​”So many particulars. So many questions.”

So many questions, indeed. 

This poem I encountered at SJMoA this weekend reminds me of why I’m marching Saturday. We workers, paid and unpaid, need allies who don’t blatantly lie to us and convince us to act in harmful ways.

It’s a reminder that singular individuals, be they heroes or villains, are overrated. This game was made for you and me. 

A Worker Reads History, Bertolt Brecht

A Worker Reads History, Bertolt Brecht

Breathe. Move. Feel. Connect. Act.

The last month has been a difficult one for many, including myself.  Each morning since November 8th has been hard.  Our new surreality presents us daily with some doors closed on the future, and newer, stranger, sometimes apocalyptic ones opened.  Meanwhile, my own labyrinthine relationship with my mind-body imbalance has continued: some days are better than others.

I have relied on a five pointed star of futuring  self care:

  • Breathe
  • Move
  • Feel
  • Connect
  • Act

Breathe

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This may seem super basic to people who have not struggled with anxiety.  However breathing is not to be underestimated.  It is the one thing that we control, but are constantly in danger of forgetting completely.  I frequently forget to breathe.  I’ve been appreciating my Spire recently. It’s a nifty little device, although like many non-fitness wearables its still finding it’s stride.  The Spire measures depth and frequency of breathing.  When I forget to breath, it has a distinctive vibration that reminds me to do this most basic of self-care activities.  It also has integrated Thich Nhat Hanh-led meditations from his Plum Village retreat recordings.  I’ve been starting every morning with this as a grounding and centering facilitation.  When the world is chaos, it helps to hold on to any encouragement to not let the chaos in to one’s center.

Move

Again, those who do not suffer from depression may be experiencing a new sensation: actual difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.  Those of us who have greet this feeling cautiously, as an old but not well-loved friend.  Any movement can break the spell.  People ask me why I pace: this is why.  I’m wiggling my big toes.

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Feel

 I’m not sure how I’m feeling. This section will be updated soon!

Connect

Ditto. 

Act

I ran across this excellent post, How To Help The Cause When You Need Help Yourself. The takeaway, for those who would prefer not to wade through a meditation on self-care in perisuicidal states, is this chart:

what-can-i-do-today

Act.  In whatever way you can today, with full an compassionate recognition that some days are better than others.

That’s how I’m dealing.  How are you?

Getting my voice back

The three readers I have will know that I started this blog in part to overcome a fear of public writing. (I suffer from no fear of public speaking – stick a mic in my hand and I’ll present for hours.) The fact that I have not pressed *publish* on this blog in 3 years is a testament to both the triumph of that fear, and simply different priorities in my life at the time. Also Facebook took over my online presence for a time. But I’m back. Recently I’ve found my writing voice again. I’m going to try to do some catch up in the posts that follow.

Wonder

But wonder is a response, an attitude of mind and heart, a graced completion of a circle between observer and observed.

-Lyanda Lyn Haupt, Crow Planet

Just beautiful. That book has stolen my imagination and tucked it into a nest somewhere with other bits of shiny and distressed twigs.

I’m only writing about buses and jet lag because I can’t figure out how to make my presentation work with what I really want to talk about: earthquakes, uprisings, and crows.  You think people will actually stick with me long enough to wind our way back to well-being from there?

This is not a blog post.

I have more half-written posts right now than I can count.

Okay, that’s not true, and hanging out at the Quantified Self conference almost all weekend reminded me that I can usually be more specific, always.  I have FIVE partially written blog posts, ranging from incoherent jottings to fully formed hostages to my perfectionism.  (I also know, lightheartedly, that I spent twelve hours of my long weekend engaging in what I would categorize as “work,” I got a paltry 125 minutes of sunshine, received five business cards, lost three of them, and have only 247 words of the ~1000 words of my talk that I really want to have at least drafted by tomorrow.)  With that, you know why this post is what it is, and not the above-mentioned five actual pieces of thinking.

Human-Centric Futures, Part II

At long last, I resume. So, in Part I we talked about the big useful buckets that are good to think with in human-centric futures: age effects, cohort effects, and period effects.  They sound straightforward, but how do you know which is responsible for something you see now,  or imaging in the future? Since this is about human-centric futures, I’m going to start with the most human-centric effects, aging and cohort.

The only way to learn the difference between aging and cohort effects is to practice and reflect and practice some more.  Start with yourself and work your way out.  How have you changed over the course of your life?  What kinds of experiences and cultural modes do you share with other people your age?  Which of those things that you share with your cohort are different from people of other ages?  What factors do you think lead to those changes?  What events wholly external to you have seriously impacted different points in your life, and did they affect just you, or many people?  For instance, some popular coverage on elderly Americans and the digital divide will use age-language, like “people over 70,” but those statements will lose accuracy in a few years. As a technology strategy director for a health care client pointed out to me in an interview for a project, it’s far more accurate to say “people born between 1940” when referring to most of these issues.  Sure, there are some age-related barriers to technology use: accommodating reduced dexterity and eyesight, for instance, but contort and familiarity with communications technology formats is a classic cohort effect. Continue reading

In the beginning…

There was WordPress. And then there was me, and you: my own little corner of the internet.  How sweet.

I’ve always wanted to own a blog—but always also hated blogging. It’s like those proverbial puppies you take home and convince your mom to let you keep.  You have to feed it.  Take it on walks.  Pay its vet bills.  Keep it from killing too many squirrels.  Keep it from attracting trolls.  If you’re good you give it to a friend or something.  If you’re bad you leave it in a Dumpster somewhere.

Well, now I try again.  I like cats, maybe a kitten will work better.

Hi, little kitteh.  I’m Miriam, and this is a place for me to collect my musings.  I’m an anthropologist and a futurist (why must “anticipatory anthropology” have just SO many syllables?) and an Easily Distracted Generalist. I work at the Institute for the Future, forecasting about health and well-being and food systems.  I’m married to an Archaeologist who also thinks about food systems (I get the live ones, he gets the dead ones).

The next several posts will probably be pretty scattered, as I point to a bunch of things I’ve written recently elsewhere, repost writings I like that got mired in failed blogs past, and generally get my footing before things settle into normal.  I have very little idea what normal will look like, but I promise to feed it this time, for real.