POV: I’m Hima - a South Asian, medium brown skin, cis-gender, able-bodied, straight woman based in T’karonto. I was born in Scarborough, raised Jain, middle-class, with English as my first language. My parents immigrated by choice via London and East Africa and are still together. I have two sisters and no extended family living locally. I have ADHD. Much of what I write will be informed by some of these lived experiences.
what would happen if all weather information and data became illegal and hidden from public consumption and knowledge?
on my screen
Co-designing a structure for a community-driven public art project led by the Toronto Prisoners Rights Project for ArtWorxTO. The project consists of a series of community-led ‘abolitionist dream forums’, where local artists will be invited to participate and listen, and eventually translate into four community-made murals in four directions across the city.
Becoming an ecotherapist, or a farmer? Deepening my practice in spiritual ecology, interspecies communication, and expanded ways of knowing and sensing.
The last time I started a blog, my first post was an anthology of all the other blogs I had previously started and eventually abandoned. For years, my personal Google search results revealed a graveyard of digital corpses; a final entry found by Internet archeologists left to wonder, ‘did she die or did she give up?” I’ve been here too - excavating a person, project, initiative, small business, event that speaks to your multi-dimensional heart through a lineage of links, only to scroll to the bottom and find a 2-year old timestamp. Once a living breathing place ready to be refreshed, now merely an archival of hope and intention.
Even covered in cobwebs, a complete stranger found one of my deceased blogs through a Twitter storm he could barely recall. The discovery led him to sign up for Reset - a digital detox summer camp I co-produced for a few years - and subsequently fall in and out of love not once, but twice. ‘It was meant to be,’ I thought, quickly redeeming myself of any shame of giving up.
But I did give up. Because I got bored, deflated. Because I forgot. Because my intention was weak. Because if something didn’t get external validation, it became less a priority. Because committing to anything that did not immediately ‘change the world’ according to imperialist metrics or help me jump class-status in less than 6 months meant the possibility of being eternally trapped in mediocrity.
Mediocrity, the antagonist of Jain and Buddhist practice; the complete erasure of our inherent exceptionalism; the wrench in capitalism’s toolbox. You have to really question the value of your being to believe in mediocrity.
My therapist asked, ‘do you believe mediocrity is the worst thing that could ever happen to you?”, ‘well, I have believed that,” I replied. ‘So being average — like being human, is the worst thing?,” she retorted.
‘Giving up’ has the tonal and energetic quality of failure; the most feared word in the western world. It conjures up images of frailty and weakness; someone with no will is of little use in a world where mainstream value is tied to production. ‘It is no longer serving me,’ is softer and more self-directed. The pundits also have their own ideas. Marketer and daily blogger, Seth Godin believes “quitting is the key to success,” whereas, leadership writer, Robin Sharma advocates that “greatness is only achieved through self-discipline”. We often encourage children to not give up as they cultivate the bedrock of confidence, but we don’t often enough tell institutions that have gone stale, gathering moss that perhaps it’s time to give up. Ultimately, knowing when to give up and when to see something through is a complex calculation between our own resilience, priorities and needs in a moment, our state of survival and fear, and our relationship with attachment, perfectionism, and intuition.
I don’t regret giving up on my blogs. Anymore. I held a lot of shame on not following through or gaining one million subscribers from my short-lived blogs (++), but what was lost in long-term consistency was gained in variety, breadth, adrenaline - and an understanding of myself that perhaps could only be achieved through acts of self-betrayal. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as a life strategy, but experiencing the soul deprivation that comes from incredibly hollow ideas of achievement that betray your own actual inner desires has created the conditions to explore what I need to feel full.
The last two decades have been about beginnings and endings; the middle was a means, a messy mirage, often difficult to recall. I was either on the train to somewhere or the bus to nowhere, floating too high above to catch roots in my hands. Too desperate to know what was to come to commit to any long-term process of uncovering. The romance of being surprised by my own story too often being overshadowed by needing to know immediately what I would be doing, feeling, and eating in three months and three years.
What has changed is knowing the middle is the good stuff, like the cold-pressed green juice you can’t believe is the cost of minimum wage but nourishes you so deeply you practically become the soil from which the vegetables that life has been squeezed out and bottled were first sprouted. I have nowhere to go. I am here, and I know all of eternity is available now. Always has been. Always will be. Learning the scenery, ready to pick up hitchhikers, pee at the side of the road when I need to, and always hoping to find a chip truck and fancy coffee shop at the next stop.
Commitment no longer feels like being suffocated into a slow death; it feels like freedom. I have no expectations of this newsletter except to find friendship with the page, and you. Perhaps I will change the name of this newsletter, turn it into a ‘Monday newsletter,’ try on subtitles for size and decide it’s sole purpose is to review varieties of linen, but the one thing that is for sure is that you can count on me being here. For now.
By reading ‘Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation’ by Angel Kyodo Rev. Williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah to learn about a Black Queer approach to Buddhism and bringing together spiritual practice and community with activism and racial justice. I’m meditating on this passage:
“Spiritual tradition is comfortable with paradox, whereas many political movements are not. But all truth is paradox. What it is to live in a space of transformative change is to engender greater and greater comfort with paradox. So that paradox becomes something that we not only acknowledge but also live more truthfully. We discover that Truth is relationship. And relationship is.”
This piece by artist, Christine Sun Kim in PopUp Magazine, called Closer Captions (9:23). Christine, who was born deaf, explores how sound is used in society and in this piece she rewrites what she wishes closed captions actually said.
Really large, just baked, soft, chocolate chip cookies always taste better when shared and I imagine newsletters are the same. You know what I’m talking about. Even if you’re vegan, GF, sugar-free, dairy-free, you still know what I’m talking about.