Category — better thinking
Hey, napping world, and other awesome people! Just letting you know that I will be at the awesometastic Penguicon again this year — it's the first weekend of May — and wow am I doing a ton of stuff this time!
The polyphasic presentations last year were standing-room-only, so they'll be back — and improved! — this year. One's a more focused presentation on napping, which I hope will be useful to both poly- and mono- folks. The other is a "Birds of a Feather" meeting for polyphasers and people interested in it: There was so much great discussion last year, I figured we could just devote a whole event to it. ;)
I'm also doing some non-polyphasic stuff, because, well, I find it all very interesting and I suggested the panels and the organizers for some reason agreed, yay! I love to blather about this stuff, so I'm sure I'll have fun, and I hope everyone else does too. Here are the official descriptions so you can judge for yourself!
Advanced Napping: In Public, At Work, Even Instead of Sleep (1 hour): "The science is pretty unanimous: Naps help improve concentration, energy, mood, and may be linked to other health and lifestyle benefits too. But how, in the real world, can you really get the naps you want? Long-term polyphasic sleeper and author PureDoxyk will give tips and answer questions about napping in public, negotiating naptime at work, prioritizing naps, and teaching yourself to fall asleep quickly and wake rested."
Polyphasic Sleep BoF (2 hours): "Have you ever tried, or wanted to try, polyphasic (nap-based) sleeping? Come to this open discussion and talk to other people — including some long-term polyphasers and the author of the book _Ubersleep_ — about your experiences, your curiosity, or your doubts."
Taiji! (1 hour): "Ever wanted to study the traditional Chinese internal martial art of Taiji (Tai Chi)? Get a taste of it here, and sample the health benefits while you're at it! This session, led by a longtime student, will cover basic movements and body alignment based on the awesome Chen and Wudang styles. Wear loose clothing and know your body, fitness & limitations — there will be opportunities for more advanced practice for those who want it."
What's the Deal with "Internal" Martial Arts? (1 hour): "You see it all the time in movies (think Kung Fu Hustle): The martial artist whose style is soft and flowy, but who somehow mysteriously is ten times more powerful than the Chuck Norris guys. What's the deal with the "internal"-power styles, like Taiji and Bagua? What's really the difference between an internal and an external martial-art, and which is really more powerful? What's the secret to the One-Inch Punch? What characters in movies, anime, and scifi are doing which styles, and how accurately? Come get your questions answered!"
- How To Hold Your Breath Until People Give You What You Want (1 hour): "Fun fact: There's a simple trick you can do to double your breath-hold almost immediately. Apnea is a fascinating study from a psychological, physical and meditative perspective — come learn about it, including trying that trick out! Marie is a licensed freediver and an underwater hockey player."
…So, yeah, that should be fun; and !@#% I have a lot of work to do! ;)
March 8, 2014 No Comments
It's good to get out of your head. And it's good for many reasons, but I want to hit on one: It's good to see that other people out there are struggling too, that everyone has a big tangly psychological story-arc; that the messy painful trickiness of having a life is happening all around you, in a hilarious diversity of permutations.
There's an old parable which goes, "A grieving woman went to a Buddha, begging for help stopping her terrible, constant pain. The Buddha agreed to make her a medicine that would fix it, and gave her a list of ingredients to gather. One of them was, 'mustard seed from a home that has never experienced a loss like yours'. The woman walked all over China, knocking on doors and asking people about their tragedies in a desperate search for a home that had never experienced one. And she was cured."
Cured because, of course, the act of seeking out the stories of others' similar experiences helped put her grief in perspective. And perspective — which is not always the same thing as distance — is a great healer. It's like a magic telescope that you can use to look at a gaping wound, turn a knob and shrink it to the size of a scrape. Honestly held up to the world, viewed in the context of what life is, our pain is both smaller and friendlier than it feels.
One of my other favorite "old parable" type things — I've probably written about it before — concerns a young pelagic wave who talks to the sun as he's moving through the vast expanse of the ocean, surrounded by other waves as they journey together. Eventually he sees that the waves ahead of him are crashing on the shore, and freaks out (rather predictably I guess…wouldn't that be like finding out that everybody explodes on the day they turn 50?).
The sun says to him, "But you're mistaken, little one. You are not a wave, and you can't be destroyed. You are the whole ocean."
You, and I, are the whole ocean. These experiences, this body, this perspective is just a wave, one of zillions that the ocean is doing.
(Tangentially, I love the Sun as a backaphor* for the Higher Power in this story: It must be really amused, from its point of view, by the shit the waves say to it. Then again, from that God's-eye view, the ocean (or the planet, or humanity, or carbon-based life) is a single creature with an incredibly diverse form of consciousness. As a unit it has known, experienced, done and felt an unimaginable variety of things, but it doesn't — I assume — integrate all of those experiences into one voice, instead preferring the authenticity of a zillion first-person points of view.)
