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Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from Diamond Head, O'ahu, Hawai'i 🌺
I've been doing more things that calm me down. These have consisted of staring at the waves, long walks around the park, sailing, and loads of journaling.
Last week, I shared about recently being diagnosed with anxiety. It feels like I've been ignorant to allow this to impact me for this long without noticing it. I feel fairly self-aware with the amount of time I spend mirroring back my own thoughts daily with conscious streams like the Niagara in my journal.
I told myself that I would share a blog with reflections on my time in Hawaii so far. That didn't converge in time. I also told myself I would do a semi-annual review reflecting on this first half of the year as I promised myself in my annual review. That didn't happen either...
The constant theme here: I expect too much from myself.
I write these letters to have fun, and when I expect too much from myself, they lose that element. In an effort to stop overwhelming myself, I broke down this project to zoom in on what happened this past month. That alone is already a heaping 2000+ word reflection, don't worry I got it down to less than 1000.
I didn't realize it until I reread 100+ pages of my journal and created a table of contents matching themes across the entries.
Now, let’s dive into letter 117 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
❓ Question to think about
What happened in June?
I feel like I have experienced more growth in the past month than in the other months this year.
On a path where I constantly seek growth and fear complacency, pausing is challenging. Sure, I wrote about the importance of these last November in The Art of Pausing in a Busy World. I am still FAR from figuring out how to regularly act on them.
Giving myself this space to reflect without feeling rushed and be kinder to myself, I feel inspired to deeply respect myself.
I posted last week about not feeling so great. I've since received many kind messages, and for that I am grateful. Thank you. For those of you who are still struggling today, things do get better. As long as we keep going. Things will change over time when you notice them and the storm eventually does settle. Sending that courage your way if you need it.
As for the question I’m answering today, like last month, in letter 112, I'd like to share reflections from the month of June on what I love, lacked, learned, questioned and was surprised by.
What I loved:
Daily stretching and learning new yoga poses. I've started to actually be able to do the crow pose, a supported handstand, and getting my palms down to touch the floor in my forward fold. I have never been this limber in my life. Thank you to yoga instructors Joji, Dorian, and Scoop for allowing me to trust you to help me get there.
Unstructured structure for the weekends with intentions and flexible lists
The new research project that I’m assigned to learn the indigenous Hawaiian wisdom and modern science of the HOPA Process consisting of (Ha (breathing), nonjudgmental Observation, Play, and Aloha)
Hosting a pool party with friends to commemorate my first year on island
Curated playlists with friends and listened to music to make sense of how I was feeling
Serendipity of understanding the meaning of Aloha Ke Akua and its applicability to my life currently with work, friendships, journaling, and mental health.
Spontaneity with new things like watching Polo day, board game nights, or So Far Sounds concerts
Keeping up with my weekly letters on:
What I lacked:
- Surfing -> went to White Plains, Canoes once and Tonggs once
- Writing -> so many ideas that I'm not sharing enough of
- A consistent system to capture on-the-go notes. Currently, they vary across my Roam and Obsidian daily digital note, personal journal, my daily vlog, otter voice notes, text messages to myself, and Apple notes. I know this is chaos. I need to go back to the boardroom of what Building a Second Brain taught me and figure out what one (or two places) I am going to store my ideas.
- Kindness to myself
- Having set time to write worry lists
- Creating space to have mindful moments
What I learned:
- I have anxiety that can be crippling sometimes stealing me away from experiencing the present moment. I’m still not sure what causes it. Maybe the feeling of being in a time capsule, work stress, or a fear that I am not doing enough.
- I have a case of costochondritis which is from rib cage inflammation. I can take anti-inflammatory drugs to help with that or I can learn to rest more. Swimming might be my go-to peaceful form of activity if this arises again.
- From the Foundations of Aloha Course, I learned that Akahai means sharing kindness with myself and others
- I give myself permission to be bad at things. Take the pressure off. There will be other waves.
Questions to ponder:
- How can I reframe the narrative of the voice in my head that is telling me I am not doing enough?
- How can I have a side-stream of income to diversify my cash flows apart from stock dividends?
- If emotions inevitably arise like the weather, how can I witness letting them go rather than trying to suppress them? (Inspired by my Zen Teacher Michael)
- Why do I have a mission to do so much? What is enough? (Inspired by Aunt Lindy)
- How can I live in a place without seasons and avoid island fever?
- What is the point of planning if joy is usually unplanned?
- What are simple ways to share akahai? (Inspired by Foundations of Aloha teacher Miki)
When the doctor told me that my hypothesis of having asthma was all in my head.
Monthly Habit Experiment
Last month was yoga and stretching. I’m still going to keep on doing hula hoop movements to loosen my hips, hammock poses to relieve neck tension, and lunges to help with my tight hamstrings.
Month of July Habit: Daily Dutch.
Since I will be going to the Netherlands at the end of this month to begin my nomadic travels, I will continue doing my Duolingo streak in brushing on my minimal Dutch knowledge.
🌟 Quote to inspire
“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.” – Leonardo Da Vinci
📷 Photos of the Week
My holiday weekend consisted of a birthday pool party and going to three different beaches for totally different vibes.
The first beach I went to was Waikiki beach to watch my first and the oldest outrigger canoe regatta in the world. The next beach I went to was at Fort De Russy to play some fours of beach volleyball. There were fire spinners and a lot of jello shots being had. Too much stimulation, and not my vibe. Maybe four years ago when Jenny V was vibrant and alive.
The next beach I went to was Ala Moana where family barbeques are plentiful and rambunctious kiddos chasing bubbles around is the norm. This was the vibe. I waited until sunset before dipping out early to go to bed. Am I a grandma that I went to bed before the fireworks went off? Maybe. C’est la vie ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Oh and I also accidentally locked myself out of my bedroom.
I grew up with no locks on my door and am clearly not used to it. Luckily my roommate grew up as a gymnast and doesn’t have claustrophobia like I do. She managed to scurry through our overhead storage to unlock my room. Hallelujah!
Never doing that again… I got lucky this time. Lesson for future self, don’t leave the door locked when there is a perpetual draft in my un-air-conditioned home.
- To fellow Learn-it-alls Jon Borichevskiy and Erik Newhard for providing me with resources for Obsidian
- To Twitter Friend Daemonic for beginning such a cool new cohort-based course on focusing called Shift30
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you forgot who I am, I welcome you to my online home.
Never stop learning 😁
PS- If you missed last week's letter on unknowing myself, check it out here.
If you’re reading this because someone shared this newsletter with you, welcome! I’d love it if you subscribed:
Skepticism on my daily journaling prompts:
On the beginning of my journal with self-love:
On the poem I shared last week:
Kirkland > Rayban: