Discover more from The Mettā View
Generative leadership, Threads and the end of social, the mindfulness trap, getting dressed as a form of self-care
July 7 2023
While working in New York City, I was introduced to ‘Summer Fridays’, a program many companies offered their staff around the city, encouraging them to leave work at lunchtime every Friday from July to the end of August. This was meant to help us residents flee the city towards the beach before traffic gridlocked us in place in our cars.
My workload felt sadly incompatible with this practice. I don’t remember enjoying a single summer Friday for the three years I lived stateside. I did, however, have a European holiday allowance, so don’t feel too sorry for me.
In my new role as a solopreneur, I try to make more room for building in ‘breathers’ in my week. I’ve not taken a half day off just yet since lately, as luck would have it, much of my time has been consumed with addressing an injury sustained by my Cavapoo puppy, Nandi. What looked like a small cut that wasn’t healing properly turned out to be a fracture. We would have never guessed from seeing him jump and play: he certainly wasn’t in pain, but X-rays don’t lie. My (our) summer will look very different thanks to that. No swimming for him, eight weeks in a cast. Yikes.
Bummed out after the vet appointment, I looked at the mountain of work on my to-do list, feeling a sense of overwhelm. So I did the most reasonable thing I could think of: I left it all there for the night.
Instead, I treated myself to an online yoga class with Smart Flow teacher Annie Carpenter, whose 9am in Auckland, California, is my 6pm. After class and a swift shower, I joined friends for an aperitif I had previously cancelled.
I enjoyed a few glasses of a fragrant white wine, watching over Nandi like a mamma hawk (he was getting his cast today), and went home feeling much better for having spent the evening looking after myself instead of looking after my work.
It’s a tough choice and one that I don’t make often. Of course, the items on my to-do list are still here, glaring at me from an opened tab on my screen.
But I’ve got better tools now, better than in my earlier career, like this one: to-do lists are there to help us prioritise what is most important, whether daily, hourly, or moment-by-moment. We absolutely do not need to cross everything off (phew, because you know, that never happens) or even need to attempt to. With that in mind, I’ve rejigged my day’s and week’s priorities, holding a clear intention of continuously doing my best, both for my clients and for myself. Not putting one above the other, but side by side.
I am off to the vet’s again, but it’s okay. I am grateful we can afford the care and that he will get well looked after, even if it creates some complications on my end.
We can’t always see our plans through, whether they be to leave the office early, soak in the sun, or finish editing that podcast episode, newsletter, or whatever has piled up on our desktops. But somehow, we can choose to remember to celebrate summer in a small way, at least once in a while, and leave the to-do list behind.
Meanwhile, I’ve prepared a short and sweet digest for you below; I hope you get to enjoy it somewhere comfortable. As always, thank you for reading me; I really appreciate it!
Until next time, have a good one.
Thanks for reading The Mettā View! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
“And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.” - John Steinbeck
THE ANTI-AI CAMPAIGN
If you’ve been one of those people prompting ChatGPT to explore its possibilities, you may have seen it conjure photorealistic images with your text prompts that your imagination couldn’t fathom. Nikon, the Japanese company behind some of the best cameras, has launched a stunning campaign to show us Earth’s ‘Natural Intelligence.’ Playing with written prompts as you’d do with generative AI, layered over incredibly beautiful images, Nikon makes a case for just how wonderful nature is and how perhaps, we could turn to look at it more often than our screens.
Watch the video here.
HAVE WE REACHED THE END OF AN ERA?
Following the news of the Twitter-clone Threads app being released in North America yesterday, this thoughtful article in the Verge questions the role and the future of social media in our lives. Could it be that the constant search for monetisation (I see you, Instagram subscriptions), turning connection into entertainment, engagement into scrolling has turned us against the platforms that once promised to have us all feel connected? After all, what we seek isn’t ‘a thing’; we all seek the feeling of being where we should be.
The writer candidly writes that he misses the places that felt like everyone was there, putting into words a feeling that I hadn’t understood before myself.
One of my favourite moments on Twitter, for example, was watching the football World Cup with the live commentary of the late Hilary Alexander, fashion editor for the Daily Telegraph. I have rarely had a better time. It certainly felt like everyone was there, in a good way.
For some reason, I don’t have good memories of Facebook, I’d just like a replacement for Twitter for real news, alerts, and events, and I’m happy to keep Instagram as my public photo album.
What will happen with Threads? Let’s see. As of this morning, the platform was rolled out in over 100 countries (sadly not Switzerland) and had garnered 10 million sign ups within seven hours of its launch. Apparently, Twitter’s menacing to sue Meta over it (they certainly need the money).
With Twitter being a mess and everything else being not quite right, ex-Twitter employees have built Spill. Currently in beta, by invite-only on iOS, the new platform claims to offer visual conversations at the speed of culture. From what I read, it seems they are going about it by targeting under-represented communities, people whose content can make or break a platform. Watch this space and read about it here.
