December 3, 2020

We are neither mirror, nor carbon paper, nor kodak fixation

We are systems of mediations of immediacy

Fusions of action, feeling, meaning

— Dewey

EDIT: This thought was longer. It doesn’t need to be. Instead of the whole tree, here’s a seed.

Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?

These questions are compelling. And misleading. They assume self the center of it’s own universe.

I don’t believe it is.

I believe identity is a by-product. An interactional phenomenon.

There’s this organism (a human body) interacting with it’s environment (the world). The interaction between body and world produces me.

In other words:

I don’t have a body so much as a body has me in response to it’s environment.

What happens when an organism, with a massive brain acts in the world, and has time to reflect: Me.

I’m not a question. I’m answer.

That’s a bit heady. Let’s get concrete:

A seed is planted.

With soil, rain, and sun it grows: root, stalk, stem.

Finally, fruit.

If it helps, you can think of your body as a tree. Your identity, a bit of fruit, dangling.

(Or maybe a blossom. Pick your fauna. It’s just a metaphor.)

What does it mean to believe I’m a byproduct?

A lot.

Here’s one thing I think it means:

When my body dies so do I.

The interaction between body and world ceases. The byproduct of that interaction ceases.

The tree dies, the fruit dies with it.

No whafty essence. No ethereal afterlife.

The only life after your death are the seeds you sow.

If it helps you can think of the interaction like a conversation. Might as well make it an interesting one.

December 3, 2020

Shape your space, shape yourself

I found that when I shape my space, my space shapes me.

It get’s me out of my head and into my body. Moving meditation.

Big to small. Rooms, beds, tables, chairs, shelves, bags and everything that goes in them: books, gear, tech, cups (I love cups, you should see my cups), good food, good people.

I ruthlessly audit my space.

If it doesn’t serve, it doesn’t survive.

If I find something isn’t serving I let it go, or I let it deteriorate to the point that I can let it go, or reincorporate it.

I’m especially satisfied when I find new use for an old thing.

It took a long time to figure out what works and what doesn’t. I’m still learning. I see it as a conversation.

The same principles with apply to my relationships.

For example: I used to get frustrated when my two sons would break things.

More recent, I’ve noticed they’re a fantastic inoculation against bullshit. If it doesn’t survive them, and I’m not willing to teach them, then it isn’t worth preserving.

Every thing bent and broken is a lesson.

(I still get frustrated.)

October 17, 2019

The Journalist and the Time-Traveler.

For me, writing is a struggle between capturing ideas and composing them.

The Journalist in me arrives at a scene, flips open his pad and just wants to get down the facts. Then the Time-Traveler shows up and starts re-arranging furniture, faces, features.

This frustrates the Journalist.

Much of my work has been learning how to get them to work together.

Ideally, I’m the Editor who gets them to settle on one description of the events.

Typically, I’m the Therapist who gets them to stay in the same room long enough to understand each-other.

When it all comes together it’s music.

I heard someone passionate about jazz, describe jazz, and the feeling they got across is the feeling I get when I write.

In this sense writing is listening and answering with what you hear. Call and response.

The Journalist capturing ideas; The Time-Traveler composing them.

October 17, 2019

I generalize.

Conversations with me quickly climb the ladder of abstraction.

This makes for a open-ended approach that may, or may not satisfy. I have to work to get my feet back on solid ground.

I enjoy it.

October 17, 2019

Way: A non-judgemental framework.

There are many ways.

Over time, studying myself and others, I cobbled together a few areas of life that I tend to and they tend to me:

Birth
Time
Space
Energy
Body
Work
Family
Now
Death

I call this a non-judgemental framework. It’s basically a checklist.

If I’m having a life problem it falls into one of these areas. This keeps me from being overwhelmed by It All.

Use any of these areas as an entry point and fill in the details in a way that makes sense to you. That’s what I do, and I doubt it looks anything like yours.

There are many ways. This one is mine.

Non-Judgemental Framework