A year from now, here are five things from this week that I'd like to remember:
My collaboration with Mead Cambridge was released a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share it here. Over the last year, I worked on dozens of iterations before these three designs were greenlit for production, and although we are well into January, I hope these will be of use to those of you who, like me, enjoy mapping out their days.
A handful of planners are available in my shop as well as on Amazon. You can also enter the giveaway I’m hosting on Instagram (virtually no one has seen this post, so there is a very large chance you will win!).
When I confided to a friend recently that paring down my interests felt like I was making my work, business, and impact smaller, she invited me to realign my perspective, sending me the following passage:
“If you take objects out of a room, one by one, two things will happen. The first is obvious. You will miss some of the things you have taken away. The second is that you will notice the things that remain more than ever. Your attention will focus. You will become more likely to read the books that are left on the shelves. You will appreciate the remaining chairs more. And if there is a chess board, you are more likely to play chess. When things are taken from us, the stuff that remains has more value. It rises not only in visibility but also intensity. What we lose in breadth we gain in depth.”
—The gaps of life from Matt Haig’s The Comfort Book
Today I read Still This Love Goes On, a beautiful picture book by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Julie Flett that celebrates seasons, Indigenous traditions, and community. When I finish, I turn to the back of the book to read the note that Buffy and Julie have written to readers.
In hers, Julie writes: The lyrics represent a Cree worldview, one in which we don’t really have a word for goodbye, but say kithwam ka-wapamitonaw, which means “we’ll see each other again.”
I think about how much is lost in translation—between separate languages, of course, but also in the simplest of glances, or when transforming sheet music into sound, or when inviting the sentences from a book into our brains. I think about how often words fail us, even the ones we believe to most precisely describe how we feel. Mostly, I think about how beautiful it is that in Cree philosophy there is little reason for the word goodbye to exist.
It’s a cold January day but we go for our usual morning walk anyway. For the first time, N wears her dinosaur hat, a hand-me-down from her 3 cousins.
“Are you a dinosaur?” I ask her, smiling.
“No, mama,” N tells me solemnly. “Daddy is a dinosaur. I just have a dinosaur hat.”
I trail behind her and her dinosaur dad sheepishly, wondering how I could’ve let myself ask such a daft question. As she bounces along, I think about how many heads the dinosaur hat has called home: first A, who is now 9; then S, who is 7; and Z, who, at 2, is only a month older than N.
I love that N wears so much of her cousins’ clothing. As I watch her collect sticks and pinecones, memories float along the river of my mind and down to my heart, where A carved out his own little nook nine years ago. I was still a lost kid in my mid-twenties when A came into the world prematurely, a tiny riot of iron will and too-fast-everything.
Almost a decade before I had my own child, it was A who first introduced me to parenting—and that learning to parent is a long road towards becoming the person you always wanted to be, but never actually practiced being. With A, I learned what patience truly is. I didn’t know how to hold a baby, but I practiced with his little limbs. I felt my heart irrationally flare with anger when another toddler stole his pail at the playground; I practiced calming myself. I learned what it meant to be protective of another’s mind and heart through my conversations with him. I learned how to love my sibling more closely by observing how he loves his. Even today, I feel my heart well each time I experience the sensitivity and empathy he carries with him daily. It is far too big for his frame. As a person, I have always been slightly closed. It was A who taught me how to open my heart—who taught me how to love unconditionally.
I think about A all day. Later, my sister tells me that the dinosaur hat never belonged to A—she bought it for S when he was little. Not only is my memory flawed, but the immediate flood of recollection I experienced was summoned by a truth that never even existed. At first, I feel cheated, as if the love in my heart is a lie. But then A’s face fills my mind and my eyes are quick to fill with tears. I feel overwhelmed by my love for him. Nothing about this love is a lie.
You simply go out and shut the door
without thinking. And when you look back
at what you’ve done
it’s too late. If this sounds
like the story of life, okay.
It was raining. The neighbors who had
a key were away. I tried and tried
the lower windows. Stared
inside at the sofa, plants, the table
and chairs, the stereo set-up.
My coffee cup and ashtray waited for me
on the glass-topped table, and my heart
went out to them. I said, Hello, friends,
or something like that. After all,
this wasn’t so bad.
Worst things had happened. This
was even a little funny. I found the ladder.
Took that and leaned it against the house.
Then climbed in the rain to the deck,
swung myself over the railing
and tried the door. Which was locked,
of course. But I looked in just the same
at my desk, some papers, and my chair.
This was the window on the other side
of the desk where I’d raise my eyes
and stare out when I sat at that desk.
This is not like downstairs, I thought.
This is something else.
And it was something to look in like that, unseen,
from the deck. To be there, inside, and not be there.
I don’t even think I can talk about it.
I brought my face close to the glass
and imagined myself inside,
sitting at the desk. Looking up
from my work now and again.
Thinking about some other place
and some other time.
The people I had loved then.
I stood there for a minute in the rain.
Considering myself to be the luckiest of men.
Even though a wave of grief passed through me.
Even though I felt violently ashamed
of the injury I’d done back then.
I bashed that beautiful window.
And stepped back in.
—Locking Yourself Out, Then Trying to Get Back In by Raymond Carver
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See you next week!
I feel like we should value and cherish the gaps of life. it is what is between the lines that resonates to a higher state. children always seem to connect with innocence as a toy. as adults, we often overlook our simplicities. i'm at a point in my development where I feel I need to touch the colors of emotions and saturate myself in its soul. Meera, you learn each day that living is achieved with friends no matter the geography or shape.
Meera, I love seeing your newsletter in my inbox. It is a joy to read every week and experience the world through your eyes. I always learn something and also appreciate the depth of your wisdom. Thank you :)