The daily habit of saving your soul

Did you remember to breathe yet today?

America is an oligarchy organized by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy. Pancake Brain is a (free) Friday newsletter dedicated to replacing the status quo with equitable public power, and a community dedicated to building the discipline of democracy that equity requires. We move through the world committed to a daily America is an oligarchy organized by the hierarchy of the white supremacist patriarchy. Pancake Brain is a (free) Friday newsletter dedicated to replacing the status quo with equitable public power, and a community dedicated to building the discipline of democracy that equity requires. We move through the world committed to a daily practice of activism and critical thinking. We reject limitations and embrace the possibilities of social imagination, certain that the queer future is better than anything we’ve yet dreamed up. We insist on our right and duty to the political conversation, and empower others to join us. Out of love for ourselves and the collective, we are engaged in a sustainable practice of freedom, endlessly un-fucking our brains.

This project is based on How to Start a Revolution, which I hope you will read (or listen to), if you can.

Dearest Pancake Brains,

How’s the end of the world treating you?

I absolutely devoured Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I suspect you might want to get right to the discussion post. That’s posted here.

The comment section below is for anyone who’d like to discuss quarantine sanity. Now more than ever, we’re brains in vats, and we have to get in the habit of regularly saving our souls.

For those of you who didn’t get a chance to read with us this first round (and those overachievers who want in on both conversations):

What’s been working for you all as you adjust to social isolation?

How have you been practicing spirituality and / or managing your mental health?

I’d love to hear from you about what’s working (or not working), and where you’re looking to improve below.

Last week, I wrote about trying to smother my grief with anger, and still tripped and fell all weekend. During virtual queer church on Sunday, a charming older man sent up a prayer request for Trump’s healing. The parasite appeared before he could finish and awkwardly pause for the next person to speak.

“Compassion for the racist authoritarian claiming to be our President?” I thought in bright red, “How about compassion for the health care workers entrenched in war zones, who are being told to sanitize the one mask they got for the week with fucking Lysol wipes? Or the grocery story workers, currently balancing American society on their goddamn backs, and making less than $15 an hour?” I was hooked into the rage ticker tape, until I saw what I was doing to myself. Clearly, I needed the reminder.

To be quite clear, even after the ten deep breaths it takes me to get into Observer Mind, I maintain that it is only reasonable to be furious with the illegitimate liar who defined his administration with incompetence, corruption, and cruelty to the marginalized well before he fumbled the coronavirus pandemic to the extent of criminal negligence. [Deep Breath]. I also feel the fury frying my nervous system, and that’s not helping anyone make rent this month.

Finding intentional compassion for the demonic sweet potato isn’t really about him, it’s about you. Right now, the entire world is in a state of captivity, scarcity, and fear, and our rightful anger won’t accomplish anything, unless we translate it into action. But first we have to take care of ourselves.

To that end, I’d like to offer you a hack that I learned while working with plant medicine. The next time you’re caught in an existential emergency: hug yourself — tight, like you’d squeeze your best friend — and say, “I love you” to yourself, over and over, until you really mean it. It’s corny as hell, and it works.

Or maybe you resonate with something less goofy than that. Just as with active citizenship, I don’t care what you do, but do something. There is no sustainable practice of freedom without rigorous self-love, and I believe we owe that to ourselves and the collective. In this moment of uncertainty, I can only guarantee that you will fall apart, and that you will have to put yourself back together again. Even when an erratically-fatal pathogen isn’t sweeping the globe, I suspect that’s what we’re doing all the time: forgetting and remembering again.

With earnest irreverence,
Lauren