Artwork by Aya Kakeda.
Hi Friends-

As I continue to gestate my new slate of projects for 2021, things are unfolding slowly. That said, I hope to share news about a new season of the Hurry Slowly podcast as well as a massive new community project in the near future.

As I reflect on both of these endeavors and the crises we have endured (and continue to endure), I keep coming back to the same questions: Who am I now? Who are we now? And most importantly: How do we begin again? The process of re-emergence that we are slowly approaching is going to be an incredible opportunity and an incredible challenge.

We will soon have a freer hand to begin making all of the changes we realized needed making while we were cooped up in our covid bubbles. But we will also need to maintain the urgency we currently feel for those changes even as we begin to get intoxicating little tastes of "normal" again. 

It's not going to be easy, and I'm contemplating how I, and we, can create structures/questions/connections to foster support as we move into this collective transformation.

More to come on this soon.

In the meantime, I'm re-opening my RESET course for registration on May 4th. I've made some key changes to the course for this year, including adding four hours of on-demand video Q&As as well as a new community platform and "journey groups" to support students through the 4-week process. After this cycle, RESET will close again until the Fall of 2021. 

If you'd like to get on the email list for details on the May 2021 RESET course, click here and I'll add you before I send out information next week. 🤓

Artwork by Aya Kakeda.

The democratization of discomfort. I've really been enjoying Ezra Klein's podcast lately. From this extremely helpful explainer on Biden's infrastructure plan to this straight-up stunning interview with academic, writer, and cultural critic Tressie McMillan Cottom. If you read/listen one thing this week, make this it: "One of the things I like to say to people is that we think that broadening access will broaden access on the terms of the people who have benefited from it being narrowed, which is just so counterintuitive. Broadening access doesn’t mean that everybody has the experience that I, privileged person, had in the discourse. Broadening it means that we are all equally uncomfortable, right? That’s actually what pluralism and plurality is. It isn’t that everybody is going to come in and have the same comforts that privilege and exclusion had extended to a small group of people. It’s that now everybody sits at the table, and nobody knows the exact right thing to say about the other people."

Why computers won't make themselves smarter. I adored this incredibly engaging and nerdy essay from Ted Chiang that debunks our fears about overly intelligent AIs. (If that name doesn't ring a bell, Chiang is the sci-fi writer whose short story is the basis for the excellent film Arrival.) "What might recursive self-improvement look like for human beings? For the sake of convenience, we’ll describe human intelligence in terms of I.Q., not as an endorsement of I.Q. testing but because I.Q. represents the idea that intelligence can be usefully captured by a single number, this idea being one of the assumptions made by proponents of an intelligence explosion. In that case, recursive self-improvement would look like this: Once there’s a person with an I.Q. of, say, 300, one of the problems this person can solve is how to convert a person with an I.Q. of 300 into a person with an I.Q. of 350. And then a person with an I.Q. of 350 will be able to solve the more difficult problem of converting a person with an I.Q. of 350 into a person with an I.Q. of 400. And so forth. Do we have any reason to think that this is the way intelligence works? I don’t believe that we do."

Who owns America's wilderness? The Atlantic's new issue has a fascinating package on who owns America's wilderness, including this fascinating piece on how what we see in nature documentaries is beautiful and false, and an eye-opening piece on the bloody history of our national parts and why we should give them back to the indigenous people they were taken from: "More than a century ago, John Muir described the entire American continent as a wild garden 'favored above all the other wild parks and gardens of the globe.' But in truth, the North American continent has not been a wilderness for at least 15,000 years: Many of the landscapes that became national parks had been shaped by Native peoples for millennia. Forests on the Eastern Seaboard looked plentiful to white settlers because American Indians had strategically burned them to increase the amount of forage for moose and deer and woodland caribou. Yosemite Valley’s sublime landscape was likewise tended by Native peoples; the acorns that fed the Miwok came from black oaks long cultivated by the tribe. The idea of a virgin American wilderness — an Eden untouched by humans and devoid of sin — is an illusion."

Reiki can't possibly work. So why does it? As a reiki practitioner myself and a true believer in energy healing, I was intrigued to read this piece on how a more, um, rational-minded person comes around to believing in the power of reiki: "The veterans started coming, slowly, and the ones who came started coming back. Jamie didn’t promise anything other than that it might help them feel calm or help them with pain. The Reiki practitioner she hired was a local woman, somewhat hard-nosed, not inclined to offer anyone crystals. Soon after the program began, Jamie was getting calls from doctors and nurses: 'Hey, is the lady here? Someone wants that crap.' The effects were startling, Jamie told me. Veterans who complained that their body had 'forgotten how to sleep' came in for Reiki and were asleep on the table within minutes. Others reported that their pain declined from a 4 to a 2, or that they felt more peaceful. One patient, a man with a personality disorder who suffers from cancer and severe pain, tended to stop his normal routine of screaming and yelling at the staff when he came in for his Reiki sessions."

Why employers need to talk about the police shootings of Black people. It's painful that this 2016 article by Ellen McGirt continues to be relevant, but it is yet again this week. A reflection on how managers can be sensitive to what's unfolding for Black employees as they process Daunte Wright's killing and the Derek Chauvin trial: "Things get complicated when the event is a highly-charged one, like those involving systemic racism and state violence. 'This isn't a natural disaster, where everyone is aligned right away. This is difficult stuff to process,' says Alison Davis-Blake, professor of business and former dean at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. 'But a compassionate organization cultivates a sense of empathy for those who are suffering. And the first thing is for leaders to be present, talking, listening, and acknowledging that something specific has happened, and that some people may have concerns.'"

The intentional use of silence at work.

Handwriting is better for memory and speed.

The empty religions of instagram.

The ingenuity of Bermuda roofs.

Want not, waste not.

Zoom escaper.
Artwork by Aya Kakeda.

Link appreciation to: Jocelyn Brewer, Amanda Buck, Dense Discovery, Race Ahead, and Exponential View.

The artwork is from: Aya Kakeda, who's based in Brooklyn, NY.

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Hi, I'm Jocelyn, the human behind this newsletter. I created the online course RESET, a cosmic tune-up for your workday, and I host Hurry Slowly — a podcast about how you can be more productive, creative, and resilient by slowing down.
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