Archive for the ‘thinking’ Category

Excuse me Seth Godin. Even EXCEPTIONAL Designers (and though I won’t name any names, you know who they are flagyl 400…) are going through what this video so excellently shows. 

Look for us now disguised as massage therapists, taxi drivers and tap dancers.

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Anyone my age can surely recall how Star Trek episodes always started: with the time and date and perhaps a few events in the “Logbook.” May I express my fondness for Wikipedia at this point; I quote:

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logbook was originally a book for recording readings from the log, and is used to determine the distance a ship traveled within a certain amount of time. The readings of the log have been recorded in equal times to give the distance traveled with respect to a given start position.

Today’s ship’s log has grown to contain other types of information, and is a record of data relating to a ship or submarine, such as weather conditions, crew complement or what ports were docked at and when. It is essential to traditional navigation, and must be filled in at least daily.

Most Admiralties specify that logs are kept to provide a record of events, and to help crews navigate should radioradar or the GPS fail. Examination of a log is often used to try to explain some sort of disaster, in much the same way as a “black box” is used on airplanes (see Mary Celeste).

The term logbook has spread to a wide variety of other endeavors, and logbooks are widely used for e.g. complex machines like nuclear plants or particle accelerators where one is more and more using a computer based version of a logbook called electronic logbook (see electronic logbook). In military terms, a logbook is a series of official and legally binding documents. Each document (usually arranged by date) is marked with the time of an event or action of significance.

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Now, as redundant as this may be, a B-log is a WE-B-log. Are we all on the same page about that? Meaning: it is the respective blog author’s personal recording of his travels in time and space. And that’s what is so amazing, enjoyable, interesting, captiviating. I have watched with some amusement various discussions about the accuracy of some “reporting,” how people source things, disussions of plagarism (Maureen Dowd being the last noteable case), authenticity, etc., etc. There is, of course, reason and worth in these discussions, I don’t dispute that. But here, in this little piece of digital soup, of one thing I can be certain: this piece of carrot is mine and mine alone, including the references to other sources – which is a very integral part of what we all experience individually every day. If I say: “We have sighted the Klingon warship this morning…” and then proceed to report the Klingon communication, thought processes and artwork present in diplomatic quarters on their ship … Ah! Isn’t that a wonderful thing, being able to tell a story? A grand piece of film-making taking place as we speak. And all the characters involved, myself included, cannot NOT be the strong, paranoid, courageous, lame and fierce beings they are, in whatever roles they choose to play.

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Sitting smack in the middle of 2009, I wonder.

Slowly, slowly, the ugly head of doubt is beginning to wipe the sleep out of its eyes – as messages filter through that drowsy, still-flooded sea of dreamworld impulses that are all too captivating – giving itself the last little nudge into wakefulness… slowly, slowly. It has, quite clearly, no choice.

Is doubt the right word, I wonder, again? Perhaps we could term it “reality” - or simply the “is-ness of now” or perhaps even – dare I think this? - “awakening”?

There are things to be done, places to go, people to meet, choices to make. Every little, last relationship, big or small, minute or grand - the taxi driver, the stinging bee, the lover, the sister, the cashier, the sunny day - weaves in and around us and affects how we go about our “NOW.” Each day, every day, every second, these interactions shape who we are. We shape who they are. It’s a non-stop dance that we are always, always in the middle of, patiently watching. Stoically bracing for the next twirl, the unexpected twist, the uplift and a tango-ic sink. Without this patient, clear and passionate observation from a mysteriously unflappable center, life would be painful, even unbearable today. These days.

Are we indeed learning that “Virtue consists in a will which is in agreement with Nature.” Nature being everything around us, everything we plant, destroy, walk upon, breathe, touch, see, eat. Agreeing with all of that is obviously not a small task. Especially with challenges like this:

I posted two short tweets back-to-back a few weeks ago. The first one was a very stinging article related to torture. Pertinent and timely. I would link back to it, but due to internet posts now rapidly becoming a “let go” phenomenon, the link is lost to posterity. Whatever you do, don’t try to hold on to what you say. Or what other people have said or written. It’s very zen, actually. To give an impression, though, this link works just as well for more on the topic of torture.

