Practice Session #16
Thanks for checking out my show notes! I’ll be utilizing this to clarify and elaborate on points that I didn’t convey as well as I would’ve liked to. I’ll also provide links to further information and resources.
We record these weekly sessions on Sundays. Please note that I try to publish episodes the day after recording: Mondays. I generally will have the transcript and initial notes published on Mondays as well. From there, I may continue adding and modifying the show notes throughout the week.
⚠️ I’m still a bit behind as I have been over the past few weeks as I’ve been focusing on setting up the Forces of Equal studio and other logistics. With that said, I’ve been dialing in my workflow with the new setup and am close to being back up and running at 100%.
I’ll be interspersing all my notes with the transcription from the audio, which will be displayed like this:
CK: Okay… here we go.
Heyo! I’m CK, and you’re listening to Practice. I’m your functional systems integrator, and this is my podcast where practice is not just the theme of the show, but the whole purpose behind it. I’m using this platform to practice podcasting as well as speaking in general while espousing half-thoughts and providing unsolicited advice.
As always, I have the fortune to be joined by my practice partner, partner in life, and pattern awareness manager: Pam.
Pam: Hey, that’s me!
CK: Every week, we talk about my progress with this practice, as well as various lifestyle practices, along with the virtues of practice itself.
Catch up with the Anomaly and the Linchpin.
CK: And today it is June 14th, 2020. We are recording our 16th practice session and let’s catch up with us with our week.
So I had a pretty good week. We actually had some furry visitors over the past two weeks.
Pam: Very furry.
CK: Yeah. Really furry. I think- do- I think I forgot to mention Betsy last week, but since the- there was the announcement of the worldwide pandemic, we hadn’t watched any dogs. Whereas we usually have like a rotation of 20 or 25 dogs that we dog sit fairly regularly.
At least, you know, every month we’re probably dog sitting for a number of days. And so the past two weeks we’ve had a bulldog in the house for a week. And then we just sent back two pugs yesterday that we’re here for a week. So they furred up the place really well, but it was fun to have dogs back in the house again.
Pam: Yeah, it was about two months or more where we didn’t have anybody.
CK: Yeah… So, other than that, how’s your week, Pam?
Pam: Oh, it was good, really busy. I had a lot of client work.
I did a set up for a brand new client that has never advertised before. So we had literally nothing to start with, um, so that was really exciting. But it’s something in the higher education space and they’re actually are frigging their product for free to universities through the rest of the year to help them transition to online. learning.
So it’s, um, a really great project to be involved with ’cause it’s something that I enjoy. Um, so that was good, but it was busy. A lot of stress.
CK: Yeah, well, I mean, it’s good to be busy.
The latest on my podcasting practice.
CK: And so let’s get to the first segment, which is where I talk about my process with this practice of podcasting. And I’ll continue the update on my week because a lot of it had to do with the podcast and our other podcast projects.
And I’m still organizing the Forces of Equal studio, but things are coming together and I’ve started getting into my productivity rhythm again towards the end of the week. and everything is almost all done. I mean, I have almost everything that I need. I just need to put some stuff up on the walls and connect some things here and there and just kind of finish organizing.
So this coming week I’m planning on being quite productive. So we’ll see how that goes. One of the big- Oh, go ahead.
Pam: I was just gonna say we had a team meeting yesterday and CK put a lot of things on his list of, um, “I’m going to get this done this week.” So we’ll see how that turns out.
CK: Yeah. I tend to do that. We’ve talked about my optimism bias before.
Reveling in the comforts of the new studio sofa lounger/sleeper.
CK: But one of the big things that I got – it’s big to me… it’s a pretty, uh, what’s the word I’m looking for… I was going to say monumental, but it’s not that big.
CK: Significant, yes. Is a new couch. We got a new sleeper sofa, couch thingy.
And for like the past 10 years, I’ve had this futon in here – and it’s just your basic folding futon that I’m sure you’ve all seen.
