The book Swimming in the Sacred is shown beside a coffee cup.

Psychedelics aren’t a mental health trend, they’re a sacred message from nature

And women are the wisdom holders

In the first pages of her 2023 nonfiction book Swimming in the Sacred, author Rachel Harris dedicates it to “the women who have practiced the art of guiding journeys despite great legal risk to themselves.” She goes on to describe these women as “the true heroes of the psychedelic renaissance.”

When I first read that line, I couldn’t help but see in my mind’s eye a list of the people typically named in the histories… Gordon Wasson, Stan Grof, Allan Watts, Aldous Huxley, Albert Hoffman, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Wade Davis…

The names came to mind easily, and the parade of men marched proudly on. Swimming in the Sacred effectively interrupts the parade of men to introduce 15 unknown women who have been ethically, gratefully and quietly working in the psychedelic underground for the past two decades.

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This book about cat walking brings me joy in a dark time

What gives me joy, you ask?

I know you didn’t, but I’ve been asking myself this question during pandemic lockdowns. And the short answer is: Trees, books, words, sneakers, spring, and cats.

It’s a nice list, I think, because it’s simple. There’s one quirky joy though, which can’t be expressed in a single word. This one requires a bit more explaining.

It might seem weird to some, but I get effervescent feelings from collecting quirky books. Often small in size, but not exclusively so, and written by obscure authors, these are books hardly anyone has ever heard of, let alone read. I hold these books in a special place in my heart. They tell me stories about me. 

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Digital Minimalism questions the productivity imperative

Cal Newport’s book about minimizing screen time convinced me to do less in the digital universe

Call me a convert.

I casually picked up Digital Minimalism, thinking, maybe, just maybe, I might possibly think about reducing my screen time next year. And thanks to Newport’s storytelling, fact-gathering and simple prose, I’m now a devoted digital minimalist.

As a computer science professor at Georgetown University, Newport is no luddite. He’s been experimenting with different ways to hack technology to improve productivity and study for years, as the author of Deep Work and a blogger at Study Hacks.

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