Surfing, Yoga, and the Elements to a Peaceful Life

I’m only a few weeks into surfing, but Shawn Zappo’s interview with Gerry Lopez at Surf + Abide resonated a bit with me:

I’ve always said that I thought that the first 20 years that I surfed were just kind of a test to see if I was really interested or not. It wasn’t until after that that I started to understand that there were some great lessons that I learned from surfing. I think that’s why surfing has such an appeal to many people. Just as in yoga, a great deal of the surfing experience, as well as life experience, kind of happens in this unseen realm, this place that you can’t really see or touch, but it’s influencing you all the time. In yoga the energy is called “Prana” but that same Prana is really evident in surfing. You might start your session tired or frustrated after a long day, but once you’re out there in the water and you get a good ride, you feel like you can surf for another six hours. You can get so much energy from one good ride.

That is something that is pretty intangible, but it’s real. It happens all the time. So when you connect with surfing or with yoga in that way, you really understand that there is a whole world there that you want to get in touch with and be a part of.

Twenty years of surfing and then he started learning lessons from it? Incredible. But the last line is something I can relate to; wanting to get in touch with the world in a different way.

On my second day in Chicama, we headed out for a sunset session in the bay. I had been a little discouraged from the strong currents and my lack of paddle power in the afternoon at the point. But the beauty of being out 75-100 meters in the ocean, with new friends and a tangerine sky shook me. I felt that peace. I knew then that this is something I want to keep exploring.

Abolish the Senate

Daniel Lazare writing for Jacobin:

The US Senate is by now the most unrepresentative major legislature in the “democratic world.” Thanks to the principle of equal state representation, which grants each state two senators regardless of population, the great majority of people end up grossly marginalized by the body. It’s a problem that has only gotten worse over time.

Lazare lays out some pretty stark problems with equal state representation in the senate. Like many, I’ve never thought to look more closely into the bicameral system and how unfair it can potentially be.

  • Since a majority of Americans now live in just nine states, they wind up with just eighteen votes while the minority holds eighty-two, a ratio of better than four to one.

This has tons of implications for people of color, LGBTQ, and the urban working class since the majority of senators come from whiter, more conservative and rural areas.

In the long run, it is plain that gridlock plays into the hands of the know-nothing right who want Americans to believe that democracy equals mob rule and that government is a dead end. The more democracy is made to tie itself in knots, the more frustrated working people grow and the more corporate interests have the field to themselves.

Tuscany from the lens of iPhone 8+

Om Malik visited Tuscany and took some incredible photos:

I don’t see any reason why anyone needs a point and shoot, or even a medium priced camera. Most of us don’t print photos. We share and consume photos on digital screens. And if these are good enough to be a desktop background, they are good enough for sharing. For me, smartphone photography is the future. One needs to learn how to make it professional grade by applying skills and not thinking about the camera.

The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

Trigger warning: This linked article has some pretty graphic images.

This article highlights one of the issues that I could not ignore any longer; widespread animal torture and abuse. This is why we have chosen a 100% plant-based diet. And this decision is based as much on ethics and the environmentalism as it is based on politics.

Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept:

Gestational crating: Where that technique is used, pigs are placed in a crate made of iron bars that is the exact length and width of their bodies, so they can do nothing for their entire lives but stand on a concrete floor, never turn around, never see any outdoors, never even see their tails, never move more than an inch. That was the condition in which the activists found the rotting piglet corpses and the two ailing piglets they rescued.

Yet animal sanctuaries are raided by the FBI, its volunteers are followed home to be questioned by agents.

A recent change in U.S. political discourse — spurred by events such as the 2008 financial crisis, the Occupy movement, and the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign — is the increasingly common use of the words “oligarchy” and “plutocracy” to describe the country’s political system. Though dramatic, the terms, melded together, describe a fairly simple and common state of affairs: power exerted by and exercised for the exclusive benefit of a small group of people who wield the greatest financial power.

It is hard to imagine a more vivid illustration than watching FBI agents don bulletproof vests and execute DNA search warrants for Lily and Lizzie, all to deter and intimidate critics of a savage industry that funds politicians and the lobbyists that direct them.

Substantial attention has been paid over the last several years to the “revolving door” that runs Washington — industry executives being brought in to run the agencies that regulate their industries, followed by them returning to that industry once their industry-serving government work is done. That’s how Wall Street barons come to “regulate” banks, how factory owners come to “regulate” workplace safety laws, how oil executives come to “regulate” environmental protections — only to leave the public sector and return back to lavish rewards from those same industries for a job well done.

Though it receives modest attention, this revolving door spins faster, and in more blatantly sleazy ways, when it comes to the USDA and its mandate to safeguard animal welfare. The USDA is typically dominated by executives from the very factory farm industries that are most in need of vibrant regulation.

The Fight for Free Time

Miya Tokumitsu writing for Jacobin:

Free time…is essential for basic dignity; to care for ourselves and our communities, we need time away from generating profit for employers. Just as importantly, we need it to realize our human potential. Our ability to think independently, experience romance, nurture friendships, and pursue our own curiosities and passions requires time that is ours, time that belongs neither to the boss nor the market. At its core, the campaign for fewer working hours is about liberation, both individually and collectively.

Today, however, with wages flat and precarious employment often the norm, many people, particularly those at the beginning of their working lives, no longer toil under the illusion that putting in more time is the key to dignity and happiness. How could it be, when decent pensions are a thing of the past? When the boundaries between working and non-working time require constant negotiation? When the push and pull of whether to work more is always on our minds — whether to pick up one more Lyft fare, whether to cover an extra shift at the hospital, whether to agree to grade fifty psych 101 exams over the weekend?