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I’m checking in with a tired body. And I still miss my dog. My body misses my dog.
After my last newsletter, I went much lower. I thought I had grieved, but my body was nowhere near done. What followed was weeks of terrible disregulation, anxiety, aches, a bodily fear toward a lonely world. My body had its own process, and I was tugged along in the torrent.
My body still seeks him. I find myself wandering into the dog park to pet dogfriends. I am now that person who walks up to strangers to greet their dogs.
My body continues to brace against the stark physical loneliness of the ape who lives alone.
And then, thanks be to Earth, the sun finally came out in Northwest Washington. And the sun came out inside my head and heart (who knew I could experience SAD in June?) And then it fucking rained again but, hey, it’s a La Niña year.
Baby’s first podcast
I’m very happy with my first podcast appearance, on 10,000 Heroes. The first time I heard the episode, I thought, my goodness, I sound like a real person on an actual podcast. Which speaks to my imposter syndrome. And also the technical chops of my friend and podcast host Ankur Shah Delight.
I’m also realizing that I think best in conversation (with immense gratitude to the small cadre of dear friends who listen to hours of my thoughts every week). Anyway, if you like this newsletter, you’ll like the podcast. Spread the word, my friend’s podcast deserves more listeners.
Stop everything and subscribe for free. Don’t miss out on keen, marketable insights on the human experience, and sizzling gossip on TikTok’s fuzziest puppet sage.
Standard Rainbow Rains Again
Lately I’ve been doing my favorite thing, which is imagining a new something into the world. I did this as a child, spending quiet hours drawing chipmunk-based civilizations (war-like, sadly), or improvising heroic epics with my toys.
Last night I worked on the branding for the International Psychospiritual Standards Organization (IPSO), which is modeled after ISO, ECMA, ANSI, DIN, SAE, IEEE and the other acronym-based standards organizations that conspire to make our world more…standardized.
Ask me about the history of ISO, or ANSI, ask me! I’ve been on Wikipedia.
Or how about this:
The International Psychospiritual Standards Organization (IPSO) is the international body that sets standards and measures for psychospiritual matters. Founded in Geneva in 1949, the organization comprises an institute in Switzerland, and a network of national-level bodies in 126 member nations. It is a direct evolution of the Schweizer Bund der Psychospirituelle Verstanderungs (SBPV), the world’s first national organization for psychospiritual standardization, which was founded in 1935.
EARLY YEARS (1949—1961)
In the wake of World War II, the United Nations called for an international body for the measurement and standardization of psychospiritual matters, as part of a broader effort to internationalize and standardize science, commerce, and other human endeavors. UN resolution 1949-332 formally inaugurated the organization, which was known as the International Institute for Psychological and Spiritual Measures (IIPSM)…
I want you to know I’m improvising this as I go along. For better or worse, this is my great gift.
But the reason that I’m creating a mythical international standards organization, besides that it brings me joy, is that I am working on a new project.
The Standard Rainbow company, which has lain dormant for a couple of years, is launching a new line of products. Which I could explain or simply show you:
It’s a brainstorm I’ve had for a while. But I’ve decided to make it real, in the form of a line of collectibles under the Standard Rainbow brand. In the past my pattern was to ignore these flights of fancy as impractical and altogether silly. But I’m realizing that I need to pay more attention to that which sparks my imagination, and that which brings me joy.
Because otherwise I am just a human being doing part-time bookkeeping, feeding myself, excreting, and paying taxes. And that offends me at a psychospiritual level. By 16 cosmic-meters (16 csM).
During the spring, my creative energy crashed along with my general mental health. So I stopped producing Squirrel Dialogues, and called an end to Season 2.
In the doldrums, which I worried would never end, a friend threw a signal flare at me in the form of a Squirrel theme song. You can listen to it in the Series 3 trailer:
My sad heart melted when I heard my friend’s song. I felt both seen and loved. And I was thrilled that an artist I admire thought to create a piece inspired by my own work. Wow. I’m seeking more of that in the future.
And, after two not-quite-right attempts, I finally shot and edited the Season 3 Premiere.
I think I have badly underestimated Squirrel’s reach, as well as the sheer number of human beings who love him (and who, I have to assume, love me 😬).
A very sweet person sent Squirrel a donation from the Northeastern US. Then she told me the most astonishing thing. She told me she manages a group home for folks living with mental health challenges. And they all, as a group, watch Squirrel Dialogues.
And just days ago I made a new island friend, who asked if I was the Squirrel Guy. When I affirmed, his face lit up and he told me that his professor friend in Pasadena shows Squirrel to his art students.
Both stories are almost incomprehensibly wonderful to me. I can take in these messages cognitively, and understand them. But the appreciation, the humility, and the joy are tiny tea candles in my heart. My body otherwise refuses to open to this curious glowing thing, this Goodness.
I think I’d have to be there, to watch with these people, to feel it in my body. And then I think my heart would crack wide open. May it be so.
•I’ve been reading and listening to oodles of things. As a preview of what I want to say about the cutting edge of psychedelic therapy, checkout this extraordinary episode of Back From the Abyss.
•I’m still digesting this essay by my island friend, writer Serena Burman, on the subject of relationship and sex. As featured on a rather huge newsletter by Roxanne Gay.
•Some dear new friends have started Bliss Is Ordinary, a podcast on songcatching. Check it out.
Thank you for many things. For opening up and sharing your difficult experiences of sadness in a way that allows me to feel like we are companions on a path. For sharing your creativity and research into the understanding of mental health in a way that allows me to feel like there is something valuable on the horizon. For sharing your connections with friends and links to their work.
I just listened to the last 10min of the podcast interview several times and your description of the psychedelic experience mirrors my own in some ways. Especially in how its result can be some kind of path that appears loving, productive, and engages with all the parts of myself that are minimized when my ego is in control.
In the experiences I’ve had, the prisoners of my mind are set free. Instead of being the villains portrayed by the ego-led 24hr propaganda television channel, they are entire beings who are not wrong or right. They are caring parents of my potential in this life, rebels unafraid of creating instability for a greater purpose, and they are entirely essential to my human experience. They deserve freedom to express themselves in success and failure. So it feels like an expression of self-love to open all the doors.
I love how you’ve worded this… this resonates.