To Dream and to Talk Too Much

Yesterday, I wrote a mild diatribe at my uncertainty over God’s gender. I’ve written about this elsewhere in the past. This morning I worried I had said too much about something I really can’t understand. Well, that would probably mean I’m always guilty of that, whenever I open my mouth to speak at all. One can only worry so much that they’ve done a bad thing rather than the good thing they were hoping to have done.

Many mornings, I go for a walk in my neighbourhood. My favourite, mildly challenging route takes me down the road, up a hill into a neighbouring hilltop suburb, then down the other side and eventually to the local coffee shop. This coffee shop is about 10 minutes walk from here, but I like to take 30 to get there, by putting a hill in the way. It gives me more time to think, and lets my body burn a calorie or three.

The very top of the hill – that part where I’m done with most of the climbing, and am now on my way mostly back down again – is the apex where I feel closest to whatever it is I’m praying to on that journey. It’s become symbolic to me, and so it’s an important part of my routine.

Yesterday, as I crested the hill, I felt connected to something – perhaps just a permission to dream big, on behalf of those in my life who might benefit, if not for my own self. I don’t know if it’s hubris to imagine your own self as potentially important in the lives of others… and that is probably a problem of mine I should consider addressing. Of course people matter to each other, and I am people too. I deserve my dreams, but more importantly, so do they. It brought me to tears, at the top of that small hill: It was the feminine face of God that told me there that it was really, really ok to dream that way, and to dream big. I came home and wrote a blog post about it. There you go.

This morning, as I crested the hill, I asked myself (or was asked) what was important to my heart. I was now thinking about my heart as a separate thing – and not just the same thing that did my dreaming – because of something I read last night, in A Year With C.S. Lewis. It is an anthology of clippings from his various books.

The passage in question – the one that got me to thinking about my heart, rather than my dreams, was the one for Sept 28, called Fantasy Virtues. It is from Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters (which I haven’t read completely, only passages from A Year With…).

The character Screwtape, being a devil, considers God to be the Enemy, and is concerned with the corruption and downfall of a human subject (the patient), and here, describes this human as a series of concentric circles:

“…his will being the innermost, his intellect coming next, and finally his fantasy. You can hardly hope, at once, to exclude from all the circles everything that smells of the Enemy: but you must keep on shoving all the virtues outward till they are finally located in the circle of fantasy, and all the desirable qualities inward into the Will. It is only in so far as they reach the Will and are there embodied in habits that the virtues are really fatal to us. (I don’t, of course, mean what the patient mistakes for his Will, the conscious fume and fret of resolutions and clenched teeth, but the real centre, what the Enemy calls the Heart).”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

This got me thinking differently, so my morning prayer-walk involved asking this: where do my dreams come from, if not my heart, and are they alone able to make me a good person? What if my best dreams and inspirations are simply a God or Goddess giving me the gift of sound advice? This is often how dreams and inspirations seem to be. Is it my own good quality to have something else inspire me toward better things?

The word inspiration is about receiving something from some other source, more than it is about producing that thing oneself; inspiration is not exactly a product to which the inspired can lay claim for having created. My dreams, in other words, are not where my true virtue rests, though they form a good map, when at their best.

Likewise, to recognize, assess, comprehend, agree with, prioritize, choose, and even announce my dreams aloud – those things which the intellect does – are only first steps. I can only consider myself blessed to be able to consider dreams and inspirations in the context of this life: what they might mean for those around me, how they might come about, which ones are most worth pursuing, given current circumstances… the planning and contemplation phase. Undeniably important, and, as far as I can tell, within myself to choose to think, or to not think.

But inward thought is only the beginning of outward action, and so my true virtue only begins there, but is not yet fully realized into the world – it may in fact be in even greater peril of never coming to fruition, having taken real time and energy to almost-manifest-but-not-quite-yet. A trophy for the Screwtapes of the world to prize – and a threat to them as well, should they become a matter of my will.

