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April 12th, 2022
I want control. I want to control everything. I am going to stop pretending I do not want this. Indulging in this want is no good though. It just leads to a stifled life. Letting go into the is-ness of life is freeing, but indulging in that is no good either. It just becomes petty hedonism sprinkled with spiritual mumbo jumbo talk.
When I am at my most spiritual I feel like I am living an embodied paradox: I am in complete control and I have no control. Something like that. This was most potent for me when I heard the music, aka went “crazy.” Life was moving in slow-mo and I could not tell if I was completely free or completely predestined. Everything felt super meaningful though.
Why am I writing this? I am not sure. I’ll continue to write, trusting there is a reason. This kind of trust was here for me before, when this project started. Is it here now? It feels like trust is a journal entry away. I have so much trust in journaling, everything feels like a journal entry away. I know I want to be trusting and I also want to be trustworthy. Those two things seem to go together.
What I liked about writing here in the early days, aka the crazy days, was being balls-to-the-wall truthful. Or at least feeling like I was. That kind of truthfulness came online after talking with Stephen Jenkinson for the first time at the start of the pandemic. He told me something like this: a disease (or dis-ease) is spreading through the world because we are trying to control things outside of our dominion. And we are trying to control things outside of our dominion because we have stopped being truthful.
I am paraphrasing like crazy, as Stephen speaks way more beautifully than I write, but whatever he said made so much sense. Ever since reading Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton when I was a teenager, truthfulness has been a characteristic I have been cultivating, but something about the way Stephen said it - in light of everything that was happening - inspired me to live with more piercing truthfulness.
Something about saying the thing that wants to be said always feels like the good thing to say. What wants to be said now? I am not sure, but something feels like it is bursting out of me, so I am going to trust and write in a way that allows it to burst. And a gentle note to self: I do not have to send this; if it feels too vulnerable, I can just delete it.
Something feels stuck. What is it? I sense it has to do with money. I was doing taxes this weekend, and man, tax liabilities can smack as a self-employed individual. We also found out Camille was pregnant on March 21st - The Stoa’s birthday - then a week later, a miscarriage. Something was so beautiful about finding out, then heartbreaking about experiencing the bad news, especially given we were trying to have a kid for four years. The good news is that we now have greater hope we can have a child, and with this hope the money issue has become extra salient.
Between The Stoa’s Patreon and my philosophical coaching practice, we are getting by, but adding another life in the mix provokes financial anxiety. The Stoa and my coaching practice are based in the spirit of the gift economy, hence I am giving a gift with all this, and the temperamental conditions to give a gift are different than delivering something in the market economy.
Beyond Self-Discipline (BSD) is based in the market economy and when I do something in the market economy it has a “you better deliver value” quality. It is tripping me up mixing economies here. I am selling something in the market now, and the beautiful thing about The Stoa is that it never felt like I was selling something. I did not like my last entry about BSD, because I could not tell if there was genuine excitement from me, or if I am trying to leverage the goodwill from The Stoa to sell a course.
It was probably both. Is there something wrong with that? I do not know, but I guess I am uncomfortable with selling. Maybe there is something pure about me being uncomfortable, but maybe there are some “I am afraid to make money” shadows. I am second-guessing myself here: is this the wise thing to write in front of others if I want to make money as an entrepreneur, to deliver and receive “value,” and support a family?
Truthfulness and selling, an odd mix. Can they co-exist? I need a perspective shift. Do you have one? I imagine there is some existential boundary work needed. Selling is tethered to bullshit energy for me though. Fuck. Has all my focus on being truthful made me incompatible with being successful in the world? That would suck. Reflecting back on my time working in the public and private sector, I do not think I was a good employee because I was never in the selling game. I was repelled by anything stinking of bullshit, and I was that weird truthful guy who liked to say uncomfortable things.
Am I being too precious here? Everything feels precarious about my gift economy projects. These journals, the events, my coaching, the je ne sais quoi that many tell me they feel about The Stoa - it is all reliant on me tapping into a certain energy I label daemonic. Being plugged into a daemonic energy seems to be dependent on me being truthful. If this energy dries up, then that’s it, I am done. It usually dries up when I am in fear, and the fear is often connected to money.
When in fear I instrumentalize my word towards seeking a guarantee. I want control. That is not how one goes about being truthful. Or at least that is not how I go about being truthful. Should I even send this? It did feel good being messily truthful. No obvious answers arrived, but I feel more connected to a daemonic energy that feels nourishing.
I am oscillating between the controlling way versus the truthful way. I am fluttering between the two states right now. When in the former, I feel angry. And sad. Overwhelmed really. The truthful way does bring more joy. I want joy. Can I live in joy? Or am I predestined to only get glimpses of it? I am going to stay in the in-between for now, answerless, trusting there was a reason for being messily truthful in front of you.
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