Lena’s January 2022 Forecast

January 4, 2022

The main theme for January is “ALL ABOUT VALUES”.

As we begin the new cycle of the year 2022, what we value is up for review. What are we putting energy into that is not serving us? What should we be cherishing and putting energy into that we are not? This is an interesting month where choices and change will be based on what we value, and personal truth will guide our priorities.

We have been imprinted by media, conditioning, and outside judgments about what is valuable and what is not.

As we move forward out of the chaos and uncertainty of the last year and into the anticipation of what this new year will bring, we are in a perfect position to re-evaluate what is most important to us regardless of what others think or what we believed to be valuable in the past. Where we go from here and how we manifest our future will depend on the foundation of values we come from. It is no longer viable to base intentions on an old paradigm or on something that is not truly true for us.

The values up for review this month are what we value or undervalue about ourselves, our personal strengths, talents and medicine as well as our relationships to ourselves, our bodies, each other and nature. We also review the true value of our ambitions and dreams and whether they come from an authentic place of truth or past imprinting or the intentions of others. We evaluate our personal environment and whether it supports us or not.

It is a great month to continue the big clean out, not only of physical items that are no longer resonant with you, but also habits, behaviors, energy leaks and attitudes that should not be given any value. The law of attraction is alive and well this month and what you put your energy into will grow and spread like a virus. It is time to starve the fear and negativity, and to feed the curiosity, optimism, hope and everything that you value about yourself, your environment, others and your life. When you feed the positive, it will spread and affect everything around you. If you feed the negative, the same thing will happen. So, keep it positive, hopeful and optimistic no matter what.

You should be inspired by what you value.

This is an emotionally centered year where the points of reference and the reality checks will be based more on what feels right rather that what you think should be right.  One of the themes for 2022 is a recapitulation of the past that includes sorting out your values as opposed to values imprinted upon you by others. It is important work this month as it will help to create a foundation that will support how and what you manifest for the year. The theme of Values and resetting them for yourself also includes looking at quality vs quantity. We have been conditioned as a consumer society that more is better and that power lies in how much you have instead of how valuable what you have is.

We are in a new time where our perceptions are changing, our awareness is increasing, and we are becoming more mature in our responsibilities. It is time to claim our truth, reset our priorities and what we value, and move forward with curiosity and hope into the positive opportunities of 2022.

[More at powerpath.com.]

“…it barely exaggerates.”

Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up shows that subtlety isn’t always a virtue. (Netflix)

The Nation

Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up Captures the Stupidity of Our Political Era

‘The scariest thing about Don’t Look Up is that as absurd as it is, it barely exaggerates. Much of our political elite are just as greedy and foolish, our media just as vapid, and our response to impending disaster exactly as mind-bogglingly irrational as in the movie.

The times we live in are both shot through with menace and impossibly stupid. This is one of the defining features of this political era, and yet I can’t think of many movies in the post-2016 years that capture this dynamic, or even bother to try, like Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up.

The marquee productions about capital “P” politics in the Donald Trump years had plenty of the former. Vehicles like The Post and The Comey Rule filtered the news we all sat around watching and reading after the 2016 election through the lens of a 1970s-style political thriller, and were celebrated for flattering establishment biases. The heroes were institutions like the press and the FBI, nobly defending norms and democracy from a Nixonian assault unparalleled in its danger. It’s no coincidence this came at a time when much of the establishment had convinced themselves they were on the verge of uncovering a sprawling espionage scandal and dictatorial conspiracy all in one.

Don’t Look Up feels a much better fit for the reality we’re actually living through. There’s no villainous authoritarian ending democracy; as in our world, American democracy in the film has already been smothered under the weight of oligarch money and corporate profit-chasing. There’s no secret evil conspiracy, at least in the salacious form these Trump-era stories imagined; the villains are a self-obsessed, blinkered elite, and it’s their greed, venality, and stupidity that lead them to evil decisions.

