But first: Tammi Salas and I re-launched our 40-day sobriety email course, The Mantra Project. We created this course in 2015, sold many thousands of them, and shuttered it in 2019 before my book came out. We brought it back in its original, nostalgic form. I spent about 30 hours re-writing/updating the 40 essays and affirmations, and here’s my plug: Even when I
Reviving the mantra with Tammi thing is like taking me back in time to something I missed and now get to do so THANK YOU. ✨And the rest of your essay is 🤯 bc I have been walking around with this Pema idea that there is “fresh air” in the hatey uncomfortable places/times & it is saving me and well you’ve always been nothing but inspiring and have taken it a little further. 🙏🏼
I’m in the early stages of grappling with a very unexpected loss, and I can already feel this pressure inside of me to figure out next steps, forward movement, getting “me” back; the “I don’t want this icky stuff” that you speak of. All this is to say this piece really lands for me, right this very minute. I’ll probably forget the lesson by the morning so I will read it again tomorrow (rinse and repeat).
I always marvel at your excellent writing and your sharing of important information to help your fellow humans gain insights into themselves and life. Micki
Quick "first reaction..." I ordered the Mantra Project in 2015, and about half way through thought "hmm, this might be even more inspirational if I was trying to be sober," and when it concluded I launched into HSS, and as they say, the rest is herstory. Great idea to bring it back!
I’m in a transition space right now - raw skinned and white knuckling it some weeks and other weeks floating on the bliss of feeling ok and praying maybe I sailed through the hard part and made it to the mythical other side… nope, there I am in the hateful, itchy discomfort of anxiety and existential dread again. I spin out trying to figure out why this is happening, how do I fix it… but what if I can’t fix it, what if I’m stuck here!? Who will I be on the other side of this? Thanks for this essay - words of accompaniment for this rough and tumble season of change and a new mantra for the really hard days: “I won’t spontaneously combust when I stay in the places that scare me, or the places I don’t want to be at all.” ❤️❤️
PS obsessed with the consumer aesthetic database. Aesthetics peaked in the 90s and you can’t convince me otherwise. 😎
I love this newsletter so much. Your perspective and spiritual journey is what hooked me in during Home, and inspired me to live alcohol free. And these newsletters are a highlight to my week. The top 10 (ok 20) is always a cornucopia of goodness. I logged a ridiculous amount of time on the consumer aesthetics site and only came up for air during a giggle at the Life Laugh Love category with quite possibly the funniest description I’ve heard, “Wood grain, brush script fonts, and snarky slogans about how often you drink wine. Still going strong in suburban homes worldwide.” A sober person definitely wrote that!!! :-D Was it you????
Hmmm, reading the Pemi story, I couldn't help but interpret it as gaslighting of the highest order. I wonder, also, if there was any delay between Pemi hearing that this was a wonderful experience and running back to get into it, with that 'depression is bliss' approach. It all just sounds impossible. Like that phrase is just courting controversy and irritation.
I guess that is why you have *aspired* to this approach when experiencing the darker times. Because it is not really a possible approach, right? It sounds to me like another punishing way of experiencing depression, tbh. Like, oh no! I can't believe I'm not blissing out in this!
It reminds me of that story Byron Katie tells about the woman who is bedbound, at the end of her life, and upset because one of her legs is vastly larger than the other. And Byron Katie says something like, Oh I get it. The problem is that you think the legs should be the same size!
Because the answer is to love what is.
But imagine saying that to a dying person in distress. And then using it as story to show how spiritually enlightened you are.
When you're not as spiritually enlightened as these individuals claim to be, these things can sound like the cruel exclamations of psychopaths. Or is it just me that sees it that way?
I mean, their teachings are so out of reach for most people as to seem impossible. And then I just sense the gulf of privilege I've crossed to be accessing them, even getting something out of it, and it makes me feel I might be losing with touch with reality.
Like, tell the Pemi story to this man in the homeless shelter. It's not very accessible.
I have found Byron Katie's lessons useful in the past, but I'm just wondering about these things.
It sounds like holding oneself to a very high expectation indeed to enjoy the deepest depressions.
But perhaps I just sound very earthbound?
Thanks for writing, it was an interesting read.
Love your writing and your thought process as always. Thanks!
Thank you so much for your brilliant writing and offerings.
Right now they are exactly what I need to stay sober and expand spiritually.
I am so excited about the mantra project. It was my most cherished part of the old HIP/Tempest. 3.5 years sober and you have to constantly keep at it for sure. I have some friends I might gift this too!
If you haven’ watched Roger Ebert Documentary its a must see. Simply. Unforgettable.
Holly I haven’t got to the end of the newsletter yet but I am so excited about the mantra project and signing up today! I just met Tammi at TLC. So excited!! Thank you for Re launching this for us 💜❤️🧡💙💛💚🙏🦋
I wanted to drink today and I had a bit of a turnaround listening to your podcast on a walk this afternoon and felt a shift thinking about how I want to live my life, what kind of person do I want to be, why do I do the things I do... then somehow ended up reading this on Substack tonight and you mentioned the music of an old friend i hadn’t thought about in awhile. Thanks for the lifelines today.
Definitely relate, especially the nihilism…maybe that’s what fills the space left when you stop trying all the fixes?
This may just be my rampant apathy talking, but I can’t help but wonder, what if when the teacher told Pema about Dakini Bliss, she was just like, “Oh…yea that’s not what if feels like for me. Want to go get some lunch?”
I think this type of thinking is kind of ruining me, but I can’t stop.
I cannot stop pondering the “It is all an elaborate hoax.” from Ebert.
Also Megan thee Stallion’s mental health website is 🔥. These are the things that give me hope for the human race. It just made me love her more.