This is my morning journal entry for March 8, 2020. This won’t be a polished essay, like the blog posts I’ve been writing in the past. This is just a raw mind-to-paper exercise. Some stuff here might be poorly expressed, some statements might be wrong. Sorry about that.

I’ve been told I ought to mourn, but I don’t know what that means.

What do I know?

I know that the more you do something, the more of a habit it becomes. Every time you activate a neural pathway it strengthens and becomes more likely to be active in the future. This makes me fear mourning a little: I don’t want to practice being sad.

But I also know its harmful to avoid or ignore feelings of loss. How do I know when I’m doing it the right amount? I can sit with my grief, and allow it to pass through me. I can actively ponder things that I miss or pain I’ve experienced. But how do I know if I’m actively processing my feelings, or just endlessly practicing being sad?

I think part of the problem is that I’m thinking framing it as a “how much” problem. I’m trying to be a thermostat: am I feeling too little, or too much? That probably isn’t a useful frame to use. I should probably focus more on how I’m feeling: but not “how” in the sense of asking “what are the qualitative properties of my feelings?” but instead “what are the actual mechanisms through which I’m expressing and experiencing those feelings?” The efficient cause rather than the formal cause.

In other words: how do I mourn? I still don’t know. However, I’m out of time for this morning. This is my morning journal entry for March 8, 2020.

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