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“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

Photo by Dylan from Pexels

Is she mad at me? I wondered. I had met a new-ish friend for lunch the week before, and after our hangout, I texted her. “Had a great time,” I said. “Let’s do it again soon!” She never responded. Naturally, I flipped through the Rolodex of Dumb Things I might have done. Did I make too many puns? Was it my rant about people who don’t like cats? Maybe I shouldn’t have let her pay — how rude of me! Eventually, she called. She had gotten into an argument with her partner and was in a crap mood the whole…

🐦 Today’s tip: Set an “unusual bird interruption” alarm.

Sometimes—even when we’re shuffling through the late (we hope!) stages of a pandemic, and feeling burnt-out and spark-less—connecting with life’s joy is as easy as looking at a bird.

This doesn’t even have to mean actual bird-watching — a video works. As the teacher Sophie Lucido Johnson writes in Human Parts:

I have a weekly scheduled “unusual bird interruption” alarm that goes off on my phone every week in my classes. We watch a bird video for something like two minutes. Afterward, I always say, “If you’re stuck or having a…

Awe deprivation is common, but it doesn’t need to be

An Apollo 11 astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the Apollo 11 lunar surface extravehicular activity Photo: NASA/Getty Images

Astronaut Edgar D. Mitchell, who piloted Apollo 14 and was the sixth American to walk on the moon, once described his 1971 lunar landing mission as an “ecstasy of unity.” The experience, he said, offered “an overwhelming sense of universal connectedness.”

It’s a feeling that links him to a tiny fraction of human beings — but within this small community, it’s widespread. Many other astronauts have recalled similarly overwhelming sensations of awe seeing Earth from space. Ron Garan, who has traveled over 71,000,000 miles and orbited the Earth over 2,800 times, calls this “orbital perspective.” He says access to such…


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