And it served a purpose for the first couple of years, and it was actually pretty comfortable and it looked nice. It’s this white, like faux leather – maybe vinyl or something. But after a couple of years, the material started like cracking and then peeling and then flaking.
And then all this dust started forming… and particles and all that stuff. So I had been dealing with that kind of stuff for the past few years, having it stuck to my back and my feet.
Pam: All over our house.
CK: Yeah, it’s all over the house. And it’s just kind of one of those things where you don’t- it’s like it’s not big enough of an annoyance to have to take care of it. Like, it’s still functional enough that I could use the futon as a couch and sit on it when I need to. And it was still comfy and useful, but then there’s this other side where it’s falling apart and annoying.
And then I had the, like, thoughts about breathing in these particles and whatever these- this material’s made out of. You know, all these artificial chemicals and stuff.
So I had that on my mind. So, you know, I was dealing with those kinds of thoughts for the past couple of years. And then finally, like the past couple of months, I started getting really agitated, just dealing with the futon and having the little pieces stuck to me all the time.
And I finally got rid of the two ottomen- ottomans? Is- what’s the plural of…
Pam: I think they’re ottomans, yeah. Ottomi.
CK: They came with the futon, and they matched and everything. And it’s the same material, so they were peeling and everything too. And I loved those things ’cause they were a good size for some of the exercises and movements that I did with them. And used them as blocks for exercise basically, or yoga or whatnot.
And I got rid of those a couple of weeks ago, and that was kind of, you know, it felt like it lifted something off my shoulders. And then the couch just came in like two days ago was it? And finally- so I got rid of the futon. Or actually, it’s sitting in the garage until it gets picked up by the garbage company.
But now it’s like that weight’s lifted off my shoulders. I don’t have to worry about those little flakes anymore and, like, picking them off and throwing them away. And then vacuuming like every week and seeing all this little stuff. I mean, there was these little white flakes all over the floor all the time.
Pam: And all over your back all the time.
Pam: And it’s one of those things that it wasn’t a problem in the sense that like, it didn’t prevent you from doing any work, it didn’t stop you from doing anything, but there was just kind of this like constant annoyance about it.
And there’s- there’s always things like that in your life that when you start to become aware of how much of a cognitive load you have thinking about this annoying thing. And if you can change that, if you can get rid of it, it frees up so much space in your head.
CK: Yeah, exactly. So that’s actually a good metaphor for something that has been on my mind, and I think it’s been on a lot of our minds.
And I mentioned, I wanted to talk about like all the stuff that’s going on around the world last week and didn’t really know how to go about it. And I still really don’t. So I’m not going to get too much into specifics and stuff, because first of all, I don’t feel like I know enough about what’s going on.
Freetalking tangent salad based on the effects of injustice on allopathic load.
CK: So I, you know, I don’t like talking about stuff that I don’t know enough about, but let’s, uh, go right into the free talking segment where I make tangent salads out of there half-thoughts that are floating around in my mind or tangent spaghetti’s.
And so continuing on that, the metaphor that I’m thinking here is that with the black community, I’m thinking of allostatic load. So what I mean by that is (coming from the perspective of) your central nervous system load. And this is like you-, this is what encompasses your sympathetic nervous system and your autonomic nervous system.
Or, I’m sorry. Yeah, autonomic is… holy cow. I haven’t thought about this stuff for a while so I’m just kind of remembering it all now…
So it encompasses your sympathetic nervous system and your parasympathetic nervous system, which are basically the two sides. The sympathetic is your stress response or “fight or flight” it’s commonly referred to. And then your parasympathetic is your rest and digest mode.
So I like to use mnemonics of, like, sympathetic as stress, both start with “S,” and then parasympathetic is peace or peaceful. It’s not exact correlates, but helps me remember which is which.
So speaking of that, in terms of- so this is a really crude relation to my metaphor, but… So first of all-
Okay, I’m already going to go on a tangent. So Pam, if you can kind of follow along and keep track and try to keep me on track.
Pam: I will do my best.
CK: Yeah, we’ll see how this goes. So, okay. I was talking about allostatic load and then I forget what the tangent I was going to go on.
Pam: It was something to do with your metaphor. It was another metaphor…
CK: Oh yeah. Okay.
Trying to articulate my thoughts and providing perspective on the #BlackLivesMatter protests.
CK: So, with all this stuff around race that’s going on now… on the one hand I already said that I feel like, you know, I might not be the person to listen to, or, you know, I don’t know exactly what to say here. But on the other hand, I have- I can relate to the stuff that’s going on now because I’m a minority, and I’ve grown up in the United States as a minority, and as a child, I was the only minority most of the time in most of my classes.
So I don’t want to say I know what the black community is going through, but I can sort of relate to it and I have an idea. And so I don’t want to speak for them, but I’m thinking maybe I can provide some perspective to connect what the black community is going through with others who don’t really understand it,
Pam: Yeah, you can offer a perspective that may be easier to understand for other people to understand who maybe don’t have any direct experience.
CK: Right. Exactly. So, yeah, that’s what I’m trying to do here. And like I’ve been saying the past couple of weeks, you know, we’re doing this on the fly and just kind of speaking my mind. And, you know, a lot of these are half-thoughts and I’m just kind of putting it together in my head and kind of winging it. So don’t hold me responsible for the stuff I say and follow up with me in the show notes to see what I meant to say or, you know, or what corrections I make and stuff like that.
But anyway, relating this to my issue with my futon, like I had a problem with how it was falling apart and I was worried about what I was breathing in. And of course, there’s this whole notion or the concept of breath and breathing and with, of course, George Floyd and the officer kneeling on his neck and not allowing him to breathe…
And even before that, I believe was it Eric Brown? Where- where the I can’t breathe phrase started, who knows? I mean, there’s been so much, it’s ridiculous- it’s ridiculous to have to recount all these different…
CK: Yeah. Unnecessary deaths at the hands of the police.
The name I was looking for was not Eric Brown, but Eric Gardner. I had conflated Eric Gardner with Michael Brown – yet another unjustified killing of a black man at the hands of a white police officer.
CK: But anyway, I was worried about breathing in these particles, but underneath that, the anxiety that built up from worrying about it all the time – like seeing it and being annoyed by it and worrying about it – that, like you were saying before, it’s not really something that prevented me from doing what I needed to do, but it was that low level anxiety, like that bit- that notion was there and you, like, I knew it was there all the time and every time I see it, you know, I think of it. A
d that’s every day and multiple times a day. And as that builds up, it adds up and it accumulates. And you don’t realize it because it’s such a low level effect that, you know, each day, you don’t realize that it’s building up and you don’t realize that it’s affecting you.
But then like a couple of weeks ago, I started getting so fed up with it. And that was one of the things that went into my annoyance with the whole studio setting up and all that stuff that- I think it was the quarterly review session that I was preparing for if you remember. But yeah, I was getting like- the futon was one of the big problems that I totally got fed up with that day.
And so this all built up slowly over time. And then as time went on, I realized how much it actually affected me. And then I just got rid of it this weekend, and now it’s a huge weight off my shoulders and I don’t have to worry about it. And I smile every time I see the couch. And when I forget about it and I go to sit down, it’s like such a great relief and satisfaction and pleasure.
So what I’m trying to relate this to is the experience of the black community, where they’re experiencing this low level – or I don’t know what level – but some level of stress and anxiety all the time, every single day.
Pam: All day, every day.
CK: Exactly. All day, every day, they’re worried about what would happen if they are encountered by law enforcement or even just interacting in a store or even just at work. In general life, they have to deal with all these implicit biases.
