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How Do You Function?

 
steward
Posts: 5059
1989
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I love learning this about other people, because I find this facet of being human to pretty interesting. How do you work? Essentially, describe how the "operating system" for yourself as a person works. If you were to try to avoid describing the content within you, but instead focus on the procedural aspects of what makes you tick, what would that be like?

I kind of approached this topic two years when I was in anxiety and depression therapy, and during a group session, each of us were given a giant stack of words, like more than 200 hundred or so, and we had to pick just five words that best describe us.

These were the words I chose, in order from strongest to lowest priority: virtue, duty, self-control, autonomy, and self-knowledge. This is why I chose each word and the order I put them in.

1. Virtue - because I think it's important for me to have values
2. Duty - because I feel obligated to act on my values so that they become real and have meaning (i.e. they get meaning from being brought into reality and out of my head)
3. Self-control - because I feel I must have the discipline to be able to follow through with my duties
4. Autonomy - because I need to be able to do whatever it is that I feel needs to get done
5. Self-knowledge - because I need to be able to evaluate my actions and my beliefs and be able to adapt accordingly
 
Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Desire
Purpose
Curiosity

I am driven by my desires. Once I decide to pursue something, the pursuit becomes the purpose for each decision.  My curiosity continues to feed newly discovered desires. It's a feedback loop. The more I learn and discover, the more I want.
 
master steward
Posts: 11351
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Integrity: I cannot stand hypocrisy within myself. If I believe something is right, I need to do it. "Faith without works is dead." I do not wish to be dead. If I think rich people shouldn't have giant mansions while other's starve, than I go without unnecessary luxuries, too. If I think people with giant lawns should have gardens or sheep, then I better get growing and get some sheep. Etc.

Dependable: If I say I will do something, then I need to follow through. I want to be dependable. Trustworthy. I do not give away my loyalty lightly, but when I say I will do something, I will do it. My integrity will not allow me to do otherwise.

Reflective: I am constantly reevaluating what I do and why I do it and if it's the best/right thing to do. I wish to understand myself and my motivations, and improve them when/if necessary. I constantly look at situations to try to get to the core of what went wrong and then find ways to improve.  I think about systems and how to improve them.

Stubbornness: I keep going. I was never the smartest person in class, but I worked hard. I put in the hours to do it right, and often had the highest grades. I'm stubborn. If I think something is right, I will persist. Through depression and hardship, I just keep slogging along.

I am very much governed by thinking about what is right and good and doing that. I fight perfectionism in myself--it is something I have always struggled with.
 
Posts: 307
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
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Love.

Love of God.
Love of Self.
Love of Others.
Love of Earth.
Love of what you do.
Love of Learning.
Love of Breathing.
Love of .....
 
pollinator
Posts: 3464
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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For me, curiosity informs desire. I find out about something, and when I find it fascinating, I want it, or want to learn more about it.

For me, I need to know. I find issues of reality relegated to blind faith disturbing from an intellectual point of view, as it raises the question, "What if what I believe is blinding me to what exists?" Also, what if the intellect being discarded provides a more complete picture of what is being described?

This, in turn, leads to a need to keep learning, to check what I know by experiment or referral to the experience of others.

Integrity is a big factor. If I think it's unfair to use a right-hand lane that's ending to scoot ahead of a line of cars that's in my way, I won't let myself do that thing just because it's convenient. Consequently, if merging lanes are set up such that the only fair way to proceed is to "zipper merge," or "one-and-done," as it's also known (and by the way, it has been statistically proven that the zipper merge technique moves cars the fastest over any other method of merging traffic, regardless how it might feel to those near the head of the line that "got there first," like we're overgrown toddlers in some obscene race), I get truly pissed off when such a system is being abused.

I like to trust people until they give me a reason not to trust them, at which point I start writing them off. Anyone can better themselves in my view, but they have to earn it after that initial breach of trust.

If I am having a conversation with someone, and while I am listening to points and responding to them or answering questions posed, the other party isn't listening to my answers and responding to them, but rather trotting out stale talking points, it becomes obvious to me that they care more about their opinions than discourse. This is another case where I will dismiss the person and their views entirely. It saves time. Why would I waste effort screaming at a wall?

