Revelling in the Sublime-Mundane
Contemplations amidst quiescence.
Hello friends, and hearty solstice times to you. ｡◕‿◕｡
I had such Hopes & Dreams for this particular solstice. Back in January we had planned to host an actual winter retreat for The Mythical Coterie of the Fox + friends (with a bonfire, whisky, a telescope, long walks amidst the morning fog, and more)—but covid-19 put a halt to much of the magic we were gathering. Then I thought to do something super special with The Ritual of Becoming but, well: I’ve been feeling rather ‘down’ the past few weeks, and have only just somewhat rallied again in the past few days. The sadness is still there of course, but these melancholic humours have been balanced by a more, uh, ‘phlegmatic’ temperament.
So; lo!—things are looking a little brighter, this side of the solstice. (At least, for those of us in the southern hemisphere 🧡).
Midwinter’s Eve was a quiet one for Kim and I. A pleasant kind of quiescence: books, late night tales on vinyl, a dozing cat, a pot of tea and a sneaky warm jam donut or seven. And now as I write to you there’s a crisp winter stillness to the air.
Today I did what I generally try (but mostly fail) to do each winter solstice: set the torch to the things that no longer serve, so as to clear the way for that which might emerge.
Fun fact! Exactly One Year Ago To The Day (+1) I shared a museletter titled ‘Immolation, Desecration & Foolishness—How to Unlock ‘The Next Chapter of Your Life’. 🔥I only just realised this right now. It was previously only accessible to the Coterie but I have unlocked it for you. The three elements—IMMOLATE THE EXTRANEOUS, DESECRATE THE PAST, FILL THE VOID—still hold ~true-ish (though I would reframe it a little kinder and perhaps less dramatically).
Here’s a choice quote:
This impending mid-year solstice, therefore, can serve as an inflection point. The parabola to your parable, as it were…
I shall continue this work. And maybe there are some things you can retire or immolate in your life, too? The energy you free up can thusly be applied in the pursuit of ‘meaningful progress’ <— whatever that may come to mean for you, now. And to my northern hemisphere friends experiencing midsummer solstice, I daresay now is the time to celebrate community (amongst other things).
RELATED IRRELEVANCE ~(˘▾˘~)
I recorded a short solipsistic audio-letter for my ‘podcast’ yesterday. It was going to be my swan song for the podcast, before I toss it in the fire. Heavens, I am so close to deleting the podcast. So close. It feels like having an open shop wherein people can purchase jars of your produce that are well past their best-before date—but no one knows it but you (and besides: they’re free). And then they consume it and compliment you on it and you don’t know how to tell them that some of the ideas they so relish have long since expired. What to do?
I’ll hold onto it all for now until I can figure a way to retire or suspend it gracefully. Or perhaps the better thing to do is not mention it? To ghost on my own podcast? Tempting!
SPEAKING OF PODCASTS \ (•◡•) /
About 3 weeks ago—before the systemic inequality and pervasive extreme injustice and pain of our world system was deservedly brought into ever more acute salience (reminding me yet again of the meta-crisis and this Ruinous Path we are collectively living into with perverse fervour and haste)—I had a wondrous conversation with Mikey Ellis on his podcast: A Satisfied Mind.
Have a listen to our conversation. Mikey is a warm and abundant host who brought the kind of curiosity, perspicacity and warm alacrity that allowed us to have a meandering divergent-yet-emergent conversation-at-depth. I love this guy and loved this conversation—and you might too.
INFORMATION OVERLOAD? (ʘᗩʘ')
I was recently invited to contribute to Jon Bell’s Megaphone Cyclone Interview series on information overload. The previous interviewees each presented wondrous insights (the type of insights usually only found deep inside books or longform podcasts). And then I came along.
Here’s my piece, wherein in I flex ‘trickster’ perhaps a little too much. Maybe.
I have since been subsuming more of the previous interviewee’s thoughts. Particularly on William’s notion of ‘discipline’—a word I am typically allergic to and so didn’t read properly until after answering the questions. And, well: I’ve read it a second time and it’s helping me sense a new Way to approach the way I work. 🧡 It’s been a while since I have Perceived a new Way amidst the paths betwixt. I will write this up and share it with you in the next museletter after I experiment a little, as it may be of use to you, too.
THE RITUAL OF BECOMING (▰˘◡˘▰)
In case you missed my announcement, I am moving The Ritual of Becoming over to a new platform (and updating it as I go). I am also making it 100% free whilst I do so. Then, once the ~70 video lessons are transferred (with new notes, captions and journalling provocations), I shall return to writing what may be ~The Character Handbook~ (a ‘post-authentic’ guide to roleplaying life). But more on that later.
In the meantime, here’s a list of video lessons that have been updated thus far (each one gorgeously hand-illustrated by the dangerlam).
