1 | This Spring Classical playlist on Spotify.
I'm a huge fan of classical music and particularly enjoy listening to it while I work and during activities when I need to think so having lyrics might distract me. On Spotify there are brilliant playlists each season that coincide with the mood and overall atmosphere of a specific time of year.
The spring playlist has a hopeful and light-hearted theme to it as though it is background music to the budding flowers lives as soon as the rain dissipates and the sun swells, beaming through the clouds. Each melody holds promise of a rebirth to the earth's cycle of life.
2 | Luminous Life by Jacob Liberman Ph.D
This is one of the very few books I've purchased in a physical copy. I read most books on my Kindle but this one really spoke to me in a way that I felt I needed to hold it. I first learned of Jacob Liberman through a podcast. He has spent many years as an eye doctor and over time he began to study the science behind sight. He's helped people repair their eyesight naturally, even writing a book called Take Off Your Glasses and See.
I don't wear glasses myself, but the Luminous Life has really captivated me as it focuses on how light is the basis of all life. It's in the food we eat, our bodies produce it, and everything thrives on it.
One very cool fact I've learned from this book is that animals navigate in the wild (think long distance migration) with something called cryptochrome in their eyes. It's how they "know" where they're going, it's their GPS.
And guess what? Dr. Jacob Liberman found that humans have a high concentration of this same cryptochrome in our eyes. We have the same innate ability to go with the flow of life just like animals except we think too much. Animals innately know when to do things; migrate, reproduce, take cover from incoming inclement weather and we do too.
To prove this, scientists removed the cryptochrome from a fruit fly's eyes (!!!) to see if it could still navigate with the rest of the fruit flies and it couldn't. They then put human cryptochrome into the fruit fly's eyes (!!!) and it was able to navigate again!
Crazy, right? I highly recommend this book. I haven't finished it yet but I look forward to learning more astounding new facts.
3 | Letters of Note
I love a good letter. Not only do I enjoy writing and receiving letters, but I love reading letters to and from other people, especially people in history. Last year I read Emily Dickinson's book of letters and I still think about it nearly every day (I'm not exaggerating) and keep it on my nightstand.
Letters of Note is a fascinating website filled with letters people have written for centuries. You can read through them in order or you can click the "Random Letter" generator on the side and discover little gems that have been posted over the years.
I really enjoy visiting this site occasionally to read through the trials and tribulations of man, forgotten romance, wisdom of our elders and historical events. When you read about thoughts and troubles of people who are no longer with us, it's comforting to know that our own sorrows are pretty insignificant in the broader span of time.
One letter that's been posted recently that I very much enjoyed is from the owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookshop in Paris, George Whitman, who in 1960 wrote a letter to the beautiful soul, Anne Frank, who passed in 1945 in a concentration camp. I have always been in awe of Anne's insight into the human condition from such a young age and wonder what she could've accomplished had hate not entered her world and taken her too soon.
Read the letter here from George Whitman.
I resonate with his final thoughts in which he writes:
When most people die they disappear without a trace, their thoughts forgotten, their aspirations unknown, but you have simply left your own family and become part of the family of man.
I feel we all have an underlying fear of being erased from human history after our deaths, having our lives mean nothing in the grand scope, and we all hope to make even the tiniest impact to avoid that dire fate.
4 | Custom calligraphy frames.
I know, this is something I've created, listed in my own shop, and now I'm promoting it. But bear with me here!
I think it's the most perfect gift for any newlyweds or new parents. Just think, you get 3 wedding invitations for this summer, pre-order these mats that say "Mr. & Mrs. Name" with the wedding date and boom- you're good to go. They're easy and personalized gifts are so much more appreciated and memorable than thoughtless gifts from a registry or small appliances that the couple most likely already have.
Not to mention, it makes a wonderful gift for new parents. When you show up to meet the new baby carrying a mat that has the baby's name and birth date, you're automatically on the parent's Christmas card list for life. ;)
5 | Taking photos in black & white with my phone. I'm sure in a Bio somewhere I've mentioned that I learned photography with black & white film. It was a great way to train the eye to see light and shadows, which is the essence of photography. A lot of times, people rely on color and saturating color for the foundation of their photographs. People like colorful things in general so it can be an effective mask for photos to cover up flaws by upping the saturation.
Going back to looking for light and shadows in every day life to capture as little moments for myself to reflect back on has been a joy.
My favorite app on the iPhone for taking black and white photos is called Filmborn.
It's one of my top 5 apps on my phone and the setting I mostly use for b&w is the Ilford HP5, which I used to take the photo above. I set a small goal for myself to take more b&w images for my own viewing pleasure and not to impress the social media masses. It's been a delightful "secret" hobby.
What have you been enjoying lately? Leave a comment and let me know!