And so there’s also this issue with racism, obviously, but I’m talking about the word racism and how I think it makes people feel. And I think it’s been used so much now for a lot of different things and probably mostly accurate, but it’s just become so big and widespread that the spectrum of racism is so large now.
So, I almost want to say that everybody is racist.
Pam: To some degree and about some things.
Pam: It’s- it’s built into how we think, because we see it everywhere, we’re exposed to it everywhere, it’s in media, it’s- we get it from our parents. We get it everywhere. So…
Pam: Everyone has a bias.
CK: Yeah, it’s so prevalent and you see it all the time and you might not be actively thinking about it
Pam: Or trying…
CK: Exactly. Yeah, intending to have racist thoughts about it, but having this in the background or in your periphery all the time, it’s affecting your brain. I mean, you’re still soaking it in.
So, uh, one thing that a lot of people are starting to point out now is that it’s not enough to not be racist. You have to be anti-racist. So it has to be like an actual process of- of not ignoring it or not, you know, trying to not be racist. It’s: you actively have to be working at not being racist.
CK: Right. ‘Cause what’s not being racist anyway.
Pam: Yeah. What does that even mean?
CK: Like, what is that? Yeah.
Like if we’re talking about the spectrum, it’s from being racist to being anti-racist.
Pam: So in the middle, what is that? It’s nothing it’s…
CK: It’s still racist. Yeah.
Pam: Yeah. Yeah.
CK: And so I’m just trying to, make people aware of what the black community goes through all the time. Like, I- it’s hard to imagine if you’re not experiencing it because you haven’t experienced it. But to have this, like, level of anxiety – and even if it’s a low level – it’s gonna add up and build up and accumulate over time.
And this affects your sympathetic nervous system. So going back to your allostatic load, your sympathetic nervous system is your stress response – your flight- or fight or flight. So when you have this anxious load, your stressing your sympathetic nervous system. And this is what leads to more chronic illnesses.
And so being stressed and having this anxious state as your baseline is not helping your body. It’s not optimal and probably detrimental. You’re probably affecting your body and mentality negative- negatively by having to deal with all this anxiety all the time. And so you’re living in a stressful state.
And so if you can imagine all this stress and all this pressure and anxiety and having to be hypervigilant, basically, all the time – looking out for yourself and looking over your shoulder and wondering what the right thing to do is, and wondering why what you’re doing is wrong when everybody else is doing the same thing and, you know, it’s- it’s right or it’s not like a big deal.
So it’s this notion of having to deal with this all the time.
Pam: As you were, um, saying that it was making me think about an analogy of like someone who’s in an abusive relationship or has had an abusive boss whenever you’re around that person. Or even if you’re not around them, you’re constantly, you know, worried about what am I going to do that’s going to trigger them. You know, you’re- you’re always having to monitor your behavior to make sure that you’re not doing something that sets them off.
And people of color, um, the LGBTQ community, these people are- are always- they’re like in an abusive relationship with the world because they have to be on constant alert of, “what am I going to do. That’s going to make that care and call the police on me or harass me” or whatever.
CK: And the thing is with this implicit bias there’s- I mean, as humans, there may be an understanding that this is a pri- primitive advantage to have this implicit bias. You know, it’s the whole ingroup outgroup scenario notion concept or whatever (“dyanamic” was the word I was looking for!) , and- or, you know, in ancestral times when you encountered someone outside your tribe, they were dangerous they were, you know, if someone in your outgroup.
Pam: Is a potential threat.
CK: Exactly. But the thing is, those are primitive concepts. We’ve evolved way past that. And we have the capacity to think and reason and understand that we are all humans, and we can all cooperate together.
And so, I don’t know who I’m talking to here, but I’m just trying to relay the notion that if you’re racist or if you act racist, you are in a place of stunted evolution. Like you are an infant in mentality.
And you have the ability to think and reason and understand that people outside your race are not a threat and that you guys have more in common than you have differences.
And so, yeah, I think that’s just the point I wanted to make. Does that make sense? Like, am I relaying the right information here?
