of anywhere else in the house that's more reasonable for rocks to go set maybe in a potted plant.

Yucca: In a potted plant. Yes. My four year old seems to think the shoes by the door. But you know, it's amazing how often Legos end up in shoes by the door.

Mark: You know, as you talk about all this and and I give my own examples and stuff, the word that comes to mind is curation,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and it seems as though. One of the things about being alive is that there's this fire hose of information that's just kind of blasting us all the time. Right. All the different sensory information and the news and the internet and, you know, the, the community events and scuttlebutt and gossip and what's happening with all the different people.

We're connected with all that stuff and it is, so we're kind of being bombarded all the time and. I think a part of the, the life that we, you and I Yucca envision for folks living in naturalistic paganism, and certainly I do for myself, is one where we curate our experience in a way that's empowering and happiness.

Producing rather than stress inducing or depression inducing or anxiety producing.

Yucca: Yes. Yeah, I love that. I, I think that's a wonderful way of putting it. Because really there's, there is so much around us, right? And, but what do we choose to focus on? What do we choose to bring into focus? That's something that we do have. Power and influence O f R. Right.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: You know, we don't get to, there's a lot of things that we don't get to change in life.

There's most things, the vast, vast majority of things we have absolutely no control over, right? But what we're focusing on, what we find important we do have control over that. And that really changes our experience of what it's like to be us.

Mark: Right. Yeah. We do have control over those things and. It's, it's one of those situations where you have to make the decision to grab the wheel, right? Because otherwise you're basically at the mercy of two things, which is the randomness of whatever information is flying towards you, and that evolutionary pre predilection for looking for problems and the negative.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: So if you choose to be in more control around this, if you choose to be a curator of your experience, then you can get in the habit of smelling the roses along the way when you're walking from the parking lot into your workplace. Stopping to look at what the clouds are doing. Stopping to watch tree branches blowing in wind.

You know, enjoying those rocks and shells and leaves and seed pods and all the cool things that nature makes.

Yucca: Mm-hmm. You know, this reminds me of a book actually that I read a few years back and it was really, really influential and it was, it's called Digital Minimalism. It's by, I believe, Cal Newport. And it isn't what the title sounds like. At first the title sounds like being like anti-tech or like a Luddite or something.

But it's actually about really. Being thoughtful about the role that the screen and digital things play in our lives. And he does this a very beautiful job of one he does spell out. Kind of the, the terrible state some of that is in and how the attention that that's all designed to hold our attention as long as possible.

And it's not really done in a way that is, that's thoughtful about our wellbeing. It's more about the pockets of the people designing these programs. But it, it does a really lovely job of, of. Walking one through to think about what are the things that they, that you really value, and how do you cultivate that?

And how do you create a life in which you can focus on those things? And how do you use tools like the, how do you use digital tools to help you do that? And how do you let go of the ones that aren't helping you to do that? So I just,

Mark: great.

Yucca: Yeah, so I'd really I, I like quite a bit of Cal Newport stuff, so that's digital minimalism if anyone is interested in

Mark: Why don't we put a link to that in the show notes?

Yucca: Yeah, let's do that.

Mark: Yeah, because when you think about it, one of the few things that we really have choice about in our lives is our attention.

Yucca: mm-hmm.

Mark: Right. We, we can make considered thoughtful, informed decisions about where we're going to apply our attention, and that can be on things that. Bring anxiety or bring, or, or help us to, you know, re-experience trauma and we call those triggers.

I heard a wonderful term in the mixer this morning from our community member Summer who said that she heard this term glimmers, which are like the opposite of triggers. They're things that fill us with hope and inspiration and a sense of joy in living.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: can, we can look for those things. Right? I had this moment yesterday.

I was sitting in a cafe waiting for a friend, and the door to the cafe opens and this little boy trots in. He's on the move. He's, he's, he, he must, he couldn't have been more than four. I don't think he was three

Yucca: Okay. So real little, little

Mark: Yeah. Beautiful little black kid with this gigantic grin on his face. And his mother comes in behind him and closes the door and he was just, and, and then he stands there with his feet planted and his hands kind of out by his side.

He's like, this is a cafe. Wow. And you could just see that he was drinking In this experience of having come into this new space and looking around, you know, what are people doing? What are they doing? This place, what's it all about? And you know, with, with this, this. Just this glow of happiness and I just, I, I couldn't help but smile.

