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Words: Nicole Banning,

A Christmas Message

To the Ephemera Community,

It is so nice to have the space to sit down and write to you as we exit 2023, it has been a game changing year! We have been calling it the ‘Covid Hangover’ in the Ephemera office as we took stock and emerged from the disorientation of the pandemic. It has been full of shifts, changes in life path or a complete change of life for some of us. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that, with all the pressure it placed on us, it also pressure tested weaknesses in our lives and forced us to evaluate where there was room for change and renewal. I have watched friends leave jobs, move countries, leave relationships, or all of the above, leaving behind that which no longer feels ‘on purpose’.

As you head into the Christmas or Hanukkah holiday period, it is my pleasure to share with you some of the books and ideas I have been tapping into this year. The festive season is great time to take stock, read and reflect. With that in mind, there are some incredible thinkers I have come across and movements taking shape that I would love to share with you, if you are not already across them.

Nicoles Reading List

By far the most important read of the year for me was ‘On Our Best Behaviour: The Price Women Pay To Be Good’ by Elise Loehnen. Loehnen taps right into the current zeitgeist and deconstructs how we as women are still very much living in a patriarchal world and how we continue to impose this world view on ourselves. It is a compelling read and echoes much of what other feminist thinkers like @loverobinclark and @dene.logan are talking about at the moment.

Along these lines I can also highly recommend a listen to Meghan Loneragan’s fascinating interview with Clementine Ford via her podcast ‘Selfcare-ish’. These thinkers are carving out a new roadmap for a more thoughtful and aligned life path – prompting us women to choose for ourselves rather that than to be chosen or be led.

I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Think Again’ by Organisational Psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Adam Grant.

I have his new book ‘Hidden Potential’ wrapped up for myself under the Christmas tree. I find Adam to be one of those rare thinkers that truly challenge us to see the world from a new perspective. Grab a copy of one of his books, I promise it will be far more interesting than doom scrolling on social media during your break.

Last but not least, I have learnt all about the human nervous system and the related polyvagal theory this year. It has been life-changing to understand this system that lives within us and often governs much of our behaviour. When we are triggered, we might go into fight/flight or completely shut down. When we are living in our bodies and feeling safe, we are sitting in our ventral vagal system. This allows us to be social, connected and to make healthy decisions for ourselves.

Deb Dana has been an excellent guide for me in understanding this system and I can recommend her audiobook ‘Befriending your Nervous System’ or her new book ‘Anchored’.

This year has also seen the rise of the Substack newsletter. In particular, I can recommend subscribing to Sarah Wilson’s newsletter ‘This is Precious’ and Elise Loehnen’s newsletter ‘Pulling The Thread’.

To round out, I wish you all a wonderful festive season. Thank you to our community for all your support for what we do, I look forward to sharing 2024 with you.

Nicole xx 

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