Stealing the Culture with Dialogos: Being a Man W/ Jack Donovan, Ole Bjerg, Cadell Last, and Nina Power. April 13th @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event.
Newly posted events:
Collective Presencing W/ Ria Baeck. Every Tuesday @ 3:00 AM ET. RSVP here. 90 mins. Starts on April 20th.
Speak Only if It Will Improve Upon the Silence W/ Peter Limberg and A.J. Bond. April 15th @ 7:00 PM ET. Clubhouse event. 60 mins.
Family Constellations: A Taste w/ Ole Bjerg. May 2nd @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event.
Stewards on Stewardship w/ Luea Ritter and Nancy Zamierowski. May 12th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here.
Writing Meditation w/ Adam Robbert and Peter Limberg. May 13th @ 12:00 PM ET. Patreon event.
Self & Unself: A Conversation W/ Darren Allen. June 19th @ 12:00 PM ET. RSVP here. 120 mins.
An event to get excited about:
Lost Will: Reclaiming the Wild Voice of the Soul W/ Rebecca Altman. April 15th @ 6:00 PM ET. RSVP here. 60 mins.
Herbalist and healer, Rebecca Altman, visits The Stoa this Thursday to discuss getting into the right relationship with the lost will. Rebecca teaches the Wonder Sessions, in which a few Stoans are participants. We are going to be inviting more spiritual guides to The Stoa, so existentially buckle up for some spiritual goodness.
April 12th, 2021
I have been intentional in designing my days since getting back from my road trip. Wisely designing one’s day, which can afford a daily rhythm, is totally what the self-help folks call a “keystone habit.” This is the term coined by Charles Duhigg from the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Charles describes a keystone habit as a habit that can cause “chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.”
On Sundays I have started doing scheduling for the week ahead. Getting better at the art of day designing is super critical, as this really is the thing that allows all other habits to exist. There are so many attentional black holes out there, especially on the bardo that is the internet, and day designing, to use a military defence metaphor, is like “perimeter defence” for your mind.
You've got to have your attentional perimeter well protected against what Tim Wu calls the attention merchants, which are those who are really good at getting inside our collective heads. These harvesters of attention have myopic aims that are not in service towards you, me, or us. They are definitely not in service towards us having a heavenly life.
Perhaps this thing can be bifurcated into two components: schedule designing and schedule enacting, which both seem like distinct skills. I sense most people, myself included, put too much attention on the latter skill. I often design a schedule that feels good, then try to will it into existence. When it does not work, I blame the will, and not the design, which is a mistake.
Way more thought and effort needs to go into the designing, and this includes obvious shit like ...
Are breaks scheduled?
Are eating times scheduled?
Are there buffer times scheduled?
Do you have leisure time scheduled?
Being cognizant of “task demands” is also important, e.g. how difficult each task is and in what way. This information is needed to schedule things in a wise order. Doing an intense workout followed by some intense reading, which requires lots of “cognitive load,” is probably not the wisest way to design your day, despite the activities having different functions.
A part of me feels lame getting excited about this, but I am getting excited about this, as this could be a great course that comes from The Stoa. I am thinking of doing courses here now. The timing feels right, and they would be a good source to wisely fund the 4th attractor of The Stoa: the philosophical coffee shop.
I do not like the word “course” though, as that word can promise too much. I like the thought of calling it “Stoa Experiences,” which is an experience that may afford new capacities, but it is really about creating a beautiful experience, and beautiful experiences are usually transformational experiences.
The Maybe the End of The Stoa Party partly inspired this thought. It was a two-hour experience that I designed to be beautiful, and it was. It was designed to be art, or to use the term I really like: it was designed to be a lifework.
I am imagining a 1-2 month experience that does not promise any “learning objectives,” but puts the cohort collectively on an existential ride towards something beautiful. This beautiful adventure will be bound by an attractor, and this attractor could be something simple like day designing.
I am in conversation with a few people about creating Stoa Experiences, such as Andrew Taggart and Bonnitta Roy, but I do think to keep this authentically aligned with the daemon, it would be good to have Stoa Experiences preceded by Stoa Explorations.
Basically those would be a good-faith exploration on an attractor, from myself and other Stoans who resonate with the attractor, to investigate it by reading books and articles on the subject, experimenting with practices, and leveraging The Stoa YouTube channel as an R&D research lab, where we interview experts on the attractor. The cool thing about this place is that we pretty much can get anybody now, given all the spiritual clout chasing I was doing during year one.
To softly workshop a Stoa Exploration for the “day designing” attractor now, we could read self-help books such as The Miracle Morning, The 5 AM Club, Digital Minimalism, and Daily Rituals. We could investigate disciplines such as design thinking and human factors. We could interview people like Jaron Lanier and Tristan Harris, and especially lean on the tactical suggestions of the latter’s Center for Humane Technology, which has a really good section for attentional tactics on their website.
We can get super nuanced about this stuff. We can learn about things such as the “zombie scrolling syndrome,” which is the chronic problem of endlessly scrolling through social media feeds, and “precrastination,” which is David Rosenbaum’s term to describe the opposite of procrastination: foolishly jumping into a task without proper consideration.
We can look into best practices for sleep curfews and digital detoxing, how to timeblock, habit stack and get small wins. Perhaps experiment with simple yet powerful habits from others, such as B.J. Fogg’s recommendation of the “Maui Habit,” which is jumping out of bed and saying “It’s going to be a great day,” while saying it like you really mean it.
The attractor of day design does not do all of this justice though, and it also needs a Stoic (or Stoan) spin. Euthymia is the thing that comes up for me here. In his essay on tranquility, Seneca describes euthymia as being on the right path:
Believing in yourself and trusting that you are on the right path, and not being in doubt by following the myriad footpaths of those wandering in every direction.
Euthymia is being in the right relationship with thumos, which is one of nature's wilder drugs, and perhaps all the tactical considerations of day designing and defending against the attention merchants is really in service towards cultivating this thumos-fueled trust that we are on the right path.
I long to journal here more, as it allows my mind to wander in the daemonic possibility space. Unfortunately my design for this week only affords one spot for journaling: today. Maybe I will sneak in another this week, but my intention for the upcoming weeks and months is to get back my journaling time, which I view as sacred time, as a sense of timelessness does emerge when I journal.
I am not attached to doing anything I've written here, but having a Stoa Exploration on euthymia or some other attractor, followed by a Stoa Experience offering something that is beautifully transformative, would be pretty fucking awesome. I require sacred journalling time to explore all of this.
I also get tickled by the thought of continuing to journal in a transparent way, throughout the joys and struggles of whatever this Stoa thing becomes: explorations, experiences, or philosophical coffee shops.
My time for writing today is limited now, so now is a good time to release this state of timelessness.
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