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Aesthetics Culture

Day 1227 and Storm

I’ve been following NOAA Space Weather forecasts as there is an extreme geomagnetic storm. Scientific research stations and news media have been reporting avidly on the solar storm as it’s producing aurora in areas which typically don’t see northern lights.

G5 Geomagnetic Storm Message from NOAA

It’s fun to have another shared social astronomical event to enjoy across the planet. This year’s solar maximum has delivered us space watchers some incredible coronal mass ejections. You might recall some folks seeing them during the solar eclipse totality event

If you’d search social media for pictures of the aurora borealis you will be in for a treat as many photographers captured so many different colors and patterns.

Axios shared this British Columbia image

I’m always in awe of how much social media facilitates these types of natural phenomena. I find joy seeing different types of people sharing natural beauty and scientific knowledge across our networks. Our shared human experiences connecting us. And the good news is that it’s continuing over the weekend so if clouds cooperate we might all see more tonight.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1215 and Impartiality

I am taking the Connections course run by Joe Hudson’s Art of Accomplishment. I was introduced to the approach through Johnny Miller’s Nervous System Mastery course. I was lucky enough that be able to participate in one of Joe’s live coaching sessions I was so inspired by the work I saw I committed to a longer course of study.

The Connections curriculum takes you through an approach whose acronym can be shortened to VIEW.

Vulnerability

Impartiality

Empathy

Wonder

Art of Accomplishment

Today’s sessions was on impartiality. Impartiality is owning what you want without imposing it on yourself or others. It’s harder than it sounds discovering an agenda for yourself and others.

With their exercises and a partner you find your own assumptions and defensive thinking in short order

I don’t want to get reveal more than is available online but I encourage you to go check it out if it sounds interesting for your own emotional work. The podcast on Impartiality is available for anyone to listen online.

Categories
Culture

Day 1213 and Acedia

Seat me not anywise upon a chair, O thou fostered of Zeus, so long as Hector lieth uncared-for amid the huts


Homer, Iliad, Book 14, line 427

I’d check the citations on this translation of the Iliad but the old internet is dying so several clicks later I’m still unsure what florid Englishman gave us this version of the Illiad.

While Wikipedia is load bearing for civilization our middle tier universities who host classics departments are….not? I know, I’m as shocked as the rest of you. So how about those Trojans for Israel. Sheesh what an awkward thing to be named right now. Rough time for universities all around.

Anyways, I was going down a translation hole to learn about the seven deadly sins and got stuck on Acedia. Which is how I’ve bumped this quote into our shared history. I hope it aids your journey.

It would seem being depressed is an insult to the gods because you don’t have any right to question their creation of you. I myself find this to be weird mix of Christian moralism and honor culture.

In Ancient Greece acedia originally meant indifference or carelessness along the lines of its etymological meaning of lack of care. Thus Homer in the Iliad uses it to both mean soldiers heedless of a comrade (τῶν δ᾽ ἄλλων οὔ τίς εὑ ἀκήδεσεν, “and none of the other [soldiers] was heedless of him.[3]“) and the body of Hector lying unburied and dishonored in the camp of the Acheans (μή πω μ᾽ ἐς θρόνον ἵζε διοτρεφὲς ὄφρά κεν Ἕκτωρ κεῖται ἐνὶ κλισίῃσιν ἀκηδής

Naturally we’ve demonstrated this lesson of heedlessness in the Anglosphere through the Iliad. Two dudes who seemed pretty horny for each other despite being on a mission to save some hot chick named Helen is a hell of a way to train the young on moralism but you do you.

My Greek isn’t what it used to be but if you literally have to die to get your boyfriend to pay attention I think he might not be that into you.

Who knew self help and the Iliad could so easily be filed together in a mental library. Anyways, it’s a sin to be joyless and you should be heedful of the Hectors in your life before they are gone. It’s what Zeus the old horny bastard would have wanted.

Categories
Aesthetics

Day 1206 and Appearances

I have come to enjoy the logistics of self presentation. I used to resent the extent of the labor that could go into cosmetics & fashion when I worked in the industry. Now I can enjoy having put in the long hours to have acquired my skills.

I’ve put a lot of thought into how best to pack a bag. Handbags are a sort of Boy Scout style training for young women in that “be prepared” has come to mean having all the tools of the trade of femininity neatly stowed away in a stylish purse.

