This is your weekly open letter from me, Berin Kinsman. It’s not technically a newsletter, but it’s a little bit different from a normal blog post. I publish one of these every Sunday at around 3pm EST.
An Open Letter: 7 April 2019
Maybe it’s because it’s springtime and the sunlight has returned to Finland, but I’m enjoying the lifestyle changes that I’ve been making. As I wrote on Thursday, my Instagram account is becoming filled with pictures of food. I’m making more time to read, and have been spending time in spiritual practice. My business is becoming more enjoyable again, because I’m not expecting it to be the be-all end-all of my existence. I love what I do, but it’s there to earn me a living so I can support Katie and I while she finished school. While it does have elements of self-care and intellectual fulfillment in the creative aspects of the work, I’ve needed more to my life than the job. Naturally, that’s what a lot of this blog has been about recently, especially in these open letters.
Last week I wrote about signing up for a subscription service that would send me a random gently used novel every month. On Thursday I received two emails in rapid succession. The first stated that they had cancelled my subscription. The second said that a refund had been issued. Both emails appeared to be automatically generated, and no explanation was given. I’m guessing they figured out how much shipping to Finland was going to cost, and it wasn’t going to be profitable for them.
As an alternative, I decided to haunt the English language section of the local library instead. It’s not a huge selection. If I was willing to accept a random book to read for €5 a month, though, I figured I can certain pluck something off the shelf for free and give it a try.
I went yesterday and stumbled across Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Complete Orsinia. In the 1950’s, before she dove headlong into science fiction, Le Guin created the a fictional European country to write about. This volume contains the original novel, Malafrena, which takes place in the 19th century. It also has stories and songs that take the history of Orsinia through World War II and up to the 1980s. I’m excited to read her earliest work, and curious to see how she applies worldbuilding to historical fiction.
As I’ve been working my way through the book A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield, I’m finding that I’m spending several days on each chapter. They’re short, and I read them in one sitting, but then I need to think about what’s been written. I’ve been journaling about it, then reading the same chapter again the next day and journaling some more. Sometimes you need to take the time to process what you’ve learned, so that you can understand it, internalize it, and figure out how to apply it to your life.
By contrast, I have the edX course Buddhism Through Its Scriptures that I’m taking. Having done the first two sessions, I feel like it’s kicking my ass. For a non-credit course it’s a lot of work. There are deadlines, which means that I can’t process the information at my leisure. I feel like I’m being rushed through it, and missing things as a result. So I’m now just auditing the class, doing the reading and watching the lectures but skipping the assignments. I want to learn, but that doesn’t need to be quantified with a grade or a certificate of achievement.
On the Blog
The series on practices for simple living is complete. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to write about next. I have some ideas, but if you’ve got requests or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.
- 5 Practices for Simple Living
- Cultivate Silence (Rule 1)
- Be Faithful to Daily Meditation (Rule 2)
- Form Authentic Community (Rule 3)
- Make Time for Reading (Rule 4)
- Practice Humility (Rule 5)
Thanks and Gratitude
Even though I’m writing this mainly for my own purposes, it means a lot to have people make the effort to read it and leave comments. Thank you.
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