The Last Journal Entry
June 29th, 2022
I just counted: 445 public journal entries, written within 27 months.
The first entry was written on March 23rd, 2020. The last entry is being written now.
The original pretext for these journals: I was writing to myself, like Marcus Aurelius did with his famous Meditations, also known as Ta Eis Heauton, translated as "Things to One’s Self." Unlike Marcus, who had no intention to have his journals widely published, I was writing with an awareness that I would be writing in front of you.
I started these journals 12 days after the WHO gave COVID-19 pandemic status. Do you remember those days? People hoarding toilet paper, apocalypse memes spreading, the whole world feeling afraid. I know I was afraid. Writing here helped me be less so. 5 days after starting these journals this thing called The Stoa was born: an online space, initially thought of as a place for us to make sense of what was happening at the knife’s edge. I called myself a steward, chosen randomly after clicking around a thesaurus after typing "organizer."
It was a cute framing: journaling to myself like a Stoic while stewarding a place called The Stoa. My fondness for the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower influenced my journaling approach; a protagonist writing these super tender entries to someone unknown. It was thrilling, being as truthful as I could, to the point where I felt radically transparent, blurring the lines between you, me, and this primordial thing I have been referring to as "the daemon.”
Like most people, I am not afraid of the pandemic now. I am afraid of returning to some of these 445 journal entries though. I imagine some will seem authentic, with “authentic” meaning “to author one’s life,” which is what I was trying to do. Others will probably just seem pretentious, embarrassing and cringe. I am not too bothered by this, as the internet is basically one huge cringe graveyard. Whatever the aesthetic judgment of these journals will be, I did feel called to write them and now I feel called to let them go.
I paused writing this and read a bunch of past entries. They are actually not too cringe. Some are pretty good. Am I really letting this go? Yeah, I am. What did I like about reading them? Well, I could feel the flow state I got into when writing them. That was cool. I was also surprised by some of the wisdom bombs I dropped that made me think: oh shit, thanks for reminding me of that, past Peter. The thing I liked most though was the sense of innocence.
Innocence is the first word that came to mind. My inner dudebro does not like that word, probably because it does not feel manly enough for him. There is spiritual signal with that word though. I looked up the etymology and I liked this meaning: person who is innocent of sin or evil, artless or simple person. The innocence probably did not come from me, more like my words brought me to a place that felt deeply innocent.
Fuck it. I’ll just go full woo for my last entry: at my best with words wildly truthful, I broke through temporal and spatial boundaries to arrive at a primordial space that was radically pure. A space we deeply feel is home. Sure, I am being overly poetic here, so I hope my materialist friends do not crucify me in the name of science and reason, and will allow this humble steward some more woo poetics.
This is the place I was always writing towards. It is the place where I tend to find you. There is something so tender and sweet about this place. It is a place where we are still innocent. How does one get to this place? I have researched a lot of spiritual practices, and there seems to be more than one way to get here. The way I get here is to put down the most truthful word, then put down another, then another, then another… That’s it really. Also drinking too many espressos. Those help.
Something about placing a word well to meet the spirit, absent from any machinations of receiving benefit, brings me into contact with this realm. This place is a gift. Writing these journals was a gift. Your being here is as well. I am going to miss this. I am going to miss you. I’ll still be around though. I am getting better at arriving at this place without words, sometimes even without espressos.
The Stoa will still be here, with changes on the horizon that I will not formally announce, but slowly embody. I will still be journaling in front of others, privately though, with my spiritual friends at Collective Journaling. I may return to public journaling one day, if needed, but I am being called elsewhere now. I am curious where you are being called.
The space is opening up. Things are up for grabs, more than ever. It is not going to be easy. Well, sometimes it will be easy, but easy is not something to rely on. We are never far away from the innocence though. Find a way to remember that. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I love you, I believe in you, and honour the gift that you are.
Thank you for reading.