All the good thinking in the world does not resolve something good into being, except in one’s own imagination. If thinking and even deciding good things was all that was needed to be a good person, we would only need to be brains, without hands, feet, and mouths (the tools of change we have been given to actually do things while here). Even blogging about what I dream for this world is only manifesting something good up to a point, though it is certainly better than keeping thoughts and ideals entirely to myself.

Of course, many people “only” write, but do it well, and with great heart, conviction, and purpose, that this is more than enough to manifest something worthwhile of their own best selves. Recall that not everybody has full use of all of their parts at all times, and so the parts we do have use of are where our true worth can always be found.

So what is my heart, then, according to Screwtape, according to C.S. Lewis (and according to whatever inspired him to write those words)? My heart and will are the engine, I think, that brings dreams and inspirations into fruition, in the best way I can manage. It is about effort, and intention, and sticking with something good to a proper completion, even when new inspirations (and their resulting patterns in my over-thinking noggin) pop up and demand that I drop the good things I’m doing, in order to stare at these shiny, novel notions.

My heart needs to be engaged. A heart is never at rest – it beats until it doesn’t want to anymore. The body (its servant and extension), must do things too. Real things. This is where I become the good person I am here to be. The virtues feared by Screwtape must find their way to the centre of who I am – these, formed into daily habits of the heart and its extended body, are the essence of walking well in the world as a verifiably, demonstrably good person. I think this is why Jesus walked around so damn much. He was never long at rest – his heart was too busy manifesting good things all over the place. He knew he had to move – not just pray and ponder, not just always preach from the same mount.

That is my belief today, in any case. Who knows what I may be led to believe tomorrow?

So today’s hilltop visit posed to me this question: what does your heart want? What does your will want? What does it mean for your will and your heart to want something, anyway? Your dreams and your thoughts are what they are: you can dream a great dream, and then recognize its value. Your dreams are given you – or perhaps invoked – and your thoughts are formulated… but things wanted in both these places are abstractly so. This is fantasy and thought just doing their bit. But the heart and the will and the body (hands, fingers, feet, tongue… whatever you have that you’re able to make change with) want by doing, not by receiving, or thinking. That is how the heart wants, I think. It needs that spark, it needs a spark to make it go somewhere. It always goes where its spark leads it.

How do you spark your heart in an intentional way, tangibly toward a dream you are given to acknowledge and love, in your mind’s eye? Your heart is here, in the world – if it is to want something, it must bring that thing to itself, here.

I think that takes a kind of practice. I am still unsure what kind – but probably just regular practice of the day-by-day kind. All I know is that my heart wanted to write about this, and share it somehow, in case it might matter. And so my feet brought me back home, my hands opened this laptop, and my mind and fingers then formed and shared these words, to you. My heart got what it wanted. Had it not wanted to do these things, we’d not be here together right now.

As I ascended the hill this morning – before the question about my heart’s desire (and exactly how a heart manages to effectively desire) – I thought about how this physical world is where the “rubber meets the road”. My walk up the hill confirmed this: I wore rubber on my feet, and I was walking the road – not just dreaming of it, or thinking about it, or telling somebody I was going to go for a walk one day. I was walking, which was what my heart had decided to do with the early part of its day. I chose to spark it that way. I wanted it to be, and then wanted it into being so.

There are places I’m sure where dreams alone come from – and maybe where they exist as a primary reality, unbound by time and space and gravity and all the mess that is here. The mind, somewhere between Here and There, then seems to be where thoughts live, and then plans, and also memories… all symbols for trying to make sense of what it is we dream about and are inspired by while here.

The world of matter though is where we are given a chance to turn some of those things into solid manifestations – though for what reason, I can’t say. It feels like school here; we have ideas and assignments and the freedom to choose to read them over, and then do them and hand them in, or not. Our call, our way.

That is, I think, the homework of the heart.

