Each edition contains the latest from the Grokkist Press, events and highlights from our community, and a care package of snackable outside links selected to spark your curiosity.
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We're back for 2024 and taking things up a notch this year. This edition is stuffed full of grokky goodness, so let's get right to it.
Hot off the Grokkist Press is my new essay Curiosity and Care: the essence of being a grokkist. It turns out I have lot to say about the stakes of what this is and why we're here.
We have our first member-only event coming up on the pain, perils and pitfalls of promoting one's work, and the first offering in our member-initiated grassroots workshop series too.
In Snackables, you can find out about the practice of Swedish death cleaning, explore what 'crazy plane lady' can tell us about mass psychogenic illnesses, learn what entrepreneurial statecraft is about, find out why creativity starts before anything is made, and enjoy an art project that subverts the constraints of passport photos.
Keep scrolling for all this and more.
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From the Grokkist Press
Articles, videos, podcasts and other creations
Curiosity and care: the essence of being a grokkist
by Danu Poyner (23 min read)
A deeply reflective exploration of how an insistence on curiosity and care can transform our engagement with the world by re-enchanting our attention, deepening human connection, and challenging the transactional nature of modern society.
- A personal story about the commodification of attention
- Do we care about care? The value of care in society and how instrumental logic erodes human connection
- Hospitality and the practice of crafting caring experiences – even transactional relationships can be enchanted with care and curiosity
- Outlaws of ethos: the challenge for curious souls and the many faces of curiosity beyond the generalist
- Embracing the grokkist philosophy as a champion of curiosity and care
🎙 Calibrate your inner compass with a sense of gratitude for the peculiar - Lawrence Yeo | S4E1
Lawrence Yeo is a writer, illustrator, storyteller, and the creator of 'More To That', an illustrated long form blog that delves deeper into the things that make us who we are. We discuss the role of confidence, gratitude, uncertainty and many other practicalities of pursuing a creative life.
Lawrence's story in brief
- Lawrence grew up feeling abundant despite growing up poor, and always had a strong sense of curiosity and abundance.
- He pursued a career in finance but knew it wasn't his true passion, so he quit his job to pursue music but eventually became disillusioned with the industry's demands for external validation.
- He transitioned to writing blog posts on Medium, developing a unique writing style that combines philosophical and metaphorical writing with hand-drawn illustrations and graphs.
- He found that his writing reached more people than his music did, and he realised that his inner compass was about how creating art moved him forward as a person.
- Lawrence started his blog, More To That, without a specific strategy or intention to start a business, and it has since grown into a platform offering courses, consulting, and direct support.
- Money, creativity, fulfilment, and the idea of 'enough'
- Mindset, framing, and following your inner compass while embracing uncertainty
- The power of storytelling in navigating the nuances of the human condition
From the Grokkist Network
Events and updates from our community
Community updates and highlights
Featured member profile
Through our Featured Member portal, we like to showcase the efforts of fellow grokkists who are shaking up, re-imagining or re-enchanting their own fields of practice with an insistence on curiosity and care.
ASP | Association of Sustainability Practitioners
The Association of Sustainability Practitioners (ASP) is here to promote learning that transforms behaviour from unsustainable to sustainable practices.
We are an international community of sustainability practitioners with a wide diversity of skills and practices, learning and acting together to create truly sustainable futures. We provide each other with the space to safely explore the challenges of this journey through mutual support and helpful connection.
Notable threads and discussions
- There are lots of neurodivergent folks in the Grokkist Network, so we've started compiling a 'grok file' of our favourite resources.
- My post on what's in store for Grokkist in 2024
Featured events and meetups
We are a global community – events listed below are shown in the host's timezone.
Further Together Workshop | Pain, Perils and Pitfalls of Promoting One's Work
Facilitated by Danu Poyner and Nathan Dufour
Every grokkist who has their own thing going on is familiar with navigating the pain, perils and pitfalls of promoting their work.
Maybe time spent promoting takes away from time spent creating. Maybe you are tired of being buffeted by the howling and ever-changing winds of social media. Maybe you're overwhelmed by the technological and logistical practicalities of putting your stuff out there. Maybe you've built it but they haven't yet come. Maybe the whole thing simply gives you the ick.
Our Further Together workshop series designed for grokkists who want to experience the joy of pursuing their own quest in the company of a community of practice who are all doing the same.
Bring your frustrations, confusions, pet peeves, wish-it-weren’t-so’s, fears, and musings about marketing and promoting your work. Give them a good airing among friends, then release them to the winds as we help each other move forward in a loving circle of shared support.
Danu and Nathan will present practical wisdom on promotion and content strategy for the creator economy, and everyone is encouraged to bring a potluck resource (e.g. a book, article, video) or a piece of practical wisdom to impart so we all leave feeling richer and lighter than when we arrived.
