Upward Iterations

"The first step" by Twilight Fairy on Flickr

Iterate |it-uh-reyt|
To operate or be applied repeatedly, as a linguistic rule or mathematical formula (Dictionary.com)

Perform or utter repeatedly. Make repeated use of a mathematical or computational procedure, applying it each time to the result of the previous application; perform iteration. (Oxford American Dictionary)

Each day is a blank slate. And I really mean that: my days have no set-in-stone structure. I commit to engagements, have meetings, attend events, etc.–but even those things are at my discretion. My days are wide open.

“Every day is like a blank canvas
Carving my initials in the planet like I brand it
Hand picked to live this life we take for granted

I choose adventures each day. Usually small, not-adventures-to-anyone-but-me adventures. This adventuring is one of the benefits of my current freelancer/grad student/wanderer lifestyle.

Despite these blank slate, daily adventures, I feel like I’m static and moving nowhere in an impossibly repetitive way.

Smiling through the trouble we face, trying to manage
my way without pumping my brakes and staying stagnant
Feeling like I’m checking out a game from the sideline
I got to try different things in these trying times

Iterating Up

As I search for and grow meaningful work and hone in on my thesis topic, I often feel like I’m approaching challenges in the same way I’ve always approached them. BLEGH. I am not innovative enough (for my own liking) in my problem-solving/solution-generating.

But this process of iterating is more than just going through the motions. I wonder if I could iterate upward–as though in each machination of iterating, I’d be building and moving up. To borrow from Oxford’s definition of iteration: “applying a procedure each time to the result of the previous application.”

An upward iteration–now that resembles growth.


Kendall Ruth talks about liminal space–a transitional period.

“Now the irony is, over the past several months – months wherein I’ve not been able to get anything off the ground other than various freelance writing/editing gigs, months where I’ve lost a lot of the normal things that give a person a sense of security and place – I have felt more in my skin on most days than ever before. Maybe that’s a result of Liminal space, “a place where boundaries dissolve a little and we stand there, on the threshold, getting ourselves ready to move across the limits of what we were into what we are to be.”

[You’ll better understand my post if you read his in full–his post was the inspiration for writing this. I’ll be here when you get back.]

I thought that when I quit my job and pursued grad school full-force that I was transitioning. That seems like a logical transition, right? But I’m not sure that was the case.

I think I’m transitioning now.

And this transition is neither tangible nor precise. Which is weird to me. It’s not even an actionable transition–it’s balancing, just so, on the precipice; I’m in the implausible space between forward momentum and hurdling off the cliff.

I’m spilling forward into flight.

Whole new blueprint, brand new layout

Iterating Flight

All my iterations have put me here. Now. My iterations were micro-adventures and work projects and brainstormings on notepads and endeavored ideas and final class papers and books & articles read and coffee shop conversations.

I think I might have a backlog of iterations.

So you can stop and refresh the rules
Breathe in, breathe out, let it heal all your exit wounds
Something inside said that’s the move
and made it today, I’ll restart fresh and new”*

These are some of the things I want to iterate while I move with my current transition/limen: I want to be involved in building a business. I want to rock out my thesis. I want to continue meeting people. I want to iterate myself again and again and again. I want all of this to look like upward iteration.

* Lyrics from The Roots “The Day” on the How I Got Over album. You can listen to the song here.

Image c/o TwilightFairy on Flickr

  • I love you.

  • You are so awesome. I love this!

  • Creativekatrina

    It is fantastic to see yet another dimension of an already complex, talented lady ; ) Love the connections you are creating about your personal experiences, how you share them and the “awesomeness” that just oozes from the page. Its such an amazing experience when you notice the disconnectedness is really just a perception, and perceptions can and do shift to reveal more than you ever thought.

  • Thank you for this. It is precisely what I needed this afternoon. As I notice a pattern, listening to friends around me, pondering their next steps as the bricks that they were standing have been torn up, whether it be a job dissolved, a lover leaving, or simply their heart screaming at them NO! I can only listen and examine my own life and listening quietly for the far away crys that i have chose not to listen to, whether it being time or
    Thank you for this, and of course, for getting me thinking. giant kitzelbunny mew.

  • Michael Clingan

    Cali, this is beautiful.

    In my field this concept is called POOGI – a Process Of OnGoing Improvement. We use the term like it's a cuddly bunny. Except it really scares people when they try to do it, particularly the second iteration.

    You fearlessness is what makes it work. And I'm inspired watching you.

  • Likewise, m'dear!

  • Aww – thank you!

  • Ahh…you've brought out something that I didn't fully recognize: noticing
    “disconnectedness.” You're right — many of the things we experience aren't
    actually disconnected; we just deem them so. Thanks for the comment, lovely!

  • Ahh — the far away cries. I've been ignoring some of those for awhile, too.

    Thanks, kitzelbunny!

  • Your comment means the world to me, Michael!

    And I did a quick search on POOGI…and it makes sense that what I
    wrote about was simply an individual case of what happens in business
    and beyond. If only we could package everything as cuddly bunnies. ;)

    Thank you.

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