The Hughsletter #76

Good morning!

I’m Hugh Hollowell, and this is my weekly newsletter about The Relentless Pursuit of Beauty as a prophylactic against the ugliness of the world. (Learn more about this newsletter here.)

In recent weeks, the sheer amount of tension everyone is under has been what has struck me most. I mentioned last week on Facebook that I felt like I hadn’t slept well since the election, and the comments came flying in from people who said that they too had not slept well.

Take care of yourself, good people. Get some rest (carve out time if you have to!). Most self-care isn’t sexy, but the hard, inglorious work of things like going to bed on time, turning off the TV or computer and eating nutritious food.

And yes, I’m talking to myself, too.

Here are five things I thought were beautiful:

  1. The University of Aberdeen in Scotland houses the so-called Aberdeen Bestiary, a book from the early 1200’s that contained illuminated pictures of animals, with moral lessons attached. They have scanned it at ultra-high resolution and put it online – the level of detail is amazing.
  2. Whatever your political inclinations, it is hard to deny that President Obama has been one of our most photogenic presidents. White House photographer Pete Souza was asked for his favorite pictures of Mr. Obama – here are his top 25. (Here is the official White House Flickr Archive)
  3. What is the Internet without awesome pictures of animals? Sergey Polyushko’s Instagram is full of expressive animals (including cats!)
  4. Speaking of expressive animals – the Guardian did a photo series on the UK National Poultry Show. Seriously, that’s a thing.
  5. And if you have been tense lately, here is Somewhere Over the Rainbow, performed on a theremin. If you don’t know, a theremin is an electric musical instrument you don’t actually touch that uses electrical fields to make music.

Reading:

A couple of suggestions:

Lately, a lot of people have been activated by the turn of political events, and want to know how to get involved, what to do, what are the next steps? If you are new to activism, I encourage you to read this book by my friend David Lamotte. He is a singer, songwriter, activist, parent, spouse and friend. He is also incredibly hopeful – something in all too short supply these days.

And if it all seems overwhelming and you are feeling as if the world has shattered around you, I suggest The Places That Scare You: a guide to fearlessness in difficult times, by Pema Chodron. She maintains that we can take the hard things that happen to us and let them harden us, or they can teach us. She is probably my third favorite Buddhist author, and the author of the excellent When Things Fall Apart.

So that’s it this week – as always, if you enjoyed this issue, please forward it to a friend. If someone forwarded this issue to you, you can get your very own subscription by going here.

Take care of yourself, and each other.

Hugh Hollowell
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