11/17/2020

I started writing today…

…not just in a notebook, but here, in my text editor1, and I had to stop. Because it was garbage. I’m not one to shy away from the SFD (generally), but this was particularly bad (though the idea is still one that I want to continue to explore). So I stopped. I stopped and I started again.

In the men’s group that I facilitate, we had a conversation about this last week — about starting over. Again and again. At every moment, even. We can always start over.

No matter how shitty that draft is.


  1. Is it breaking the fourth wall to point to the tool with which we write? Me? I used Drafts.

11/16/2020

As intended

Well, things didn’t quite go the way I had intended them to this morning. So, I didn’t get in the writing practice that I’d hoped. That doesn’t mean that I can’t write — for the first time in a while — here. Of course, normally I would have done this earlier today. I guess you could say that the afternoon didn’t go the way I’d intended. I’m okay with that. The important thing, they tell me, is being here, at the keyboard, making, as Merlin Mann might say, the clicking sound.

I’m committing myself more to some practices, which means that my mornings have a bit less space in them than I might prefer1. But the practices — meditation, and the stretching of my body — are important to me. They are shifting things, making things more doable. And, hey, who couldn’t use a bit more doable’ in these pandemic times?

So things don’t go the way we intend. Like, for example, 2020. It sucks. It can feel like we’ve failed at something. Sometimes we have (for the record, we haven’t failed at 2020. Well, I suppose some folks have2). But usually that’s not the case. So we move on. Into, for example, 2021. It’s coming.

Let’s take a breath together.


  1. They have less space in them than I might prefer also because of my dog. It’s less than ideal, but I really wouldn’t change it.

  2. Don’t click on that unless you want to be exposed to the tweets of the 45th President. You’ve been warned.

10/28/2020

Micro

It occurred to me the other day what my work is ultimately about. It’s a long-term culture change project using the development of micro-cultures to, well, change the world. When this landed on me I was like, wait, what?” But then it made sense. My idealism. My desire to be in spaces that are vastly different from what one typically finds in their day-to-day. My constant desire to go on retreats.

So what does it mean?

I’m sure you’ve seen the famed Margaret Mead quote:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.

It’s a good one1 that cuts right to an impeccable truth — that change happens at a small scale before it sweeps the larger whole. A question we can ask, however, is why? Why is it that it takes a small group to change the world? I think a part of the answer has to do with culture.

Culture is a big thing. It is vast and all encompassing. It seems very much beyond our own individual ability to make an impact. And perhaps it is2. But we can engage in practices that will have an impact.

I looked up the word microculture on the interwebs and found this:

microculture n.

  1. A microscopic culture of cells or organisms
  2. the culture of a small group of human beings with limited perspective

…and, well, that’s not at all what I was looking for. So I decided to change it up and call it a micro-culture. Sure, it’s the same thing if you say it out loud, but so is blue and blew.

I define micro-culture as a culture that gets created in a small group of people that is meant to give them an experience that is distinctly different from the macro- (or dominant-) culture. But there’s more. This difference is meant to lean us toward a world that holds more of the values and experiences that allow for a world of connection. This includes vulnerability, intimacy, understanding, and others.

The idea here is that culture change is possible by meeting in groups of four, five, six, eight. It’s possible because those groups aren’t simply meetings, they are culture generating initiatives. They are giving their members the opportunity to experience life a bit differently than they typically do. I hear this all the time — how the spaces that we are creating feel different, and shift people’s experience of their day-to-day lives.

We aren’t going to be able to bring these changes to the culture at large without some very significant leadership3. But if we commit to finding the spaces where it is safe to practice new ways of being, we can begin to see the tide turn. As these small groups continue to generate, they can connect. They can spread ideas to one another, and between them. And in doing so, the experiences of the many members will shift. And in doing that, the world.

Well, that’s the idea anyway. I have no idea what will become of it4. It feels like the right thing to be exploring.

So, find yourself a micro-culture to immerse in. What do you notice after?


  1. Of course, it could be updated to replace the word citizens with something like community members. That would, after all, be a bit more inclusive.

  2. Of course, if our lives take a path that brings us into large-scale leadership, then perhaps as individuals we can impact the culture. But how many of us is that really?

  3. And let’s be honest, if there’s anything we’re lacking these days, it’s leadership.

  4. Neither do you. :-)

10/9/2020

What I might have written about

When I’m quiet, that’s when the
truth emerges. A clear sky, the clouds like white
fibers.
Underneath, a little gray house,
the azaleas
red and bright pink. ~ Louise Glück

I wanted to write this whole thing about silence and quiet and how my phone is poisoning my ability to find either. And I couldn’t quite find it. The internal noise is maybe a bit too much right now.

So, instead, I’m just reflecting on the above poem, by the recent winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Congratulations, Louise. The truth of what she’s pointing to is so connected to what it is that I find myself looking for. That quiet. To be that silent.

To see the whole world, in entirety.

Going to go on a limb and cross-post this to Substack. Curious what happens. Only one way to know

10/7/2020

The conversation we’re already in

Get it right, Flynn. These words better count. They better make a difference. They better be the thing the world has been waiting for. Oh, and the next ones as well — change the world!

No pressure there.

I have to remind myself every day that I’m on a step-by-step journey. That we all are. Anything we do will have the impact it has. That’s about it. Sometimes that impact is a big impact. Sometimes it’s nil as they say in places that use the term nil’. No way to know before hand1.

My friend and teacher Jesse used to say that everything we do is a question we ask of the world. And everything that happens after is a response. In this way, we are in a conversation with all of existence. Is this any different? Could it be?

Engaging in the conversation is what matters. Of course, the conversation has to be two way to be useful. And if not useful, than at least interesting. Hell if it can’t at least be interesting, then let’s move on. We all have Instagram to check.

So, let’s make it two way. Care to try?

Going to go on a limb and cross-post this to Substack. Curious what happens. Only one way to know


  1. Sure. There are times you can know. But let’s be honest, they’re rare, right? That’s what I thought.

9/22/2020

Cycles

This morning I found myself reflecting on a reality that I’ve been wanting to deny: fall is here. That means darker, shorter days. It means wetter days. It means colder days. I’ve long said that one of my favorite days of the year is the winter solstice, because starting that day, each day gets a little bit longer. But the fall, well I’ve always thought of it as a season to just get through.

Part of what I’ve been reflecting on is how, if anything, this desire to get through’ a full 25% of the year is a symptom of my disconnection from the natural cycles of things. Everything moves in cycles. At least, everything that naturally occurs within the world. The seasons are maybe some of the most tangible cycles that we can experience, so it would make sense that they might be a place to notice where we are out of sync.

And why wouldn’t we be? We’ve built a world that is all about being out of sync. Indeed, it’s a world that promises to sell you back the experience of being in sync1. I could write on and on about this, but don’t have time before dinner.

I think my point here is that the seasons can be a finger pointing at a greater truth: being in sync with the natural rhythms of the world is life-giving. And so what does this say about my (our) relationship with life? What might we do differently? How might we begin to adjust this relationship?

To start, I’m going to take a breath and try to appreciate this fall. Not try to get through it; to experience it.

With gratitude.


  1. N’Sync. Lol.