#29 - Super flower blood moon mish mash

Graceful transitions, 4-day workweek, PoCs outdoors and more

A mish-mash of thoughts to eclipse this week of Super Flower Blood Moon - which is short for slaying personal dragons and feeling very horizontal.

1/ A guide to navigating this transition with grace

In the global north, the pandemic is slowly coming to an end (for now?). I’ve been reflecting on how we navigate this transition and wrote an IG thread here if you’d like to check it out. Transitions are always opportunities for reinvention — an open space where the energy is still in disarray before it settles into a new rhythm.

How can we collectively grieve, process, and integrate everything we’ve awakened to, confronted, and realized? How do we meet each other again in this new era where justice and liberation are a fact not an option? How do we be gentle, honest with our needs, and sensitive to ongoing pandemics at home and globally? How do we refine how we ask and share boundaries and continue to protect the most vulnerable? How do we continue the fight to protect workers in the spirit of joy?

These are the questions I am asking. These are the questions guiding my transition.

2/ We need a 4-day work week

With Victoria Day last Monday in Canada, and Memorial Day this Monday in the US, it seems everyone on Twitter has concluded that we need a 4-day workweek. ‘One day for rest, one day for chores, one day for play,’ is the consensus framework for a three-day weekend.

On every tweet, there was an immediate reply from a gentleman named, Andrew Barnes, the author, and leader of a global movement called The 4-Day Week. It turns out companies all over the world have been hosting trial periods with major movements, such as:

  • The largest trade union in Germany with 3.7 million workers announced moving to a 4-day work week

  • A national trial in Spain that will include 200-400 companies all moving to a 32-hour workweek, while maintaining the same salary for workers

  • Microsoft in Japan moved to a 4-day work week and found that productivity improved by 40%

The 4-day work week sits in opposition to the ‘cult of overworking’ - marked by burnout and dehumanization. Oppressive workplaces perpetuate under the assumption that one-size-fits-all, not accounting for individual needs, preferences, and lived realities and experiences outside of the workplace. Some folks may genuinely enjoy and prefer working long hours, and their vocations may demand it - but ultimately something will have to give in another area of one’s life, and I could be wrong, but I think that it always catches up with you.

In making the case for the 4-day work week, the logic usually centres around better productivity, lower absenteeism, happier employees, etc. I would argue we need a 4-day workweek to heal and expand our compassion. To care for ourselves and our communities. The work of healing, unlearning, and navigating an internal reckoning towards justice, requires legitimate labour. Rest brings us into our body, where our biases and feelings live; rest gives us space to process and intentionally rewrite narratives. Rest makes us soft and primed for the intimacy of being in relationships that support our healing.

Without this space, I fear we are doomed to continue on the hamster wheel of capitalism and white supremacy — that absorbs justice as a superficial intervention, rather than meeting cultural demands with an internal reckoning for sustainable, deeper, authentic change.

3/ Desire Paths next episode is on Collective Work

We just launched the fourth episode of Desire Paths, where artists and co-leaders of Gendai, Petrina Ng, and Marsya Maharani, take us on a field trip through malls in the suburbs. In these seminal spaces, they reflect on how their experiences of othering and isolation growing up led them to dedicate their lives and work to building the infrastructure to support collective work in the arts, which currently is shaped exclusively around the ethos of individual success. They are burning through their conceptions of competition, scarcity, and hero-complexes in collaboration with a cohort of art collectives in Toronto — who have co-created a curriculum, called the MA MBA, or Mastering the Art of Misguided Business Administration, that they are now teaching to themselves and each other.

In the second part of the episode, they chat with artist, curator, and organizer, Anu Radha Verma, who so deeply believes in the suburbs as a place of brilliance and complexity. Her community organizing work is shifting a reductive, homogenous narrative of the suburbs, to one of beauty and humanity.

