And underlying it all, I heard a growing murmur of despair for the future. Surely, that murmur said, the future is now fucked? That snapped me to wakefulness. Because the vital importance of speed is not the only thing my work has taught me. It has also taught me the need for optimism. It has taught me that humanity fails most when it loses sight of a future worth fighting for. Darkening the future — making you think everything can only get worse; making the unknown terrifying — is a favorite tool of tyrants. And, it was obvious to me at least that it is the go-to move for Donald Trump.
Trump is not only the enemy of our future, he wants us to live in terror of that future. This is a time of resistance. One of our most important jobs is to imagine America and the world after Trump. To recognize that while he and his gang are vile and dangerous, they are temporary. We need to imagine the world without them in order to limit their power over our imaginations. We need to remember that other powerful people have a say in our future: Us.
We have the power to envision a successful future, to imagine the world not just returning to normal but getting radically better because we win this struggle — indeed, being made radically better BY this struggle. Sure, we need to fight back.
But we need to fight forward , too. Oddly, we actually now have more options than we did. Freed from outdated approaches and compromises, a much more potent set of solutions has been liberated. To develop intuitions, we tell stories. We are witnessing the collapse of the high carbon economy. It will stagger on for years, but it is in the process of falling apart. The whole 20th century model of prosperity that it fueled is going down with it. This transformation is hard to see. These too are hard to see, and for the same reasons.
This new project brings you letters and essays from the near future. I have a younger brother. He was very gifted in the Performing Arts and went to a Performing Arts Camp when we were kids where he wrote a musical and did improv. So, I followed him to that camp one summer when I was a high school student. But it always was in the background I wanted to explore. How do these tie into being the CEO of your health? When I was very sick with a flare of this illness two years ago, I started to come out of it slowly. It was like about a good eight months experience until I was coming out of it.
So, I went to do it. The lessons that have emerged are incredible. You must somehow acknowledge it and then add to it. When you come into relationship with someone from that perspective, it makes it very difficult for an argument to ensue, often creativity flows, positive motion flows. But lately the big one for me has been discovery versus interventions.
And for a control-freak perfectionist like myself that is very hard. But that principle helps me so much. For example, to tie it back to being a CEO of your health, when you get a devastating diagnosis in particular of a chronic illness that you know has no cure, and that is just going to be about managing going forward.
Why is this happening to me? What is this here to teach me?
So that has helped me feel more in control of my health. Health Hats : Control is an absolute monster. What are they showing me their natural talents are, their natural abilities, their natural curiosities that may not line up with the traditional school curriculum? How can I support them continuing down that path of discovery without my agenda being laid out on top of it? Every parent, no matter what, wants their kids to succeed and to be happy.
So, that can be challenging at times for me. But the control comes from not controlling. Health Hats : Could you give me an example of that with your kids? Amy Faeskorn: Yeah, so, my son from a young age was drawn to the internet and video gaming.
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I came to it with a lot of judgment and a lot of finality in my mind, preconceived. But what I ended up having to do was see what it was about this that was so appealing to my son? He has been a very passionate gamer. It can be very easy to be afraid of its addictive qualities. But the more I would sit with him and be curious and talk to him and see the value of how he was forming relationships; he was exercising his reading and writing skills through chat on the game; he was meeting people from all over the world; he was teaming up to level up, and all those interpersonal skills were at play.
His dexterity was at play. So, my husband and my son built a PC, a gaming PC. Where they sat there with the parts and put it together. That was a big coming around for me around what is discovery and what is control? When I think about illness and a lot of what you talked about on your podcast and what you manage with the kind of illness you have; so much of life ends up being living in that cycle. Health Hats : How do you approach health and illness as a homeschooling parent with your kids.
Health Hats : You have a cyclical thing where you have exacerbations and remissions? Amy Faeskorn: Exactly. During this past flare, I was down for the count. That was hard. You feel like you should be doing things and how is this going to get done? And I had to learn to let others help, including let the kids help let them step up in household tasks and things like that.
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I had to let go of with homeschooling what we should be reading Huck Finn right now or whatever it is. I had to look at it as another life lesson for them. The flip side is with what the illness I have there is a theory of genetic — runs in my family. I received my diagnosis at So, I always have this fear what if they are burdened with this like I am? Though there have been times it has not looked like it would be, and I think what would happen if they were really ill? But you can control lifestyle factors. So, we are trying to stay physically active. Health Hats : How do you set people up to take control of their lives?
Well, you give them the opportunity. I can remember the best boss I ever had. I was Director of Quality for a managed care company. I was three months into the job and having supervision with my boss, the CEO. And then, I had to get my shit together. And we did great things. It was ideal. Then in my last real job where I was the boss, I had a similar situation. I had hired somebody, and her recommendation was X, Y, and Z.
What am I doing? You guide me. It just makes sense. Amy Faeskorn: A lot of what you just said is very spiritual. In my healthcare, in recent years, I have finally understood that. I realize what I can get where and from whom. For a long time, I used to look to Western medical doctors who are still the core of my treatment. So I used to go to them for emotional reassurance. I need a metaphorical hug. I switched providers recently and new provider it has zero bedside manner. He gets the job done. So, I realize the gifts he gives are the ones I need.
He can just be my Western Medical provider specialist. This is what I can give you. The other things, I get them from my family and my friends. I get them from alternative providers like a massage therapist I see things like that. Because I think people with chronic illness demonize providers and Western medicine. I must recognize what is this resource for? Just like a head of a company would say like you said subcontractor. My specialist is really good at what he does. His subcontract, I will renew. But I feel like I had to go on a long journey to get there.
How do you support other people who are on a journey and trying to lead? What can I do to help them manage, to lead, to learn may be only being present and planting a seed?
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But if I think about what are the lessons for groups of people? I think having reasonable expectations is something like expecting teachers to raise your kids. We never did expect teachers to raise our kids. Doctors and hospitals have a skill and have a service that they provide. You or yours need to be present and set your boundaries and whatever. But to expect them to raise your kids, to get you healthy….
Because it is so hard, and I understand where that comes from. Amy Faeskorn: I appreciate the progress so much. I vaccinate my kids happily. There are aspects of the achievements of western medicine that are just incredible and such a gift. To what extent can we alleviate suffering? But then at some point also accept that suffering may be part of the journey for all of us, ultimately. All I can ask them for is vigilance around my overall state of disease, treatment, and intervention that may or may not help me. As you said, I have to make informed choices with the help of a partner.
And showing my kids is how I approach this. Health Hats : One of the things in your stuff had this quote. How do you think play fits into this either for you or for your kids in relation to health? Should I be a vegan? Should I meditate or not? What does it mean to be healthy from a game standpoint? And then the same with food because food can be so loaded. And in our family my kids have been challenged with eating from the very beginning. My daughter was sharing that she discovered she loves herb cream cheese on a bagel.
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She was in New York this summer, and I was like, oh that sounds so cool. Health Hats : So, literally, gaming. I think the game, the play, is that did it work? It worked. What am I going to try now?
Part of managing, leading, and learning in your health is constant experimentation. Well, I tried it. Amy Faeskorn: I think also embracing mystery is a really tough one.