ANAIS SAEGESSER ON REGENERATIVE LEADERSHIP, ACTING FROM CONNECTION AND SCALING FOR GOOD
In this latest interview for Out of the Clouds, I had the pleasure to reach out and interview a peer from my study time at the Nalanda Institute in Contemplative Science. (Who says we can’t make wonderful connections on Zoom?)
Anaïs Sägesser, a fellow Swiss, wears many complimentary hats: she is an impact-driven educational entrepreneur, a learning designer and the co-creator of pioneering and impactful programs focused on entrepreneurship, regenerative leadership development and personal growth. Anaïs is a self-confessed seeker and a fellow lifelong learner. She holds a doctorate from the University of St Gallen, currently serves as an expert for Innosuisse and was recently elected as a member of the scientific advisory board for transdisciplinarity at the Swiss Academies of Sciences.
With all that said, she also is a certified yoga teacher and she offers guided mindfulness and compassion practices in English and German on Insight Timer. Broadly speaking, Anaïs is dedicated to societal transformation through personal transformation, social equity, and systems change.
In our conversation, we cover a lot: from her lessons at business school to comparative religious and Islamic studies, to landing herself a job in management consulting, and then finding her way to follow her own purpose. She tells me about Climate-KIC, where she served as Swiss director and co-lead, then co-founded Scaling4Good, a non-profit aiming to connect impact initiatives with institutions to amplify climate response project growth.
Since Anaïs and I are both coaches and mindfulness and yoga teachers, I ask her how she found her path to meditation, why coaching and how this supports entrepreneurs.
Anaïs writes regularly on values and leadership and offers her thoughts about the disconnection between individual and collectively held values, our search for meaning and purpose and how she believes we all have this innate desire to do something good.
We close with Anaïs’ favourite tips to connect with nature, culminating with the question:
Who are you that I am also, and who am I that you are too?
A deep and insightful interview with a remarkable changemaker. Happy listening!
ON FASHION AS WELLNESS, GETTING DRESSED AND SELF-CARE
Martha Beck, PhD, sociologist, author, and master coach (whose Wayfinder Life Coach Training I certified with), has developed a theory she calls the Change Cycle, which is set up in four steps (it’s squares actually, more on that another time). I remember vividly reading that between squares two and three (from dreaming and scheming to making things happen in the real world), her clients would suddenly report the desire to make drastic changes to their looks, whether they had a radical hair colour or cut change, or changed their wardrobes completely.
Well, I must be hovering between these squares two and three because nothing in my closet feels right, and for once, it’s not because I can’t fit into my clothes! I also just got a new haircut and have been contemplating a ‘my little pony’ sort of bold colour play.
Most of us can’t afford to simply ditch the contents of our closets when we are in transition and purchase a brand-new wardrobe. What to do?
Enter stylist Allison Bernstein interviewed on the Who What Where podcast with Hillary Kerr. The LA and NYC-based stylist believes that fashion is a form of wellness and that getting dressed is a version of self-care. I think fashion and clothes choices can affirm or limit our own sense of identity. Not just because of how they look but also in expressing something about the fibres, the materials and the brands they are made of. No wonder why we may feel a need to change. Like a snake leaving its old skin behind, when we feel a shift in our own sense of identity, we may need to express it outwardly to the world through our clothes, accessories, hair and make-up.
Martha Beck would agree with her, I think, and even my younger self (think seven years old) would, as I remembered the other day, feel terribly unhappy and inauthentic when I was being dressed by my mother ‘against my will’ (read I didn’t like that dress, it’s not like I was trying to go to school butt naked).
Bernstein shares practical tips to help us clean out our closets, reclaim what works and help us find our authentic style. I’m halfway through my wardrobe purge, and thanks to her advice, I’m feeling great about it and hopeful that I understand what works for me. Now I have my keywords: practical, textured, soft (natural) and feminine.
Given what we know about the impact of fast fashion on the environment, when I look at something I may purchase, I now ask myself this: is this a forever item? If the answer is no, I let it go.
CAN WE FIND PEACE WITH AN APP?
Can we? Whether you think of peace as mindfulness or a happy state where anxiety has been left behind, and we are neither preoccupied with future plans nor brewing over the past, do we need an app to achieve it?
Writer Michael Owen makes a poignant case against our phones being the right vehicles for meditation and mindfulness. After all, just gazing at my iPhone 📲 I immediately think of a hundred things I should be doing. Personally, I’m not against them, but that’s because I love nothing more than putting my phone on silent mode.
In any case, he makes a good point. To read the full story, you may have to create an account with the Atlantic; discover it here.
Thanks for reading The Mettā View! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.