A teenage Pakistani boy decided he wanted to help his country’s government clean up the local Internet. Ghazi Muhammad Abdullah made a list of over 780,000 porn sites and sent it to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Big job! Hard work! I’d love you to summon similar levels of passion and diligence as you work on behalf of your favorite cause. The weeks ahead are prime time to get excited about changes you’d like to help create.
If I’m reading astrological omens right, bells are about to ring for you. Festive lights will flash, celebratory anthems throb. It’s like you’re going to win a fortune on a TV quiz show; or get an A+ on your final exam; or be picked as homecoming king or queen. It’s possible I’m a bit off, and your success will be subtler. Maybe you’re about to accomplish the healing of the year, or discover the secret of the decade.
The literal meaning of the Swedish word smultronställe is “wild strawberry patch.” Metaphorically, it refers to a special place that feels like your private sanctuary. It may be hard to find or unappreciated by others, but for you it’s a spot that inspires you to relax deeply. You may have had a life-changing epiphany there. When you’re there, you have a taste of what it’s like to feel at home in the world. Do you have a smultronställe? If not, time to find one. If you do, spend more time there next week.
When we’re launching any big project, our minds hide the full truth about how difficult it will be. If we knew beforehand the tests we’d face, we might never try. Economist Albert Hirschman called this the principle of the “hiding hand.” It frees us to dive innocently into challenging work that may take longer than we thought and make us access new resources and creativity. What’s hidden are not only obstacles, but also unexpected assistance we get along the way.
Leaves and berries of the deadly nightshade plant are highly poisonous. If ingested, they cause delirium and death. On the other hand, a drug obtained from the same plant is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines. It’s helpful in treating illnesses from gastrointestinal and heart problems to Parkinson’s. Is there a metaphorical equivalent in your life? An influence that can either be sickening or healing, depending on various factors? Now is the time to be focused on ensuring the healing effect predominates.
A New York doctor offers a service he calls Pokertox. Jack Berdy injects Botox into poker players’ faces to make their expressions hard to read. With facial muscles paralyzed, they’re in no danger of betraying subtle emotional signals that might help opponents guess their strategy. There might be value in adopting a poker face when you’re trying to win at poker or other games. But for the foreseeable future, take the opposite approach. You’re likely to be successful if you reveal everything you feel. Let your face and eyes be eloquent
At your next meal, imagine the food is filled with special nutrients that enhance courage. During the meal after that, pretend you’re ingesting ingredients to boost perceptiveness. The next time you snack, visualize your food as infused with elements to augment the amount of trust you have in yourself. Then you’ll be ready to carry out next week’s assignment: Use your imagination to pump up courage and perceptiveness as you carry out smart adventures you haven’t trusted yourself enough to try.
Our intrepid writers gorged themselves, just for you
Researchers in Peru have tracked down previously unknown varieties of wild cacao plants. That means there are exotic kinds of chocolate you and I have never known, and they’ll be commercially available in a few years. As delicious as your Chocolove XOXOX Extra Strong Dark candy bar may taste now, you’ll journey further into a new frontier of ecstatic delectability. Use this theme as a metaphor for the work ahead. It’s time to make good things even better, take fun diversions and transform them into experiences that engender transcendent bliss. Turn “yes” into “YESSSS!”
Ellis Paul mixes pop and populism while keeping it real in the grand old folk tradition