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Fundamentals - Part #3 - Family and Burnout

Dear friends, I have two apologies to make on Trust: First, I'm sorry for implying that a family is o

Letters from Zeynep

January 9 · Issue #30 · View online
Weekly letters that nurture you to find everyday wellness.

Dear friends,
I have two apologies to make on Trust: First, I’m sorry for implying that a family is one with children in it. Upon a friend’s question, I realized that the expression “we wanted to start a family” is totalitarian and non-inclusive for two reasons: (1) We might have a family even before we have children. So what is to “start”? (2) Family is a fluid concept and looks different to different people. What I really meant was “we wanted to have children” and I’ll stick to that expression next time.
Second, a friend told me that this piece was hard to relate to because it read like “Here is what we wanted, here is the right way to think about designing a life, then we got lucky and everything worked out, therefore have trust. It leaves me wondering if this process is repeatable for everyone else.” It wasn’t my intention to present a repeatable process, and I’m sorry if I sounded prescriptive. What I find repeatable across contexts and people is not the process or the results, but the practices and attitudes that can be put in place and called forth. My main curiosity is on trust as a practice and as an attitude, which will mean different things to different people. What it means for me is becoming aware of my conditioning to control and reminding myself things tend to work out. Not in the way I want them to work out, but in the way that they do
I thank my friends for their honest questioning! It gave me a chance to get clearer.
Find below part #3 of Fundamentals, my end of 2020 reflections. Today it is about Family and Burnout.
You will also find some info on upcoming mindfulness gatherings, and small gifts (things that lifted me up or inspired me lately). 🎁
The final and fourth part of Fundamentals, Multi-Passionate Life and Joy is coming soon. 💌 After the fourth part, the letters are going to go back to the rhythm of one letter every 1-2 weeks.
Always looking forward to your thoughts & comments!
With appreciation,

I had a conversation with a friend the other day. She moved to her hometown a few years ago to spend more time with her family. Now, her two siblings are moving back to their hometown. When I heard this, “How wonderful!” I said. She looked at me with a dry smile. “Yea,” she said. “It has amazing sides, as well as horrible ones.” That’s the thing with family, isn’t it? The highs are really high, the lows are really low. 
The key to relationships is to find the right distance, and over the past 32 years, I’ve experienced many different distances when it comes to family. There were times I lived at home and loved it, there were times when my body was home but my heart and mind were far. There were times I had a 12-hour flight between me and them, there were times the flight home took 3. The distance I found this year was one I had never experienced before. Continue Reading >>
Linens from my grandmother - they were put aside for me years ago, kept for me since then by my mom. It was lovely to rediscover them and have her memory with me.
Linens from my grandmother - they were put aside for me years ago, kept for me since then by my mom. It was lovely to rediscover them and have her memory with me.
As a global society, we like to forget about death and live as if we are immortal, which often leads to wrong choices and regrets. We couldn’t do that this year. We asked ourselves many questions about what we really want, what we really care about, what is really important to us. This heightened awareness of death enabled asking more important questions but it was also extremely heavy. Innocent hugs became potential killers. Sharing meals threatened to end lives. We lost people we love or people we love bore losses. We counted cases and deaths in countries around the world. It didn’t matter how much our politicians tried to hide and manipulate - it was too close to us to not know about. In Istanbul, we kept hearing there were no hospital beds available. We not only feared that we could get COVID but that if we did get it, we wouldn’t be able to get hospital care. This year was a long year of surviving, which overwhelmed and overworked our nervous systems. Continue Reading >>
Brené Brown's podcast with the authors was great and I'm very curious about this book
Brené Brown's podcast with the authors was great and I'm very curious about this book
For Your Reflections
  1. Family is a fluid concept. Who is family for you?
  2. What is the perfect distance for you between you and your family?
  3. How do you enjoy the moment in not-so-straightforward family relationships?
  1. Have you experienced burnout before? What did it look like for you?
  2. In which ways did you feel overwhelmed or overworked this year? What helped you in caring for yourself?
  3. Do you notice self-criticizing or self-judging thoughts about how you dealt with this difficult year? What would be a compassionate response you could give to yourself?
  4. What does wise effort mean to you?
Upcoming Mindfulness Courses & Classes
Community Gathering
Wednesday, January 13th at 7:30 pm CET, we will be having our first Mudita Mindfulness Community gathering after the holidays! We will announce the topic in a few days - you can keep an eye on this page, or subscribe to the Mudita newsletter.
Book Club
Saturday, January 16th at 3-5 pm CET on Zoom, we will continue reading from the wonderful book Say What You Mean by Oren Jay Sofer. Learn more about the book club.
Free 1:1 Session
If you’d like to meet me and explore how mindfulness can help you, you can always schedule a free 30 min chat!
Small Gifts 🎁
Here are some things that lifted me up or inspired me lately:
  • My favorite website lately: It answers the fascinating question of “What does rap sound like in that country?” Use the menu to select country, dive into the culture and move to the beat. They also have this Spotify playlist that I love!
  • There is a growing trend of Turkish rap / trap music lately that carries arabesque flavors. Some of the artists are first or second generation European. I’ve been blasting some of these songs on a regular basis.
  • I’m on day 8 of Breath - Yoga With Adriene’s new 30 day yoga series. It’s been a wonderful way to start the new year. It’s never too late to join the millions of people practicing all over the world!
  • Show Your Work - Austin Kleon - A short, graphic book on creativity; full of great ideas.
  • Kaplumbağalar - Fakir Baykurt - Türkiye'nin güzelliği ve yası üzerine şiirsel, akıcı, duygu dolu bir roman.
  • Cehenneme Övgü - Gündüz Vassaf - Kendinizi ve hayatınızı özgürleştirmek istiyorsanız okumanızı şiddetle tavsiye ederim.
  • Elements of Style - William Strunk Jr., E.B. White - A must read for anyone who wants to write in English.
Product & Tech
  • A study by Moment Health and Humane Tech that shows how much screen time left people feeling happy, and how much time left them in regret, across different apps.
  • A company I’ve put on my radar: Moment Health. I’m trying their apps Moment and Qs.
  • An article on thinking you’re doing something versus really doing it, in life and in tech: Beware the Near Enemies (In Life & Tech)
Thank you! ❤️
Thank you for reading! I hope you will write back and share your reflections.
If you missed the previous parts of Fundamentals, you can read them here.
Stay tuned for Fundamentals Part #4 (Multi-Passionate Life and Joy)! It will arrive in your inbox in a few days. 💌
Are there are any mindfulness concepts or teachings you’d like me to write about and explain? Let me know, and I’d be happy to make them the topic of an upcoming newsletter.
With love and care,
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