View in browser

Issue #3  //  Real Talk 🗣

“The process of finding the truth may not be a process by which we feel increasingly better and better. 

It may be a process by which we look at things honestly, sincerely, truthfully, and that may or may not be an easy thing to do.” - Adyashanti

From Melia:

On Semi-Together, we make a point of talking openly about the internal roadblocks that get in the way of living wholeheartedly. The inner critic who says you’re not good enough (or worse, a failure and a fraud). The worry and anxiety, the stress and frustration, the depression and despair.

Being honest and vulnerable about the challenges that so many of us face normalizes them and brings them into the light so we can deal with them. Keeping them bottled up inside and in the shadows creates only shame, suffering, and poor health that can lower our quality of life and even be life-threatening.

Case in point: Because May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a dear friend of ours posted on Facebook that until just two months ago, she was depressed to the point of planning to take her own life.

“I imagine most people are surprised to learn that I was suicidal,” she wrote. “I looked fine, and I always put on a happy face. Knowing that I had to pretend, had to appear a certain way, was all part of it.”

Both Gill and I were shocked and heartbroken that this brilliant, beautiful friend of ours who has done so much good in the world felt so anguished that she would want to take herself out of it.

Friends, let’s check in on each other and talk about what’s going on with us – what’s really going on. Talk to your sibling, or your best friend, or your partner. Post on social media or blog about it with an open heart, and it’s very likely that people will respond with love and empathy rather than judgment – because all of us have struggles. ALL of us, and we don’t need to be ashamed of them. As we’ve realized collectively as a culture, the words “Me too” are incredibly powerful.

It’s heartening that it’s becoming more common to talk openly about mental health issues. On most of my favorite podcasts, someone has matter-of-factly mentioned going to therapy and how much it helped them be healthier and happier. Just like we need to take care of our bodies by eating well and exercising, we also need to care for our minds, the power center for our bodies and the lens through which we experience everything in life.

I manage my own anxiety, which can dip into depression when unchecked, with therapy and medication. It’s bananas to me that people aren’t shamed for taking meds to manage chronic physical conditions, but there’s still a stigma around taking medication for life-threatening mental health conditions like depression. And if you’ve thought about going to therapy, I would highly, highly recommend it. If cost has been a barrier, look for someone who takes your insurance, and sessions may be covered or require only a copay. If scheduling is a challenge, there are a growing number of online therapy providers as well.

The Skimm Guide to Mental Health Awareness is a good roundup of how very common mental health issues are, and it shares some concrete tips on how to undo the stigma. There are tons of places online where you can find kindred spirits who share about mental health with humor and humility, like Gemma Correll’s and Glennon Doyle’s social media. 

We try to keep a sense of humor about mental roadblocks ourselves, taking an attitude of “There I go again!” with a playful eye roll when we observe our same old patterns. It's okay to be vulnerable, to not have it all together. It makes you part of the human family.

Whatever you’re going through, there is someone out there who will empathize and help you through it. Promise. ❤️️

🎙 Latest Episode: #15 - Choosing Optimism

Optimism is linked with improved resilience, happiness, health and productivity. You can learn to be more optimistic – even if that's not your natural tendency or if you've faced a lot of challenges.

We talk about the scientific research behind learned optimism and highlight two-minute daily practices that can rewire your brain for a more optimistic worldview. This has even worked on 80-year-old men!

👉 Steal This Tip: Remind yourself, "This is not the end of the story."

From happiness researcher Shawn Achor:

When frustrated or despairing, tell yourself: “This is not the end of the story.” There is more to come, and multiple ways it can unfold, even if you can’t see all of the possibilities right now. For more, read Achor's Harvard Business Review piece on post-traumatic growth.


Episode #3: Have I Evolved?🎙

If you're like us, you find yourself facing the same challenges over and over - like self-doubt and perfectionism - and wondering if you've evolved over the years at all. 

We were encouraged by a theory of learning called the "spiral curriculum" teaches difficult ideas to children starting in a simple way, then revisiting the topic and adding complexity as they get older. Imagine a spiral starting from the ground and circling upward.

Think about your recurring problems as taking this shape. You might feel like you haven’t made any progress, but this time is actually different because you have previous experience to draw from. You’ve moved higher up on the learning spiral – even if only a little – since the last time!

Listen to the episode for tips on coping with recurring challenges.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

From Gill to Melia: Friendly reminder from The New York Times

Important thoughts during the workday from our WhatsApp chat with Darren and Brian on Science says hip-hop makes cheese taste better:

A few more gems that followed: 

🧀 Back that Asiago Up

🧀 Big pimpin’ spendin’ cheese...

🧀 Salt-N-Pepa Jack

🧀 Cardi Brie

🧀 Bone Thugs-N-Halloumi

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

  • Stop looking at me, swan! Adam Sandler hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, and the Sandler Family Reunion skit brought together some classic movie characters and Sandler impressions. 
  • Can they really have it all? Man Who Has It All is a satirical account (Facebook, Twitter) that highlights the absurdity of gender bias and stereotypes. It's one of the few places on the Internet where reading the comments is a good idea.
  • Anne Lamott got married for the first time! She’s a beautiful writer from our native San Francisco Bay Area who has been open about her experiences with anxiety, alcoholism, and single parenthood, approaching life with an open heart and a playful sense of humor. We love her book on writing, Bird by Bird, especially the chapter on jealousy. Cheers to embracing love whenever it happens to find you!
  • Find an oasis on the Internet. Take a minute to pause during your day and visit The Calm Place on the Internet from the New York Times. Listen to the sounds of the beach, scratch the emotional support dog, and breathe.
  • The moon may be made of a liquid hot magma splash from the ancient Earth. Science is bonkers, y’all.

    In Our Ears  🎧

    • Sara Bareilles’ new album, Amidst the Chaos 
    • Lizzo’s new album, Cuz I Love You 
    • You’re Welcome with Hilary Rushford. From Melia: We follow Hilary on Instagram for her advice on being a successful digital entrepreneur while living wholeheartedly. When I listened to her new podcast, I was surprised to discover how many struggles she’s overcome - anxiety and life-threatening depression, eating issues, and struggling to make ends meet - which made me value her wisdom even more. You’ll find a lot of useful takeaways and feel like you’ve just had coffee with a dear friend.
    • Elizabeth Gilbert on Super-Soul Conversations: The Curiosity-Driven Life. Our girl Liz shares a fundamental change in the advice she gives people: Instead of following your passion, follow your curiosity.

    On Our Plates  🍽

    Until next time! 


    Melia & Gill 😘😘

    Enjoyed this newsletter? Forward it to a friend!

    If you are that lucky friend, subscribe here.


    You received this email because you're a subscriber. We're glad you're here!