If nothing else, the discourse now swirling around the movie has probably clued you in that it’s an allegory for climate disaster. Astronomers Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) and Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) discover a comet the size of Mount Everest making a beeline for Earth, and determine (after desperately triple-checking and rechecking) that it’s set to cause an apocalyptic event of the kind that killed the dinosaurs in only six months’ time. They soon fly to Washington to brief the president.

Climate change has long been compared to an approaching asteroid by incredulous scientists and activists who ask, as they tear their hair out, if we’d respond with the same denial and delay to the kind of planetary disaster immortalized in end-of-history blockbusters like Armageddon. Those movies have conditioned us to assume that no, we’d put together a plucky team of characters, rough around the edges but with a lot of heart, who, with the help of modern science and unlimited government resources, would win out over the space rock. Their only obstacles would be their own personal issues, their inability to work as a team, and the immensity of the task itself.

McKay and David Sirota, the journalist, Jacobin contributor, and former Bernie Sanders speechwriter who cowrote the film’s story, flip that timeworn scenario on its head. What if stopping the actual disaster wasn’t the hardest part? What if the hardest part was convincing anyone to even bother trying?

Dibiasky and Mindy are frustrated every step of the way in their efforts. The head of NASA — a political donor, we later learn, with no background in astronomy — at first doesn’t believe it. President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her dimwit son and chief of staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), initially blow them off, then look for a rationale to delay doing anything about it; the midterms are coming up, after all. The press is mostly uninterested, and the one establishment paper that treats the story as the blockbuster it is quickly gives up on it after the White House disputes the science. The duo lands on a popular morning show, but an exasperated Dibiasky is ignored and mocked after what looks like an on-air meltdown.

Things don’t get much easier once the government finally does take the threat seriously, a version of what might happen if Michael Bay’s oil drillers had to operate in our world of cultural polarization, runaway greed, and social-media-driven psychosis. In all its absurdity, the movie is a depressingly accurate portrayal of this specific era, from the vapid media landscape and the foibles of social media stardom to its mock political ad of a suburban mother earnestly telling the camera that “the jobs the comet’s gonna create sound great.”

All of this would be moot if the movie was no good. Thankfully, the movie is rooted in terrific comedic performances from a stacked cast — the two leads in particular — who keep us caring about their characters even as they dare us to give up on them. Mindy becomes intoxicated with his own microcelebrity and becomes little more than a government flack. Dibiasky checks out of the struggle entirely in sullen apathy. It’s remembering what truly matters — human connection, relationships, the small pleasures like sitting around a dinner table together — that brings them back from the brink, even as the planet slides over it. The result is at once entertaining, tense, and devastating.

Rejecting the Anti-Populist Turn
The film thankfully swerves away from one of the worst impulses of post-Trump discourse and its anti-populist tendencies. Critics have charged the filmmakers with smugness and contempt for ordinary people, portraying a country too stupid to save itself. They’re wrong.

The people of the world of Don’t Look Up decidedly aren’t the problem. Bar patrons coax the horrible truth about the government’s inaction out of our heroes and respond with concern and violent outrage. A sweet Midwestern Christian boy played by Timothée Chalamet casually assumes the comet isn’t real, but changes his mind with evidence and exceedingly gentle persuasion. At a Trump-like rally, Jason implores the crowd that they “Don’t look up,” until a doughy, red-hatted attendee does, and sees the comet clearly streaking right at them. “Fucking lied to us!” he yells.

In a reversal of the prevailing liberal narrative since 2016 — which either casts all ordinary Trump voters as irredeemable, bigoted villains, to the point of fantasizing that they lose their health insurance, or dumps the blame on nonvoters for failing their politicians — it’s the country’s elites and institutions, including the media, that are the real problem in Don’t Look Up. All corrupted by money, they mislead, manipulate, and distract the rest of us from what really matters. Maybe this is why the film’s been met with surprising hostility from a lot of the mainstream press, which have complained chiefly about the film’s lack of subtlety.