[*backaphor, right? Because actually God is a metaphor for the sun? I kinda like the word, but maybe it's a face only a mother could love. ;)]
March 7, 2014 1 Comment
Oh my god why isn't there more art like this?? I love this.
The scrolling is just so…peaceful to me.
Yes, yes, I have That History, of tinkering for hours and watching make scroll its deliciousness and feeling that rush of pseudopower, of moving through a dimension in which I'm barely an avatar. But I think it stands as an awesome artistic element even without that — it just says so much, with so little, it reminds me of taiji.
February 25, 2014 No Comments
and other stimulants
the sensation of waking up
Coffee and smoke and other things
that have a side-effect of a feeling of aliveness
the first gasp
after minutes without air
the control that must be iron just so
it can feel amazing when it inevitably shatters
of the jaw or the eyelids or both;
pushing against the tendency to shut down
in the face of speed or height
or water or the kind of physical contact
that sets off all of those chemical fear-things
“Oh my god it’s on my face”
“oh my god it’s throwing a punch”
and my task is just to open up
to let it happen
Light in the darkness
feeling in places that are hard to reach
Soreness deep in the core-muscles
staring hard into the dark under meters and meters
and marching the paths of the subconscious
holding torches lit by will
and, yes, by logic
Laying blazes on trails
finding out that others have been here
or might be soon after
Translating from languages that only have intent in common
February 20, 2014 No Comments
There's more to it than just sharing your toys sometimes and not hitting. Being an adult friend means these things too:
- You will not hurt your friend. That means no deliberate cruelty, ever, in verbal or other form — if you lash out and try to hurt your friends, you deserve to lose them, even if you had other motives*. And if you're inadvertently cruel, which we all are sometimes, you'll apologize and make up for it — not in proportion to how much you think the thing you did should have hurt, but in proportion to how much it did hurt. COROLLARY: You will know how much it did hurt by listening to and observing your friend.
- You will be there a) when your friend desperately needs you to be (see COROLLARY) and b) when you said you would be. If you aren't there at either of those times, you will, again, apologize and make up for it. "Making up for it," by the way, means taking an active role in correcting your mistake in an appropriate way — not just saying you're sorry and then doing nothing. If you flake when a friend needed or had a right to expect you, you're responsible for offering and scheduling a good time and way to make it up to them.
- You share not just your things, but your time. You'll do things with your friend that are not just things your friend came up with or invited you to — sometimes you'll do the inviting or suggesting of a thing too. If you never have time for your friend unless "they make it happen", then you aren't being a good friend.
- You pay attention. Related to (3), if you always drop off the planet unless your friend contacts you, if you can't be bothered to occasionally call / text / ping and see how your friend is doing, or know about and be at least a little available for things like their birthday and other important days, you're not being a friend. Friends take time and effort: If you don't have this to spare, it's your job as an adult to explain to someone that you don't have the time or energy available to be their friend right now.
- You want what's best for both of you, which includes a good friendship. If all you can offer is something that isn't very healthy for your friend, then you won't offer it. You care about your friend, so you won't deliberately continue an arrangement that's obviously bad for or going to hurt either one of you — and you'll discuss what you can offer, and what you need, clearly and frequently, and tell your friend when those things change. As an adult, you'd rather be a good acquaintance than bad friend: Your friends are people you care about and want to spend time on, not just something you collect so that you can say you have a lot of them.
*hurting someone deliberately when you had other motives — i.e. making them act a certain way, or protecting yourself from some social or other thing — is called manipulation, and repeated manipulation of one person in a relationship by another is called abuse. If the pain you're inflicting is "only" emotional pain, it's called emotional abuse, and it disqualifies you from having friends just as much as the physical kind does.
February 16, 2014 1 Comment
So this just feels like it has to happen.
It's blather, not a post, so skip it if you're visiting my site for useful information — this is just me, having a moment.
February 14, 2014 4 Comments
You can't steer from the details. The details are emergent.
You want change, you want different, you make the foundations different, and the details change. Steering in a different direction when the wind doesn't want you to is [somewhere on the continuum between difficult and temporary, and impossible]. But change the wind, change the water, change the sail and now you're talking, and not only is steering differently easy, but you probably don't even have to.
Most people just yank the rudder around, or grab the lines in a panic.
How powerful are you = how fundamental are the changes you can make? If you can modify a sail, you're pretty good. But if you can change the wind…
(Of course, if you're really good, you can tell the difference between a situation where the boat needs upgrading or the wind must change, and one where a simple flick of the jibsheet is all that's needed.)
How does Buddha sail?
(HDBS….is my WWJD. ;)
February 12, 2014 No Comments
Trees don't grow out of the ground; they condense out of the air.
