A Radical Universe Of Self-Care

Artist Yumi Sakugaw’s new book offers cozy meditations on the American obsession with shortcuts

The terms “life hack” and “self-care” have reached buzzword status in recent years, bringing with them occasionally negative associations. Taking time for oneself can be interpreted as an overly indulgent activity. But in our dark and uncertain political climate, chasing happiness and comfort where you can find them has the power to ground you in the present moment, recharge your energy, and give you the resilience and hope you need to carry on.

In The Little Book of Life Hacks, comic artist Yumi Sakugawa challenges America’s peculiar “protestant work ethic” and how often it’s at odds with a culture that insists we find happiness, romance, and the perfect manicure. The illustrated book follows her two prior meditation guides, as well as the comics Ikebana (Retrofit Comics, 2015) and I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You (which went viral before it was published by Adams Media in 2014).

Throughout, Sakugawa offers up a number of entirely useful self-improvement strategies, from taking care of your hair and decorating your apartment on a budget to learning how to love your body. Along the way, she builds a quietly radical universe, one where women of all colors, sizes, and styles partake in self-care, guilt-free. Dive in with Sakugawa’s creations, along with her commentary, below.

“I definitely spent a lot of time creating the rules of the universe, like it has to be really diverse, all body types and sizes,” says Sakugawa. “It's a universe where all the inhabitants are really supportive and mindful and introvert-friendly. That's why, for example, there are certain pages where there are no images or words, just swaths of color. The idea of giving space for the eyes to rest so that readers aren't overwhelmed with information was really important to me.”

“Sometimes with lifestyle books, especially if they're written by really famous celebrities, there's that feeling of inaccessibility: Like you’re not good enough if you don't have these certain lifestyle benchmarks. But I really wanted everything to feel very accessible, where the entry point is available to everyone, which I think is why I added details like little faces to fruits and refrigerators.”

“Fashion is this really wonderful way of greeting this new day with your intentions. I love the quote, ‘We're not human beings having a spiritual experience, we're spiritual beings having a human experience.’ And so I feel like as spirits in this physical human earthly form, it's fun to dress up this human avatar that you're in to greet the particular energies of the day.”

“Whether it's a story or an illustration or a meditation guide, I think what I'm interested in the most is creating a space for readers where some kind of healing shift occurs, where there is this palpable shift or clearing of perspective, where you're given permission to see or feel things or process things that you otherwise wouldn't have thought of.”

“Especially among women there’s this underlying fear that if you really indulged in every single one of your desires, you’re just going to go off the rails and your life is going to be ruined, right? Like, ‘If I buy one expensive dress, I’ll buy 10 expensive dresses, and I’m going to go bankrupt.’ I feel like the very first step is just giving yourself permission to have desires without censoring yourself.”

“And then, when you have these desires, instead of repressing them, just really allowing your body to feel the full extent of it in this really mindful way. And as you open your channels and give yourself permission to just feel desires, in tandem with just meditating and being a mindful person, I want to believe that there’s an inner compass where, the more you healthily indulge in your desires, you also know when you don’t want something.”

“We’re still grappling with the legacy of that protestant work ethic. We live in a culture where there’s still so much guilt associated with taking a rest, treating yourself. I even make this sort of logical fallacy in my book. I say something like, ‘If you’re having a bad day, have a cupcake.’ Or, ‘You worked hard, so have a manicure.’ Now, I would reframe it—you could be having a really great day and have a cupcake, or you could have gotten nothing done, because that’s what you want to do.”

“When you love your own life, I think that gives you a sense of pride and ownership that infuses everything. You're going to want friendships that are really supportive. You want a home that is really this sacred space for you, that really honors and celebrates your particular needs as a person. And then you want to make the food that tastes good to you, which is also healthy for you. You want to take care of your own body more.”

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less