Thought Cast

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Thought Cast

Ten years ago I was compelled to write, so I picked up a journal and a pen and I started writing.  The main purpose of writing for me was to document my thoughts, emotions, experiences.  Doing this has helped me objectify my day to day life, or sometimes shed light on perspectives that don’t seem to be very helpful.  A conflict I’ve always felt I’ve carried with me is how different I feel from general society, the very distinct feeling that I don’t fit in.  This feeling over time has manifested in a very strong need to design a life I want to live.  Idealistic in nature and very romantic at heart.  I’ve set out on the path to do just that.  Currently I find myself in the very chess like strategy stage, setting goals down the line and slowly manipulating my day to day moves to achieve that goal.  However, life is the greatest chess player, exposing weaknesses, throwing variations you never anticipated or could see… but you must keep moving forward, even if you can’t quite see how.

I’ve never asked myself why I like writing, why I consider it my passion, even in spite of not being very good at it, until this morning.  This morning during my walk I decided to listen to the Tim Ferriss podcast, this particular podcast happened to be about psychedelic drugs, specifically Ibogaine, 5-MeO-DMT & Ayahuasca.  I was moved to a very strong feeling of excitement, hope & curiosity by this podcast.  I tend to get this sort of “high” feeling when listening to podcasts, specifically ones that involve the pulse of change in human behavior, or as Tim Ferriss calls it, human performance.  For the first time today instead cashing in on the “high” feeling I get from the podcasts I started to question that feeling… Why do I get that feeling?  What is it about these podcasts that make me feel high?  These questions seems to scratch the surface of something very primal in me.

I’m very much in love with human behavior and not just in the sense of the psychological map, but in the sense of the whole organism and how every aspect of life can combine in an infinite way to illicit innumerable experiences of life.  This to me as fascinating as it is extremely terrifying.  On one hand, like the silly movie The Secret clumsily tries to explain, you have all the ability in the world to achieve your deepest goals and dreams.  Yet on the other, you are also tethered to a culture that has been designed by people before you… Dreamers who want to change the world and their capitalist counterpart.

As far as I can tell human behavior can be considered synonymous with the inquisition of change and development.  However, in modern culture we find ourselves ushered into streams of specific thought, most obviously starting in our schools, I like to call these thought casts.  A thought cast is the formal training one gets through adolescence into early adulthood, for the preparation of becoming a contributing citizen.  The inner rebel in me wants to hate this concept, however, the inner integral thinker cautions me to stay positive with this concept to see it through.

I’ve always loved the punk culture, I think in part because I could relate to the whole not fitting into society, but also because I thought mohawks were pretty hot.  Although that culture didn’t last, as most time-stamped subcultures don’t, I think it was the breakdown of the punk culture that really honed in on a very important truth that I needed to find in myself.  You can’t work or function outside of society, without first going through it.  This perspective is why I believe it’s important to realize that the thought casts we’re molded into are important stepping stones but not the end goal.

‘So what is the next step?’  To me the next obvious step is to start exercising thinking outside of the cast, and this next step is the reason I get so excited when I listen to a Podcast that stimulates this part of my brain.  There are people already starting to think differently, most notably in the drug culture, but not limited to.  I find that technology also has really stimulating perspectives, getting people to think about the future and how it will be, how they can contribute to improving it.  I want to emphasize that I’m leaving the arts out of this category for a reason.  As arts are creative in nature, they’re not the goal, they’re the conduit to help us exercise this way of thinking, but not the goal.

What is the goal?  I wish I knew.  I can only answer this in retrospect… The goal is not to imprison people to a desk or job for a now growing 9, 10, 11, 12 (and on) hour work day.  This has to change for optimal human performance.  I may not have the answer to solve this modern day riddle, but I can tell you that every day I work toward solving this riddle.  I work towards creating strengths in my overall life, developing resilience to whether whatever storm comes next.  Patiently (kind of, patience is part of my daily practice), silently watching and waiting.

I’m not sure where we will all end up.  There’s part of me that’s terrified at the level of output necessary to be successful in society right now.  The level of detail required has seemingly multiplied ten times, humans are naturally flawed, yet there’s no room for flaws right now.  Suck it up, make it happen, fall apart if you have to, just make it happen.  Chewed up and spit out.  Our brains have not been taught how to handle this level of output, the plasticity of creativity is needed now more than ever, yet we think in black and white, because we’ve only been trained to look in retrospect… this is the thought casts we’re stuck in.  Looking back to move forward.

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Workplace Archetypes

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Workplace Archetypes

I’ve been sitting on this gem for a while… I did this one day as a sort of therapeutic exercise.  It still makes me laugh every time I ready it.  Enjoy!  Disclaimer:  If you’re not laughing, well…

Workplace Archetypes

  1. The Anchor
    1. Thinks holding paperwork hostage is an effective strategy for negotiation
    2. Waits to get their paperwork done until a week before closing
    3. Nitpicks details within the contracts to stall for time
    4. Says that something didn’t get done/ordered because you never provided them with needed information; yet they never mention it prior to you asking for an update – They’re always using other people as their reminding system
  2. The Alarmist
    1. Anytime a change occurs, or a step in the process has been met, it MUST get done IMMEDIATELY!! Go go go, now now now
    2. Often sends you a form that they have to reiterate ten times because they’re going too fast
    3. Sends 20 emails a day; most of which repeat the same information
  3. The Aloof
    1. Sends you paperwork you already have
    2. Say’s they sent you something; but they never did
    3. Forgets to send you copies of the paperwork
    4. Doesn’t sign their own paperwork
    5. Often sends you paperwork that isn’t fully executed
    6. Sends you something you don’t need; trying to satisfy an outstanding item
    7. Is constantly asking for paperwork you’ve already sent them
    8. Can never find your email
  4. The Apparition
    1. Someone you see only pop up intermittently during the transaction
    2. They disappear thinking that everything will get done in their absence
  5. The Active
    1. Has a system in place that allows for consistent and effective follow up
    2. Manages their own file and paperwork without relying on others
    3. Keeps track of the transaction timeline and responds accordingly
    4. Sends out correspondence and doesn’t expect an email back immediately (it’s email people, not a phone conversation!)

