I have a complex system of to-do lists, which doesn’t lead to as much doing as I would like. That being said, I found that writing down intentions does actually work for me. Most things that make it on my to-do list do eventually get done. Eventually.
My to-do list is broken down into broad categories: Connect, Thrive, Wellness, Create/Play, and so on. There’s been one item that I’ve mostly neglected for the past few months that has bounced around categories: Write…and lately, WRITE. Under Create: Write. Under purpose: WRITE.
I used to identify as a writer. As in, What are you? I’m a writer. The sum total of my being is that I write down words on paper or on this laptop. Writing is basically the single most notable thing about me. You can put that on my gravestone, or my LinkedIn.
In the winter of 2015 I was in a very dark place and I called my aunt and I told her, I’m a writer, I just don’t write anything. And she laughed and then I had to laugh too because it was a ridiculous thing to say.
I’ve not written anything publicly in quite some time but I can tell you I’ve written beautiful longform articles, speeches, and comedy sketches in my mind. Often when I am trying to sleep.
When people used to ask me what I was interested in creatively (usually in an effort to give me career advice*), I would tell them The Intersection of People and Technology. Look, you can find it here on my ancient portfolio site.
*My advice about advice is that advice is bad.
While I am still interested in people and technology, my focus has broadened. I am now interested in compassion. I am interested in how to live compassionately, toward oneself, toward others, toward the planet. I’m still quite interested in technology because I think we have used it to construct a fairly inhumane society…and this inhumane society is the source of most of the ills that are in the headlines, from addiction to environmental ruination.
I know: That was a broad, sweeping statement with little or no supporting evidence. I hope to make many more such statements in the coming months. Won’t you join me?
In seriousness though this is my line of inquiry: How to live compassionately. How to understand ourselves and the world through the lens of compassion.
Because…[slowly ascends the steps of the podium, speaks too closely to the mic, which emits earsplitting feedback, causing the massive crowd to cringe in a kind of shared swoon that is also akin to ecstasy. And then, speaking in sonorous old timey tones]…Because I believe there is a story going around that we are all separate selfish creatures and it’s us versus them and winner-take-all and start hoarding gold and water purifiers because you can’t rely on anyone.
And I think that’s bullshit. Or more specifically, a bullshit story.
And I’m much more interested in another story, which is that we are social creatures inextricably connected to one another and to our planet, that nothing great was ever done by one person in isolation, that the persistent drumbeat of life is love, love, love, and that we don’t notice it because we get distracted by the whiz and bang of tragedy and bad news and did you see that thing on Facebook? And that the real headline for today is that almost 7 billion people did not murder each other and were mostly kind, loving, and decent to one another despite all the bullshit going on. And that the way forward is together and with kindness.
And that is what I want to make noise about.
And I want to start by talking about loneliness, depression, anxiety, and psychedelics. Won’t you join me?
Today’s post is dedicated to C. and sponsored by The Fleeting Feeling of Warmth Caused by the Winter Sun on Your Face.