One area where others have an issue is that, because I put a lot of time and effort into researching what I find interesting, and because I am thorough and persistent, I tend to put great stock in my own opinion over that of others, to the point that if someone wants to convince me of something about which I had previously already formed an informed opinion, it's a real slog unless there's new information about which I had no inkling.

Also, I have a hard time with people who "know-what-they-know, Goddammit!" This is especially true when their "truths" are rooted not in science or methodical deliberation, but in faith, religion, superstition, or fondly-held tradition. Don't get me wrong; I definitely have room in my worldview for nonsense and imaginings. I simply save them for dreams of the future, of how we could take what we know of permaculture and other things and integrate them to make the future bright, rich, and interesting.

Which is not to say that spirituality and religion are nonsense and imaginings; I think that humanity has lived with these concepts for so long that something needs to occupy that mental space, if only to bridge the gap left by its absence. I just think that reason and materialism need to be acknowledged and applied, going forward, to appeal to new applicants.

I think perhaps that institutionalised mysticism has lost a lot of its appeal since it became increasingly possible to derive answers to the questions raised by life from rational sources. We have a fairly large amount of knowledge concerning how stars and planets are formed, and how life evolves, if not exactly if or how life arose from inert chemical compounds. We therefore don't need to rely on anyone's creation myths for anything other than morality tales or bedtime stories.

I have no problem with private mysticism; I find myself indulging any time I am immersed in my garden or in the wild. But it loses sincerity for me if I try to contain it with reason, words, and thought constructs. It may just be a mental reaction to immersion in a natural setting, and a switch from oversaturation of the senses to a seeming lack of input that can feel deafening, until you start registering how loud a natural setting can be, but that gives me a sincere-feeling version of what a Catholic cathedral mass, with the processions, choir (of which I was a part for years), traditions, smells-and-bells, all of it, were supposed to evoke.

I have little patience for superstition and conspiracy theories. I firmly believe that while people need to cultivate a deep respect, a fervour and reverence, for the processes of nature that have led to the growth of the world we know, I reject the notion, at least for myself, that there need be anything supernatural and unseen motivating or controlling it all.

The idea of the planet as Earth-Mother is one possible exception to this, but for me, it's at least as fitting as the Spaceship Earth talking points, and maybe a little weaker. Any mother that teaches her children as the Earth does would have them taken away by Child Services. Our Earth Mother is harsh in her demands and punishments; large-scale failures are often rewarded with extinction, as an example. This doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with the Earth-Mother explanation, only that she's harsh and unyielding at times. I think that the idea is useful for looking at the Earth system as a living organism, which in turn is a good way to deal with its complexities. We aren't on a static ball (or disc, or turtle's back), but on the surface of a dynamic system that incorporates life into itself.

Ultimately, I like to go back to some of the best wisdom to ever come out of a religious worldview, for my money. It's the last two lines of the Wiccan Rede, something of a codification of belief analogous to the Catholic Nicene or Apostles' Creeds, but for Wiccans. It reads as follows:

Eight Words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
'An It Harm None, Do What Ye Will

Do I live perfectly by these words? Can anyone? I don't think that it's possible to do so perfectly, but as an aspiration, I think it leaves many codified beliefs in the dust in terms of adapting to a changing world.

So basically, I try to trust until that trust is proved unwarranted. I am a curious person, and I think that to dismiss curiousity with mysticism is boring at least, and intellectually lazy in the worst terms possible, at most. I try to do more than I say, but as you all know, that's a tall order. I try to maintain integrity, doing what I say I will do, keeping to promises, trying to do well by the people around me, and trying to minimise any negative impacts of my actions. When I do wrong, I try to make it right however possible.

How do I function? Carefully, with lots of caffeine and herbal fixes for my anxiety. Deliberately, one foot at a time. And wholeheartedly. Don't half-ass life.

-CK
 
pollinator
Posts: 2123
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Exuberant happiness. Very much like a golden retriever bouncing about making friends with the world.
 
gardener
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Barely, lol
 
Carla Burke
gardener
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Ok, in all seriousness, I'm driven to follow through. Much of what the others have said also applies; love, integrity, reflection, curiosity, autonomy, stubbornness... I've a will and drive for freedom and independence, and I strive to be a resource, rather than a drain. I don't do much, in the way ofvolunteering my time to organizations, but if someone needs help, and I have the ability/means, I will help. I'm a healer and teacher, by nature - that means I'm also an avid learner, who learns best by 'doing'. So, if I stop 'doing', everything else kinda comes to a screeching, skidding halt.
 
