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Issue #30: Showing Up with an Open Heart 👐

via @andrearanaej

It’s rough out there right now, friends. We hope you’re taking care of yourselves and each other.

There is no neutral when it comes to racism, white supremacy, and violence against black people. Black Lives Matter. As Ibram X. Kendi wrote in The Atlantic: “There are only two choices: racist or anti-racist.” 

And those of us with white privilege are responsible for doing the work to become actively anti-racist, to show up and stand with our black friends, neighbors, colleagues, and fellow citizens. What are we doing in our own lives to listen, educate ourselves, speak up, donate, call in friends and family, protest, vote, organize? 

If you don’t know where to start, here are a few actions you can join us in taking right now: 

👉 Show up with an open heart and a willingness to learn. If you’re further along in your education and experience than others, give grace and space to those who are taking baby steps. No shaming or competing for who’s more woke; welcome everyone into social change work rather than discourage them from even trying. Be willing to have challenging and messy conversations as we all learn from each other and channel our collective energy into the work. Melia wrote about this here.

👉 Check out the anti-racism resources in this doc

👉 Follow black writers, educators, activists, and creators, and black-led organizations (we link to a few in this Instagram post) . Amplify their voices and follow their lead when they have calls to action. Donate and support their work — and commit to doing your own. 

Please share your resources and suggestions for action with us. And as Brené Brown says, “Stay awkward, brave, and kind.” ❤️

🎙 Latest Minisode: Music as Therapy

We’re all looking for solace and meaning right now, and music is something that we’ve both used intentionally. Research has shown that music is therapeutic because it can relax our minds and bodies, reduce anxiety and cortisol (the stress hormone), and boost immune response.

We discuss the mental and physical health benefits of music and share ways to use music as therapy.

👉 Steal This Tip: Make a list of your top 3-5 comforting albums, and know where to find them.

We save Spotify albums (like this one!) to our libraries, but you may own the music and know where to find it on your devices. When you’re in fight-or-flight mode, it’s hard to think straight enough to locate the music that will soothe you, so do a favor for your future self.


Episode 35: Mindfulness in Tough Times, with Dr. Megan Clapton 🎙

We interview Dr. Megan Clapton, a licensed professional counselor and the founder of Mindful Therapy, about mindfulness, resilience, and coping techniques to get us through difficult times.

Listen to the episode.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

From Gill: When we were chatting on FaceTime, Melia and I traded evidence of our matching “A Beautiful Mind” desktops. My grim expression is not an indication of my mood at the time 😂

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia: 

From Gill: 

  • Making Music
    I bought an adorable ukulele at the beginning of lockdown, and it has brought me great joy to learn a few basic chords and attempt to play songs I love (verrrry slowly). YouTube has a ton of beginner resources, and Cynthia Lin’s lessons are my favorite. She breaks chords, strums, and other techniques into manageable pieces, and she has easy versions of songs like “Stand by Me” and “I’m Yours.” And her mantra is wonderful: "Play ukulele 5 minutes a day - it's good for your brain, and it's good for your soul."

On Our Screens & In Our Ears  📺  🎧

From Melia: 

  • Song Obsession

    This week I’ve been looping the song “July” by Noah Cyrus (new to me that Miley’s little sister also sings), featuring Leon Bridges (who can do no wrong in my eyes).

  • Enneagram + Brené 😍  
    I know I share Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us episodes on the regular, but her podcast just floors me. I especially loved her Enneagram episode because the personality framework has been incredibly helpful to my family and me. Even skeptics like Brené and Darren have found it to be accurate in nailing their tendencies and dynamics with the people they care about. Whether you’re already into the Enneagram or are curious to learn about it, you’ll have something to learn from Chris Heuertz. 

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins
    In the last issue I raved about my Nutella obsession and shared the Nutella banana bread recipe I was planning to try. But I used this one instead, and I will make it again this week because oh my gosh I want to eat these muffins every day forever.

From Gill: 

  • Ham and Cheese Pockets
    Hot pockets, empanadas, calzones – whatever you call them, they are delicious. I use the recipe in Joanne Chang’s Flour, Too cookbook, but here’s the basic idea: fill store-bought or homemade pizza or bread dough with sliced ham and cheddar cheese, fold over, and bake until golden. I like to serve mine with honey-mustard sauce (Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper).

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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