Jacob and Judy record their first episode of this podcast. We pull the Ace of Water: Going with the Flow from the Zen Tarot Card deck. We talked about using Tarot style cards in individual mental health services, along with her use of EMDR with clients who have a history of trauma.
Pixar’s 2020 Soul (Wikipedia Article or Pixar Article is a great movie that offers a fascinating picture of the flow state and obsession that can happen. I have for many years been in love with Pixar like so many people. Before subscribing to Disney Plus, which is a great value, I purchased most of them on iTunes. One of the things I appreciate, other than being able to watch them with my kids, is how they push the boundaries and offer new ways of imagining the world and concepts we have.
Soul reminded me Inside Out in that it pushes the theories of how our minds work to a manner of portraying it that is novel and elegant. I would propose that the format of animation affords Pixar to make these boundary-pushing visions. Soul dives into many aspects of what makes us people, our personality, the things that spark us, and does a similar job to Inside Out.
One of Soul’s visual representations is being in a flow state along with their theorized opposit of obsession and disconnection. Near The Great Before is a place that people go when they get the zone. Twenty-two, an ancient soul who had never been human before, described this area as “the space between the physical and spiritual.”
Buddhists have described this zone as Samadhi. In Nachmanovitch’s (2014), he explains that when somebody is in a selfless state and absorbed with absolute concentration. This Samadhi is about disappearing into the work and creation that we are doing. If you are interested in more about Free Play, you can read my short essay Free Play: Some Standouts of Nachmanovitch’s Book.
In the movie, Moonwind a devoted sign twirler on a Manhattan describes the The Zone and Lost Souls. He goes to the mystical astral plane during the movie, where he rescues lost souls from their uninspiring stressful lives.
Moonwind You know, lost souls are not that much different from those in the zone.
Joe Gardner What?
Moonwind The zone is enjoyable, but when that joy becomes an obsession, one becomes disconnected from life.
Soul is a beautiful movie and well worth the watch for even kidless adults. The conceptualization they offer around flow and the potential obsession that can happen when fully absorbed is engaging.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology. Springer Netherlands.
Nachmanovitch, S. (2014). Free play: Improvisation in life and art. Tarcher.
The first year that you do an event or activity, even if it something that you want to do every year, you can describe that as a ritual or an annual event. It’s not until you have done it for at least two years or more that you can start to define something as a habitual observance. My personality style does not always engage with the conventional. As a young boy, I remember the value I used to place in doing something different. I would frequently make choices because I wanted to be different than everybody else.
Even now, I like to change things up in my life and “salir de la rutina.” New projects, activities, people that we know can be invigorating and feel very engaging. While that is true in my life, I (and I would argue that people in general) need to have consistencies as well. In my professional life, in talking to teachers and parents, I frequently discuss the importance of ritual and consistency. I see it in my family as well. Not only is it essential in managing the conflict that comes up (five kids, there is bound to be a lot of strife from time to time), but we have also made some of our traditions. We might change the location or activities, but there are some routines we have fallen into every year. I’m just getting back from one of my favorites (although I wrote most of this post while watching the fire die in Pacific City, I’m not finishing it up until we have been back home in the Tri-Cities). Growing together as a family is a great place that we can make traditions and rituals—the last couple of years, we have made it to the ocean at least once each year.
We stayed in a pretty decent VRBO, although they lack in amenities (who doesn’t even have salt/pepper or other basics.. as well there was some general disrepair in the home). We are just outside of Pacific City. I’m not sure if I am getting older, but I have some significant longing for the warmer oceans in Mexico and other more tropical habitats. I know as a youth loved being in any sea. I could spend all day, and I don’t think I ever thought it was cold. This year, I waded in to be close to the kids that I could go after them if needed, but the idea of swimming around in the cold water was more than I could bear. Maybe just need a wet suit.
We made the reservation for the trip back in February. It was before we had any idea what has happened with COVID-19. We tried to stay as safe as possible, using masks when around other people. We did end up at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area and hung out at the Pacific City Beach, but spent most of our beach-going time in the almost private beach in front of our home. We also went to a restaurant for the first time since the quarantine started. We worked up an appetite climbing the giant dune and looking at the breathtaking views of the ocean against rock. We ate pizza at Doryland Pizza.
Two years ago, my wife came home from work (she was working in the fields at the time, doing agricultural work). She had found a turtle crawling in a canal and brought it home in a lunch pale. We bought an aquarium, supplies, named him/her Sheldon and they become a member of the family. We decided that Sheldon would be happier free, and this video a remember and letting go of Sheldon.
I created this video, Cooperative Transformation as a part of my class at CIIS TSD’s Creativity and Personal Transformation course. The class has been a wonderful experience to have taken this semester. Not only have I been able to learn more about creativity, myself, and transformation, but it has been personally useful to me as we are going through all of the stuff regarding this pandemic.
To create the video, it was a fairly involved process. The drone footage was filmed with my DJI Spark at the Juniper Dunes Wilderness. I filmed it a couple of days ago, and was surprised that there were so many people out there riding their ATVs. I guess it just opened. I had been just driving looking for somewhere I could film at, and ended up seeing a sign and deciding I should go out there. A couple of months ago, I purchased Micro Greens and set up my laptop to connect to my GoPro and take photos two times per hour. I also bought some mushrooms and tried setting up an old iPad to do the same timelapse video for it as well, but my set up kept turning off every couple of hours, and I couldn’t get it to work. Unfortunately, I think my lighting and set up was better for the mushrooms as I was planning on that being the primary project.
The music track behind my voice is something I created. You can listen to just the song.
If you are interested, you can download the GarageBand file in a zip archive and edit yourself. I’m not super satisfied with it, but its fun to make music, and even somebody with no real talent/experience can create something that sounds decent.