But subtlety isn’t always a virtue. Dr. Strangelove, the Cold War classic that McKay’s film has been widely and justifiably compared to, was hardly a masterclass in understatement, featuring a US military advised by a Nazi scientist with a sentient, murderous hand, and its final shot of a cowboy pilot practically orgasming on top of a falling nuclear warhead. There are different ways to make a movie, and not every climate film has to be Paul Schrader’s excellent First Reformed. The impressive streaming numbers for Don’t Look Up so far suggest McKay and Sirota’s approach has been the right one for their purposes of shaking the public by the shoulders and begging them to pay attention.

I’m also not convinced the movie is as aggressively obvious as its critics charge. My immediate thought after watching the movie went to its restraint. If you’re not one of the relative minority of people hyperaware of climate change or familiar with the movie before it came out, there’s little to suggest its central allegory, short of a handful of brief shots of polar bears and other wildlife in end-of-the-world montages. It’s all ambiguous enough that, both anecdotally and based on the movie’s reception so far, a not insignificant chunk of people thought it was actually about the pandemic. Critics would do well to remember most people aren’t highly educated, habitual news consumers like themselves.

The Strangelove comparisons stick because both movies do a similar thing: They take a fundamentally absurd, nonsensical piece of logic that’s central to our politics — the nuclear policy of mutually assured destruction in Kubrick’s film and the denial of and even profit-making delusions toward the climate crisis in McKay’s — and let them play out in front of us. The results are laughable and unbelievable. It’s insane that people in power and influence would jeopardize stopping the literal apocalypse because they either saw it as a moneymaking opportunity or because they didn’t want to talk about bad news.

And yet this is the maddening reality of the climate crisis today, where business and political figures insist that preventing planetary disaster is too expensive and would cost jobs, and probably the most progressive anchor on cable news casually justifies the lack of his network’s climate coverage on the basis that it’s a “ratings killer.” Just last week, one of the nation’s top newspapers giddily celebrated that leaders around the world were abandoning their climate pledges and “starving the issue of political oxygen,” something it labels “climate realism.”

For all the critics’ concerns that the movie is undermining its own goal, or that it’s stealing the thunder of hardworking climate campaigners, it’s worth looking to actual scientists and activists. There the film has been near universally positively received, one of the few bright spots in a year full of gloomy climate news. The gripes about its lack of subtlety haven’t landed with climate scientists, who instead recognize the scenes of the astronomers vainly trying to warn a pair of professional cable news morons not as over-the-top satire but as a reality they’ve lived through.

The scariest thing about Don’t Look Up is that absurd as it is, it barely exaggerates. Much of our political elite are just as greedy and foolish, our media just as vapid, and our response to impending disaster exactly as mind-bogglingly irrational as in the movie. But there is one major difference (and it does involve a spoiler): it may be too late for the characters in Don’t Look Up, but it’s not for us in the real world. Let’s prove McKay wrong by not sharing his characters’ fate.’



Generative Contribution

From Seth Godin:

“Some people say “hobby” like it’s a bad thing. In a race for more, it seems as though doing something you don’t get paid for, something that requires patience and skill–well, some people don’t get it. They’d rather troll around on social media or watch a rerun.

A generation or two ago, hobbies were things like paint by number or candlemaking, or perhaps a woodshop. That’s changing. Not simply because computers allow us to be far more professional, but because the very nature of the output is different.

This might be the golden age for a new kind of hobby, one that’s about community, leadership and producing public goods, not private ones.

Because it’s so much easier to connect and because ideas multiply, the generative hobby gives us a chance to make a contribution, even (especially) when we’re not at work. Sharing ideas, leading, connecting…

Wikipedia is the result of 5,000 people working together to produce a resource that’s used by a billion people. The people who have contributed the most don’t work there, they work on it.

Perhaps “generative contribution” is a better name for it. But I’m all for reclaiming “hobby,” because the way we spend our time is the way we spend our lives.”

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