Aside from learning from these poignant women, it brought me back to my own time growing up in Scarborough, hanging out at Bridlewood Mall and Bamburgh Circle, and being acutely aware and reminded constantly that ‘we are not white.’ My neighborhood and high school were actually mostly racialized (~70%) — so going to school, and eventually living, in downtown Toronto was the real culture shock when being the only PoC in a space on Dundas West was a relatively common occurrence.

The sort of casual, lowbrow, bazaar-style plazas sprawled across North-West Scarborough is where I feel most at home; a way that a sterile, branded cookie-cut mall can never touch. I’m grateful for the trip down memory lane, and I hope you listen to the episode and take one too.

4/ The All Out campaign just launched and spending 1,000 hours outside

Zahra Ebrahim and Kofi Hope of Monumental just launched the All Out campaign, which is dedicated to raising the voices of racialized millennials in the outdoors. The campaign joins other initiatives to change the narrative like Brown Girl, Outdoor World (who I wrote about here) and Brown People Camping.

I had a chance to share a conversation with Zahra last week (including Pam Sethi and Natasha Singh) on PoCs in the outdoors, and five themes became abundantly clear from the perspective of South Asian women:

  • Of course, we go outdoors! We walk, we run, we picnic, we swim, we go to parks. But, we have not had access to outdoor sports (e.g. camping, hiking, skiing), where the cost to acquire skills and equipment, and the time to participate in these activities is extremely high and not integrated within school systems.

  • Outdoor activities require a physical vulnerability — which connects to our relationships with our bodies, and our relationships to our bodies in a place. Safety, belonging, racism, hate crimes — all play conscious and subconscious roles in making the decision to expose ourselves.

  • When PoCs cross the threshold of participating in outdoor activities — they often are accompanied by a ‘white friend,’ who acts as a sherpa. Even then, they are often met with a ‘NIMBY’ attitude; given looks and stares, scoffed at for not knowing the ‘rules’ or having the right attire of the culture, and in some cases, yelled at for taking up space or going too slow on streets and hills.

  • The visual imagery of outdoor sports is still white dude wearing Patagonia, even if the reality is, there is increasing diversity within these spaces. The narrative of outdoor and wilderness activities is reticent to expand to sustain an insular culture.

  • However, for Black and Indigenous communities, being outdoors can bring up ancestral trauma of the ways they were treated and subjugated on the land. Being outdoors may not feel safe at a visceral, cellular level until there is collective acknowledgement and healing. There is so much more to unpack here.

Building a relationship with the land, seeing yourself as part of nature, nourishes you on every level - physically, mentally and spiritually. We all deserve the opportunity to connect with the land we are settled on, and in the case of living in ‘Canada’, it is imperative to grow our solidarity with Indigenous resurgence and stewardship.

If you need some motivation, this mom, Ginny Yurich, started the ‘1000 hours outside movement’ when she witnessed the outsized impact of spending 3-4 hours outside every day was having on her family. She now encouraging folks and families to do the same. That is a pretty major commitment in a mostly cold city like Toronto, but we all got to start somewhere.

If you are interested in sharing your story as a racialized person engaging in outdoor and wilderness activities as part of the All Out Campaign, fill out this survey here.

5/ Deepak Chopra and Alicia Keys together is pretty divine

Um - Alicia Keys and Deepak Chopra are doing a 21-day meditation series on Activating the Divine Feminine and what a magical pairing!

I’ve probably talked about my journey with Deepak, from unwitted rejection to madly in love, where for a few months, I listened to his voice every single day, on this album, The Secret of Love, which legitimately brought me back to life.

If I could choose an R&B singer bestie (besides Romana!), it would be Alicia Keys without a doubt. Her ultra chill, down to earth, no makeup, strong feminine vibe, would have us belting out Unthinkable in no time (my favorite AK song)

6/ A new banner and about page

Check out my new banner and about page! Thanks, Canva for letting a gal with no graphic skills make something look half decent. When I launched this newsletter - that I am now calling a living journal, I always said it would likely change and evolve, so here is the first of many iterations. I love the process of chipping away at something, learning through doing, and integrating new insights into a living wore. Seeing something evolve into shapes of itself is my version of magic.