Join me and a few others in the Kismuth and S P A C E online conversation spaces for the new 12-week ‘MIRROR’ project. Reflection and writing. Together, in online forums and over email 1:1 with me.

How did this topic arise? I’m a fan of the Open Space method, which gets people together to talk about things that interest them.

Some titles from the last ten years that pop to mind as I reminisce on this include: Gather: What does it mean to have Community, Origin: ‘What is fromness?’, Rooftop Philosophy in Phnom Penh, Beauty: What is it? Who gets to decide?, Aether: Is the Medium Still the Message?, and you see what I mean? Quite esoteric, but it gets real and cool when we make time to show up, and talk, together, about what it is that intrigues and invites those who might not know one another to discover together on a theme. Dialogue is that style that has a center and not sides, for me, when I host these things.

The one that I had held last week in virtual space was themed ‘A Change of Perspective.’ Through a series of fascinating exchanges, I got to see that there is an even more specific topic we could zero in on. True to Open Space style, I’ve allocated another spot to dive deeper into this topic. It is ‘A World Apart.’

Asing questions: An online reflection space for the very curious

Some of us are far, far away from what we thought we knew, and are on the road ‘indefinitely.’ In these places, on these journeys, we meet and talk. Sometimes we share. I’m looing forward to the next set of online conversations for this series, and I invite you to be part of the Cojournal, ‘A World Apart,’ if you are interested in engaging with us in a written way. That’s also a way to discover, and co-discover, what we don’t know.

Apply at this link…

http://dipikakohli.com/apply

 

Participation fees start at USD10/week, (USD7/week for returning guests.)

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The Mirror | ‘A World Apart’

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A story about a little time and a little space, that was the goal of writing Solitude. There is some confusion, I feel, around the value of solitude, owing to an online culture of ‘feed me info’ or ‘entertainme’ or ‘infotainment’ or even just people being unable to do the big-deal thing of ‘sitting quietly alone in a room.’ Referring to this:

Blaise Pascal — ‘All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.’

 

 

Solitude

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Here is my column this month, in Saathee.

 

Trust the Process

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Trust the Process

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Philip Oroni

 

 

Soft Skills in the workplace, at home, and in the world

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Soft Skills

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I like quiet space. I always have. This book expands on it, in vignettes from Phnom Penh. / Photo: Debby Hudson

 

Next from Kismuth’s collection of short books is Into the Quiet. It’s a curated collection of articles, and additional bits and pieces, on the subject of stilling, quieting, and finding comfort there.

Here’s a link.

http://kismuth.com/into-the-quiet

Thanks.

 

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Into the Quiet

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It’s nice to be writing a column, Kismuth & The Way II, for Saathee Magazine. The first series ran for a time and then the pandemic hit. I resumed the column this year, to gather a few new pieces, mostly tiny vignettes about everyday life in Cambodia. Where I live. It’s a long story.

More about that, soon.

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Writing a column again

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‘I’ll meet you there’

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Journal to reflect, and to get to know yourself better. See patterns, over time. You can, and maybe you already do. But what if you could share this journaling and reflection experience with others?

 

Writing for reflection

The Cojournal Project started in 2014. It’s me sending a weekly writing prompt, and then, us talking together about it, over email, in asynchronous and international conversations. There are no more than four people per circle. Several dozen people have taken part, over the years.

I feel this is useful and important for people who don’t know how to find time and space to ‘learn and grow’, in a way that isn’t prescribed like through a class or a course or something that is formal, and usually one-way (or top-down).

Personally, I love the conversations that meander, are informal, and sort of jazzy in style. We talk, and we riff, and something happens in that space. I feel that the beauty is the emergence that’s there to explore, and invite to come to the surface. Words are the notes to the music we make, together.

 

 


Making conversation spaces: in real life, online


Before covid, I used to host conversation roundtables like ‘Make: What is the creative process?’, ‘Origin: What is fromness?’ or ‘Beauty: What is it, who gets to decide?’, and maybe 100 or so, more. All around the world, wherever I was, I’d find people and invite them to convene and connect. Riga, Tokyo, Warsaw, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Oulu… Yes, a great deal of movement, pre-covid. (None, now. I’m quite stationary, and content, where I am).

Still, I recall these moments with a great deal of fondness. The people were amazing. It takes courage to ‘opt in’, I see that it’s harder and harder to do this, given the age we’re in. Many times I had highlights and even more times, it was completely a fail, lol, but that’s okay. That’s how you figure out how to make it better, redesign slightly, retest, keep going. Making conversation spaces that really get people inspired, not recording anything, and never sharing, after we leave, the contents are so personal, after all. That’s why there aren’t any pictures. I’m not keen on ‘marketing’ these things, showing off all the cool photos of all the cool people. That’s just not my style.

