Issue № 64

Actively decide

It takes some commitment to decide. I find my urge is to wriggle. My urge is to try to keep my options open. My urge is to take on more. In the case of this little missive, I mean to seek more and more information. To go beyond actively seeking, to passively permitting more and more things to flow at me.

Does this content move me closer to or further from my ultimate aim? If what we consume becomes our thoughts, our thoughts become our actions, and our actions become our character, can I give the things I watch, listen to, and read — the things I’m turning into — a grade of B or above? The lure of a compelling headline aside, does this topic actually interest me? Does this content educate and edify? And when I’m seeking pure entertainment, which everyone sometimes needs, does it at least not appeal to the most reptilian part of my brain, and make me feel lower, baser, and stupider as a result?

~ Brett McKay from,

Still, I resist the urge to decide and invite the self-made disaster of overwhelm. Why? Because it takes real courage, in the presence of others and in the presence of others’ vociferous opinions… It takes courage for me to say, “I don’t know.”


Let everything happen to you: Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

The flywheel mind

It can go well, my sitting and thinking. But only if there’s actually something that requires solving. Far too often I’m just spinning my wheels. Like one of those old-timey air raid sirens that staaaaaaaaaaaaaarts low and slow and builds to a heinous scream. A heinous scream in my head. Fun times.

Focusing on concrete things. For me, I think all of the supposedly therapeutic effect of not thinking comes from having to focus on moving carefully, from being actively distracted from my flywheel mind.

~ Gavin Leech from,

It’s not practical for me to shift by mental effort away from the heinous scream of the flywheel mind. Physical activity works, though. I take my screaming mind and taunt myself thinking, (read this in Condescending Wonka voice) “yes, interesting, oh yes, tell me more about that, yes…”, while moving. Lots of kinds of movement work, like yoga or running. Not light-silly-fun movement, but rather concerted, hard-working movement.


You can’t have everything.

Where would you put it?

~ Steven Wright


I’m intrigued by the word hunger. It can convey so much more than the simple hunger for food. It’s power begins to show when deployed as hunger for nourishment— Hunger for freedom— Hunger for power. For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with body image. I feel like that’s a better way to convey the feeling instead of a more surface-level, “struggled with weight.” Only a precious few times (in my 50+ laps around ‘ol Sol) have things around me lined up, juust right, and I’ve found myself in a shape to my liking; Found myself in a shape that enabled me to do what I wanted.

Hunger isn’t in your stomach or your blood-sugar levels. It’s in your mind—and that’s where we need to shape up.

~ Michael Graziano from,

The word I’ve been meditating on recently is ease. To avoid hunger (not just hunger for food, all the hungers) I must be in ease. Easy to say, impossible to do, but just maybe it’s be–able.


I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.

~ Harry Emerson Fosdick


Coincidence appears often in our lives: For example, my turning on a light in my apartment building, at the moment someone else is looking up. This simple event—that perfectly timed light just as they look up—might strike them as being significant. But for me it may go unnoticed as an unremarkable moment. The perception of meaning in that coincidence depends on our contexts. It’s the context that is the special part, not the event itself. Understanding that, makes it possible to shift our perspectives.

Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is the main character of their own story, living a life just as vivid and complex as your own, while you are just an extra in the background

~ “Sonder” is credited to John Koenig

I’m just the random person flipping on a light. That other person, who I don’t even know is out there, is the main character of their story. But it’s just a coincidence.

Thirty years ago I bought a calculator. An HP-42S which, to this day, works perfectly in every respect. The keys don’t just still work but they are in perfect condition. They softly bump (the way a modern phone’s haptic motor dreams it might some day bump) and their labels remain pristine. It’s clearly a marvel of over-engineering. It takes 3 little button batteries, and they last about 3 or 4 years. When I bought it, it was moderately expensive. Not expensive per se, but also not something I’d want to lose. So I put a little white label inside the battery door and I wrote the date and my first name. (And I did once leave it in a laboratory, and retrieved it from lost+found by saying, “my name is inside.”) Being insane, I even wrote the month/year on that label as I changed the batteries. After about 15 years, the label was full and I stopped writing dates. A few days ago—on December 16th to be exact—the battery indicator said it was again, time. Normally (read “ALWAYS”), I’m a “jump up and do it now” sort of person. Instead, for no particular reason, I turned off my faithful 42S and simply set it aside. The very next day, I got three new batteries, opened the little battery door…

And it was December 17th. I bought my calculator on December 17, 1993. There I was, changing the batteries on December 17th, 2023. Exactly 30 years. It’s just an interesting coincidence, right?

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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