Issue № 41

I did not see that coming

I struggle a lot with processes. I struggle with not implementing all of the processes I imagine. I struggle with gauging if some process will have the desired outcome. I struggle with deciding if I’m fascinated with the process, with the outcome, or simply with novelty in itself. I struggle with knowing when to abandon a process; for something I do which had clear benefits in the past, but isn’t moving me forward right now, how long do I stick with that?

Humans have invented all sorts of practices like this, and their purpose is simply to put your mind somewhere outside of your normal, habitual ways of seeing, and discover what you come back with.

Nobody knows quite what insights and paradigm shifts will be produced by doing these practices, which is exactly why you do them.

~ David Cain from,

Over the years I’ve come to terms with my struggles. That’s just the way it is (for me.) Year by year I find I’m increasingly okay with tossing stuff (figuratively and literally.) “Is this working?” seems too dumb to be useful, and yet it cuts as well as Occam’s Razor. Today, I’m downright comfortable with leaving many ideas and opportunities unexplored. “Life moves pretty fast.

More than just questions

Questions alone are not enough. Context matters. The mind-set that people bring to the room matters. How people came to be in the room matters. The room itself matters. The social structure of how people talk to each other matters. The action of the leader/convener matters.

~ Peter Block


Happiness. I’m inclined to think it is something that arises spontaneously; When I create space within—meaning when I don’t fill my thoughts and actions up with stress and chaos—then sometimes I discover that happiness fills that space. But I can also tell you that it doesn’t always fill that space.

Kahneman contends that happiness and satisfaction are distinct. Happiness is a momentary experience that arises spontaneously and is fleeting. Meanwhile, satisfaction is a long-term feeling, built over time and based on achieving goals and building the kind of life you admire. On the Dec. 19 podcast “Conversations with Tyler,” hosted by economist Tyler Cowen, Kahneman explains that working toward one goal may undermine our ability to experience the other.

~ Ephrat Livni from,

Perhaps I don’t understand the difference between the experience of happiness and satisfaction. I can only note that the idea of, “I am satisfied” or “I am not satisfied”, is a necessary part of feeling satisfaction. Have I ever been and felt satisfied? Yes, I’ve definitely experience that. But how is that different from happiness?


If you want these crazy ideas and these crazy stages, this crazy music, and this crazy way of thinking, there’s a chance it might come from a crazy person.

~ Kayne West

Fatal but not serious

My deepening dive into conversation will continue for the foreseeable future. I’m still in the phase of learning where, the more I read and listen (explicitly to podcasts but also just to conversations in life in general) the more I discover that I don’t know. I’m definitely in the epoch of “study the masters” and “learn the state of the art.” But still, sometimes things snap into a clear relationship to things I already know.

On the whole, you could say that if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious. Likewise, if you are trying to avoid something unpleasant inside of yourself, that is also not being serious. A great deal of our whole life is not serious. And society teaches you that. It teaches you not to be very serious – that there are all sorts of incoherent things, and there is nothing that can be done about it, and that you will only stir yourself up uselessly by being serious.

But in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not – not in the way I’m using the word. There is a story about Freud when he had cancer of the mouth. Somebody came up to him and wanted to talk to him about a point in psych-ology. The person said, “Perhaps I’d better not talk to you, because you’ve got this cancer which is very serious. You may not want to talk about this.” Freud’s answer was, “This cancer may be fatal, but it’s not serious.” And actually, of course, it was just a lot of cells growing. I think a great deal of what goes on in society could be described that way – that it may well be fatal, but it’s not serious.

~ David Bohm from, On Dialogue

Everything, everywhere, in every moment does not need to be serious. That’d be exhausting. But if there’s too little in my life that is serious, my behavior starts to polarize. Moments where others want to introduce some levity become to me strident and annoying. I’m finding there’s a balance—but that’s not quite the right word because I’ve not yet discovered how to actually balance this…


Society is not some grand abstraction, my friends. It’s just us. It’s the words we use, which are the thoughts we have, which determine the actions we take.

~ Umair Haque

Becoming a Supple Leopard

…is both the title of a book, and a thing I’d very much like to do. What’s stopping me?

It’s not genetics, because that only sets the boundary parameters. Sure, I’ll never literally be a leopard. But the set of genes I’ve been dealt seem pretty choice. Bonus, I can even change my genetic expression. So genetics is not what’s holding me back.

There are two things holding me back: My mindset and knowledge.

Mindset — I like to think of it like this: See this body? This is the body which results from all my choices and my mindset up to this moment. I don’t want a different body so that I can do this or that. (Well, I do but that’s exactly the problem.) Instead, I need to make better decisions. Here are a few ways that I use to steer my life…

  • “I’m not currently able to do that. To do that, I would first need to work on this, strengthen this, and learn this other skill.” (Never simply, “I can’t do that.“)
  • That isn’t a priority for me now.” (Never simply, “I don’t have time for that.“) Saying, “Sleep isn’t a priority,” or “Healthy eating isn’t a priority,” sorts my mindset out quickly.
  • “I am the sort of person who…” …is barefoot, until I have a reason to add things to my feet. …goes to bed early and regularly. …enjoys spending time preparing healthy meals. …is willing to say that isn’t a priority so that I can have a larger yes for things which are important to me.

Knowledge — There are many things which are a priority for me. Learning everything about each of the fields of human biology, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition, etc. is not a priority. I’ve made great strides in figuring out solutions to many of my problems, but it’s too enormous of a knowledge space for me to learn everything in every field.

Years ago (h/t Jesse!) I first saw a copy of Kelly Starrett’s book Becoming a Supple Leopard. It was an impressive book, and was well recommended. But I was still at a place in my journey where I wanted to carve my own path, and went on my way trying to figure everything out on my own. But no more!

Recently (h/t Andrew!) I was gifted a big, beautiful 2nd edition of the book. Which dovetails nicely with my no longer wanting to figure everything out on my own. So I’ve been diving into Starrett’s Becoming a Supple Leopard.

The third and most notable problem with our current thinking is that it continues to be based on a model that prioritizes task completion above everything else. It’s a sort of one-or-zero, task-done-or-not, weight-lifted-or-not, distance-swum-or-not mentality. This is like saying, “I deadlifted 500 pounds, but I herniated a disc,” or, “I finished a marathon, but I wore a hole in my knee.” Imagine this sort of ethic spilling over into the other aspects of your life: “Hey, I made you some toast! But I burned down the house.”

~ Kelly Starrett from, Becoming a Supple Leopard

I’m still reading the entire book-worth of information in the first part of the book. Plus, the middle parts are an encyclopedic compendium of gargantuan proportions with hundreds of mobility exercises. I skimmed through all of it, and resigned myself to never being able to try, let alone learn, all of them in a systematic fashion. Instead, in the back of the book there is a 14-day system for cherry-picking things to do, and that is the thing I’m digging into. In fact, I expect I’ll simply repeat the 14-day thing (changing what specific activities I’m picking) until I become bored or a supple leopard.

To make that a little easier, I made this PDF so I could print and write directly on it:


Until next time, thanks for reading.



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