Towards emotional attentiveness, of self and others

In February, someone close to me suffered a devastating emotional crisis that could have ended horribly. I take it as a midlife wake-up call to pay attention, to her emotional life and to mine, and to everyone else’s around me. Before that happened, I had already started on a path of working on myself, in therapy and on my own. But that crisis made me realize how much more was at stake than I realized.

I’ve spent so much of my life overwhelmed by the intensity of my emotions while at simultaneously apparently deaf to the emotions of others. In the last few years, I’ve had the chance to develop better emotional awareness for myself. At the same time, I’ve worked on developing empathetic awareness of others’ emotions as well.

In the second half of my life (if I’m lucky to have fifty more years ahead of me), I’d like to spend more time exploring the emotional realm, and helping others do the same. That’s the motivation behind emotion / know.

Next year I turn fifty years old. This doesn’t distress me, or not much. On the contrary, I find it an opportunity to release myself from a devotion to materialism and prestige and turn instead towards making meaning and having an impact in the world, using the personal resources I’ve built up.

With emotion / know, I hope to:

  • Bring the science of emotions (especially the theory of constructed emotion) into my writing and into my technological offerings in a practical and useful way
  • Make the latest therapeutic ideas such as those from Dialectical Behavior Therapy more accessible to people who are not diagnosed with disorders, because I think it’s a shame if these powerful ideas and skills should be limited in their reach
  • Use the skills and experience from my technology career in a more meaningful and humanistic way, as I intend this not just as a blog but as a platform for launching apps and bots and such that support emotional development
  • Take ideas and practices from Eastern spiritual traditions out of the religious realm and make them secularly accessible