Pray to the Right God

Sometimes when I catch myself caught up in anger (at somebody, myself or otherwise), or anxiety, or self-pity, I will manage to recover enough to say, “You’re praying to the wrong God”. I mean that I can make a God out of any belief system; if my firm belief is that I have something to be angry about – somebody deserving of my ire – then that belief, and its expression, become the God I am praying to. Prayers always go toward a God. Thoughts and intentions and words and aspirations and actions are all prayers.

I have made some words here about my Catholic upbringing, either directly or indirectly. I was not hammered with biblical notions when I was young – simply brought to witness them playing out most (though not all) Sundays, and then during the special events: Easter, Christmas, my own Confirmation, and miscellany. I had a Catholic-Lite upbringing. My parents believe what they believe, and simply wanted me to be exposed to belief. I think that was wise of them. They chose Catholicism for me, because that’s what had been chosen for them. I think that was practical and also respectful of them. I have no complaints.

I ventured soon into agnosticism (as far as I understand it), and then called myself atheist for a requisite amount of time as a younger person. This seemed reasonable, and I (now) believe God approved of my leaving home, so that I could find my own way back again. The front door waiting for me was any door to any temple I might choose. Books too can be doors, as can doors themselves – they even look the same, with hinges of their own kinds. The Christian door (like many) happens to lead back to a book, and then a multitude of books written about it, from every possible point of view. All the more appropriate. Things coming home, and always about a Word (or more).

What I appreciate about Christianity (the teeny, tiny bit that I have seen), is that, with some very notable and numerous exceptions, it seems to welcome the constant, curious questioning of itself. The Christianity that I seek is really just about what Jesus was trying to say, and why it impacted so many people, and led to so, so many other things. You can continue to vilify The Church for all of its many sins, but that’s not the God I seek, and so I say, have at it. I am a fan of Jesus, the man. He’s made me think hard about why I’m here. He will continue to do so until the day I am here no longer. Many other speakers and writers have joined him of course, in an effort to assist me to grow – but everybody needs some kind of constant compass, and given that Jesus was given to be mine, I am happy to call him just that.

The issue I’ve now found myself in is the lack of a feminine figure in all of this. Christianity is rightly called out for being highly patriarchal, at least in its language and main characters – notably excepting some Marys and other women, named and otherwise. I do not wish to gloss over those, just to mention that they were not presented to me as being quite as important as the Father and the Son. These are unambiguously male monikers.

I am not trying to be a feminist about this for male reasons – but I suspect I have to fail in having reasons that are not male; I am male, I seem to think and feel like one. There is a spectrum of course, so I get that we all reside upon it together (though at different places, and at different times)… and I know my relationship to the feminine is not yours. But to not have a relationship to the divine feminine (as I have heard it called) is to be essentially incomplete. My greatest recent existential fear is that the male God I have been led to pray to up to this point would not approve of my seeking His feminine side – or more blasphemous still, considering that He might, on any given day, be a divine She instead (or in addition).

This conundrum is a quality of Christianity, as far as I can tell, and quite likely also an artifact of history, being what it was. Many in this world have a much easier time simply grasping this and moving forward than I have seemed to, so far. My cross to bear is anxiety over nearly everything, in spite of having every reason to be full of hope and joy. One small, first-world problem of the soul: How dare I think that God might also hold women up as examples of Himself? What if I’m sent to Hell for even thinking such a thing?

What the hell and the f*ck have I been thinking? This is small-mindedness and a waste of good spirit time. God Him/Herself is poking me in the ribs, and telling me so. Get over yourself – I am infinitely big, and so yes, I have a feminine side too. I have all the sides. Are you going to believe me, or believe the mortal men who tried to capture what I sought to tell them, back when men were the self-proclaimed centre of things?

This is what I fear I am not permitted to think, much less say to myself… and much less write to others. What if they are sent to Hell for reading this, and then considering it might be true? That God might have no gender, or else all of the genders? That God could at once have a Father’s righteous anger (when his children are hurting each other or themselves), but also a Mother’s gracious and unbreakable love? How dare I. How dare you for continuing to read this. We’re all Hell-bound. Right?