Everyone has an opinion about torture. Some are very vehemently opposed. Others have a more blasé - as long as it doesn’t affect me - attitude. Others are all for it in the name of whatever sees that route as a means toward a cause (stopping/fighting/ridiculing terrorism, for example).

I rather expected the response I got. People looking up. People re-tweeting.

What I didn’t expect was that the tweet that followed, one about a family that was forced to choose between keeping their home or paying for their cancer-stricken son’s medical treatments, got virtually no response. You could hear the virtual pin dropping in the great void of buzzing digital activity.

My point was, and still is, that torturous situations are rampant this year. Perhaps it was that way EVERY year from the get-go of becoming humanoids. You don’t need to be a prisoner of war, or a prisoner at all. You can be a very normal human being, going about your business and WHAM! it hits you. The leather belt of foreclosure from the right. WHACK! The steel-studded whip of unemployment. Or BOOM! the din of debilitating illness coming upon you or yours that you cannot find appropriate treatment for because you cannot afford it - despite having sustained so much pressure, for the profit of others, for so long.

In agreement with nature means, for me, in agreement with human nature. There are, of course, common-sense charters and proposals (from the United Nations, for one) that agree on some basic premises like the fact that all people should have enough food to eat. Which is, quite obviously, not the case. Isn’t hunger a form of torture? Doesn’t it make sense that now would be a good time to take a look at making sustainable humanity more than a buzz word? Making that “virtuous will” a basic skill set for going from “politically correct“ to “human(e)ly correct”? 

Failing that, it’s all anyone can do - myself included - to focus on the unflappable center. To stoically brace while the madness whirlwinds around your ears.

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Life is an amazing process of growth. There are things you can do to heighten different aspects of any particular path you happen to find yourself upon. For one, you can take a cooking course to learn how to prepare delectable meals that are dramatically different than the standard fare that begins to become habitual after a while. Or, you can go to tantric seminars to learn how to enhance your sexual experience. (As a pertinent aside, people are now starting to realize that tending to their sexuality in the same way one attends to a program of general physical fitness directly affects the immune system, aging process (i.e. slow it down) and overall well-being in a way no amount of jogging can. Talk about saving health care costs in an effective way… this is bound to become the next big “tipping point”…) Or, you can do any type of self-betterment class, seminar, method, trip, and so on and so forth. Opportunity abounds. 

You may discover – indeed I have discovered – that heightening your sensual sensitivities brings some challenges with it. This is especially true if you were sensitive to begin with. Take these few example that I have been observing:

There is a cloth towel hand-drying dispenser in the bathroom at a sports club. Do you, after drying your hands and mussing up the cloth, pull down the cloth you soiled so the next person has a fresh piece? Or do you pull down their soiled piece to be able to wipe your hands on a clean stretch? Wouldn’t you be totally disgusted if the same were true (oh, sorry, it often is!) of the toilet  itself?

I wait patiently in line at a coffee shop, order, pay, and – as is the usual procedure nowadays – wait for my order to “come up.” There is a bit of eye contact communication going on with the person preparing my beverage, and she makes note of me because I’m the unusual one that has ordered soy milk. She places my cup on the little tray table counter space and makes certain I am aware this is mine. This irritates an impeccably dressed elderly woman (who was in line well after me), who believes that this particular order simply must be hers. Alas, it is not. My hand on my take-out, we make eye contact, hers fuming and hissing, mine trying to exude patience, compassion and understanding with her outright aggression toward me. Because of a cup of hot drink!

