Something to know—Two humans, Cameron and Rayla, run this blog—you can read more about us if you are interested, but for the meantime, we just want to say this particular post is written from Cameron’s point of view, but we do our writing together, and it is a reflection of both of us.
Saving the world takes some actual planing
Two years ago, I had a major breakthrough moment. After that experience, it was clear to me that I want nothing more than to create paradise on earth.
Having a grand vision is a beautiful thing. Nothing is so powerful and moving as believing that there is something truly important for you to do in this universe. It doesn’t even necessarily matter what the vision is; Peter Senge, in several of his books about systems thinking, says, “it isn’t what the vision is, it’s what the vision does”. A clear vision that you truly connect with fills your work with purpose. This becomes even more powerful if the vision can be shared.
I knew that this vision was limited most by how much I could personally work on it. I did my best to go out and talk to people about how we were going to save the world; I figured that the more people I could get on board, the better. While very nearly everybody I talked to agreed that the way human society is set up needs to be re-imagined in order to guarantee our success on this planet, it was difficult to articulate how Hedonism provides the blueprint for this re-imagining and there was nothing tangible to ground these conversations in action.
Although some people might not phrase it the same way, I have yet to find one person who thinks that trying to create paradise on earth is a bad idea. I started to realize that it isn’t the loftiness of the ideal that makes this goal unattainable, so much as the lack of actionable next steps. It became clear that while my long term vision was solid, I had no mid term plans nor short term actions to support it. If this movement were to go anywhere, I needed to go back to the drawing board. Thankfully, I had a “drawing board” to go back to.
Basically Dumbledore's Pensieve
I started journaling pretty frequently just about four years ago. By the beginning of 2017, right after having that “major breakthrough moment” I mentioned earlier, I had accumulated eight full journals and was faced with a pretty silly issue: while writing in my journals was extremely therapeutic and helpful for remembering important ideas, I had done so much of it that I was having trouble knowing how to find specific thoughts in the mass of information stored on paper.
Connecting my grand vision with genuine action required me to dive deep to find my next steps. I decided to spend all of 2017 reading through my journals and indexing them. I went page by page, reading what I had written and making note of it in the index. Not only did I get to reread what I had written over the years, by the end of it, I could ctrl+f, type in a keyword, and find every instance of a journal entry pertaining to a particular topic. Hedonism, for instance.
I am very skeptical of destiny as a genuine force in the universe, but I recognize that imagining that destiny is real can lead to some interesting results. Part of the reason for indexing my journals was to study my past and see if it showed any patterns that would lead to a better understanding of my future.
I like to think of it like this: if my life were a work of fiction and there were an author writing the story, there must be small parts of my life that act as foreshadowing to the important events in my future. If only I could connect those foreshadowing events with the grand vision (thesis, if we are sticking to the metaphor), then I should be able to figure out what next steps simply make the most sense.
By immersing myself in my thoughts, it was easy to recognize which ideas were just interesting, and which ones gave me butterflies. By following that butterfly feeling, I was able to figure out what it was that I really wanted to be doing on a day to day basis, and how that connected with my vision. Following those butterflies showed me where I should be investing my time.
Indexing my journals was an amazing project in deepening my self awareness and without it, I wouldn’t be clear headed about what I want and I wouldn’t be writing this. Instead of going to college, I spent the first four years after high school learning as much as possible about myself and my place in the world. It nearly goes without saying that the last four years of my life have been a very inward experience. Finally, after years of clarifying purpose and developing vision, I am ready to start moving outward.
The Outward Journey
I am looking forward to 2019 being my year of social awakening. It is time to step out of my low-key isolation and into the most outward-energy version of myself. When I imagine the near future, I picture myself living the new version of the most social times of my life: as an eight year old running around the cul-de-sac with all of the other neighborhood kids, and as a 17 year old hanging out in the drama room and buffooning around on stage. To put it simply, I imagine this will be a time of playing with my friends.
Thankfully, as is usually true, the needs that Rayla and I have are fairly congruent. She is also craving a more vibrant social life, and since she is hella cool and everybody knows it, I should have a pretty easy time finding people to hang out with.
In order to facilitate the social life that we are looking for, Rayla and I are focused on creating a community of Real Hedonists (as we have made abundantly clear here and here). We have been wondering what the next step for creating this community is, and finally it’s clear: actual, real life events. . .
Starting this month - cue music.
(Dun dun dun dahhhh daaaaah duh duh duh daaaaaahh daaah dun dun dun daaaaaaahh daaaaah dun dun dun daaaaaaaah. . .)
(Sorry, we got too into that. . . well, sorry not sorry.)
Vision Boarding for Your Most Pleasurable Year Yet
For our first event, we will bring a box full of magazines, glue, scissors, and imagination for an afternoon of vision boarding. The plan is to start by brainstorming lists of the different types of pleasure that we hope to call in during 2019. Then we will share those lists with the group so we can look for symbols and imagery that match our own goals as well those that might match our friends’ goals too. We might end the session with setting intentions and even finding ways to be accountable with each other for our goals around pleasure. By doing this as a group we hope to create awareness not only for each individuals’ pleasure but for the pleasure of the community as a whole, and most importantly, for how all of our pleasure is interrelated.
This vision boarding will take place before the first full moon of the year. We hope that each of us can create something beautiful that can be used as a focal point for calling in the pleasures of the new year under the power of the full moon.
Goodwill Treasure Trove
For our second event, we will be going to the Goodwill in Ballard (trying to get those bougie, minimalist run-off gems, ya know?) The whole exercise will be about finding more pleasure shopping by doing so in a group. This is particularly meaningful for me because, up until my relationship with Rayla, I had never bought my own clothes. I have only begun to develop my own style, and I feel very seen when accompanied by friends who can give me advice and feedback.
Our hope is that by shopping together we can help each other find clothing that makes us feel like our best selves. We think that shopping with others will help us do this better than we could on our own. Personally, I have never really enjoyed shopping, so the obvious second piece of the event is to make shopping a more pleasurable experience for everyone there. We hope to lean into turning the thrift shop into a play space where we will all get to dress the fuck up.
We are inviting people to come with a general idea of a vibe that they would like to have in 2019, so that our group can have an easier time finding possible outfit pieces for each other. My vibe is “the modern intersection of wizards and pirates”.
YOU ARE DEFINITELY INVITED.
We will be sharing an event page with all of the details on our website later this week (after we get confirmation from our venue). We are aiming for a maximum of twelve people per event, so if you are interested in either, let us know! We hope to see you there! :D