These obsessions with what we have in our bags runs from the Queen’s Marmalade sandwiches to whole cultural industries producing #WhatsInMyBag as identity politics. Men do it too but “go bag” sounds tactical and thus somehow more serious. It’s not.

I’ve written extensively about my mixed feelings on packing & travel in the past, so it’s nice to have enjoyed that struggle and be able to now aside if I so desire. Packing a bag well has become a thing in which I am expert and that’s a lovely feeling.

The pleasure of negotiating the logistics of appearance can be a game to me now in a way that simply wasn’t when I was younger and struggling. Now when I don’t need to be perceived in a positive way to survive, I can enjoy the problem of optimizing for a giant game of “what am I saying without words” and more importantly “to whom?”

I’ve come to enjoy packing as the self soothing experience in a rapidly changing world. I can control some aspect of what I show to the world. It becomes a design problem. The three bag cascade is now a savvy way to manage airline chaos. The labels on my packing cubes become a pleasurable prayer ritual as I not so neatly write in cursive “black sleeve tee-shirt.”

I like the challenge of imagining the multiple social, professional, cultural and geographic flows I might navigate. Will I be able to manage the many different ways in which I might encounter other humans while they also live through the same set of fears & uncertainties of 2024? It can be terrifying (personal safety is a factor) and yet it’s absolutely a skills issue to navigate these things.

And so I ask “do technical fabric wrap dresses send the right message” or would I be better suited in cotton or silk if I’m in a desert? How about adding in semi-tropical humidity as a potential variable?

Every decision in how I pack a bag can represent a small marker in my perception by others as we manage this ridiculous system we inhabit together. It is a social game and everyone is playing. You might enjoy learning some of the rules too.

Categories
Emotional Work Travel

Day 1203 and Flow

I don’t quite know how I managed to settle into a flow state but I’ve been listening to American classic rock from sixties & seventies and just being in my body today.

The excuse for focusing on chores and what is in front of me preparing for a spring print. I’m packing for some travel and doing spring cleaning.

What I’m really doing is as a form of physical somatic integration as I’ve been throwing back more information than I thought I could handle. Or to put it simply, I’m noodling on shit. My mind is compiling.

I do prioritize nervous system regulation but even with a full toolkit of techniques I could feel the strain before I hit this flow state. It was time to breakthrough or breakdown.

I feel as if I’ve broken through to flow. There was no breakdown. I leaned into the turn. And it feels great.

I am intaking as much information as I ever have in my professional adult life. Maybe university study is a close second but I have a foundation of knowledge now that obviously I didn’t have twenty years ago. That foundation has given me more mental agility that I expected to have in middle age candidly.

I expect whatever the end process of this synthesis will show itself when it’s ready and I shall cultivate this playful ease. I trust myself to find the way through.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1201 and It Shows On Your Face

I was at the dermatologist today. Despite my age (I am forty) I don’t have much in the way of wrinkles. I don’t have anything deep that can’t be managed with retinol and sunscreen.

I started Botox this year only because I was literally the only one I knew in my age and social cohort that wasn’t doing it. I thought this was a good thing.

But it has recently struck me as sad that I don’t have laugh lines. You’d be hard pressed to find me smiling in any pictures. The thing with tamping down on emotions is that it works in both directions. I don’t get that angry either. I don’t have any laugh lines but I don’t know how to scowl either.

I had to be moved and instructed into position today to get Botox as I couldn’t scowl. What kind of person doesn’t know how to scowl? Isn’t the joke that resting bitch face is the default for white women?

If I don’t smile I won’t get laugh lines. But I’m not angry and so I’m not scowling either. When cut down on variance you cut out the highs and the lows. You lose the good and the bad. And that’s its own form of nihilism. Which we’d do all well to remember. To be shielded from life showing on your face requires quite a bit of resources.

Categories
Homesteading

Day 1199 and Homelife

I really love a Saturday dedicated to home projects. No matter how busy things are (and it’s not exactly been quiet few weeks) I enjoy the comfort of weekend afternoon routines.

Perhaps some aspect of adulthood is simply meant to keep us within routines so the entropy doesn’t get us without a bit of a fight. Protecting and nurturing the systems that keep us alive is its own spiritual battle.

Some people, like my husband, literally chop wood and carry water. Today he was clearing fallen branches so the mountain water can flow through our small stream.

Spring is slowly approaching so there is a lot to do both inside and outside. I myself was more focused on closet organizing and laundry. Few household chores provide quite as much serenity as clean sheets.

Pushing back against the chaos of one’s own life is so relaxing, I found myself taking a nap on the fresh made bed almost immediately. It would be lovely if I could work more on household chores tomorrow. It’s likely to be other more pressing outside world concerns for me, but I enjoyed the pleasure of a day focused on hearth and home.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1198 and Tada

When say I enjoy going the extra mile for some bullshit I promise I’m not kidding. I love elaborate shit.

There is very little I like more than elaborate human stuff.

I cannot stress enough regular people that this is a luxury. I have been spoiled for being unable to unpack the human experience. All credit to having been given the opportunity.

If you’d like some signal on this I have done full Naropa courses. I have been to Esalen. I’ve done family systems therapy. I’ve done coaching. My parents took me to a meditation retreats when I was a child.

You don’t need to make it this complicated. Look at this mean and meme you can start small. You can take pride in every bit of gymnastics along the way from here to the Olympics.

Categories
Community Emotional Work

1197 and Experiencing Excellence

I was lucky enough to take Jonny Miller’s course “Nervous System Mastery” course year. If it wasn’t for me I wouldn’t have had an exceptional experience today with Joe Hudson.

There are many networked subcultures on the internet. I myself participate in many on Twitter dedicated to working on what I’d loosely term as “the human experience.” It’s a diverse flourishing ecosystem of seekers.

I myself have many posts tagged under “emotional work” which is the overarching theme of most of how I do this work. Under it you will find family therapy therapy, nervous system regulation work, somatic practices, and even a few hints the spiritual and metaphysical.

There are many footpaths to follow if you are part of the “Pathless Path” contingent looking to find your own way through the forest. There are many more walking through this forest in 2024. The many dislocations of the Great Weirding and The Pandemic break many narratives.

I see no one true path. The dharma bro jhana mediators are next door to the existential kink women. The cultural of revivalism has delivered neo-shakers and animists alike.

The many nodes of seekers has led to a network strengthening that has given me the strength to continue on this path.

I began this reflection with Jonny Miller for a reason. Last night he retweeted a public question and answer session and “rapid fire coaching” with Joe Hudson for the next morning.

Jonny had spoken so highly of the Joe’s coaching. I wanted to go. But I was also afraid. Joe said in his tweet “it gets intense” and I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough for it. And yet I showed up.

I thought I’d watch, listen and learn. And then suddenly I found myself in the presence of excellence participating myself with vulnerability. Such is the magic of a true master. My fear was no more. In just ten minutes. Such is the depth of his gift. It’s a gift to experience excellence in others.

Categories
Emotional Work

Day 1190 and Fantasy Family

“Do as I say not as I do”

The value of an involved family versus the value of an independent life are not being well reconciled for middle aged millennials and their aging Boomers parents. And it seems to be the source of much hurt.

The sadness of misaligned values

Fantasies of a good family life that the elder generations did not prioritize when parenting their own children are now cropping up everywhere in culture.

“Do what we want you to do not what we wanted to do”

Nowhere is this potent than on the topic of grandchildren. I’ve never had a a lowly reply go as viral as this one.

I understand how much it hurts to have family tell you they value something when they have acted completely contrary to that.

The biggest mismatch I’ve seen with my friends and their parents has been the hope that their parents would take grandparenting more seriously and being devastated when they simply don’t have any interest.

Now guilt & shame over past failures can be overwhelming as someone approaches the end of their time on this earth. Maybe the freedom at the end of life is more important than time with the next generation. Maybe those grandparents don’t want to be close to their grandchildren. Maybe they didn’t want closeness with their children in the first place. Or maybe some people only want relationships on their terms. I don’t know everyone’s personal values.

If a family didn’t live their values with their children when growing up then it’s hard to expect alignment on preferences that were never shown but only told.

I know it hurts to look at these issues in the face. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise millennials that not everyone in our parent’s generation wanted families and children. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise the elderly generation their values have to come with actions.

But coming to terms with failures in our own past is inevitable. And it’s wise to see them, own them and move on. I’ve now seen the values misalignments in every type of family. Married for 40 years, thrice divorced, mixed modern families, upper class, lower class, working class. All families have self deception on what they actually value versus what they say they value.

Families can claim something is important but don’t act like it. Acting like something is important makes all the difference. If you feel misalignment in your own relationships remember both parties have to change and find the relationship that they actually want.