Let’s get started. Application is at the end of this page. There’s more to say, after that.

&Cojournal

Writing with others, writing for ourselves

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The first prompt is ready to share. Be part of this season’s cojournal project when you apply and register [$].

Details are at: https://kismuth.com/cojournal/

&Cojournal

Cojournal | Writing is all rewriting

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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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essays, found

Researching ‘advice for young people’ for my last column, for Saathee, I found this intriguing short piece called Desiderata. Now, this may be quite familiar to many, because of the very real nature of Western intellectualism being more commonly delivered to our textbooks and into our everyday lives if we grow up in the West than, say, those who may have other perspectives, like the one I ended up writing about, after all. (Silence, namely. Letting people decide their own things. Jiddu Krishnamurthi’s unpackaged suggestions through his writings and lectures have pointed me this way, and the perspective of keeping quiet instead of over-verbalizing your opinion has been etched further from the many, many conversations that I’ve been lucky to get to have with those whom I have gotten to know, who have opened up, and who have come out and told me when I outright ask, ‘What do you think?’, and, importantly, who are wildy uninfluenced by Western traditions. So refreshing.)

That said, it’s sometimes worthwhile to keep these footnotes around as a reference point. Except for the ‘God’ reference, which I could do without, personally, I feel this short letter, reportedly from a father to his daughter, has some real heft to it.

Here it is.

Desiderata: Original Text This is the original text from the book where Desiderata was first published.

‘Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

‘Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

‘But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’ -Max Ehrmann, 1927

Advice for young people

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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.

vignettes, writing

Writing a column again

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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.

 

&Cojournal, vignettes

Kismuth Connexions

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To more conversations of the shape that makes us feel more interconnected, then, for 2024! Happy New Year.

writing

‘Wherever you go, there you are’

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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.’

vignettes

Kismuth means destiny

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100 Conversations

Zines

These days I’m making small format zines. A5.

I’m publishing them here where I live and distributing them, too, through a local cafe outlet. This is new for me since most of the work from the Atelier S P A C E teams was online work. We collaborated in the cloud. We published there, too. Conversing and talking and connecting and making zines. A new issue, every week.

The new projects are coming into shape for winter. One is the series, Winter 2023/24, ‘An Ecology of the Moment’.

This issue, ‘If we don’t know each other,’ is one of them.

The beginning of that story is online. It’s at dipikakohli.com/if-we-don’t-know-each-other

Checkit!

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found, vignettes

‘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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&Cojournal, essays

Mirror

 


One of my favorite things to do is host an online writing workshop, called The Mirror.

It is a set of writing prompts, that also includes an interactive component.

There is a lot to say about the purpose of reflection, including the pandemic-related focuses on ‘what am I doing?’ and ‘what’s really important?’ bringing the importance of the big work of thinking clearly about one’s own self-knowledge into a sharper relief.

Learn more at my personal site, dipikakohli.com, and check ‘eWorkshops’.

apply to the mirror

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