Surviving Order & Chaos Where We Live


THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN OUR INNER AND OUTER LIVES is perforated & blurry.  We are spread out across this doubled environment in various degrees of organization and disarray. 

The subjective life of our bodymind both creates and is created by our home, family, and neighbourhood.  Ditto for the planetary biosphere.  So how do we develop sanity and resilience in our complex and multiple transjective lifeworlds?

What is the art of internal & external housekeeping?

This is the question that Alyssa Allegretti is exploring in her emerging book, The Only Constant: How to Stay (Somewhat) Stable & Organized During Times of Transition & Grief.  The book is being published in installments at her Adaptive Daydream substack.  Here is a taste:

>>> It’s all there. All of the biggest social issues of our time are apparent in the stacks of unwashed dishes, the piles of clean laundry that never get folded or put away, the mess of medical bills, the cacophony of Post-It notes littering the hallway mirror. It’s all there. All of our most intimate, inner material. All of the stress of unpaid child support feeding into the trauma of single motherhood, the fear of a sick and aging body, the grief of losing a loved one, the childhood wounds of your early relational conditioning around chores... I know it might seem like a big leap, but the state of your home is nothing short of a window into your soul, and a glimpse into the lookingglass of the socio-cultural landscape your home resides in. Home is a place and a feeling/sense, but home is also an expansive concept that extends outwards and inwards.

We all have a tendency to overlook the transformational significance of everyday spaces and tasks.  At the same time, we are fascinated by the theories of Feng Shui, Marie Kondo, and others who locate human depth and regenerative potential in the ways that we arrange and upkeep our living spaces. 

What Alyssa adds (other than her deep understanding of cognitive science, permaculture, spirituality, and illusion) is her nuanced appreciation and empathy for trauma, grief, and the impossibility of perfecting ourselves or our lifeworlds.

>>> There are many access points to the same fundamental shifts, understandings, and inner growth arcs. Our relationship to home and housekeeping is a unique access point to these deeper reckonings because housekeeping is universal (pretty much everyone has to do it), well integrated (provides us with insight and is a practical necessity of everyday life), and humbling (nothing is more humanizing than cleaning a toilet). More than anything else, tending to my home in this way has provided me with the ability to learn how to learn–to value the process of becoming more than the ultimately illusory achievement of having arrived.

In our culture, lifestyle achievements are often confused with personal growth. But it’s not what we do that develops our character or aptitude at handling life’s challenges and realities, it’s how and why we do it. My holistic housekeeping approach asks that we watch the interaction between internal conditions and external conditions very closely. The magic of homemaking stems from adjusting external conditions to support desired behavior and inspire desired states like peace, ease, or productivity. The home environment also greatly affects how our brains function and how our nervous systems function.

We are taught that habit-building arises from willpower or strength of character, but in fact, circumstances and external conditions impact our behavior far more than self-discipline. Some people have a great deal of self-discipline, but it’s impossible to know on the surface if that discipline is healthy for them, or if it comes at a steep cost to well-being. Some people can exercise perfect self-discipline for a little while, but cannot sustain the change long-term because the pressure of that perfectionism collides with the reality of circumstantial limitations, as well as the reality that our personal resources change (rise and fall and cycle) over time.

In other words:
because we live in a culture that operates on non-renewable resources, it should come as no surprise that our personal growth culture also teaches us to operate on non-renewable personal resources. I’ll explain what I mean by “personal resources” in greater detail in chapter four, where I discuss the importance of preparing for times of hardship during times of ease. The principles of sustainability, regenerative culture building, and permaculture design also apply to household management.

Check out Chapter One and follow the journey as it unfolds.  
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emerge is convening a field of metamodern praxis