I wanted to watch that kid for a while, you know? So that was a glimmer.

Yucca: Hmm. That's such a delightful idea about a glimmer. Right. Because, and I, I think that there could be a lot of power in just taking a moment to think about what are the things that, that are your glimmers or could be your glimmers, right? Because we can, we can choose to have those associations as well.

That you're taking the time to focus on, okay, what are the things that inspire awe in me and that make me hopeful, or whatever it is? And just taking the, the time to think about those I think is really, is really great. And then finding them throughout the day, right.

Mark: right. And, and figuring out maybe some. Rules of thumb for how to keep yourself in that state to as great a degree as possible. Now, I'm not saying never watch the news. You know, I, we ha I feel like as a responsible person, I have to be engaged with what's happening in my society, and I need to make what effort I can to have things go in, in a way that's consistent with my values, but that there's a difference between that and being obsessed.

With the news and it's just wave after wave of, oh my God, they can't do that if they're, oh my God, they're doing that. You know, this, this terrible, terrible, you know, wave of feelings. So you can curate that. You can narrow it down. You can tell yourself, okay, I'm gonna log on to my favorite news site once a day and I'm gonna read the headlines and I'll read a couple of stories that seem like they're useful.

You know, for me to know, and then I'm gonna move on and I'm gonna do other stuff that feeds me more.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. I think that's really important and to create that balance and that by, by choosing to log off after that time, you're not being. A bad citizen, right? You're not being a, like, you don't have to buy into the, the guilt around it because those moments of joy, like you were talking about the little kid coming in that is as valid as.

Any of the other stuff, right? That is as much valid part of existence and this life in this world and giving it your attention is something that it's one, it's worth the attention in its own, but also it's good for you.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: are gonna do a better job being a more effective person in the world when you are.

More balanced and, and healthy and happy. If you are miserable, you're not going to do it. You're not gonna be able to do a good a job taking care of the things and helping whatever the situation is that you want to help. Right,

Mark: because despair is disempowering.

Yucca: right.

Mark: Fundamentally, when we despair, we throw up our hands and say, well, that's the way the world is. Nothing I can do about it. And it, it just sucks. But that's life, and that's a terrible message to tell to yourself and to anyone around you. I, you know, I, I frequently go back to the deathbed test, right?

How am I gonna feel about how I chose to operate in my life when I'm dying? And what I hope is that I'm gonna look back at all this and go, wow, what an adventure. There was just such amazing stuff all along the way with that and just such beautiful times and moments, and what a world this is. Rather than, well, I didn't solve world hunger, so I guess I failed.

Right. You know, something like that. Some kind of unreasonable expectation that's informed by a, a situation that's really kind of beyond any one individual's capacity to change.

Yucca: Right.

Now I think that there's also another part, another kind of side of this is when we're looking for the things that are going to bring us joy and the things that make us hopeful and inspire awe and all of that, that there will be times in our life when we don't feel those things. Right. There will be times when we aren't happy about something.

There will be times when you get cut off or in traffic or your spouse says that thing again, or all of those. And that's, those things are part of life and those are things that for the most part, we really don't have control over. Right. And that's okay. But

Mark: Yeah. I mean, if you're in

Yucca: yeah.

Mark: if you're in grief, you should not be expecting yourself to. You know, carefully cherry pick all the, the beautiful things about the world because you are in grief. And the same is the same, I, I have to say, as someone who has lived with major depression since I was a little kid depression does not indicate a failure of what we're talking about in this podcast.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: Depression is a neurochemical condition. It's something you can't help. It's something that's not your fault. It's not a moral failing. And if you find that your world is really dark and gray and and dismal because of it, don't pile on top of it. All the other messages you're getting from your brain that you should be, you know, Looking for butterflies.

That's, not fair to you and it's not accurate to the situation That is, that's, that's not a realistic statement.

Yucca: Right. It's not a, and it's not a failure on your part.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Yucca: So there's, there's things in the world that we really, we do not have control over. But. But a lot of the things that we're talking about today are the things that we, that we can influence and focusing on which of those things can we influence And, and those are the, those are the places where I think we have a lot of power is figuring out what, what do we actually have power?

Over, which isn't a lot, but actually when you really get down to it, it is right. I don't have pow power over what you're doing, mark, but I do have some influence over how I'm gonna respond to whatever you're doing is. And that's gonna take time, right? It's not like I can just magically say like, oh, I'm not, you know, I'm gonna respond this way.