Pam: It does. I want to be really clear that in no way are- are you relating the experience of having a futon to, uh, the experience that black people in America are having, but that it was just a metaphor for the kind of, like, constant stress that you are experiencing and what they may be experiencing
CK: Yeah, exactly.
Pam: And how potentially the- the value to society to getting rid of that constant stress could be immense. Like imagine what we could do as a country and as- just as humans, if we didn’t have this- this going on, you know. If we got over this ancient crap that is no longer serving us and just treated people like they should be treated.
Practicing the practice, and other practices.
CK: And there’s- there’s one more thing I wanted to say in terms of the implicit bias is that it actually all circles back to what I’ve been saying about practicing and practices and the virtue of practice itself. And so as we roll along into that segment, implicit bias has been studied to- so, okay…
So, uh, kind of a tangent, I guess… There’s the notion of free will and, you know, people think they have the free will to make choices and decisions and decide what to do. But then there’s also the side that says, you know, everything’s already decided for us or there’s even science with, uh, neuro- neurology that shows that our brain responds to things even before we know what’s going on… or what we’re thinking or what we want to do, our brains already doing it.
And so a lot of people wonder if we do have free will or not. And it’s a weird question to ask, ’cause it’s difficult to think that you don’t have free will and you’re not being controlled. But the thing is, this goes into holons and complex systems – where I’ve been talking about the hierarchy of systems.
So like with the human system, holons refer to everything being a part and a whole. So everything’s a system within itself and it’s also a part of a system. So the human system, the human is a system when it’s within itself. And it’s also a part of a system, whether it’s the social system or the environmental system or solar system.
So in terms of that and how free will works. There’s this notion of being- obviously so free will is the notion of being autonomous, but then the notion of not having free will is the notion of being dependent on something.
So how this relates to holons and complex systems hierarchy is that- the theory is that you have freewill over your own systems. So like your human system, you have free will to make choices with your own system.
But then you’re dependent on the systems that are above you in the hierarchy. So let’s take the social system, for example. You’re dependent on the norms of the social system, per se. So whether it’s the laws that govern the society or however your social system is organized, that affects how you make your choices.
Pam: It affects the choices you’re able to make. The options that available to you.
CK: Exactly. So your autonomy is dependent on the systems that you’re a part of.
Pam: And I would also say that your free will is not as free as you think it is because the system that you are in is going to heavily influence the decision you make. So if you surround yourself with people that think in a certain way, you are going to think the way that they do, if that is what you’re exposed to.
So your free will is not as free as you think it is.
CK: Exactly. So there’s the conscious and unconscious spectrum of this matrix model, if you will, where if you’re unconsciously self transcendent, meaning- self-transcendence meaning the systems above you – if you’re unconscious of how you’re being self-transcendent and how the systems are influencing you, you’re being controlled.
So you have to be conscious of your self-transcendence, and that’s where you can integrate with your systems and also be self-assertive and assert your own free will within the systems.
So it’s the difference between being conscious and unconscious of how you’re being influenced by the systems above you.
CK: And that actually came out pretty well. I wasn’t expecting that come out like that, but I’m happy with what I said, and I think we’re approaching the end of the session here. So do you have anything else you want to add, Pam?
Pam: Oh, yeah. The only thing that I was gonna add is, um, I pulled an Oracle card before we started this session and I got wisteria, which is a vine, a flowering vine. And when the vines grow, um, a lot, it is said to represent expanding your awareness and your consciousness. So I thought that was a really good association for this episode.
CK: Perfect. Yeah, nice.
Okay. So we’ll leave it there for this week. And I hope you guys come back next week. And actually before we leave, we, before we sign off Pam, where can people find you?
Oh, you can find me on Twitter. I am @Pamela_Lund.
And you can find me on Twitter @cKdisco. And I think in the future, I’m gonna work on this sign off. So it’ll be a little more smooth.
So for now, keep on practicing!