confronting & forgiving the people who instilled fear in my heart

I’m back in the bay area for the first time in awhile

this has involved seeing some folks that I haven’t seen in a long time (4-6 years)

in a few cases, these were people that I was quite close to years ago (more like 7-8 years)

well, when I say close, I don’t necessarily mean emotionally close. but we had conversations, worked on projects together, and talked about important things

important things like the end of the world

important things like what we were supposed to do about the end of the world, and how to think about the end of the world, and how we were supposed to feel very scared and very determined to do something about it

and there were two people who, in order to be honest in encountering them again, I had to acknowledge that we had some reconciliation to do. it was scary but utterly necessary to say. any change of heart unacknowledged produces subtle weirdness. distrust unacknowledged makes it harder to get shared reality

as I wrote in 2021: Catching my Breath, I’ve done a bunch of healing over the past years about ways in which I was applying a kind of pressure on myself that made it hard to rest. physiologically I had a sense that there was something not right, something I needed to fix, something not okay about the world.

and I feel like my internal pressure has largely eased off. not that there isn’t more to untangle—I’m sure there is—but overall it feels quite integrated

thus in encountering these old acquaintances, I didn’t have a sense of needing something from them, for my own wholeness. but I needed to have a conversation about it in order to for the two of us to have wholeness, and by extension, for the larger community we’re part of to have wholeness.

I’ve been practicing confronting people, to acknowledge past boundaries crossed, even when there’s nothing to be done about it at this point. It’s really profound, just to have my anger heard and received—to have the loop closed. something laid to rest. I did a bit of that with my parents last fall.

1…

in the first case, you arrive midafternoon, and you see me in the co-what-now corner and come over to talk. you start to just dive in with me about something interesting and timely and quite personal, and I’m finding myself needing to just slow down and acknowledge the tension from years past. you seem disappointed locally by the interruption, but overall appreciative that I’m naming it, and unsurprised to hear that it’s there. we agree to talk about it later. you ask if it’s okay that I don’t trust you, observing that in some sense it seems it might not be, and I say I’ll ponder that. I muse to myself that maybe there’s something in you that feels not okay with it, that is splitting and afraid of being tarred as plain bad.

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art is choosing what to breathe life into

note to self: art is choosing what to breathe life into

a whiteboard with some sketches, including the phrases 'I am free to be decisive insofar as I am willing and able to listen', 'what matteringness is...', 'art is choosing what to breathe life into', and a big 'THIS' and 'NOT THIS'. an egg is depicted being fertilized by a sperm, who calls to the other sperm behind him 'I win! I'm sure yours would have been beautiful.'

art is choosing what to breathe life into

this?

not this

this? not this. not this. this?

this.

this!

sometimes I get stuck because I have more urges than I know how to handle

“I want to write”

“no I want to take a shower”

“but before I take a shower I want to work out”

“but I’m still partway through writing”

“wait but I’m kinda hungry”

“wait no but I don’t want to eat if I’m about to work out”

…and on. and on.

so many urges. so many things to take care of. I can’t do all of them, not all at once. I can maybe take care of all of them eventually… but by then there will be more.

I can probably take care of what needs taking care of eventually, on some level of abstraction, somewhere up in my perceptual control hierarchy

even thinking a thought is sort of an urge

hi urge

you’re tryna take care of something

these urges are helpful

while it may be challenging when they’re all tugging in different directions

…these urges are all really helpful

honestly, they’re kinda… made of helpfulness

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A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm developing scalable solutions to fractal coordination challenges (between parts of people as well as between people) based on non-naive trust and intentionality. More about me.

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