thinking to embrace the long winter

November 17, 2019
Sometime this fall -- using a combination of Stoicism, stubbornness, and a sort of magical thinking that Jason-in-his-30s would have dismissed as woo-woo bullshit -- I decided that because I live in Vermont, there is nothing I can do about it being winter, so it was unhelpful for me to be upset about it. I stopped complaining about it getting cold and dark, I stopped dreading the arrival of snow.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the potential and limitations of just willing changes in one's own mind to make them happen.

I feel over the past few weeks I've been doing a solid job of pruning some of my weird little angst-y habits, and generally living a positive sense of Andy Warhol's "So What" - a deep acceptance of things as they are, and not as I'd prefer them to be.

(It is helped immensely by a looming backdrop of "LOL Nothing Matters". Like, it's all the heat death of the end of the Universe at the end of the universe anyway, so why get worked up about much along the way - why run, you'll just die tired. But it also works on smaller lifespans... I get anxious about something going poorly for a band I'm in and love. It's probably not the end of the band! But even if it is, that's ok too.)

Sometimes I wonder if the kind of mindset-driven change Kottke references (linking to several other great pieces) can go anywhere... for instance, I feel like I (perhaps) live out a Buddhist-ish principle of my "self" not really mattering that much, to the point of seeing it as being illusory - but if I'm there, or anywhere near there, it's not thanks to the kind of intense meditation that marks the path for so many people. Have I found a shortcut (albeit one that mostly works for people who have a lifetime of stressing the importance of groups and rational interpretation over personal preference) or am I just fooling myself?

I hear about people who have either radical outlook changes or major behavior improvements (like, completely giving up smoking) thanks to LSD. And what I've heard is, it's not like the one time use of the drug banged out a new permanent pathway at the neurochemical level - instead, there was a moment of insight at the memetic level; a thought, an idea... maybe one devilishly hard to express to others through words, but still, something that lives and makes changes at level of thought and interpretation.

Really brings you to the woo-woo of "words have great power", eh?

(There is one dark side to this: people who ARE able to reshape their outlooks through some kind of force of will still need to have sympathy and empathy for folks who for whatever reason can't use that same approach. Yelling "snap out of it!" at someone is not great or loving therapy.)
It takes a snowflake two hours to fall from cloud to earth. Can't you just see its slow, peaceful descent?
By synchronicity I also saw my first flakes of snow today, so I'm busting out this quote I've been saving...