Well, to hell with Hell. It might be there, in some kind of metaphor (I think it is on Earth, when we are astray, and then really behaving that way)… but I do not feel that a thinking God would expect his thinking children to act out of love, simply out of fear of eternal punishment. Sainthood with a gun to my head is no sainthood worthy of the name. God would not approve of a good deed done selfishly, like that.

And so I have continued to read about Christianity, as written about by people with greater perspectives and better ideas than I. God would approve of reading about the Bible. There are worse things.

One book I have been slowly moving through is God in All Worlds : An Anthology of Contemporary Spiritual Writing, Edited and with Introductions by Lucinda Vardey. I am currently in chapter 7: Awakening the Great Mother. This could be crudely thought of as the “token feminism” chapter (I know I first thought of it that way), but of course it would be wrong to think that. This is just how I think, which is a different thing altogether. I entered the chapter with some apprehension, as though I would be even less able to understand it – I have had trouble understanding a good portion of the book so far – as I suppose I am still looking for Jesus (and His male Father) and this chapter by its very name seemed to promise stepping further away from the scripture I’ve become comfortable not fully understanding. What direction should I be going in, here? Toward tradition (and then, whose?), or away from it (and if so, toward what?).

But I wasn’t about to skip a chapter just because I felt vaguely unworthy of it, and so in I went. I can’t tell you what affect it will have on me until long after I’m done reading the book, in all likelihood, but I can say this: I went looking for God (via Jesus, and other stories) and this book ended up in my life. By all indications, its title promised I could find God everywhere. This did not seem then and does not seem now to be a sacrilegious act – the Christian God is simply an aspect of God, claimed by Christians. Or something. God wants to be found, and wants to find us. It’s us, looking for ourselves… but a greater version. I don’t know, I’m just making words now. That’s how it goes.

What I have been now given the permission to do (I had to ask for this of myself, in prayer to the male side of God) is to consider the feminine side of God too. Maybe seek God as Heavenly Mother for some time. After all, I have been calling God Him for most of my life. Would it be a mistake (even if it were mistaken) to call God Her for awhile, just to see if I got closer, or else further away? To see if it could better guide me home? Could that possibly be any “worse” than being an atheist for years, for wanting to believe Richard Dawkins had more answers (and better ones) than generations of spiritual seekers and contemplatives? How sexist have I been, in waiting this long to pray to a white-robed woman in the sky, instead of a white-bearded man?

And so I put a toe in the water just the other day (for largely the first time in my 50 years here), and gave myself permission to pray in some new direction (but really, the exact same one): to see God as bigger than gender, altogether. What a concept. I am late to so many parties.

What I can tell you is that my hope and fortune have so far not faltered – my house has not burned, my loved ones are still healthy. I have had no inner demons gain strength, I have had no ominous feelings of having made a grave mistake. I have in fact only felt generally less interested in self-flagellation, and somewhat more forgiven and understood on a fundamental level. Maybe just a little bit. As though the creative source from which I came was at least as caring and concerned as both of my own mortal parents, collectively, have been for me. God is bigger than mortal parents, but I have made Her (and by extension, Him as well) so, so much smaller. Mean, really. What a cruel trick to have played on ourselves.

I don’t mean to invalidate the need for penance, when penance is called for – but it is not a way to wheedle oneself out of some firey judgement brought down upon us by an angry single-parent; it is a way to build character. The kind of character we are meant to strive for in our short time here.

God’s anger has a purpose, like the anger of a parent watching their beloved child almost walk into traffic. I have subtly believed though in the Cosmic Stick rather than the Cosmic Carrot for a disproportionate amount of time. I am not at all done wondering where God is, and what aspects I am supposed to conceive of, and then say my words of thanks and prayers to, but I can see that my conception of God is still very informed by the limitations of human minds – including my own of course, but those of others as well. I can imagine all of the very-human reasons this came to pass, and continues to do so.