Like, no, it doesn't really work that way. It's something that we practice, and that's where I think a lot of the stuff that we talk about on the podcast, like rituals and different kinds of practices can really help because they're a way for us to practice and learn how to change our responses.

Mark: Yes. Yes. That's really well said. I'm, I mean, I know, I know some Pagan people, just a few. A handful who's, Ritual practices have fallen way off after years of, you know, religiously, literally religiously observing all the sabbaths and, you know, having a personal practice and all that kind of stuff. And what's happened is they've gotten to the point where they're able to curate their lives. that there is a sense of celebration and interconnectedness and appreciation going on most of the time. And when it's not, it's for good reasons and they have tools for, for working with that.

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: So, you know, when we talk about having a ritual practice, The point of having a ritual practice is not to have a ritual practice.

The point of having a ritual practice is to create moments. Moments when we celebrate, moments when we're joyful, moments, when we're connected, when we see ourselves in the true magnificence of what we are. Right. And. So that, that's why we encourage a ritual practice, right? But, but the point, the point was always the outcome.

The point was the happiness and the improvement of happiness in the world. That's, that's, that's where we're going with all this. So if you don't have much in the way of a ritual practice, And you still find yourself feeling very contented and appreciative, and humble and connected and all those things.

Well, good for you.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: You, you know, if it ain't broke.

Yucca: Right. But you know, there's, the great thing is that there's a lot of different ways to, there's a lot of different ways to live,

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: right? And each of us is gonna have something a little bit different and our goals are gonna be a little bit different and there's gonna be different ways of, of meeting those goals.

And so that some of the things we've been talking about today are, are tricks and. Tools that we can use to cultivate some of that, right? And sometimes that may be really paying attention to that gravel and bringing a little peace home with you. And sometimes it, maybe it's that finding what your glimmers are, and maybe it's having a nightly practice with your focus, right?

Or a circle. At the solstice or something like that. So I l I really appreciate mark, that we get to explore some of these ideas on the podcast and that all you folks are here listening and sending your emails in and being part of that discussion.

Mark: Oh, me too. So much. And it is so gratifying when I see. On the atheopagan Facebook group or the Discord server, or in one of the Zoom gatherings, when people say, you know, oh, I, I discovered this through the podcast, or you know, that podcast episode two weeks ago really resonated with me and it's changed how I do X and y.

I mean, that's what feeds me and keeps me going, right? The idea that you know, it's not like you and I have all the answers. But we can share what perspectives we have

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: and collectively we can all get better.

Yucca: Yeah.

Mark: Which is you, you know, the rising tide, right? Raising all the boats And so, you know, that's, that's really what I find moving and, and motivating about, you know, doing this.

And once again, I am so grateful that you you suggested doing a podcast and we were able to collaborate in this way. I think it's worked out so well.

Yucca: that's, it's been a joy really. So,

Mark: This sounds like we're stopping. We're, we're, we're not we're, we're

Yucca: oh yeah.

Mark: we're just a mutual admiration society.

Yucca: Yeah. But we do have something that we wanna mention another venue format for more of this great stuff,

Mark: Right.

Yucca: that's coming up.

Mark: You, you may, if you're in the atheopagan community in one way or another. You have probably heard by now of the atheopagan Web Weaving Online Conference, which is going to be held by Zoom on June 3rd and fourth. And we just wanna remind you that that's gonna happen. If you, and we'll put a link to the, the.

The webpage where you can go to register and download the program and all that kind of stuff. In the show notes, the the keynote speaker is going to be Jared Anderson, who also goes by the crypto naturalist. He's this beautiful poet of nature and appreciation for the cosmos. Just really lovely stuff.

And I was interested to learn, he's, he's actually got a book coming out, I think in two years which is about his struggle with depression and how that has led him to the natural world which sounds awfully familiar to me.

Yucca: Hmm.

Mark: So I'm looking forward to reading it when that comes out. But in the meantime, we get to hear him as our keynote speaker.

And so really encourage you to register for that and to come to that event. It's over those two days, June 3rd and fourth. Lots of interesting workshops and activities, opportunities to socialize. So, go ahead and click that link down below and we hope to see you there.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: So thank you so much, Yucca. This is, this has just been another lovely conversation. I really appreciate it.

Yucca: likewise, and we'll see you all next week.

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