The Sunday Letters

- by Jana Marie -


 

#31: A new definition.

Once I started thinking about risk in those terms, I quickly realized that very few of the things I’d previously deemed ‘risky’ actually fit the bill.

— Sent out on June 18, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#30: Day after day.

For a while, there was a certain ‘productivity secret’ being attributed to the comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

— Sent out on June 11, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#29: Taking a step back.

If we adhere too closely to them for too long, our routines can cause us to lose sight of the bigger picture, to get caught up in the immediacy of the day-to-day.

— Sent out on June 4, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

(Note: prior to this point, The Sunday Letters was a bi-weekly newsletter.)

 

#28: Patient and thorough.

For me, this particular mantra acts as a kind of metronome, a fallback for whenever I start to veer away from the task at hand.

— Sent out on May 21, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#27: Through the years.

As this edition of the newsletter officially marks the one-year anniversary (!) of The Sunday Letters, I wanted to do something a little different.

— Sent out on May 7, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#26: Quality control.

It pushes me to speak up, to say what I mean, to have preferences and to honour them, to not confine my experiences to the constraints of established practice.

— Sent out on April 23, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#25: When to dance.

The people in our lives can’t simply be made to fit within the confines of our plans, our timelines and to-do lists for how and when things are supposed to happen.

— Sent out on April 9, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#24: Our finest impulses.

How often is it that we allow our feelings to take up a bit of space in our lives? How often will we allow ourselves to simply sit with those feelings, free from distraction or dampening of any kind, and permit them to move through us wholly unencumbered?

— Sent out on March 26, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#23: A telepathic transmission.

One of the greatest joys I derive from reading has to do with something which the writer Charles Baxter calls the “pleasure [of recognizing] something without knowing what you’re recognizing.”

— Sent out on March 12, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#22: Tiptoes and no luggage.

Far from walking lightly, it seems that we’re committed to trudging around from one place to the next, metaphorically packing months worth of luggage for what should really only be a day trip, or, at the very most, a weekend away.

— Sent out on February 26, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#21: The freedom to fail.

Even if it were only in short bursts — an afternoon here, a 15-minute coffee break there — might this not be precisely the type of behaviour which has the potential to be transformative, to push us beyond even our most persistent plateaus?

— Sent out on February 12, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#20: One more step.

Lately, I’ve found myself doing a lot of thinking about the distinction between ‘becoming’ and ‘having become.’ At what point, or after how much time, do we transition from being on our way to having arrived?

— Sent out on January 29, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#19: A day in the life.

Whether it’s this day or the next one, I doubt that very many of us are cognizant of the fact that it is precisely these days — not the days of some distant future or long-forgotten past — which make up our lives.

— Sent out on January 15, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#18: The wisdom of the river.

Each year, for a brief period of time both before and after January 1st, I think we all become more like those four or five people for whom the river has stopped being an obstacle.

— Sent out on January 1, 2017. Continue reading here.

 

#17: From amateur to expert.

The longer we do something, the more distanced we become from the momentum of those early successes, from that direct, positive reinforcement which once did so much to propel us forward.

— Sent out on December 18, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#16: A life of possibility.

The older we get, the more we start requiring our inputs to lead to outputs. We expect that the things we do — that everything we do — will produce tangible results, and we consider ourselves to have failed if they don’t.

— Sent out on December 4, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#15: The work continues.

For van Gogh, the work continued regardless of whether he was met with failure or success, and it continued regardless of anything else which might have been going on in the world.

— Sent out on November 20, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#14: Faith, excitement, and secrecy.

Perhaps the reason why we so struggle to put into words the things which move us is because those things are meant to be a secret: they are meant, in some small way, to be only for us.

— Sent out on November 6, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#13: Only the bare necessities.

Mornings have had me lingering around the house, and nighttime has had me drinking tea before bed. I’ve returned to journaling, and I’m reading more fiction. I’ve silenced all of the notifications on my computer, and I no longer use my phone.

— Sent out on October 23, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#12: Those who go on anyway.

