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Kairos

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
Current location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Reading: Embassytown by China Miéville
Listening: Metro Area by Metro Area
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Kairos
I have several mental models I use to generally keep moving in a desirable direction, despite (and sometimes fueled by) the vicissitudes of reality.
One such model is imagining myself as a spring that coils and uncoils, compresses slowly before rapidly expanding outward, taking my time to collect energy, sometimes moving in what might feel in the moment like the wrong direction but which ultimately proves to be preparation for some subsequent expansion or growth.
Another is perceiving everything as being connected.
Not in a spiritual or religious sense, but in the sense that everything that happens can be contextualized so that its connections to all other things are more evident.
Through this lens, I can choose how to yoke what I’ve learned, what I’ve experienced, what I’m feeling or suffering or enjoying to all the other things I might feel or suffer or enjoy, and this sense of interconnectivity can sometimes reveal novel, helpful, reaffirming, perspective-shifting ways of thinking about my life.
There’s another model I sometimes use that’s based on an Ancient Greek concept, kairos, which—according to some interpretations, at least—refers to the opportune moment for things.
I personally think about kairos as a sort of acceptance of tides and time.
You can go surfing any time of day, but there are moments in which the variables at play make surfing-optimal conditions more likely.
Sometimes the weather will be better, sometimes the tides will be just right, sometimes there will be too many or too few people staking out claims on the beach or in the water, sometimes there will be algae or sharks or too many (or too few) seagulls.
Conditions will vary, and being able to assess the variables that induce the right or wrong conditions can help us determine the optimal moment to act, all things considered, more of the time.
We won’t ever be able to perceive all the variables shaping a given environment, nor will there likely ever be a perfect time to do anything we want to do.
But we can develop a general sense of the tides, test the wind with a finger, and adjust our rhythms so they better line up with the variables we can perceive and understand.
From my perspective, at least, deciding to work with the ebbs and flows of these forces rather than fighting against them (most of the time, anyway) is the important choice, here.
Beyond that decision, it’s mostly a matter of making iterative adjustments to our understanding and application over time so we can act at what seems to be the proper moment (for our specific intentions and priorities, and the space in which we’re operating) more often.
If you found some value in this essay, consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee :)
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I bought a refurbished Vitamix blender when I was living in Memphis oh-so-many years ago, and it's proven to be one of the better cooking-related investments I've made. Most days I make an oatmeal smoothie that includes several types of nut (often walnuts, cashews, and almonds, but sometimes just whatever's on hand or in season) along with a banana, cinnamon, flax seed, and some kind of non-milk (soy, almond, pea—whatever's on hand).
I bought a refurbished Vitamix blender when I was living in Memphis oh-so-many years ago, and it's proven to be one of the better cooking-related investments I've made. Most days I make an oatmeal smoothie that includes several types of nut (often walnuts, cashews, and almonds, but sometimes just whatever's on hand or in season) along with a banana, cinnamon, flax seed, and some kind of non-milk (soy, almond, pea—whatever's on hand).
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Projects
Select, recent works from across my project portfolio.
Aspiring Generalist: Unprecedented
Brain Lenses: Canon Ossification
Let’s Know Things: Hacks & Leaks
Never Not Curious: Oct 12, 2021
One Sentence News: Oct 13, 2021
Understandary Lab: Info / Subscribe
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Interesting & Useful
Some things to click.
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I find a strange sort of satisfaction in using my possessions till they're good and dead, and whenever possible bringing new life to objects that might otherwise be discarded and doing the same with them. This coffee cup was bought secondhand, and I've been using it every day for something like six years—one dollar well-spent.
I find a strange sort of satisfaction in using my possessions till they're good and dead, and whenever possible bringing new life to objects that might otherwise be discarded and doing the same with them. This coffee cup was bought secondhand, and I've been using it every day for something like six years—one dollar well-spent.
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Outro
My parents are coming to town for a weekend visit tomorrow, so I’m doing a little cleaning and prepping for visitors today, while also trying to figure out what sorts of things we might be able to do as a trio, in and around Milwaukee.
Thankfully there are a lot of beautiful public spaces in this city, which is part of why I decided to set up my home base here.
If you’ve got a moment, consider sending me a quick hello and telling me something about yourself. I respond to every message I receive and would love to hear from you :)
You can reach me by replying directly to this newsletter, or at colin@exilelifestyle.com.
You can also communicate via the typical methods: InstagramTwitterFacebook, or telephone newspaper.
If you’re finding some value in what I’m doing here, consider supporting my work via one of these methods: Become an Understandary member / Buy me a coffee / Buy me a monthly coffee
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