The next example is a bit more closer to home, but I feel it serves a purpose. Relationship is, in my opinion, one of the major reasons for - should we be able to, hypothetically, determine whether or not we want to do this - “manifesting” into a human body. We come down in order to rub noses with others who have done the same. That does NOT necessarily mean that it’s all twinkle-eyes and starry nights. There is stuff to be learned in conflict, to be sure. Like: how do you react when someone has a fight with you about something? We may be evolving slowly, slowly, into cultures that prefer to fight verbally as opposed to physically when engaged in 1:1 “combat” about who is responsible for taking out the garbage. Or for initiating sex. Or getting dinner together. Or responsible for what client. This list goes on, obviously. 

How do you react? Can you avoid words darting out of your mouth with intent to spear someone through and through? 

How do you deflect their sword attacks?

How do you process what the exchange means?

This is an essential skill, both in private and professional worlds. The great designer, the compassionate citizen, the “spiritual warrior,”  the true lover should be a few steps ahead if he has learned to hone his sensibilities, if they have practiced their art. If they want to step into the responsiblity of building a sensitive, compassionate planet. 

One exchange at a time.

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3 Quotes: 3 perceptions: 3 intentions: one day: march 25th.

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner 

“It is what it is.” Erich Fried

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

flower_in_snow_hiking_wildstrubel_ch

 

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A few weeks ago, I would have blamed it on PMS hormones (that actually never irritate me as much as they apparently affect my surroundings), or the dreary weather (it has since become sunny, though it’s far from t-shirt and nothing else temperatures), maybe it’s the state of the nation, the world, my apartment (how do kitchen floors do that, become really grungy in no time at all, even when you’re really careful?)… Today I could rightfully blame it, perhaps, on lack of sleep and chemical imbalances after a long night out: a peculiar type of gloom-and-doom mood. There are several ties that loop around, hovering time and again to bring the mood down upon me like a unbelievably thin blanket that I find very difficult to shake.

I try to leave the last quarter of 2008 behind me, thinking it was just one of those years, the type of year anyone prefers far, far away – but it comes up often lately. Two women, one a member of my family, the other not a member of my family, both well over 80, both full of complex physical maladies, both loved dearly for different reasons, passed away. I can rightly say I’m no stranger to death, this year marking two large anniversaries: my father’s death (30 years) and my mother’s death (10 years). But the latter of the two women was the first person ever that had given me the privilege of holding her hand, being there with her, as she took her last breath. A very basic, and often neglected, “sensual” experience.

Fast-forward to an event taking place next year, my 30th high school class reunion. There are regular and jovial updates (that serve to get me more and more excited about the whole thing) via email. It seems like it should be a snap to get the entire class together, as wired as the world is, but … there are many, many holes. Some never to be filled, as now and then news will appear that this classmate or that has passed away. I leaf through the yearbook and let the faces connect with the names… thinking about how many classmates attended the 20th year reunion (myself included), noticing with sadness that the list of potential participants has dwindled down way below that.

One of our most colorful and lively classmates passed away during high school, his funeral was unforgettable – as were the rumors surrounding his death (ominous, “it happened at home” sort of news that certainly had a deep and lasting affect on quite a few of us young adults). The news of classmates passing away now, when everyone should be in the prime of life, doing the final tweaks on their children’s upbringing or perhaps already bouncing a few grandchildren (but very young ones) on their knees… has a completely different impact. An “it could be me…” impact.

I feel obligated to report that I do possess an element of indifference as the blanket falls softly around my shoulders, while I feel the delicate material move closer to my nostrils when I breathe in and move away again when I breathe out. Not because living isn’t nice, isn’t a joy, a challenge and a generally fascinating preoccupation. I think it has to do with the “mid-life precipice” that I heard people talk about when I was little. Leave it to my generation to reach their precipice precisely at the moment the world falls apart at the seams in ways it has never before. (And how could it? It has never seen such an amazingly large, aging populus. This is a fact I gleaned from Frank Schirrmacher’s book „Das Methusalem-Komplott“  (Caution: published in German – not sure if it ever made it to an English edition, but I rather doubt it). So there is a segment of society called boomers, mid-agers or best agers running around … (and they have successfully pushed that deadline to 50 as opposed to 40) … make that, there are millions and millions of them. And they are (or used to be?) a very sought after segment for marketing departments the world over. 