(What about you? I suspect I'm a sediment… ;)
Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Feynman:
February 6, 2014 No Comments
Rule One of kungfu is Relax.
I'm starting to think it's rule one of everything. Well, it's not my personal Rule One, but maybe *a* rule one. Which rule comes first depends on your starting-point, of course.
Sitting in my "do a video about this at some point" pile is a note to expound on the precise details of all the ways that physically relaxing — especially in the weirdly-targetted, benegesseritlike ways kungfu has you learn — has helped me psychologically.
But forgetting the details for a moment, the degree to which remembering to physically relax — and yes, it's both a component and a companion of Going 3D, in the window-vs-psychology sense — helps in just about every major physiological and spiritual thing, may not be overstateable.
Just Relax, No Matter What, I tell myself. If you're upset, relax. If you're bored, relax. If you're anxious or doing something or momentarily stymied, relax. If you're too high or too sober, too awake or too tired, too whatever, just relax. Relaxing makes a wonderful Rule One because it's such an excellent first step; from there, anything else you do is done better.
Vitally, I don't mean "just relax" the way people mean it when they say it to you off-hand — usually they mean "stop worrying"; I mean literally relax, as in "activate all those muscle-techniques you've been learning for years, and actively release the tension from your body". Relaxing isn't easy! It takes time and practice to learn how (though it is also something any human can learn, being nothing more than the consicous application of usually-involuntary nervous impulses).
And I love that the acronym for that is JRNMW, which reads as "Geronimo" — because althought what we're talking about is a type of non-action, relaxing, especially striving to always relax as a first step, is a hugely revolutionary thing to do. It's a leap of sorts, to declare for relaxation, for receptivity and reaction as primary to tension and action. It's a Yin Geronimo. ;)
February 3, 2014 No Comments
More polyphasic sleep updates for ya'll. I'm starting a new job soon, and unlike my last one, this one requires full-time presence in an office.
So here you go, Internet: the fun bits.
- While physical, this is a very small company. It's stable, not very new, but also not very big; i.e. my first interview was with the owners.
- For the first time ever, I put napping on the table *during my first interview* as something that I would want. I was pretty nervous about that possibly costing me the gig; but thankfully, it didn't.
- One reason it didn't is that this gig pays significantly less than I can go for based on my resume. It's worth the cut for many reasons, but unless I fill in some of my time with other work, the cut will be unpalatable. I can afford to live, not save, on what I'll be making now; so more is needed.
- I have a plan for making said extra income. It takes about 2-3 hours, not every day but most days, of work. It'll also be slow to pay off, but gradually make more, and the income should become more residual and less work-based, which is also a thing I want.
- Therefore, I NEED my naps — at minimum one before and after work, and one at lunchtime. I'll be spending my mornings — that nice quiet time between four and seven — working on this side-project. (Note: It's not a new project; I've been on it for the last couple months, so it's got momentum; though I haven't been devoting mornings to it regular.)
- There currently ISN'T a place to nap at the new job — I'll have to find one and make everybody comfortable with it. I also don't have a car to nap in, so it has to work in the office.
- The climbing gym I plan to spend my evenings in has a good spot for napping — or at least it has, the few times I've been there. I napped there once and it was fine. Maybe the evenings are more crowded and thus less nappable? We'll see; I can nap in quite a crowd anymore. ;)
So an average day (unmodified by taiji or hockey) is going to look like: 4am up, early breakfast (usually buttered coffee), project work; 7am nap, 7:30 shower, make lunch & snack, etc., 8:30am leave for work (get to work before 9, HECK YES no commute!); lunchtime nap; 6pm walk to climbing gym, maybe blow off some steam before napping, then burn myself out like I need to. I'll skip the gym Monday & Thursday for hockey. Two days will have taiji in the mornings, so work will start later and run later. Evenings can go to whatever project or no project; I might schedule them more specifically later, but I want to try the bones of this first. I'm keeping my usual sleep-schedule of "1am bedtime if I got my 7:30pm nap; if there's hockey or something and I had to miss it, 11:30 bedtime". I may want to improve that — heck, I see a possible future where I might have a shot at Uberman again! — but for now, the E3/E4.5 swing will work well enough. Also, I'm really going to have to muster my shopping and cooking skills to make this work; there's neither time nor money in this schedule to eat on-the-fly. Back to bento boxes and bulk cooking!
That's a lot of change at once: New job, new budget, new daily schedule, new evening hang-out place, new food requirements — pretty much everything but my sleep-schedule is changing. And I know I've said numerous times that making multiple changes at once can be way harder, and it certainly can; but there's a special case where, when some big things are going to change, they can pull along smaller changes with them, by helping set the defaults the right way. (A good example of this is how getting new friends and time-spending habits can help someone quit a drug.)
Anyway, I'll update on how sleeping-at-work is going in the next few weeks. Wish me luck!
February 2, 2014 No Comments