Our Settings, Our Selves

Today I’m thinking about default settings – about doing what’s easy, and designing for lives and worlds in which the easy thing and the nourishing thing are one and the same.

What are my defaults? I wake with the sun. I walk five miles. I eat organic whole foods (no gluten, no dairy), including lots of produce that’s almost exclusively local (and organic – I don’t see the need to choose). I take herbs and supplements that are supposed to enhance my ability to conceive a baby human. I make “crack” (out of coconut oil, honey, and cacao powder), go to my desk, set my timer for three hours, and do thought work (early in the day, usually; first thing in the morning, ideally). I interact with my husband. I check my email more frequently than necessary (I do not check my email during my three-hour period of thought work). Every other day, I complete a set of exercises meant to strengthen my abdominal muscles and ankles, and do a few stretches.

So. These are the things I do without question – out of habit or compulsion, in response to stories absorbed through experience. You will notice that the only social activity included in my defaults is interacting with my husband.

This relates to the problem of having to make an appointment, if I wish to see people outside our home. Making appointments – when asynchronous electronic communication is the norm, and most people either are or appear to be constantly busy – is not easy. I tend not to make them.

There is, however, hope.

For much of my time in Beacon, I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in a weekly or monthly textile arts meetup: a varying number of ladies gather in our hostess’s living room, drink tea, work on sewing or knitting or darning or felting projects. This past winter, we met almost every Monday evening. I appreciated this setup because I didn’t have to make an appointment; I could socialize while doing something useful that I would not necessarily have accomplished in solitude; I could get to know the regulars over time, and make the occasional new acquaintance. We haven’t met since my return from Earthaven; I hope we’ll reconvene soon.

Meanwhile, another opportunity has appeared. Common Ground Farm, where I’ve volunteered a number of times in the past year or so, has launched Weeding Wednesdays – each Wednesday afternoon, for a couple hours, anyone is welcome to come to the farm and join the fun. Thanks to this new pattern, I can just show up; I no longer need to pick a day, check the forecast, make an appointment.

Where else might practicality and sociability intersect? What other chances might arise for engaging, with ease?

If you liked this post, you’ll love my memoir, Mating in Captivity, in which my twenty-two-year old self enters a cult with a radical take on sex and relationships. Learn more here.

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