The experience of being in the singing forest came to me in a dream after hearing Nessi Gome’s song “All Related.” This forest is a place of beauty and strangeness where we are all able to sing. This newsletter shares some recent discoveries and experiences along with curating favorites from the past. I love time travel and linguistics. Enjoy.
Cooking From A Picture
I received an email from a cooking website Good Food and decided I wanted to reverse-engineer a recipe based on the picture of a soup with lentils, squash, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes.
Adding to the challenge I would only use what I had on-hand in the house. Fresh vegetables sauteed in olive oil were yellow onion, garlic, ginger, carrots, russet potatoes, broccoli, and celery. Frozen veggies were butternut squash, a multi-colored bell pepper mix, and green peas. The base of the soup was some vegetable stock, part of a jar of spaghetti sauce, a packet of Madras curry lentils, and the last part of a bag mixing quinoa and wheat bulgar. Also from the freezer were some black beans we had cooked up. No salt or seasoning was added.
The end result was a delicious meal that was fun to prepare. It is surprising what you can make with what you already have available in your home plus some inspiration.
Wanting to understand a problem intellectually and to solve the same problem with our thoughts is natural. Some problems cannot be solved with thinking alone. Some parts of our nervous system developed early in our evolutionary development before language. Communication with these parts of ourselves can happen by bringing awareness to our physical body.
We can hold trauma in our bodies from events that happened in our childhood or later. What is trauma? Peter Levine writes, “Trauma symptoms aren’t caused by the event itself. They arise when residual energy from the experience isn’t discharged from the body. This energy remains in the nervous system where it can havoc on our bodies and mind.” Bessel van der Kolk adds, “Trauma is a disruption in our ability to be in the present moment.”
The exercise I teach in this video helps to release trauma stored in the body. Specifically this exercise strengthens self-expression and releases tension in our face and jaw where we hold anger and frustration. We will loosen our tongue in a gentle way. The humming will resonate our vagus nerve softening our face and relaxing our diaphragm.
Thank you Elif Clarke for teaching me this exercise.
This is one of my favorite time travel stories. It was first published in the September 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. Most fans of C. L. Moore consider this story her masterpiece. Lester del Rey wrote in 1975:
“Certainly the story is a showpiece for all the talents of C. L. Moore. It blends the disparate elements of horror and beauty, alien culture and human feelings, and progress and decadence. And it has the sense of inevitability needed for great fiction, skillfully combined with the uncertainty of a fine suspense story. I refuse to describe the story further, since it must be read to be appreciated.”
You should be able to easily find this story in several printed anthologies and collections, or online.
I had a discussion with an acquaintance Mark Cheng who loves science fiction. He spoke of time travel being both maps of experience and moving between worlds. He then shared that my newsletter will not just be the intersection of my intellectual interests but also my personality and how I look at the world.
This sparked a discussion of the recent adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels into a TV series. The TV show and the books are quite different which has sparked both glowing and not favorable reviews. I mentioned how I heard years ago that the book is really just about a Jewish kid growing up in New York City during the 1930s. We can only write from our present experience even when we project our creativity onto an imagined future.
What You Are Obliged & Allowed To Say
Each language obliges us to share certain information and allows us to withhold or share additional information. For example in English we can say “I spent the night at someone’s house.” We are not obliged to specify the sex of the individual. The person could be a man or a woman. But speakers of Russian, French, and Spanish are obliged to specify the sex. In English we have to specify whether an event happened in the past, present, or future. “I ate the apple.” But in Chinese you can say “apple” and “eat” without having to specify when the event happened. Of course are allowed to specify it happened in the past but you do not have to. Then there is a tribe in the Amazon that is obliged to specify if an event happened in the immediate, recent, or distant past. Also they must specify if they saw the event, inferred the event, or heard about the event from someone else. This level of specificity may seem bizarre to us but is normal to them. A final example is a tribe in Australia that used geocentric directions all the time, even for objects and people close by. An American in San Francisco would say that New York is to the East, but for objects in a room they would use left, right, behind and in front of. This Australian tribe always uses north, south, east, and west. So instead of the living room is out the door in front of you and down the hall to the right; it becomes the living room is our of the door to the east and down the hall to the north.
Learning about this in Guy Deutcher’’s 2010 book Through The Language Glass: Why The World Looks Different In Other Languages was a revelation. Our perception of reality is not entirely altered by the language we speak as was made popular with linguistic relativism championed by Edward Sapir in the 1930s, but some ideas we held about universal characteristics of all languages need to be dispelled.
A Closing Blessing
You are a precious jewel. You are more beautiful than you can ever imagine. The universe delights in your existence. Everything about you is a gift. May you love others and in turn be loved. May your life be blessed. We are all related.
I enjoy your ease of the connectivity of life's interactions! Thank you for bringing your voice to the digital realm.