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This was an interesting week in that not a lot of “big” things happened. But a lot of what did happen is going to end up paying off in the week(s) to come. And it reminds me to appreciate not just the bigger “happenings” themselves, but the journey too, of course. Something you might put a lot of time into over a period of weeks (or even months, years, etc.), can end up “happening” on just a single day (like a fun day out with friends, or a wedding in a more dramatic example), and it’s tempting to see that day as “the thing”, the moment you take note of. But really it was in progress the whole time, and that too is worth celebrating… So this was a week of progress toward good things!
That said, one of the things that I was excited about was a trip up to the Yuba with some freinds. We made plans and reservations, but ended up having to cancel last-minute due to wildfire smoke from the Dixie Fire in Northern California. Another heartbreaking (and for many people terrifying) fire season is upon us.
I don’t often talk with many specifics about my therapy or coaching work here. I try to be open about my feelings and experiences, but that stuff often feels a bit too private. But I also think there may be value in sharing a bit more at times. So, briefly, this past week I had some really interesting insights in a therapy session around some challenges I’ve had navigating the potential for physical intimacy in friendships and romances. In certain situations, or with certain people (generally when boundaries or intentions are less clear), I have had a fear of getting too close, or of something inappropriate happening, even though most of the time nothing will happen, and if something does come up I am capable of navigating it fairly well (from past experience).
What my therapist and I started to understand is that some of my childhood dynamic with my own father may have actually involved a competitive dynamic, driven by his own insecurities around sexuality, virility, infidelity, etc. And so my fears here may actually derive in part from the feeling I might be unknowingly threatening someone else important in my life, someone who might get angry about it. Of course just coming to understand these sorts of things doesn’t necessarily change one’s experience, but it can certainly help when those feelings come up!
Finding some more connection this week with the Anytype team. They’re primarily in European time zones, from London to Moscow, which is almost the worst possible for finding common time to connect. But I managed to make it to a morning meeting (at 7AM ) and it was good. The other challenge is they’re a primarily Russian-native team, so English is a second (or 3rd) language, and they understandably prefer Russian. That along with the time zones definitely makes it challenging to feel really included all the time, but it’s understandable, and a problem they’re aware of. The growing pains of remote-first startups!
I think I’ve mentioned recently, I’m listening to the audio book version of How Emotions Are Made, which I previously read on paper. I liked it a lot the first time, which is why I’m now reviewing the material, and I’m finding it helpful actually. One of the things I enjoyed about the previous book was that it actually included useful, practical ideas for how to potentially improve your emotional granularity and “intelligence”, and generally make yourself a better person by expanding your “concepts”. One of the things it also reminded me of, that I started successfully putting into practice this week, is the idea of reframing our experiences, based on the reality that all experience is a form of interpretation. You can feel both a “good” kind of ache and a “bad” kind, and the physical sensations for each may be identical, but the mental concept that frames them is different and thus they “feel” different.
Anyway, I have some long-term negative associations with exercise that I’ve been trying to work through, so I started trying to reframe the previously unpleasant sensations of exercise into positive “feelings” of progress, effectiveness, capability, etc. So far the changes are small, but noticeable! I am able to push myself to do e.g. more reps of an exercise and come out of it feeling better than I did before. So here’s to more of this!
In a brief TV check-in, I recently started watching Ted Lasso with a friend, and I’m catching up to what most of the US apparently already knows: Ted Lasso is a goddamn delight. This is a really well done show, sweet, heartfelt, genuine, but not saccharine. Well acted, uplifting, but grounded. Definitely recommended unless you have a heart of stone. I’m also really enjoying digging deeper into Season 2 of The Expanse, as I think I mentioned.
Stay tuned for next week when some of the simmering this week pays off, maybe?