Event Horizon

It’s been about two weeks since I’ve published a post. I’ve written a couple, part of an extended metaphorical discussion of mental illness that I’ve been adding onto for maybe two months but have yet to feel like it’s “complete” enough for publishing.

Probably that doesn’t matter. I don’t need five or six or maybe seven posts on backlog, although that might not be a bad thing since school starts again in two weeks.

The truth is, I want to write meaningfully. Cheap writing isn’t my style. (Not that cheap writing doesn’t have value; it’s just not the right fit for me.) But this often means I’m struggling to find inspiration. Which is often shorthand for “my depression is making me so lethargic and lackluster that I’m not sure I could write something even if I tried” or “my anxiety is keeping me so strung up that I can’t stay still long enough to even think about writing.”

I’m a work in progress. The world is a work in progress.

So we progress.

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Making Mistakes

Today we’re learning distribution. I’ve just done a few whole-class examples and now I’ve put some practice exercises on the board.

As my students begin copying them into their notebooks (so they can show their work), I begin circulating the classroom.

My intent is clear: identify mistakes and correct them. This is important, both artificially because it’s on state exams and implicitly because the relationship between multiplication and addition that is distribution has profound impacts on number systems that underlie a plethora of physical phenomena and theoretical constructs alike.

The first few students I check in with are plowing ahead, all the way to the second question already. Then I get to one of my struggling learners. Let’s call him Joe.

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Sankalpa

O Lord, deliver me from the man of excellent intention and impure heart: for the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

T. S. Eliot

In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign. Secondly, a just cause. Thirdly, a rightful intention.

Thomas Aquinas

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.

Helen Keller

So I begin.

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Something something anxiety and control maybe

If I had known having a therapist would provide so much writing material, I’d have gotten one years ago.

That’s my weak attempt at starting writing something I don’t know what I’m writing. I was left a little…unsettled? after our last session on Monday, and writing is the best way I know how to process my own thinking. So I’m hopeful inspiration will strike, separate the clouds, and grant some clarity amid the beautiful mess that is my mind.

And maybe you’ll find a spark of inspiration for yourself amidst my chaos.

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The Big PVGs

Or: a response to “30 Behaviors That Will Make You Unstoppable” by Benjamin Hardy.

When I spoke to my therapist in early April, he suggested reading Hardy’s article to help me get some ideas for “what works,” you know, that post I procrastinated writing until a few days ago.

Likewise, even though I opened Hardy’s article while I was still on the phone with my therapist, and I kept it open for the next two weeks, I didn’t actually sit down to read it until two days before my next appointment–what happens, I thought, if he asks about it? (Spoiler: he didn’t.)

As I read through these 30 things that promise to make me unstoppable, I felt a plethora of feelings: some of it reminded me of what I read in The Four Desires; some of it sounded too prescriptive, like the “shoulds” that instill shame which Brene Brown warns us against; and some it made me wish for something more, like inspiration and imagination.

But part of me also realized, as I read Hardy, that it’s been a long time since I actually evaluated the big PVGs in my life: my priorities, my values, my goals.

I figured this all out, once, so I’d figured it would end there. But it never does.

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The Inevitable Return of Pokemon Wednesday: A Retrospective

Can you believe I’ve been blogging for ten years? It’s true: I first created The Writingwolf on January 1, 2010. (That’s why my Twitter and Instagram handles are Writingwolf2010.) A whole decade of blogging has passed. My life has changed in many insurmountable and unpredictable ways, but one thing has always remained: My love of Pokemon.

On the surface, Pokemon is a game about collecting and competition. There’s the challenge of getting all the things, then there’s the challenge of battling and defeating all the other things. It’s the best possible fusion of stamp collecting and Rock-Paper-Scissors that has ever been made. And yet, if this is all you get from Pokemon, you’re missing a lot.

Pokemon–as I’ve addressed at various times throughout the life of my blog–is also a game about adventure, overcoming adversity, and constantly challenging yourself to explore, fail, get up again, learn, grow, and then repeated the process to become a better person. It’s a perfect parable for the journey of life itself.

I’ve been wanting to do a grand reflection on my last ten years of blogging, but I just haven’t felt inspired. Then it came to me: Why not use my unending love for Pokemon as the vehicle through which I explore the last decade of my life (and then some)?

So with no further ado, let the adventure begin.

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Hindsight

So. It’s the end of December. The end of the year. The time I’m obligated to write about my final progress on my annual goals. It’s always bittersweet. Bitter because I so rarely do it all, and sweet because the end of the year is a symbolic severing of the threads I wove last year and the promise of freedom (to let myself down in a different way).

It’s also bittersweet in another way, a brighter way: I’ve actually gone far further than at first I’d wished to, but the shortcomings I’ve encountered leave me questioning my own values–or rather, the sincerity of my commitment to these values.

It’s a long story. Or would you be more likely to keep reading if it’s a short story?

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Edging

Sharp lines define: the corners of a square, the borders of a tattoo, the ends of a smile. Sharp lines form an edge, and I’ve sharpened some edges like hunters sharpen knives.

There’s a fine line between light and darkness: where the shadows blur and intermingle, the edge of twilight simultaneous beckons us forward and pushes us back.

Treading upon this edge has been my journey of late, and every misstep brings me closer to the blades upon which I try to balance.

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Meet the Beast

I am a Gemini. I have always known my soul is faceted, my spirit fragmented in many parts. I am the twins. I am the wise child and the simple son. I am the one who succumbs and the one who resists. I am also a product of a childhood built upon Disney and Tolkien: there is good and there is evil, and they are disjoint and easily distinguished.

And yet, as an adult, I now wonder: how different are they? And am I not both?

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Karma and Jnana

I stumbled into yoga sometime around 15 – 20 years ago. My practice was guided almost exclusively by televised workout programs for those first few years, and then I took some classes, read some books, took more classes, and read more books. The only shortcoming of my life as a yogi has been my consistency: I might practice for a few years regularly, and then go on an unintentional hiatus for a few more. I even received a YOGA for Youth certification a few years ago, that has never actually come up as a teacher.

A staple of what I’ve learned throughout my practice is that practice alone isn’t what interests me: I’m also fascinated by the philosophy, and more than mere intrigue, I feel genuine attachment to it. Not to say it fills in the blanks of Jewish belief, but at times it seems to, and at other times it shines new light upon familiar scripture. The practice of Yoga, not merely the fitness of it, has persisted even when my exercise has not.

And when I finished reading the Sefer Yetzirah, a cornerstone of Jewish mystical thought, it seemed only natural to focus my gaze upon a cornerstone of the Yogic tradition: the Bhagavad Gita.

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