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If there is nothing to lose, no sacrifice, then there is nothing to gain.
Worf (Michael Dorn), Star Trek: The Next Generation
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This has been a year of loss and sacrifice. Of security, life, income, health, and community. Of social circles, businesses, plans, and celebrations. We all have something to lose. We've all been asked and called to sacrifice this year.
But we also all have something to gain. Two sides to the same coin.
Nothing to lose, nothing to gain. Something to lose, something to gain.
We don't all have the same amount of coins to toss. And they are not always balanced coins - the flip side isn't always equal, expected, or ideal compared to the alternative.
But Worf's words still hold true. Despite the business and personal sacrifice, I've gained this year as well. New perspectives; new appreciation of things I took for granted; more time to tackle big projects and many books. Sometimes it's a silver lining thing happening, seeking out the gain when faced with a loss. But other times that loss - no matter how much I don't want to give up on, let go of, or accept it - makes room for a gain I never knew I needed.
I am detecting life readings from the planet's surface, as well as several small areas of thermal radiation and carbon dioxide emissions, indicative of combustion.
Is that not what I said?
Data (Brent Spiner) and Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), Star Trek TNG
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On his own, Data may be my fav Star Trek character. But I smile the most when he interacts with others - especially the on-going gag when a shipmate cuts off or simplifies his lengthy, yet accurate, explanations.
It's a reminder that simplicity has value. During this year of much complexity - learning way more than I ever thought I would about epidemiology; countless unknown answers to big questions; changing time frames, forms, and recommendations; weighing risk profiles alongside social contact and community.
Many of these complexities are out of my control, or are simply very difficult to make simple. So I've been focusing on what I can simplify. Daily routines. Household clutter. Meal prep. My to-read list. Holiday expectations. Sharing and caring, however I can.
There's a time and a place for highly specific language and complexity. But there's also a time and a place to call a campfire, a campfire.
This is obviously the result of a large celestial object passing through at near right angles to the plane of the star system. Probably a black hole.
Can you recommend a way to counter the effect?
Simple. Change the gravitational constant of the universe.
Q (John de Lancie), Star Trek TNG
* * *
Ever wish you could change something with a snap?
Abracadabra. Just like that. Poof.
Back to how I wish it still was.
Back to something familiar.
Or forward, how I wish it to be.
Forward past some pain.
Or turning the radio on and it always happens to be one of my favorite songs. I can imagine omniscient powers would come with satisfaction. But I'd miss out on that channel searching, bits of news stories, a wacky jingle, songs I had forgot about, voices I never heard before. The journey to a place, the memory of getting there.
Looking back at this wild year, there's some things I wish I could have changed with a snap. But, who knows how the journey would have turned out either way.
Father, what is my purpose?
My function. My reason for being.
That is a complex question. I can only begin to answer by telling you that our function is to contribute in a positive way to the world in which we live.
Lal (Hallie Todd) & Data (Brent Spiner), Star Trek TNG
* * *
Last email of the year. This has been A YEAR. Full of unknowns from all directions. Full of so many things, good and bad, that I won't forget.
One of them is Margaret.
I met Margaret the summer of 2019. Her shoulder hurt, and massage therapy helped. But as the discomfort didn't resolve after a few sessions, I encouraged her efforts to see a specialist to rule out other medical concerns.
She was a cancer survivor and her worst fears were confirmed. It was back. With a vengeance. Metastasized into several bones and major organs. She fought a valiant battle, left no rock unturned, and earned each day she had left.
Even though we were about the same age, I found myself constantly thinking, "I want to be like her when I grow up." She was so intelligent, kind, and generous. She shared with me her wise reflections and insights - the discovered silver linings. And also the anger and guilt - the unfairness of it all. She lit up the office with her smile, even as her life dimmed. All the moments she shared with me, of brave vulnerability, facing the great unknown, was an immense gift. I will never forget her.
Purpose is complex. Life is complex. This year was extra complex. But as Margaret taught me, and my fav fictional android echoes, we can only begin to understand the complexity by living out a purpose that's bigger than we are.
When through action we "contribute in a positive way to the world in which we live."
We're here to share our pain.
Inspire and love each other.
Give and receive gifts.
* * *
5min watch 🚫 How to stop being a "good" boy or girl. Whether it's from Santa, family, or friends, expectations on our behaviors and choices can be pretty heavy around the holidays. This video is about when we conform so much to what others want, we can easily loose track of what is true for ourselves. watch video: https://buff.ly/3mKvrfY 3min read 🕯️ Building habits during good times. I just cannot keep an exercise routine lately. Even tho I know aaall the good it would do, consistency eluded me. This article is on how to create habits for stressful times. LT;DR: You build the habits during good times. read article: https://buff.ly/3hbgzWZ
4mins-4hrs 🔥 It's yule log video season. Four hours of a Boston terrier puppy in front a calming fire. Mhm. watch video: https://buff.ly/2VlMJVH
1hr read 🏷️ A book I'm gifting this year. Goodbye Phone, Hello World by Paul Greenberg is precise, concise, and profound: "The CEOs of the largest attention economy companies have amassed fortunes comparable to those of the pharaohs of Egypt ... built out of the bricks of our consciousness." find on amazon: https://buff.ly/2KOacg1
10min watch 💪 Get in those squat hugs. When my fireplace is lit and a warm fuzzy blanket alongside a new book is calling my name, it can take something special to motivate some movement. This silly Elf themed workout did not disappoint. watch video: https://buff.ly/2W5KSVv 15min read 🌈 Gatekeepers at the Rainbow Bridge. Heaven at Home provides in-home animal hospice, end-of-life care and euthanasia in West Michigan. They have an assistance fund currently seeking donations. Check em out and consider supporting their mission. visit website: https://buff.ly/3mX9sDr 20min read ☃️ Need some holiday tips? End of year holidays are in sight. A few more weeks and they'll be here. Big breath. If you need some tips to re-calibrate and refocus, check out this eBook I wrote and use 2020HOLIDAYS to get it for free. download eBook: https://buff.ly/2y87P1p
5min read 🎄 10 holiday mantras. She can’t fix your family issues before this year’s holidays, but Dr. Jonice Webb can give you some new tools to get you through it. This short article includes ten mantras for you to give a try. read article: https://buff.ly/3oRYtM7 1hr watch 🐿️ Cute background video. I really like long yule log videos. And this one has squirrels. watch video: https://buff.ly/2WcoIRm
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