Opening the Door to Heart-Centered Knowing
🗓️ Wed 28 February | 7–9pm ET (view in your timezone)
The Western world is a tumultuous cacophony of competing voices vying for the assent of our minds. Lost in linearity, our current ways of thinking reduce, extract, and analyze facts in order to assert a definitive conclusion and declare what can be known. This way of thinking is not sustainable. This way of thinking has forgotten our hearts. There are Other Ways of Knowing.
A plant whisperer creatively engaged in the emerging fields of plant consciousness and interspecies relationships, Amanda Nicole is fluent in the language of the heart and conversant with the trees. In collaboration with non-human nature beings, Amanda creates opportunities for humans to experience the elegant, sustainable, gentle voice of their own hearts. You are invited to join Amanda Nicole and the Tulip Poplar tree in an engaging exploration of the marginalized world of heart-centered knowing.
What’s the format?
🙋🏻♀️ Hosted by Grokkist Network member Amanda Nicole.
💬 Our grassroots workshop series encourages members of the Grokkist Network to host their very own interactive workshop on a topic that lights them up!
⏳ 120 minutes. Expect a mix of presentation, discussion, and activity.
💸 Free to attend with optional donation. A suggested donation of USD$10-25 is encouraged. Choose your own amount. You can donate now or during the event.
▶️ The session will be recorded and added to the event recordings library.
Assorted awesome links, just because.
#1 - The Gentle Art Of Swedish Death Cleaning
My granddad passed away last year and, while we all loved him dearly, he was very much a hoarder. He knew that. "You can sort it all out after I'm gone", he would say. My parents spent most of last year doing just that, and I saw the physical and emotional toll the process took on them, especially mum.
Swedish Death Cleaning is not a metal band (though it should be), but rather the practice of clearing out unnecessary belongings, or at least making a start so it isn’t so overwhelming for your loved ones to eventually deal with. It's a philosophy of decluttering, but the literal translation from döstädning – dö meaning "death" and städning meaning "cleaning" – really brings the concept to life, as it were.
In the book of the same name, artist Margareta Magnusson outlines a playful method for putting things in order that she says helps families broach sensitive conversations, and makes the process uplifting rather than overwhelming. And there's now a reality TV show hosted by Amy Poehler inspired by the book. (🙏 Brittany C)
#2 - Plane madness and mass psychogenic illness
The Sawbones Podcast, which discusses the odd, misguided and dangerous ways we've dealt with various medical issues through the ages, wondered if 'plane madness' might be a kind of mass psychogenic illness for our times. So they did an episode on railway madness, an odd period in the 1800’s when men kept going wild on trains and it was blamed on the vibrations. They also talk about various 'dancing plagues' that have popped up throughout history.
The idea of a real but transient mental illness puts me in mind of Ian Hacking's book Mad Travellers, which investigates a brief epidemic of people suddenly leaving their homes to walk obsessively, often not knowing who they are or where they are going.
#3 - Applying entrepreneurial techniques to statecraft problems
A political essay of interest in large part because it manages the rare feat of blending language and political philosophies in a way likely to be appealing and off-putting in equal measure, regardless of your politics.
The author argues for achieving significant cultural and societal change through direct, material action rather than indirect cultural movements. He claims that true cultural change comes not from abstract ideas or social movements, but from concrete actions and the achievements of disciplined teams and networks that become legendary, a practice called 'entrepreneurial statecraft'.
Entrepreneurial statecraft is a political project, but it’s not a movement. It’s not about culture. It’s a discipline. It’s about taking responsibility into your own personal hands, perhaps in collaboration with others who are doing the same. It’s about going out there and applying entrepreneurial techniques to statecraft problems. It’s about having the focus to avoid abstract, indirect cultural strategies and instead target materialist, direct action on the things you actually care about.
#4 - Creativity starts before anything is made
Lawrence Yeo of More to That (who as you may recall is also my latest podcast guest) is one of the wisest voices out there on the practicalities of the creative life and process. In this resonant and relatable essay, he explores the concept of creativity by emphasising its roots in life experiences rather than just the act of creation. He tells the story of Stan, a character who learns that creativity is an ever-present process, deeply intertwined with one's observations and experiences in life.
#5 - A gallery of unseen artistic rebellion in passport photos
A joyfully subversive art project that explores avenues for self-expression in the most famously unexpressive kind of photography – the passport photo. Heavily restricted and regulated, the official passport photo requirements include that the subject needs to face the camera straight on, needs a clear background without shadow, no glare on glasses and most importantly; no smile. The series tries to challenge these official rules by testing all the things you could be doing while you are taking your official document photo.
My personal favourite is the woman who is secretly wearing a dress made out of toilet rolls and whose furtive but carefully blank stare nonetheless communicates her intense inner satisfaction about getting away with it.
A parting thought...
"The war against intelligence is always waged in the name of common sense"
— Roland Barthes
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