What is your personal plan to navigate this year's challenges
so that you can remain calm and peaceful inside
while connected to the world and family/friends?
What tools do you have to support this?

"...this year's challenges"

Many of the obvious challenges are just beyond my influence, let alone control. That includes every aspect of the dumpster fire of American politics. The best I can do with those is to deeply deplore —I have no other agency than the charade of voting. No influence among the powerful. No membership in organizations with agendas and relevant $ power. Hunker.

Other challenges are similarly out of my control: IF there's an unanticipated health issue, I have the resources to cope in material terms. As for non-material terms, who knows until the challenge manifests? Heart attack? Stroke? Those things are part of the genetic package, and they happen in their own time. I've put efforts into altering their actuarial schedules, via exercise and diet and statins ...but eventually something outruns even the best-prepared. And then what?

Perhaps we need to consider and work within what we can control and to work with those things, and to identify realms in which we are simply and only passengers, carried along by Time toward and ...uncertain... destination? It's pretty certain that THIS life has a terminus ad quem (thank you Thomas Chaloner, 1549, for that phrase) toward which we are navigating. Red Right Return...

"...tools to support..."

The Rolling Stones nailed it back in 1965...

(lyrics ..."Doctor, please, some more of these"... "what a drag it is getting old" ...yeah Mick...)


The above prompted me to an exploration of yellow pads, in search of evidence of my experience in returning to cannabis (in May 2021) after 35 years of non-indulgence. It turns out that my intensive use of the yellow pads began in late 2020, so there's a non-THC baseline to explore. "The funhouse of multimodal synaesthesia" began with this entry:
The 'stoned brain' of 35+ years ago seemed to serve me well, in terms of focus of attention in study and in musical creativity. The problems were social (a rather defensive/paranoid sense re: the indulgence) and habitual (a seeming reliance upon the stoned state to do a given something). The pleasures of insight and connectivity and association took place in a state of perceived dependence that I knew was neither healthy nor sustainable in the long run. It seemed better just to STOP indulging, to end the perceived dependence... the model being the cold-turkey cessation of tobacco ca. 1974.

Now I contemplate a re-encounter with mind-enlarging substances, and I recollect the experiences of visual and auditory enhancement, and of the loosening of the bonds of mental convention, the funhouse of multimodal synaesthesia. Will my perceptions be enhanced and enlarged, as I fancy I remember? The immersion in visual and aural complexity, the intensity of attention — those are the things I hope for.

But haven't I managed to achieve those sensory heights without substance reliance? And can I somehow capture and record for later examination such insights as may be liberated?

and the next day:
My sense the day after is that the experiment had no sharp edges or downside. What I experienced as about 4 hours of hyperattention, steerable in that it could be applied as I wished, but probably needing practise to keep from being distracted by other things that craved attention to be directed... it's possible to forget what you're doing...

I very much enjoyed playing music, for the haptics and the sounds... likewise the few garden photos I made, though that exercise of attention wasn't much different from the familiar sense of concentrated attention [that's part of photographing anyway]. Taste/texture of food was delightful — a whole new sense of the deliciousness of bacon and halloumi.

I have a sense of reconnection with the mental spaces of 35+ years ago, but also recognize that I've carried those with me for those 35 years, and that my not-stoned self was powerfully informed and to some degree even a product of the stoned self of 1963-1986.

I'm now on the 71st yellow pad.