Swarna, I feel like this has been echoing in my thoughts and your framing of it is so eloquent and beautiful to read--to frame it as an attention to ma, to the ideas of holding negative space, attending to it, and allowing it to be there for a reason. I loved ai many lines in this that will stay with me but loved this framing: “We are not here to create order but rather to harness chaos.” Yes! 💜

I was reading about medieval households and read somewhere that the ‘daily grind’ is from the housewife’s daily milling of flour--which could take more than two hours for a loaf of bread for the family. Made me think again about where the terms for hustle and productivity have been exaggerated from, and how ironic that something that took time, with the hands, body, to nourish others--which don’t get me wrong that is arduous work!--is the origin of the term the grind, of hustle and grind culture deluding us from what it was really about--the slow work it takes just to live. 💜 thank you for this friend.

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Oct 14·edited Oct 14Liked by Swarnali Mukherjee

I loved this Swarna.

I came here to find my own voice away from the expectations of others. I appreciate the gentle reminder. Katherine May writes about Wintering, and Amanda Hinton writes about writing in seasons. While I'm feeling energetic and productive right now, I'm going to need a winter soon.

When that happens, leave a light on for me, as we have for you. 🙏

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Yes. Yes to all of this. To put our creativity on a treadmill is a soul's death. To step off the treadmill of other's expectations of our creative path is liberating and begins the process of letting go our own expectations. The shedding of the onion layers of our perceived identity reveals all those empty spaces of great richness.

Thank you, Swarna for this piece. I really really really needed to read this. It has also sparked the inspiration to approach my substack again. Your writing is a treasure.

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Loved this so, so, SO much, Swarna. And agree wholeheartedly. I mean really, really wholeheartedly. I've been reading less and spending a lot more time just sitting by myself by running water. So many thoughts swirling around in response to this, but mostly I just want to be here with you in this space.

I did have writing leave me once for about 3 months. it wasn't a block; it just left. I think I was tapped out. I'm not sure. But it was different from being stuck -- I had no desire to write. Kind of scary but also freeing and it made me realize how much this urge can be part of our identity. It takes up so much of my psychic space, it's hard to imagine existing without it even when I'm not doing it!

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