0.1 ~ A Quest Beckons ∆
0.2 ~ Pick a Path—3 hours, 3 days, 3 weeks ∆
0.3 ~ Bonini’s Paradox and Useful Delusions ‡
0.4 ~ Why Midlife Crises are happening Sooner and More Often ‡
1.1 ~ The Book of You—your unfurling story ∆
1.2 ~ The Book of You—an extended activity ◊
1.3 ~ A Non-Narrative Approach to Life ‡
1.4 ~ The Chart of You ∆
1.5 ~ Patterns of Incongruence ‡
1.6 ~ Finding Your Fulfilment Factors ∆
Sign up for free if you’d like to be kept in the loop.
METAMODERN WIZARD FOR HIRE
I’ve been working with savvy executives in good companies as a thinking partner, helping them navigate the complexity and transformative ambiguity of “These Times” with sensibility, savvy and aplomb. If ever there was a time to lead a quest and venture beyond the default (and even beyond this supposed ‘new normal’)—it’s surely now.
In the past month I’ve also worked with a couple of executive teams to co-create and co-facilitate their next strategy/leadership offsite online. This has, in many ways, proven to be better than the ‘real thing’.
I’ve also been providing ‘Deep & Meaningful’ interactive presentations to distributed audiences around the world. I’m finding the format utterly refreshing—there’s a level of intimacy and direct connection with the audience that’s so much more effective than the ‘5 minutes of Q&A’ typically afforded at the end of an in-person keynote.
Anyhoo I am booked up for most of July and August but if you’re thinking ahead to September and beyond, reply to this email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s see what we can do.
COMPLEXITY IS NOT ‘THE ENEMY’
I recently did my monthly check-in to that horridly banal social media platform wherein people pretend to be expert narcissistic simpletons and sycophants who sermon and preach away at each other as part of a grand pantomime circle jerk that perpetuates super dud high-Modernist status-quo business memes like Sir Richard Branson’s confounding incoherence: “Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simple.” I couldn’t help but reply:
Complexity is not ‘the enemy’. And ‘complex’ ≠ ‘complicated’. It’s these kinds of memes that keep us dumb.
* And not so that we can find the simplicity on ‘the other side’; there is no other side.
The championing of simplistic solutions and naïve interventionism to complex challenges is something that flares my allergies, Big Time. I’ve already done a private jolly-rant about this with the Coterie, and its something that comes up semi-regularly in our Wizard Tower (and garden). (The main perk of becoming a supporter-subscriber and joining The Mythical Coterie of the Fox 🦊). Resist reduction.
BLACK AND BLAK LIVES MATTER
Always have and always will—though most of us are complicit in a system that perpetuates worlds of suffering whilst pretending this is not the case. And before you say it—of course ‘all lives’ matter, you dolt. No one is saying otherwise.* But Black and Blak lives are and have been hurting for far too long, and this demands our attention now (and ongoingly).
* Besides, saying ‘all lives matter’ is the equivelant to saying ‘everything is a priority’ at a strategy offsite—which is effectively the same as saying nothing is a distinct priority, which effectively means nothing changes.
I have felt super down and paralysed about this these past few weeks, though. Kim and I have attended the rallies, made donations (._.) and so on—but it always feels like I am not doing enough (and that anything I do is suspect). And that I keep making mistakes. I did the whole black square social media thing, as a minor example, thinking that it was a demonstration of solidarity. Turned out not to be the case.
But! This is the messiness of transformation and change, which is part of the inherent wickedness of a complexity. It’s all part of the listening and learning required of us.
Systemic inequality, the global health crisis, the mental health crisis, the meaning crisis, the climate crisis—these are all interconnected. Which is why it is often easier and more accurate to simply call it the meta-crisis—but sometimes it is useful and appropriate to hone in on particular elements, so that they aren’t lost amidst it all.
There is no singular neat or ‘right’ way to do this—all we can hope is that, somehow, our stumbling actions might contribute to a world more curious and kind. Our emancipation: entangled.
“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”
— Lilla Watson, Aboriginal elder, activist and educator
This also calls for us to play a variety of Roles. A friend recently shared this post with me, and it was incredibly heartening. Not all of us are able to participate at the frontline—but we all have our roles to play.
I shall end this museletter with a quote from Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save The World. I haven’t felt this moved or enlivened by a book since The Listening Society. It’s refactoring my perception, and awakening things in me which I didn’t even know were lying dormant. Tyson Yunkaporta guides us through multidimensional complexity like no other. This is a must-read.
“There is a pattern to the universe and everything in it, and there are knowledge systems and traditions that follow this pattern to maintain balance, to keep the temptations of narcissism in check. But recent traditions have emerged that break down creation systems like a virus, infecting complex patterns with artificial simplicity, exercising a civilising control over what some see as chaos. The Sumerians started it. The Romans perfected it. The Anglosphere inherited it. The world is now mired in it.
The war between good and evil is in reality an imposition of stupidity and simplicity over wisdom and complexity.”