Above, my first book, as seen in a shop in Kauai yesterday. Photo by elephriend Alex Bogusky, one of our first subscribers when we transitioned from a national print magazine, online—10 years ago.
Elephant turns sweet 16, today.
It’s been a long, hard, fun, fulfilling, boring, tedious, heartening journey. When we’re able to be of benefit, it makes it all worth it. When we’re able to offer some mindfulness, empathy, humor as perspective in what can often be a malevolent, confusing, sad, speedy world—it’s all worth it. When we get a comment or a message from you, complaining or appreciating—it’s all worth it (because, either way, you took the time to care—it’s a relationship).
If you want to give us a birthday present, please subscribe. It’s $2/month for unlimited reads, and you get 95% fewer ads (you’ll only see our favorite sponsors, those mindful companies worth supporting who we work directly with).
If we had 5 more subscriptions a day, we’d be fine. We’re a huge site, with 4-23 million readers/month (that range is due to Facebook algorithm changes). But we’re proudly dependent on you. Like a grassroots politician, Elephant is made possible not by major corporations by by tiny personal donations, or in our case subscriptions, which give you something back. Mindful reminders and personal guidance in your everyday life.
If we had 150 more subscriptions a month, we’d be fine. If we had 1,800 more subscriptions a year, we’d be fine. If 1,800 of you respond to this letter by clicking the link below and becoming a member, you’ll assure that we can continue to pay our editors and best, consistent writers to do good work for you.
Support independent, mission-driven media. The alternative is…not something any of us want.
PS: it’s my 44th birthday, and my half-hound all-trouble Redford’s 11th.
“Let the youthful self look back on life with the question ‘What have you truly loved up to now? What has drawn your soul aloft? What has mastered it and at the same time blessed it?’ Set up these revered objects before you and perhaps their nature and their sequence will give you a law, the fundamental law of your own true self.”
“Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential — as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.
You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.
To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”
~ Bill Watterson
I wish for my birthday that people would stop objectifying others—either as something they hate, or something they want. Get to know one another. Breathe. Slow down. It’s hard. It’s more fun. The fate of the world depends on our taking that extra breath.
I wish for my birthday that folks would stop mostly-lying about other folks. That has been done that about me, and many folks, and I have chosen not to respond, which is best, and it is best for most of us not to return fire with fire. And I wish those who say mostly-lies nothing but the happiness and peace. Sincerely.
I wish for my birthday that my mom is healthy. I love her so much and am realllly slow at getting married and having children, as well as slow in other ways. I haven’t been in a rush. I really enjoy working to be of benefit and being alone, it’s so simple. But it is less rich and chaotic and I’ll get my act together soon, after a little travel.
I wish for my birthday that everyone meditates for 5 minutes in the morning, and 5 at night, and reads one paragraph of Pema Chodron every morning, and posts no more than 90% photos of themselves on their Instagram feed.
I wish for my birthday that Elephant’s Ecosystem, which will enable us and you to pay 1,000s of writers a month, instead of 15, will be completed and we can serve the world through mindful, kind, non-objectifiying, mindful, humorful and truthful community-driven media.
I wish for my birthday that every single American votes in the mid-terms. Let’s get involved beneath headlines and fake news, and show up.