God (or whatever one chooses to call the Source, or the Here and Now) made us into beings that could perceive, think, discern, choose, and act. That is what we are and are meant to be and do. It is no sin to consider anew what God we are to pray to on a given day, since God is all of the gods – not a small and localized one, but the One, which includes us as well. This is of course my belief system, at present. What more could it ever be, to me?

If it were a sin to think God might be able to conceive us all on Her and His very own, then there is no escaping sin. I choose to feel I have much to learn still – and I have the permission, freedom, and responsibility to do it. I will let you know if catastrophe strikes, but I’m so far inclined to report that God is still hearing my prayers, just as well if not better, for having had them addressed to His better half, with greatest respect and even greater faith.

Routines, Episode… something

This morning, like most mornings, my eyelids fluttered and my body tossed this way and that, and my neck felt a bit sore, and my chest a bit heavy. I was leaving the world of dreams to enter this one. Things here are more-or-less real.

I had breakfast. I had a shower. I answered the varied calls of Nature. All in some kind of order. It involved putting on clothes and gathering things.

I found myself at the wheel of my father’s red truck, having said good morning and see you later to my Mum (often though not always the first one to rise in her household), and with my Dad still asleep and healing soundly.

The truck brought me down the road, while I rebooted my thoughts, dispelled again my inward concerns, and heard the ear worm I had created over the last several weeks playing in a quiet and steady loop at the back of my mind.

Then I was at the gas station. According to a new little sign on the pump, I was supposed to wear a mask even while outdoors now (in “public spaces”). I had rebelled, accidentally. The world for me at 50 is officially changing faster than my habits can keep up with. I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to breathe outdoors the way I had once done, a week ago, and all of my life before that. Now I know. I’ll try and adjust.

I got some coffee, after driving myself in a different direction than I had in the previous week. This, for variety – and to delay the inevitable start of my one-more-day-till-the-curtains-close.

I don’t mean to be morbid, in mentioning my mortality.

It’s Friday, and I’ve survived another arbitrarily strung-together sequence of weekdays. My mood and thoughts are shifted slightly now, knowing the underlying tone of my next two days will be slightly different: I’ll feel more vaguely free – though nothing at all will have changed, and by Monday the cycle will start again. I know this from great experience.

I left out the thousand little details that got me from my leaving last night’s dreamland to sitting here, writing to you, from the passenger seat of a borrowed truck. These unmentioned details are all iterations of what has come to and from me, twenty-thousand times before (or thereabouts). You can fill in the details: towels for showering, opening and closing various doors, tying shoelaces, scarfing down an unmentioned muffin, and so on.

I wish I had never seen the movie Groundhog Day – I would be feeling (I think) a little less stuck in some kind of puzzle right now, had I not. But then again, maybe that movie was a clue to solving something. I’ve had this thought before as well, unsurprisingly.

I am a biological machine, and (thankfully) I don’t run a completely randomized set of instructions every day. Can you imagine? Without any routines at all, we would be utterly inconsistent and incoherent. We might be happy, but we would be alone in that happiness. My routines keep me tied to people and to causes and to places that I care about, for whatever reason. Maybe my reasons for caring are themselves just matters of habit – though I think there’s quite a bit more to it than that. That is what I refer to loosely as Faith.

Writing should have been a better routine for me these last few years, but it has been hard to stick with it, in the face of so many other things to graft onto (or remove from) the routines that make up the person that is me. Regular exercise and better nutrition should have been [could still be] a part of those routines as well. And other things. I’ve still got time, but I never know how much. That’s part of the puzzle.

All those red herrings and paths not-yet traveled. How does a person live well through a mine field like that? Like this? Too many metaphors to mix… so little time to untangle it all.

