What a strange, challenging, and invigorating time to be alive. I hope you are well. Have you found a new normal for yourself, despite the bizarre and ever-changing reality of the world? Are you overwhelmed with everything going on outside your home, yet growing increasingly bored by the day-to-day in quarantine?
Rest assured, you’re not alone. You’re joined by just about everyone else on the planet. Welcome. Whatever you’re feeling or experiencing is normal because, well, you’re feeling it and that’s what reality’s like for you in this moment.
It’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland, and her infamous trip down the rabbit hole. The day-to-day feels surreal, and yet we keep venturing forward. While I don’t think we’ll “wake up” from this current global experience and go back to life as it was before, I remain confident in the positivity we cultivate on this journey together. Thanks for being part of my adventure through this newsletter.
Today, I’ll focus on ways to find stability despite the changing world around us. Not as a way to avoid reality, but as a way to take care of ourselves so that we can play whatever role it is that we play in this world. To that end, I’ll dive into:
- Finding inspiration and mental health through music
- A new bundle of interesting products designed to help you better connect with yourself and others
- A group journaling experiment we’re currently running using Ponder
🎶Life’s a Musical
Lately, I’ve found my sanity in playing music: all day long. It’s become a background to my life, ignition for spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen, and a source of positive energy that I’m channeling into my work.
Just this morning, I asked my Dad to send over his all time favorite albums and artists. My dad has always been a music nut, full of stories of buying the best speakers he could afford, turning up the volume as loud as possible, and eventually earning himself early access to hearing aids.
I have memories stored in the music we listened to as kids. Here’s a memory steeped in music: my family is at the very end of a long road trip, all six of us packed in a Suburban losing our minds. (Honestly, I don’t know how my parents took four kids on cross country road trips, but they did it regularly!)
We’re 45 minutes from home. No more bathroom stops allowed. No more food stashed in the car—at least not food you’d want to eat. We’re all exhausted—especially my parents who are driving. We’re cramped up and stir crazy.
Simple solution: roll the windows down, pick an album, and let the music guide us home. Volume up, singing along, we would make it back in good spirits. Common albums for this road trip homestretch: Cat Stevens: Tea for the Tillerman. The Beatles: Norwegian Wood. The Doors: LA Woman.
If you’re also seeking a bit of sanity, or maybe you’re looking for a shake-up of your day-to-day, may I suggest start playing music. Not on headphones, but through speakers - to fill your home, your life with sound.
Explore new tunes. Revisit old favorites. Allow your mind to get lost in the beat. Maybe you’ll bob your head a bit, tap your toes, or suddenly find yourself on a dance floor. Perhaps you’ll find a long lost memory of a loved one, of a place dear to you, or of an enjoyable time in your life long past.
Go with the flow and let your energy find just the right way to let loose. Let the music take you there.
🛠Interesting tools for interesting times
In this edition’s roundup of tools, I’ve focused on products that can help with the psychological struggles of being quarantined, sheltered-in-place, whatever you call it - we’re all cooped up at home! With a little creativity, we can find a world of activities to break out of normal routines, and feel a bit more free.
Most of these are new, in reaction to COVID. Designed and built to provide relief and an outlet for feelings associated with going stir crazy. I’ve specifically tailored this curation to products that help us build our relationships with ourselves and others. If you try any of these out, let me know, would love to hear from you!
🧘🏻♂️30 Days of Meditation
…Or maybe 24 days if you join starting tomorrow. This is a free meditation course that helps cultivate commitment, calm, resilience, and focus. One of the hosts is Jonny Miller, who I met at the Founder Summit just a few weeks back in Mexico City—he’s a great person and has a lot of expertise to share in meditation and breath work. Jonny and his co-host Conni built the course to help people find stability within themselves during such a disruptive time for so many of us. Bonus: you’ll join a community of other folks interested in meditation, virtually—you won’t have to go at it alone.
A really cool phone service, connecting you with people around the world who are also quarantined. It’s free and you never know who you’re going to talk to. You do need a cell phone - either iPhone or Android, and a bit of a sense of adventure. One of the creator’s of Quarantine Chat is Danielle Baskin, she’s a creative based out of San Franciso and has shared some of her QuarantineChat experiences on Twitter. What a positive, simple tool to help us cope with isolation. If you’re craving a bit of serendipity and connection, try it out!
🏡Stay Home, Take Care
- Feel comforted
- Entertain your kids
- Connect to others
- Help others
- Take care of yourself
This website is chock full of things to do, from podcasts, to fostering pets, to TikTok dance challenges—if you’re starting to feel restless, the Stay Home, Take Care guide has you covered.
Okay, with a name like Moshi Moshi, how can you go wrong? This is an anonymous message board web app that refreshes every 24-hours. And every day there is a prompt to help get you thinking about what you might share. The most recent prompt was: “What was the last thing you fell in love with?” I shared about re-falling in love with music. Moshi Moshi is a project brought to you by Tiny Factories, a group of indie-makers who are living and working together. Currently they’re based out of San Francisco. (The Bay Area is a hub of weird creatives, maybe that’s why Dave and I are here—it’s very inspiring.)
Pen pals meet the internet! SLOWLY is a smartphone app that connects folks around the world to exchange letters. It’s designed for people looking for meaningful conversations in a world designed for instant and ephemeral interactions. Keeping with the pen pal letter-writing tradition, you get to seal your envelope and affix a stamp before shipping. For pen pals who live far away, the delivery and response takes longer because of the geographic distance, mimicking the realities of postal letters. I think I might give it a whirl!
🏕Hunkered Down: A Two Week Group Journaling Experiment
First of all, Ponder officially has a web presence! Check it out here: ponder.to. Don’t be a stranger, if you’re interested in getting updates, leave your email, and we’ll stay in touch! ❤️
One of the use cases for Ponder is journaling with a group, and we’ve found that this excites people the most about the product. When COVID first hit, and we were getting used to being stuck at home, we decided to start a Ponder group journaling experiment.
Our experiment is called Hunkered Down. Dave and I create daily prompts that I share with our participants every morning. It’s been a lot of fun to brainstorm the prompts together and see them come to life through our Hunkered Down participants.
The way it works is simple - everybody responds to the same daily prompt and shares their entry for the day in a stream so we can all read each other’s journals.
For example, here’s one of the prompts:
And this is a snapshot of my entry for that day: