Viral Experiment

Insights about Meditation, Mindfulness, Viral Writing, and Postmodern Yoga Practice at Sea

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Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

I met Alex Baia on a ten-day Meditation & Mindfulness cruise in 2020. We were both doing the Norovirus Yoga Pose, hanging over the balconies of our adjacent rooms, attempting to vomit silently. Silence is one of the most important tenets of any meditation and mindfulness retreat;;;;; there are no exceptions. This was part of the appeal, my main reason for booking the cruise, if truth be told. I just hadn’t realized how challenging it could be to maintain silence while ralphing into the Pacific Ocean.

5 Tips for Maintaining Mindfulness in the Throes of Motion Sickness

  1. Lay flat on your back and try not to think of vomit. Or England. …

Misplaced empathy teaches wisdom with sharp lessons

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Photo by Ansie Potgieter on Unsplash

Empathy is a cruel bird with sharp talons.
I almost relented.

I saw your note, this morning.
The one where you channeled your Dr. Jeckyll self —
That pale reflection of the outer you
That’s almost gracious, unassuming,
Giving gratitude and credit where it’s due —
Not that Mr. Hyde that shines behind your eyes
Who drives both friends and family to block the door,
Quietly erasing traces of themselves and hoping
“Out of sight” is “out of mind.”

I don’t know you.
You don’t scare me.

What could I say that would help you —
Or end you?

First, if you haven’t read Reading Rhombus, lately, you’re missing out! This morning’s story is from David Majister, where you will discover some of the finest poets on Medium. (He’s graciously included me, too — but the writing is excellent and the “bribe” hardly needed!)

Second, a writing prompt — I posed this question on Facebook, after first asking, “If I were an inanimate object, what do you think I’d be?” That led to a lively conversation, so this morning, I wrote, “I am decorating the Christmas tree. Every ornament is unique and special — some are new, some are older than me. …

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Photo by Aurelio Arantes on Unsplash

“Santa isn’t real, is he?” I was ten. I felt very grown-up, very in-the-know, now.

“Are you sure?” asked my parents.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m sure.” I was worldly wise and unafraid. I understood that the jolly fat man and his eight tiny reindeer were an idea, and ideas are solid things. Other Christmas traditions would not vanish like the steam rising from my hot chocolate.

Christmas Eve came. We baked and decorated cookies “for Santa” and put out milk, and carrots for his reindeer. I felt no guilt, though, in stealing a cookie or three, while they were still fresh and warm from the oven. I played along and went to bed early, so that my parents could put up a live tree and decorate it to greet me, bright and merry, before sunrise on Christmas morning. One tradition that would not change is rising in the dark, at an obscenely early hour, to tear open the wrapping on long-anticipated presents. My grandparents would have driven twenty miles, sometimes in the snow, to wait at the foot of the driveway for the porch light to come on — a signal from my mom and dad that the little mouse was stirring, and it was time to run in and join the festivities. …

Should we try to “normalize” the lingo, now that it’s all hopelessly mainstream?

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Photo by Doug Maloney on Unsplash

Winifred J. Akpobi thinks Medium deserves its own variant of what Wikipedia calls “Internet slang (also called Internet shorthand, cyber-slang, netspeak, digispeak or chatspeak).” If you’re an afficionado of l337, you’re no longer a n00b — you’re a dinosaur, according to Wikipedia.

“Normalizing” the lexicon defeats the purpose of “slang,” if that’s really what these are. The point of slang, usually, is to limit understanding to a particular in-group — not to make meaning clearer. And that is probably how these things originated — Wikipedia calls them “Internet slang initialisms.”

Speaking as one of the generation who started this nonsense, there were reasons that were not strictly uninclusive (nothing to do with diversity — just a way to tell the n00bs from the l337). You know. You caught on, or you didn’t. But mostly, it was because most early Internet users were not trained typists: our hands were tired and we were lazy. Then, with the advent of mobile phones and $0.10/message texting, we were CHEAP. Or really, for most of you reading this, your poor parents were cheap and threatening to ground you if you got another $1000 bill from AT&T from chatting all night via text message. …

Writing Prompts | Call for Submissions

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Photo by Jon Ly on Unsplash

If you are struggling for ideas, let me propose a few:

  • Holidays: How the holidays will be different this year; how to cope with loss during the holiday season; Christmas traditions, old and new; handmade gifts; favorite memories of this time of the year.
  • Looking forward to 2021: What we take and what we leave behind; New Year’s resolutions or lack thereof; hopes for the coming year; learning/trying new skills.
  • Humor: Hilarious holiday “fails”; ways to keep peace at family gatherings (or not-gatherings, in the time of COVID19); tongue-in-cheek New Year’s resolutions; why you don’t make resolutions anymore; things you’ll really miss about 2020; predictions for 2021. …

Poetry | Double Acrostic

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Photo by Hybrid on Unsplash

night’s uncanny silence rages even
over sirens’ wailing; no
joke: it’s Justice, dead or fast asleep,
unseeing, oblivious — give her a nudge.
stray paper bits and bullet casings — a
ticket here, a taser there, civics for a cynic.
it’s deafening, deadening, that silence.
can you hear it running, breathing, throbbing like a tomb
electrified with bitter ghosts, an ideal
nation’s spectral hopes, mewling thoughts, a sea
of grieving mothers’ tears, atomic
prayers, despair. To be Black
estranged from MLK’s prophetic dream — cruel,
asking people to wait ten lifetimes.

Fiction | Short Story | Fantasy

Some days, the dragon wins.

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Photo by yonatan anugerah on Unsplash

Some days the dragon wins, thought Kaleigh as the horrible creature contemptuously swatted Alia’s decaying corpse with its massive, scaly tail. The enchanted quartz amulet around Alia’s neck pulsed faintly, relaying its belated distress signal across the land. Kaleigh watched helplessly as the red dragon raised one heavy, clawed foot above Alia’s head and brought it down in a ruthless, crushing blow that shattered and silenced the amulet once and for all. Kaleigh winced reflexively, but realized that the young mage was mercifully well beyond pain’s reach.

Dusk crept through the forest, and the dragon grew bored. It clawed idly at Alia’s broken body, then kicked it aside as it thundered out of the clearing and through the forest in search of livelier prey. Still Kaleigh kept her watchful, silent vigil over Alia. Though powerless to help the golden-haired mage, Kaleigh was nevertheless reluctant to abandon her mangled body to further desecration. …


Holly Jahangiri

Writer and Kid-at-Heart, often found at Subscribe to my (free!) Newsletter:

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