I enjoy the challenge of life, more days and moments than not. I won’t lie: I can’t take much credit for it, as I was given a good hand of cards from the outset. I had somewhere solid to start from, and return to. I still do. I think I write too much about the guilt I feel about this, though I’d like to believe that this too is a routine I can work my way through, and on to the other side. Maybe through writing, maybe through doing nothing at all except what I’m doing now.

Bill Murray worked though the puzzle, somehow. I don’t remember the details of that story, just that it had some sort of good resolution. He learned something. I forget what… but I remember that he did. I guess it was a good movie after all. Maybe I’m glad I remembered that much.

The clock closes in on what we have come to call 9:30 (at least in this narrow band of our world). This signals some part of my brain to think about wrapping this up, finishing my caffeine drink, and getting back home, where a collection of new and old routines awaits. Side-quests to complete, on the road to somewhere else, slightly different than where I am now.

May you have a surprisingly excellent Friday! I want you to experience something wonderful and new, out of nowhere. It is out there waiting – I know it.

Thank God For Fridays (TGFF?) ūüôā

Always Unfinished

Every morning (almost like clockwork), the Universe tells me that I should wake up.

Sometimes a digital alarm is involved, and sometimes it is alarming thoughts about the time I have remaining here, brought on by curious dreams that pursue me as I emerge from sleep.

To know what’s truly at stake, in my effort to fully and finally awake…

I drove around today in a big loop, wondering how to break my cycles of enthusiasm and dread. I’m always too far in my own head for comfort – looking back into shame or regret, or trying to peer forward into the fog of possibility, uncertainty, worry, or inevitability. I can’t determine the nature of the fog – only that it is there wherever I look when I’m not paying attention to the present moment.

I see that our world needs help. I know that I have hands to help, and I try (I think). Who needs it the most? Starting from within, it would be me, so that I can be there for those closest by, and then, for an expanding array of others. The species may though might not matter. Pick someone – regardless of their bipedal-ness – and give them some time. Maybe that’s how the world is made better, by degrees.

Sometimes, that someone who needs your time the most is you. You will know when you’re asking for it from yourself, I think. Don’t ask me how I have come to believe this – I just presently do.

After that, go out and look for another in need of something you might currently have to give. I am speaking as much if not more to myself than to any other ReadWriter who might happen upon these words, after they’ve come to me from somewhere, to put down and then share.

As always, I am journaling sidelong toward something. Maybe some action involving my feet? Maybe something or someone in need of lifting.

I wrote recently about feeling like an adolescent, but there are days when I feel much more like a toddler. The spiritual onion has a lot of layers, I feel – it feels that way at times.

Toddlers are concerned for the most part with walking – taking steps with some purpose. The purpose is sometimes just learning to take steps – sometimes, there’s a real somewhere to go. Only the toddler knows.

I know I’m still trying to toddle to someplace, for somebody… or something.

Random Reporting from the Field of Possibility

I went to return a library book, and ended up finding some news.

It’s actually easy to Find News, if you bother to look – and if you consider anything that’s news to your own self to be news at all.

Inspiring Shed of Mystery – found @ Fredericton, New Brunswick

I did not know about the recent murder of a school teacher in France, until I I drove by a crowd of people assembled in front of my hometown’s town hall this morning. I noticed they had signs – one of them read, Islam loves Jesus.

Who could not wonder at least a little bit what that was about? So when my errand was complete, I went back to ask. The crowd had mostly dispersed by then, except for a few families. I spoke to four of the men there; we talked about peace and about getting along. We smiled through our masks as we spoke each other’s names. I received a bookmark from one of the men, with the words:

I was sent to perfect good character
Prophet Mohammed

I cannot think for one moment that the Author ever meant to condone violence, or the racism and bigotry that such an act seems destined to fuel. I feel he meant to argue for the opposite of those things.

Nobody in that, my hometown crowd, seemed to want anything but to remind their neighbours that the greater number of us are on the same page. We want our children to be safe, and our lives to have a meaning far, far above politics and division.

My one errand became two, and then three. There is good news in the world, I’m writing to remind you, and it has a far stronger character than the bad.

Have a happy and safe Halloween ‚̧

Overwhelmed by the New of It All

This is a short report.

In case you have been wondering, there are more new things in the world today than there were yesterday. I think the rate of new things per day is increasing, but I can no longer detect the edges of anything, so I can’t be sure through direct, empirical observation.

I have a lot of work to do, and although I love that work, I can’t help but feel that I would be of greater value still to everybody and everything if I were to just go back to school for four-or-more years, to learn all the things I want to, and think that I might need to.

Except, the world would have moved on anyway while I was in class. The busses have left the station: I will not be a master 3D modeller / animator in my lifetime. I will not be sagely informed about machine learning and tensors and such (whatever a Tensor is). I will never be an accomplished musician.

I will never be an expert at anything.

This is going to have to be ok. There’s something perfectly double-edged about having so much to choose from in Life, that one can never expect to have it all (or even know what it all means). This is one of countless aspects of living in a full-spectrum environment that we are simply here to experience and accept.

Humility and pragmatism probably play a part in surviving the modern world, but I need to do some more research on that before making any rash decisions about being more humble, or pragmatic.

I’m late for something.

To Continue…

Hardly Focusing

Listening to found audio from the Internet : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_uLM5i0Z4c

I have too many Things. This includes physical Things, like household objects, as well as project-like Things, like work, self-improvement, hobbies, and fleeting interests. These all add up to an inventory. Even my burgeoning list of passwords and TODOs are part of this expansive inventory.

My inventory is a blessing and a curse of course, as are many gifts. The options available to me are by-and-large of greater number – any given Thing being a potential key to some door – but with options comes an implicit call to someday choose-it-or-otherwise-lose-it. I’ve written about this elsewhere at other times, but always I think for about the same reason: I have trouble focusing in one direction, when so many intriguing ones present themselves.

At the risk of being repetitive: the Things we are given, and the Time we have to filter through and then pursue them, seem rather mismatched to me. Where are the extra limbs and eyes and minds I need to see these Things to their better conceived conclusions (or better yet, continuations)? I am only one mortal man, with no more than the predictable number of attachments and powers.

Of course, we are a collective for a reason. We are meant to recognize in each other all of the potential we can’t ourselves realize on our own. Some of our quests might be better given to or shared with others.

I am engaged at work these days. The project I’m working on – to a good extent a realization of my own imagination, then empowered by the interests and experiences of several other minds – keeps me thinking and plugging away.

Last night, I put myself to bed in a happy state, excited for the next steps in this project. I felt a familiar feeling: engagement in what I’m doing. This is a signal that I’ve found something worth really focusing on. By that, I mean other things (at least for a time) need to give way to it, so the work can happen in a full sense, rather than a partial one.

This means I can’t write for hours every day, or read for hours every day, or spend hours and hours watching videos and tutorials unrelated to the principal task at hand. It means I can’t start new projects whenever I want. It means I can’t keep a thousand browser tabs open, to be lightly and continuously monitored while doing all of the other Things. Focusing on one Thing means something. It is different than succeeding at everything you feel you should succeed at.

I sometimes imagine myself occupying a position in Possibility Space. This is different though related to Physical Space. The directions aren’t informed by the same magnetism, but are instead directions of exploration, inquiry, and implementation. Each journey takes one toward some conclusion/continuation (with the requisite embedded learning), and then necessarily away from the others.

A person wishing to explore to the East and North will end up to the North-East – a place in between the two places they were actually interested in visiting. A person wishing to explore East and West at once will end up more-or-less where they already are. Of course, this metaphor takes one only so far – the point is, if you want to finish something fully, head toward that Thing with something akin to determination, and certainly with a good measure of focus, for some amount of time.