Posts: 300
Location: South Central Kansas
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Desire
Purpose
Curiosity

I am driven by my desires. Once I decide to pursue something, the pursuit becomes the purpose for each decision.  My curiosity continues to feed newly discovered desires. It's a feedback loop. The more I learn and discover, the more I want.



I function on FOOD! YUMMIE!

Function example:

I have mashed potatoes on my plate. The function needed is for someone to pass me the gravy!

My real function in life was to procreate at least one offspring, raise them, and bide my time until the end, hoping and praying said end will be painless and peaceful a long time down the road.

In the meantime, come here and do as much as I can, time permitting.

 
Posts: 56
Location: Northwest Missouri
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Interesting question! Spurs a lot of self reflection. There are ways I operate and ways I'm aspiring to operate better.

Growth- always trying to increase knowledge and capacity for work.
Surrender- surrender to what is rather than clinging to what I wanted something to be, surrender to what I cannot change, surrendering past mistakes by learning the lesson and moving on.  
Recognition- seeing the patterns of nature, the patterns of my thoughts, patterns of behavior. Much easier to change something when you put forth the effort to recognize how it has been functioning.
Self care- pushing boundaries has to be balanced with nurturing. I work harder now on the farm than ever and support myself by getting massage, doing yoga, and meditating regularly.
Motivation- you can think a thing to death. You can moan and groan about how hard you think something will be. Or you can just do it, get it over with, and move on. "pitter-patter, let's get at 'er" as they say on Letterkenny.
 
Posts: 135
Location: London, UK
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This is a great thread! 👍

I focus on:-

- Being authentic i.e. keeping it real, being honest with self and others (tactfully if need be!)  I dislike hypocrisy/pretentiousness and am liable to call it out!

- Striving to remain positive!  We are surrounded by so much negativity e.g. in the world/media etc. I find a need to redress this imbalance and rectify it by seeing what can be done; acknowledging and celebrating the good stuff.   So easy/normal to complain!  I used to be subject to melancholia/depression some 4 decades ago e.g. having a fatalistic mindset.  Thankfully I then underwent a major transformation, discovering and embracing freewill (e.g. that we can choose our reactions) that gave me a positive mindset, now hardwired into me.

- I have been on the spiritual path most of my adult life...yes, I'm a mystic (not channeled into orthodox religion but have been a Buddhist).  My current focus is on developing the heart - being softer/more open/less judgemental (not easy since I have strong opinions!) but I have enormous compassion.

- being surrounded by Nature.  Although I live in the outerskirts of London, I have a naturalistic garden (front and back) that gives me enormous pleasure + my living room is adorned with plants and natural decor (e.g. butterfly paintings, rainbows etc).

- the beneficial value of being lighthearted i.e. witty!  I used to do stand up comedy (in the last century...when I was alive!) and love to make people laugh.  I find that humour can have a transforming effect e.g. provide some balance if things get a little too intense!

- being of service to others e.g. voluntary work, being there for someone etc.
 
Posts: 229
Location: North Coast Dominican Republic
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I am not sure I understand the question, but I'll give it a try.

For many years now, I have gotten sad at random times for no apparent reason. Now, some might say this is depression; but the thing is, it doesn't interfere with my life. I go on as usual, whether the things I need to do, or the things I love to do. These dark moods are just noise, I don't need to pay them any mind.

I find that dissatisfaction is a wonderful gift. Dissatisfaction is what moves me to try new ideas, to make new ventures, to go new places. I would venture to say that every improvement ever made in the world was made by someone dissatisfied with the way things were; thus, the capacity to be dissatisfied is a force for good.

Dreams keep me going. I've been a dreamer all my life, and it has cost me. I can't live in the dream world I grew up with anymore, so that leaves me with dreams of the Beautiful Beyond. In our skeptical age, even many who identify as spiritual no longer believe in a literal afterlife; but if I didn't have that, what would I have? This present world is really and truly passing away, if we take seriously the warnings of the sixth great extinction, climate change, and all of their ramifications. What is left to dream of, if not a different world to come?
 
Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you! - Seuss. Tiny ad:
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