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Cotton candy clouds look sleepy. I’m up before my alarm. The sun peeks above the horizon on Camps Bay and light casts a shadow over Twelve Apostles. I stand on Victoria Road in my sports bra and spandex pants. Waves crash on the rocks. No one else is up.

I hold onto a metal fence and swing my legs. It’s a fence that separates the Atlantic Ocean from the sidewalk. My hips loosen up. They say stretching my body is important. I pull my knee up and hamstrings toward my chest. It’s the hottest morning in weeks. My face already feels warm. It’s the start to a golden morning in Cape Town. …

Shatter my ego

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So you don’t have to visit your loved ones behind glass anymore

Hurt my feelings

So your brothers and sisters

Don’t face violence in the street

Tax my emotions

So you don’t pay the price

For American wealth

Built on your labor

Sit in my discomfort

As I resist defensive responses

So I can sink beneath these reactions

And name these dynamics

To fight for your advantage

Unshield me from my whiteness

So I can stand beside you

And help remake a world

With your privilege and your protection

These prompts aren’t to black folk

These prompts are to me

It’s my responsibility

To become aware of the barriers you face

And the pretenses that blind me

So that when we do face

I see them

And see you

Charlie Engle sweats. His sweat drips from the crest of his forehead as he puts one foot in front of the other. He’s a body in motion.

His legs pump up and down. Arms swing side to side. Charlie’s systematic chaos, but focuses on what’s around him. Here and now and that makes conscious enjoyment possible. He’s willing to endure movement for hours. A form of freedom.

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Charlie Engle, “Running Man” 2007.

Charlie’s an ultra runner. An ultra, anything over 26.2 miles, is for anyone daring enough to go that far. His body in motion, stays in motion. But today he runs in place.

His orange and blue sneakers tackle tough terrain. Now their soles tap stained wood planks. Every drop of energy will be expended before the day ends. Charlie runs on his back porch. …

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Restlessness turned towards steady breathing. His teenage drama retreated to the dark. High above the layer of clay loam, the kind of soil that’s good for wheat crops in particular, sixteen-year-old Ken Ilgunas went to sleep.

Ilgunas found himself in a nearby suburban development. An unusual place to receive a call for the wild, but he stood before a blonde bundle of fat and fur. The grizzly grazed on his neighbor’s lawn to broke his mid day meal. The bear sprung onto thick muscles of its hind legs and inspected Ilgunas scrawny frame from head-to-toe.

This crouching animal was a threat, more than something protective. Ilguanas froze. It was the first time he encountered an animal other than your usual dogs or cats so close. He looked back. He went stiff, caught in a dream-like stupor. Then he let go of whatever kept him from moving. …

Does progress look linear? Does it move upward? Maybe you just look up.

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Alison Levine is a leadership expert, polar explorer and mountaineer who is no stranger to extreme environments.

That’s like most Americans who consider progress to evolve like time. Time or progress as a bigger digit or longer duration of something. That means you’re moving forward.

In 2002, Alison Levine was 270 feet from the summit of Mount Everest. She spent more than two months on the mountain. She had already climbed from base camp to camp one, back down to base camp to camp two, only to go back to base camp then up to camp three and back down to base camp. …

Truth always rests with the minority … because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion.”

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Part of an employee protest for higher wages at M&L Panelbeaters, Cape Town, South Africa. 2018. Song: ‘Bread & Roses.’

“What does it feel like to be white?”

My coworker, Mikovhe asked me this question after I visited a textile factory on Wednesday. We talked about the predominantly black workers, upset about their wages and the response from fair skinned owners we just met. Some workers received a 13 cent increase from last year while other employees had worked in the factory for over 20 years. They had nothing but a jacket to prove it. …

“Time is now currency: it is not passed but spent.”

It’s something that I don’t think about, and simultaneously do. It explicitly organizes my life through my calendar’s daily schedule and by the less glaring visual on the right hand corner of my laptop screen. I’m reminded of it every time I unlock my iPhone or glance down on my wrist, and it plagues my mind while I’m in class and hear the rhythmic hum of an analog clock. …

“We live as deeply lonely individuals, primed to believe life is about acquiring the unnecessary products we see in advertising, left to scream at each other through screens to mask how distressed we feel.”- Johann Hari

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In 2017, the World Health Organization reported the global population reached 7.6 billion and declared depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide. Depression increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015 and now afflicts over 300 million people. Over 72% of Americans reported having felt a regular sense of loneliness, and 3 in 10 people feel lonely at least once a week.

The laws of physics state as gas molecules get more crowded, the amount of empty space between the molecules is reduced. If we apply these rules to the human population, we’re reducing empty space between molecules, but getting worse at establishing stronger bonds. …


Sheridan Wilbur

@DukeUniversity alum, mindfulness teacher & writer | former D1 NCAA runner | logging more words than miles now.

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