How far you go in that direction might have as much to do with how little you concern yourself with all of the other available ones, as with the walking you do in the direction you decide to actually walk. Walking with intention – enjoying the view, moving objectively forward. The destinations you leave (for now) might be more reachable from your new position, for all you now know, once you become elevated through your concentrated effort (like climbing). It’s all about an attitude for altitude, maybe.

Art and AI

I recently watched two young violin professionals on Youtube react to the compositions of AIs, arrayed alongside those of humans.

The challenge was for them to tell which was which. One could see on their faces an uneasiness about where technology has gone, and where it might still go. I felt that anyway, watching it.

Increasing complexity and capacity in computing power begins to challenge my understanding of what makes a person Human, and what makes a work a work of Human inspiration. In the music space, artists are now uncertain how to approach music composed entirely by machines.

They aren’t in fact composed entirely¬†by machines though – the machines still need Human creative works to inspect, so they can re-swizzle the patterns they find in order to “innovate”. The more predictable and repetitive Human art becomes, the easier it becomes for AI to simulate.

AI are getting quite disturbingly¬†good at simulating us, in some sense. This might be a call for artists to raise the bar and move forward with what we consider art. Whatever that means. I’ll leave that to the real artists.

Once the AI can do what we do, we must venture out and do something entirely new…

Re: Routines

I am quite terrible when it comes to routine. As a Human, I fall into them, at times regardless of their quality or merit. In other circumstances, better routines seems far too difficult to fall into – they are the type you have to climb up or crack the code for.

This morning, on my walk to Tim Hortons (the ubiquitous coffee and donut chain in Canada), I imagined an invisible thread stretching in front of me, leading to the building’s entrance: the die, having been set so many times before, was now most certainly cast once more – I was heading for caffeine and the Internet, again. How has this worked for me so far?

Now that I’ve created a new blog, entered the Paying Customer tier, and given it some sort of facelift (my marketing skills are poor), I now want to build a better routine, around it. Journaling on the Internet – not exactly a novelty, but maybe it will be a tent peg of some sort.

Re: Writing for a Living

There. I said it.

I have been and continue to be a professional software developer, but my dream is to express myself openly and creatively, in order to pay the bills. Why do the same thing your entire life?

This dream involves having some plan, where I can conceive of trading words for financial tokens. I don’t yet have such a plan, but I suppose that’s a thing I could attempt to fix.

While I’m at it, I want to create some kind of brand. I don’t really know what that means. Do I need one of those?


Many mornings, I start the day by waking up, rolling around for a while in protest of the waking, and then finally getting up to do bathroom things and putting clothes on myself. This is Phase 1 of the New Day, most days.

Phase 2 most often involves leaving the house, and going for a walk, so that I can collect my thoughts, before “going to work”. The walk I often take brings me up a hill and back down again.

This journey is an metaphor for any given day, or week, or year, or project – forward progress does not get made at a constant rate, but instead at a rate according to the weight one carries, and the inclines and terrain features one encounters.

I carry a backpack most places I go, when I’m not in the house. My laptop and assorted things take up a good portion of the backpack’s space – the rest is extra clothes, towels, and random things I might need. It’s usually pretty full, and I enjoy the extra weight on my back as I move.

You pack things with you on all sorts of journeys – concerns of the day, responsibilities, mental or physical health issues, TODOs… that’s your weight.

You encounter challenges and tasks of all different levels throughout your journey… sometimes the challenges are easy (flat ground, downhill), and sometimes they’re harder (uphill in the heat of a Summer day)… that’s your route.

This morning walk reminds me that life is a journey – that’s why I choose that route over the easier, quicker one. My body enjoys the challenge, as well as the scenery. I pick my route, for the challenge as well as the scenery. I don’t like starting the day’s Phase 3 (work) until I’ve had a chance to walk that reminder.

Can a person pick their weight and their route in life? Through a single day, a week, a year or more?


I have too many things to say and a great many more to hear.

I think the learning and the progress happens in those transitions between.