I loved meeting and connecting people with one another, before the pandemic. I loved experiencing the gatherings of us, in real life, to see each other, and to investigate and inquire. Even now the (few) people I know who wind up visiting cities in which others are whom I know, I will connect them. So they can meet. In the way I love: meaningful conversations, I’m certain, will come of these initiatives.

Now, though, I’m less inclined to make this effort to go and physically meet people in real life, and get them talking. It’s a lot of overhead.

So now it’s online. I send prompts to those who want to be part of the conversations (you’ll apply, then you’ll register to set up a weekly fee, and we go from there).

Asynchronous email conversations are my way of continuing to host dialogues that advance our ideas together and challenge us to dig a little deeper. Writing isn’t just publishing; it’s exploring, and discovering, too, I feel. Journeying in real life is this, too. The destination isn’t the point: it’s how fun it is, along the way, to move through the world and see what is out there for us to get to know, to understand. More and more, I see that Kismuth was never about publishing books, as much as inviting these kinds of curious, fun, light, and informal conversations. To happen.

 

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.”
— Lucy Dacus

 

The Cojournal Project, then, is a chance for you to talk to me and others, through our weekly online prompt-led conversations. Who joins? Mostly, people I’ve met personally, as I’ve gotten to know and invite people to read my books in Kismuth, or talk together at conversation salons, or simply connect over the occasional group zoom call. I remember a time when serendipitous encounters were much more common and welcome than they seem to be today (in an era of too-much-info, too any new things can overwhelm). Let me curate this opening for your window into whatever’s next, whatever’s possible, by placing you into a circle with me and up to two others.

 


Journal with me and others: write, share, converse


We’ll meet there when we like, talk together, and expand on ideas that might have been blooming, but remained stuck, due to lack of freshness, inspiration, or a chance to simply share in a way that doesn’t judge and isn’t with people you already know. Originally that was my hope, to build a group of conversation spaces for us to semi-publicly connect (not a group, not a club, not a clique, and not a company). The differently-minded, meeting in the humble, casual, informal spaces I love to convene in, for Kismuth connections.

Be a part of it. Here’s an application form.

 

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Kismuth Connexions

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It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re blogging about Kismuth and what things are going on where you are, right now. I want to circle back to the beginning of this conversation with myself to write memoirs. It was 1985. I was ten, and the events of that year led me to where I am now, in a long, winding, blustery, curious, and vitality-filled arc. All this adventuring. All this doing whatever I could. Going and seeing. Crisscrossing the globe.

Living on: but fully. No blinders, no tunnel vision and no denying realities of the fact that sometimes, there is no ‘why.’

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Kismuth means destiny

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‘For it is only what belongs to himself that he makes the matter for his activity:’ Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius:

Do not waste the remainder of thy life in thoughts about others, when thou dost not refer thy thoughts to some object of common utility. For thou losest the opportunity of doing something else when thou hast such thoughts as these—What is such a person doing, and why, and what is he saying, and what is he thinking of, and what is he contriving, and whatever else of the kind makes us wander away from the observation of our own ruling power.

‘We ought then to check in the series of our thoughts everything that is without a purpose and useless, but most of all the over-curious feeling and the malignant; and a man should use himself to think of those things only about which if one should suddenly ask, What hast thou now in thy thoughts? with perfect openness thou mightest immediately answer, This or That; so that from thy words it should be plain that everything in thee is simple and benevolent, and such as befits a social animal, and one that cares not for thoughts about pleasure or sensual enjoyments at all, nor has any rivalry or envy and suspicion, or anything else for which thou wouldst blush if thou shouldst say that thou hadst it in thy mind. For the man who is such, and no longer delays being among the number of the best, is like a priest and minister of the gods, using too the [deity] which is planted within him, which makes the man uncontaminated by pleasure, unharmed by any pain, untouched by any insult, feeling no wrong, a fighter in the noblest fight, one who cannot be overpowered by any passion, dyed deep with justice, accepting with all his soul everything which happens and is assigned to him as his portion; and not often, nor yet without great necessity and for the general interest, imagining what another says, or does, or thinks.


‘For it is only what belongs to himself that he makes the matter for his activity; and he constantly thinks of that which is allotted to himself out of the sum total of things, and he makes his own acts fair, and he is persuaded that his own portion is good. For the lot which is assigned to each man is carried along with him and carries him along with it.† And he remembers also that every rational animal is his kinsman, and that to care for all men is according to man’s nature; and a man should hold on to the opinion not of all, but of those only who confessedly live according to nature. But as to those who live not so, he always bears in mind what kind of men they are both at home and from home, both by night and by day, and what they are, and with what men they live an impure life. Accordingly, he does not value at all the praise which comes from such men, since they are not even satisfied with themselves.

 

What are you doing today to make your choices, and to allow for those ‘best’ things you have decided to work for you to come into fruition? Today, how are you coming alive? 

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