It’s not me… It’s you!

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It’s not me… It’s you!

Dear Coffee,

I don’t know where to begin, this is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time.  First I want you to know how much I love you, you’ve been in my life now for 18 years, that’s more then half my lifetime!  I write this letter because I’m afraid I can’t hangout with you anymore.  You know that I’ve been working really hard at improving my life and my health and I feel that you aren’t being very supportive of that, you keep holding me back.  Yes I know that we’ve been very active together, going on morning hikes, bike rides, long walks, jogging, etc., but I can’t stand living with the feeling you give me day after day.

I can no longer continue to live with the stress, anxiety and nervous energy you leave me with.  Somewhere along our relationship you changed.  Perhaps it was in the 90’s when you started showing up everywhere with your elaborate garnishments.  Or maybe it was when you started hanging out with Hipsters and went organic.  I fondly look back at when we started hanging out at my first job, Java 33.  I was young and you were a lot less complex, life was easy.  Remember that time at Java 33 when the old man Morano came in without any teeth!  Those were to good ol’ days.

Everyone thinks I’m crazy for leaving you.  There’s still part of me that wakes up every morning thinking about you, my head aches knowing you won’t be there.  You always made me and everyone around you feel energized and young.  I fear that our relationship has been a lie, if I knew our relationship would end up here I would have had to reconsider things a long time ago… but we were young and crazy back then.

I have no doubt that you will continue to thrive and have a long life, and I’m certain we will run into each other from time to time.  I hope the best for you.

Good Bye,

Rachel

Breaking Silence

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Breaking Silence

I like to write… and it’s for this reason I know that life thrives on cruel yet entertaining ironies.  I’m not good at spelling, grammar or giving a shit about the two, I just like writing.  It’s not that I don’t understand their value, like the infinite variables that reside in a simple sentence and how each one can completely change the meaning…  That’s pretty fucking awesome and incredibly intoxicating, but for some cruel cosmic reason, my mind cannot wrap its damn head around these formal structures and rules.  That doesn’t mean I won’t try my hardest, but you may catch a few wrong doings along the way, so here’s my upfront and formal apology.  Sorry!  I’m not perfect at writing and I’m not going to get the “formal” training to change this, so that’s all I have to say about that.

The other day I heard that to be good at writing you have to write for yourself.  Initially I thought ‘Of course!’, but then my mind really got to thinking about that concept and it kind of freaked me out.  I’m not sure I know what I like.  Over the last nine years I’ve been writing to get to know myself better, not for discovering my likes, but for the purpose of questioning them.  Have I been caught in a vacuum of ambiguity?

After letting the concept of writing for myself marinate for a couple of days, I discovered something…  I’m afraid of settling into a preference, or in other words creating a ground from which I can be set up for disappointment.  Yet this mental exercise also made me discover a truth I’ve been avoiding, which is that even the non-preference stance is still a stance, one I created as insulation to failure.  Preferences exist no matter what, and I’d much rather be the one deciding where my preferences lie verses continuing to try and convince myself that they don’t exist at all.  However, I have to look at my preferences as living organisms, in other words they must have some flexibility, to have the ability to change and evolve with circumstance.  Its like using a lighthouse as your destination, but then using the ocean swell to determine how you end up at the lighthouse.

Take writing for example… Writing to me is the destination, but what I write about needs to be organic, flowing and open to the moment.  The challenge: Is getting out of my own way.  Somehow my writing always ends up sounding more like a journal entry.  I’ve been writing in a journal consistently for the last nine years, therefore I often catch myself analyzing my thoughts verse exploring them.  I fell in love with writing because of the rawness and transparent truth that comes from it.  To me, writing is one of the best tools for self-awareness…  A quiet blank platform, that is relentlessly honest.  After all, a journal doesn’t write itself, every word that breaks the silent page is a window into your Self.

The intention of this blog is to create a platform from which I can explore to purpose of writing from a new angle.  To develop new ways to use this incredible tool for deeper and more expansive insight.  As important as it is to be able to “look” at yourself from the proverbial mirror, it’s equally important to cultivate the ability to expand your line of sight beyond yourself and see the world.  I can’t think of a better platform for this type of mental exercise then one that is connected via the world wide web, and whether it actually reaches that far or not is of no consequence, because the writing itself will still be developed as if it is!

Most importantly, I REALLY want this blog to be a home base where people come and feel connected, hopefully even understood, through this experiment of expanding our mental exploration.  I will unquestionably be covering the struggles and success of my experience in modern culture, as well as an optimistic view of the same, which I discovered as a result of extreme pessimism.  Life is hard but not without hope and I will strive to shed some much needed light on the topic!!

Enjoy the ride!

Rach