I set some goals for the new year - maybe not resolutions. That feels a political word — the parliament of the self in accord — and these goals are fragmented, partial. I broke them into three categories: ontologies of self, archetypes, shadow-throwers in the cave.

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Spirit

There is overlap, in the categories and their children. Exercise is good for the body, but can rejuvenate the spirit and relax the mind. But also: there is no border, with dragons and mythic beasts, or a dark line separating two domains. One cannot point to the edge of the mind and differentiate from the spirit.

Did you know we have evidence that some animals dream? Similar regions of the brain light up in the sleep of animals and the sleep of people. What does your favored pet dream about? Do orcas dream of fat dolphins and seals or jumping out of the water and swimming through the air? Do wasps dream? Armillaria ostoyae - the fungus in Oregon that covers 2384 acres?1

“Resolution” carries a weight of possible failure - what happens when it fails? What is the Hague for self-crimes? “Goals” imply forward progress over time. At the end of the period - the year, season, life - goals are evaluated and reformulated, if still worth pursuing. Also, some of my goals are negative, successful in not accomplishing a task for a period of time. When one of these goals fails, the clock can be reset and the goal specified to outlast the previous record. Negative resolutions always seem to involve changing the goalposts: “don’t do a warcrime” ends up with riders for cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines and acceptable civilian casualties.

The timing is, believe it or not, happenstance. This is the end of my vacation for 2023 and I felt it important to put in some goals and practices from therapy and other sources when returning home after a period of time away. Refreshed and relaxed, or maybe just out of my routine.

  1. This level of specificity is comforting in a way. There is no possible way that researchers circumnavigated the fungus and traced its edge. It’s an estimate and in the specificity they attempted to control it, “we know you.”

    “Lord, what fools these mortals be.”

    This Amarilla may be as old as 8,000 years - almost as old as modern humans and we claim to know its limits.