The transcription of the video is here:
“There’s a loneliness that only exists in one’s mind. The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The worldwide crisis that has been caused by COVID-19 has been extremely turbulent and will continue to be disruptive. It has been a time filled with crisis and turmoil for many. It has been a challenging time for everybody, but some more than others. It is a time that we can feel very alone. As we are practicing social distancing and dealing with grief and loss, it can be isolating.
It has also been a time that is developing connection and togetherness. In this time, we must be in alliance with one another. The process of transformation is destructive. The old must leave, and a new must come. This process is challenging and requires sacrifice. I hope to impart a desire and encouragement for connection and interdependence. We must not forget about those around us who might be in need. That we must develop cooperation that can change the world, let us leave this pandemic with a greater appreciation and higher level of compassion for each other. We must become better than we were before this started.
Together we can!
You can see my set up for filming the microgreens growing.
Along with a photo of the script I wrote in the Camera Suite app on my Mac, I used to connect to my GoPro. Speaking of this, its pretty awesome software, and even though my GoPro isn’t supported and isn’t supposed to help this type of implementation, it still worked.
In needing a bit of break from more strenuous academic writing, I wanted to do a bit of creative writing activity. I have taken the 27 most recent words of the day from the Look Up. Look Up is an app on iOS and Mac. At least each new sentence has one of the words from the last almost month. Also, note that I took these words in order and have kept them that way. I hope that some of this makes you guffaw.
In these perilous times, during this pandemic, I want to repudiate Donald Trump for how he and some others are managing the crisis. COVID-19 has hit us like a tempest and it is effecting everyone around the world. Trump tends to bloviate frequently, and I can’t watch the daily briefings anymore. Even when he has outright lied, he pretends to be unerring.
If you aren’t already practicing social distancing, you need to make a cessation of going out and being around people as much as possible. I know the days are beautiful, perhaps with a zephyr. To flatten the curve and make it through this, we all need to be percipient. These actions do require an exaction, but it is worth it. The price is the only way that we can rescind all of the potential future pain. By making large and small sacrifices together, we will overcome by accretition positive decision by positive decision. I encourage you recognize the hard road ahead, and in the face of the dangers be phlegmatic but with our loved ones don’t be afraid to share your feelings.
This post might find you, eating your repast alone, but know that we are in this together. It is time for a generation of stentors to rise up and speak to power and support each other. Our world is in a precarious place. I don’t think I can wax panegyric enough to all of the health care heroes. If I could daub all of you a thick coat of my care and appreciation, I would. You go and save lives and watch as people die as you put yourself in quotidian dangers. Many of you work until you are ruddy in the face. You will keep working until we get this crisis to a place of stasis.
When we are through with this crisis, we will come back to a place of concinnity. People will go back to putting ovoid shapes in dogs’ mouths on Tic Tok. I will continue working to become erudite as I study for my Ph.D. I’m sure there will still be fractious political difficulties. But my evocative wish is that we can come together. We don’t have to frolic together in the spume like a corny love story. But… we should be able to agree that we are all in this world together, and just like we all need potable water, we need to be support each other.
When that happens, just like the pangram says, I will ‘pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,’ so I can continue my jaunt to find a better world.
I’m currently enrolled in the California Institutes Integral Studies Ph.D. Program for Transformative Studies. It has been an incredible program so far, but it is a ton of reading and writing and requires that I stay organized with all of my sources. I’ve gone through a bit of quest looking at various reference software, including Mendeley, EndNote, ReadCube Papers, and ended sticking with Zotero. While as the software, it is not near perfect, it allows me to do most of my work from my iPad and integrate Siri Shortcuts and my writing process.
Montuori (2013) talking about the complexity of a transdisciplinary literature review describes four dimensions that a scholar should consider.
inquiry-based rather than discipline-based;
integrating rather than eliminating the inquirer from the inquiry;
meta-paradigmatic rather than intra-paradigmatic;
applying systems and complex thought rather than reductive/disjunctive thinking
I wanted to share some of how I am using Zotero to keep track of all of the research sources I am coming across.
First I do almost all of my writing in Drafts. I have a couple of academic tools. I have a CIIS writing actions tab in Drafts. Most of them are pretty basic, but can be useful. I have three different ones to copy HTML depending on what I am writing. When I am writing a paper I start all of them with metadata such as
I create all of this with a Siri Shortcut - CIIS New Writing which you can add if want to see how I set it up. It fills in the information for me so I don’t have to. The first two lines are how I save my text file to my OneDrive account later. The first line becomes the title of the document and second line is the name of the folder it is saved in for my OneDrive. When I do this more formal writing and want to copy it to Canvas to post it, Drafts converts it to HTML skips the first two lines and the metadata is converted to HTML metadata which isn’t shown in my post because I write it in YAML format.
My Drafts Action - View APA Paper HTML Preview. Basically it is print action that skips the first two lines of the draft. The CSS is set up to help show how many pages have been written in an academic paper written in Drafts. It is set up as double spaced text, with APA style headings.
Another Siri Shortcut that I just finished making Add Reference List Entry. It lets you search for articles within your Zotero account. You will have to set up an API key and get your Zotero user code.
Montuori, Alfonso. (2013c). The Complexity of Transdisciplinary Literature Reviews. An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 10(1), 45–55. https://doi.org/10.29173/cmplct20399
With the quarantine and everything going on, it seemed like a good idea to do a fun activity and get our mind off of everything for a while.
We made a stop motion video by taking photos with my GoPro and processing them through Stop Motion Pro App. It was pretty easy to do and fun to go through and plan, set up, and implement. The final product turned out great as well.
The music is included in the app and called Mister Exposition.
We also built a fort in the back yard. It was fun to put together. You can see a time lapse video and some photos.