0248 – develop productive rituals

I woke up a short while ago, don’t yet know what I’m going to write. I’m still coughing up phlegm– I told myself this would be a good time to re-watch the “how your immune system works” video. Okay, done with that. Pleasant.

I was doing some reading earlier. I was reading an essay on Ribbonfarm by Sarah Perry, which talked about the role of boundaries and membranes in complex systems. I really appreciate it– I vaguely remember when I first fell in love with the idea of these things, with these lenses of viewing the world, and it feels to me that people like Sarah see the world in ways similar to the way I do, or would like to.

What did I take away from that read? I think a more refined appreciation for the importance and value of small groups of people. I remember thinking– if I started a new group from scratch, I would make it really important/critical to have regular meetings from the very beginning.

It occurs to me that I don’t have very good rituals. I used to say things like “in the absence of good routines I fall into bad ones”, which resonated with some other folks. What’s the difference between a habit and a ritual? I think rituals are more purposeful, mindful, and they can involve other people. I suppose rituals are subsets of habits, maybe. Pah, semantics.

I’ve surely written before about how I thought the 1-1s that my boss does with all his employees was an awesome idea. Seemingly silly or pointless at first, but clearly of great value and importance over time. I wish I had done it myself with friends and loved ones.

I think there’s something in that idea that can be expanded and developed on. I think we should have 1-1 rituals with all the important people in our life, at some sort of rhythm– not necessarily every week or every month, but not entirely up to chance, either. I think it’s cool to meet some people just once a year, because there are insights and perspectives you get from people you don’t meet more often than that. Your last interaction was when the world was noticably different, when both of you were noticeably different.

In the absence of these semi-regular interactions I think I have a habit of falling into drudgery. I’m thinking now about how Steve Wozniak had that computing club that he wanted to impress. Who do I want to impress? A crowd of internet strangers doesn’t count, that’s not very fulfilling. Even a community of internet strangers, I don’t know… something about it is not good enough. I’ve tried to find home on the internet, and I think I AM a child of the internet, but I also need a home in meatspace somehow. I have my own home, I have a wife I love– and even in our marriage I think there is a lot of room for us to continue to get to know each other better, to challenge and inspire each other more. What’s missing? Planning.

So what? I don’t know. I’m experiencing some sort of strange cognitive downtime now where I feel like watching movies and reading books entirely unrelated to work, even though I know that work is important. Maybe that will change after I have a meal. I’d like to finish this before I go, though. And I’ve been writing several vomits now about how I’d like to become this responsible, reliable person. Is that true, or is that something I just invented to feel good about myself? Both, probably. The invention must become reality in order to have lasting utility. I am aware of this. I am procrastinating on it. The reasons why– are the reasons important? I’m tired, I feel like I lack executive functioning– which is a known problem! Dr. Barker talked about this. There’s a limited well from which I can draw, and I need to make sure that I replenish that well. I’m sick right now, so I’m guessing it’s depleted by default. Should I try to resist it, or just go into it?

My challenge right now isn’t to be super amazing– I know that’s not possible. I know that won’t happen. My challenge is to avoid collapse, to recover well. It’s like one of those odd missions in a video game where your hero is horribly incapacitated, and you have to struggle just to move around, just to see what’s going on. And in a sense those missions exist to make you realize and feel how powerful your normal power is. I feel like that now in many ways– and that is the condition of existence, isn’t it? Flowers for Algernon, death, blah blah.

So… I suppose I should focus on the really little things. I have a meeting tomorrow I need to prepare for, I have a bunch of emails to send out. But all I want to do right now is re-watch Lord of War, which is playing on YouTube in the other half of my screen. What should I do with my day? I suppose now I have some clarity.

Ahhh. I should eat. I have about 100+ words to go. This is going to be one of those… interesting-to-look-back-on vomits when my mind is clearer. I wonder what I’d think about it.

I need to focus. I need to refuel. I need quiet rest. These things should happen. There is no deeper, harder, complex reason that I need to discover to fix this. That’s a distraction. I just need to stare at the things that matter, and figure out what’s in the way– and then get that out of the way. C’mon, it’s simple. I’m so sick though. Lol. This is so unnecessarily recursive. I need to know how to get up and walk away. Which I will do right after this vomit ends, which is not too far away.

Wonder how many vomits, at the end of it, will be like this one– forced, empty, dry– and how many will be rich for mining. We’ll see.

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