It was the kind of failure where I couldn’t simply turn to the typical safety-net excuses of, “I wasn’t really trying,” or, “I didn’t really care.” I tried very hard, and I cared very much.

— Sent out on October 9, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#11: An act of honesty.

Unlike us, trees don’t cling to their old leaves, use them as a means to keep warm during the winter, and then do what they can to patch things up once spring comes along. No, the trees let their dying leaves fall, bare themselves to the elements for a few cold months, and begin anew with the arrival of spring.

— Sent out on September 25, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#10: A change of season.

Perhaps, like Thoreau suggests, we are indeed meant to “live in each season as it passes,” to make the most of it while we can, and then, once it ends, let go.

— Sent out on September 11, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#09: A ship in the harbour.

Travel, in many ways, is the opposite of simple. It is wonderful and exciting and new in ways that are truly beyond measure, but it is also complicated, emotional, and unpredictable.

— Sent out on August 28, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#08: A life in pictures.

The memories which I have of that trip, and of that time in my life, are not framed in picture-perfect, golden-hour moments. Just like that summer, those memories are hectic and humid and untidy and emotional.

— Sent out on August 14, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#07: The triumphant fall.

In the Greek myth, Icarus’ father constructs a pair of wings for him so that he might escape the dangers of the labyrinth. These wings were a remarkable invention, to be sure, but there was one caveat: because the wings were made from feathers and wax, they were far from indestructible.

— Sent out on July 31, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#06: Those who wake us.

I don’t think of these wounds as being particularly painful or permanent, though. Rather, I see them more as a gentle nudge, an attempt at drawing me out of a slumber from which I’ve been reluctant to wake.

— Sent out on July 17, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#05: An unquantifiable reality.

There is a wonderful quote by William Bruce Cameron that I so often find myself returning to: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

— Sent out on July 3, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#04: Missed connections.

A missed connection is a story unfinished. It is a patchwork of what-ifs and a loose, dangling thread of if-onlys. That, I think, is why we often can’t stop thinking about them: there is so much possibility surrounding a missed connection that we simply can’t help but wonder what might have been.

— Sent out on June 19, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#03: A theory of relativity.

There have been many times in my life when a single good conversation was enough to nudge me back onto my feet, or a chance run-in with someone I hadn’t seen in a while continued to have a positive impact on me for months. In both cases, the numbers were very small — involving only one or two other people — but the effect was profound.

— Sent out on June 5, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#02: The value of commitment.

A daily ritual is a commitment. It is a promise to both yourself and your work. It is a way of honouring what you do, a way of saying, “I value you. This is important to me.”

— Sent out on May 22, 2016. Continue reading here.

 

#01: The tradition of storytelling.

Yes, social media has made it so that we are often inundated with what can feel like an overwhelming amount of information. But social media has also made it possible for storytellers to connect directly with their audiences, and, in turn, it has made it possible for us to connect directly with storytellers.

— Sent out on May 8, 2016. Continue reading here.

“A breath of fresh air”

“I always look forward to reading Jana’s emails; it’s a breath of fresh air, … a timely reminder to take things slow and live in the moment.”

Andi Lanuza

“Keep[s] you thinking”

The Sunday Letters are always a thoughtful and welcome stop during my week. You get a moment to pause, to consider and to reflect … and Jana often leaves you with a question to keep you thinking long after you’ve finished reading. I love these letters and find myself forwarding them regularly to friends and family.”

Scott Burau

“A quiet affirmation”

“I feel like Jana is a friend — the smart one who reads books that intimidate you — that shows up every two weeks to share something that’s on her mind. … Each letter feels like a quiet affirmation that we are all moving through a life filled with curious people, perspectives, and ideas.”

Audrey

“Elegant, thoughtful ponderings for anyone. I love how each letter commands you to slow down, absorb, and let it move you.”
Lauren Stephenson

“Jana keeps on finding surprisingly simple yet touching ways to remind us that the most effective actions in the world are those within the reach of everyone.”
Jenan

“Reading a Sunday Letter is like briefly talking philosophy with a trusted friend. Short and simple but deep and fulfilling.”

— Megan Snider

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