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Hiding in Plain Sight
+ Episode 5 of Thursdays with Uri: Indulging Guilty Pleasures!
We made it to Tokyo!
Before I dive into some of the observations I’ve had here, I want to talk about the “new” favourite tree I discovered a couple weeks ago on a camping trip.
First, I noticed that the way a certain tree’s leaves blew in the wind was particularly eye catching. Then, I noticed that one side of each leaf was lighter than the other, similar to what distinguishes another one of my favourites: the white poplar. Finally, thanks to the Seek app, I learned the name of said tree: trembling aspen.
Suddenly, I saw that trembling aspens were everywhere.
How had I never seen them before?!
It turns out that this tree is as interesting as it is eye catching!
It propagates itself primarily through root sprouts, which essentially results in clones, and therefore “clonal colonies.” All trees in the colony have identical characteristics and share a single root structure.
One clonal colony, named Pando—which I actually had heard of! Excuse me while I pat on the back again!—is considered the heaviest (6,000,000 kg!) and oldest (~80,000 years) living organism!!
I love discoveries like this.
If something as common and beautiful as the trembling aspen could be totally, I mean totally, absent from my field of vision for the last 37 years, what else might I be missing that is right in front of me?
“Once we notice something that until now has slipped past us, our minds are likely to develop a voracious appetite for more. We will not be satisfied with a morsel, but find ourselves urging our senses on to devour all the things out there that we have overlooked.” - Tristan Gooley in How to Read Nature
When I googled “hiding in plain sight” (to confirm that I didn’t misremember the saying that I wanted to use in the title to this post) I discovered a new Ken Burns documentary series called Hiding in Plain Sight, about the youth mental health crisis.
I haven’t watched it yet, but my guess is that it’s about how so many kids are suffering in silence, when I think it should be about how the answer to this crisis is hiding in plain sight: trees! Aka ‘getting off your damn phone and going outside!’ This applies to humans of all ages.
“What is called our experience is almost entirely determined by our habits of attention.” - William James
Pay a little more attention to the natural world right in front of you, the way a certain tree’s leaves blows in the wind for example, and you will soon see how you haven’t been seeing things as clearly as you once thought you were.
Pay enough attention, and maybe you’ll even start to see how your insignificance is a cosmic blessing, not a defect or a call to action.
5. Thursdays With Uri
This week we discussed:
Uri's guilty pleasures (or lack thereof),
how he spends his Sundays,
where the best ideas come from,
what the thread between us is, and
his advice to if you want to get better at listening to yourself .
Jen: You told me once, you don't have guilty pleasures. It's all pleasure.
Jen: I think most people divide the types of pleasure they experience into ones that feel justified and ones that they feel guilty about.
Uri: I think where that thought came from was wanting to just forgive myself. I'm going to do things that aren't good for me, but they feel good, and that's part of being human.
Jen: Tell me about your Sundays.
Uri: So I think of Sundays as church. It's a day to set an intention and let my body figure out what that is.
Jen: Can I describe what church looks like to me?
Uri: Yeah, sure.
Jen: It looks like you not putting on clothes the entire day.
Uri: Oh yeah.
Jen: But half the day, you'll be in a robe.
Uri: Right. Yeah.
Jen: It looks like you sitting on the couch basically from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. You're either eating ice cream. You're eating cereal.
Jen: And you're watching YouTube.
Uri: YouTube. Yeah. Mostly YouTube.
Jen: That's what church looks like to me. To me, it's full of guilty pleasures.
Uri: That's funny. What that is is me being a child.
Jen: And you're just doing what you want to do.
Uri: Yeah, it's just like "what would a child do right now?" I do it because I think it helps me remember who I am.
Jen: Why does that matter?
Uri: I think the best ideas come from children. That's one of the things I'm most excited about with Teo. I want to hear his ideas.
Jen: Why do you call it church? Do you feel like there's something spiritual to just being yourself all day?
Jen: Listening to what you really want to do.
Uri: Yeah. I feel like it started mostly as like, feeling like I've been giving my actions away to other people's intentions. In order for this society to work, we have to do what other people ask us to do. At least consider it. But that's not who we are. You know, I think who we are is like going inward and like really understanding what it is that you want to be in the world.
Jen: So tomorrow is church, what will your intention be?
Uri: I don't know, man.
Jen: It's whatever you wake up feeling.
Uri: However, I wake up tomorrow morning, yeah. I've often wondered what that thread between us looks like. I think this is it.
Jen: That we indulge ourselves?
Uri: Some degree. Yes. But also how we've found a way to enjoy our days.
Jen: So I think a lot of people, especially with babies, would say that it'd be impossible for them to get a day to do whatever they want. Every week! How do you think you and I are able to do that?
Uri: I don't know. I would say like, "oh, it's because we don't have jobs," but like, hahaha
Jen: hahah I mean, that is a big part of it.
Uri: Yeah, it is, but like also when we had jobs.
Uri: It was still the same.
Jen: Yeah. We currently don't have jobs, but if we did, I think we would still do this.
Uri: Yeah. Cause we did!
Jen: I guess as a closing question, do you have any advice for anyone who does want to carve out more time to just be themselves, like listen to that inner child and do whatever it wants to do?
Uri: Think of it as another person that actually lives inside of you. What would you do if you respected it? Just step back a little bit, and look at yourself and say 'what can I do to make you feel that you belong here?"
Jen: I think that's a great way to close.
Uri: I love you.
Jen: I love you too. Thanks. Bye.