Today I’m starting a little periodic series I’m going to call “Pandemic Recs” for the moment, until that name doesn’t resonate. See what I did there? Pandemic Recs is the same as Pandemic Wrecks, of which I have cycled in and out of being a Pandemic Wreck and here I’m going to pass on some of the things that have kept/keep me going. 

I like lists and I like giving my opinion so this will be fun for me. 

K, first off, if you like reading, and you know I do, please join me in reading Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty. I got my copy from the library and it is so full of yellow sticky notes marking words in the book I need to revisit. 

I didn’t know anything about Jay Shetty when I heard about the book, just that it was coming out and it turns out he’s a very popular podcaster – color me embarrassed I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the popular podcasting world – and a former monk. He now translates what he learning in the monastic life into teachings for our modern world. Particularly what he has to say about purpose and dharma, as well as the idea of building confidence, not ego. It’s for sure sticking with me.

And, I’m not going to say that he’s not an actual asshole or something, I’ll admit I did no googling of him or anything so, if he’s a sham, well, I still got a whole lot out of the book. I mean, he was only a monk for three years so I did judge him a little for that but, whatever, I liked it. 

The Spotify playlist Classical Piano for Reading and Relaxation is exactly as advertised. On the evenings I’m able to get into bed at an early enough hour that I’ll have some time to read before falling asleep – I’m not even going to say how early that is but, trust, it is EARLY – I play this bad boy. So soothing and perfect. I also sometimes listen to it when I’m feeling a little extra stressed. Like, during the entire last year. 

I’m going to recommend the Netflix series, Bridgerton here, and, of course, I’m very aware that everyone is recommending this because the broody duke is hot (he is) and the sexy parts are pretty sexy (also agree). At the risk of sounding like the guy who says he buys Playboy for the articles, I worship the sets, the costumes and the cinematography of this show. It’s all so intentional and an absolute feast for the eyes. And there are plenty of siblings and subplots to keep it going for many seasons.

I hesitated watching it, as I’m sure I’ve said before and I will always admit, sometimes I’m like the asshole at the record store who just has to be contrary and not participate in things that are popular. You know the guy, the one who always says the extended cut that was only released in Europe is better

This last thing I’m going to recommend isn’t like a usual recommendation of something you can buy or make or whatever, it’s about a conversation I had last week with the guy that I bought some super awesome planter boxes from that I found on Facebook (I tried to link it here in case you’re in Southwest Washington and want to get some of your own, they are great). I bought a couple from him last year and they are perfect for the type of gardening we do plus they are tall enough to keep the neighborhood bunnies out. Sorry, bunnies.

That’s not the recommendation though, although that is, for sure, a recommendation for his planter boxes.

His name is Kevan and when he was unloading them in our driveway we were making socially distanced small talk about the crazy year we’ve had. And when I asked how his year was, instead of what I usually hear (and say) about it being a shit show and so hard and all that he says (to be clear, I’m paraphrasing here, I was too stunned to take it down in the moment):

I’ve been really fortunate this year to be able to deepen my spiritual life.

Like, I’m sorry, but fucking what?

Focusing on the fucking positive? Acknowledging the things you can’t change and going ahead and focusing on an area of your life you’d like to find a higher level of mastery? WTF? I bet Kevan doesn’t even incessantly troll social media and make himself feel bad through comparison.

If it isn’t obvious, what I’m recommending here is that we all bring a bit more Kevan into how we’re moving through life. Things are shit, things are hard, there’s so much wrong – yes, yes, I know – but there’s also beauty and connection and things that are right. 

Let’s maybe change up the focus for a minute and see if it doesn’t feel better in our souls.

OK, that’s my inaugural Pandemic Recs – hit me up in comments with recs of your own.