As one of those millions, you stand there looking down, looking up, looking sideways. Reorienting, as it were. If you’re out there looking for a job at this advanced stage of your life - as millions are - you will need nerves of steel, they say. It will feel like you have just been released from Shawshank Prison and if you don’t have a basket of connections and barrels of luck, you can hope your nerves of steel don’t meet with live wires much. Some companies (and some 150 passengers of a plane that landed on the Hudson River recently) know the value of this tremendous reservoir of 40-and-up skill and experience. But don’t hold your breath. In fact, that’s a good way to fall off your precipice sooner. You could stand there, terrified, or you could use all of the experience you have gathered, every last scrap of professional lifeblood and scar tissue … to re-build. But why believe me? Why not scan the interesting bits of news that pop up digitally more and more often such as this: The Science of Visualization: Maximizing Your Brain’s Potential During The Recession. If it helps?

Looking around in my circle of friends and family, the reports vary widely. Being on my own little precipice myself, I know that – for me – it really doesn’t matter where up or down is. If I march forward or pull back. It seems almost as if I am programmed to be and do what I must do in this life I’ve been given, for better or worse. I re-read an entry from a very special friend made in my high-school yearbook: “You must learn to be like a cell with a selectively permiable membrane - only let in what you want to… /… the key to success is confidence in yourself…” He had also predicted we would be part of each other’s lives for a long time. Does thirty years qualify as long? Then he was right. But what he had written then, in 1980, could just as easily have come from him in an email yesterday. In fact, it sort of did. So my membrane remained permeable, too permeable to protect me from the blanket.

The small deaths we endure before the “big death” finally grabs us… the fears we endure, the injustices we witness, the disappointments we mourn, the loves we have lost or never fulfilled … each one loses a bit of magnitude as the years go by. The small deaths aren’t as potent as the impending big one, which is testament to the ingeniousness of nature, how it readies us whether we are aware of it or not, ready for it or not. We may wish grey hair never touches us, or that our bones never stiffen, but they always do at some point. And dust from all the roads travelled encrusts us.

How to contribute to society from the precipice? How to share the beauty and joy of the moments that were also experienced along the way? How to feel alive while dwindling down into the natural order and with that, ultimately, ceasing to be? Years ago, I was given a birthday gift: a small pot with a white orchid. It was in full bloom and, over five years later, still is. It never stopped. It wasn’t as if I was particularly careful with the care of her, I wasn’t. And I’m not the born green thumb, either, though I do okay with most plants. This lovely plant gave me hope and comfort in the worst of moments, constant if silent encouragement and simple, permeating beauty, again and again and again. At one point in her development recently, she was … I realized, crazy with growth. She was, essentially, “pregnant” and had shot off a few daughter roots. Cautiously, both mother and two daughters were re-potted and re-situated very near each other. They are all doing very well, and it’s truly beautiful to watch. While pondering this and writing this post, my own daughter came in with a chocolate cupcake (she’d been baking) and a cup of coffee for her mother. As she watched me carefully eat her creation (not too fast, not too slow) and enjoy the unexpected feast, she dreamt aloud of her future as a baker and having her own coffee shop à la Starbucks. It was, I think, the first time she has pondered career choices, and I was pleased at the way she let this one take shape in her mind. Naturally, I told her: “Great idea! And I can do your logo.” She smiled and nodded, enjoying the idea, too. And I can just see myself getting physically smaller but patiently, happily kneading dough in the back room of her shop while she serves clients and the grandkids come in loud and excited from school. Re-potted perhaps, but thriving. It appears to be a question of the right windowpane.

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I get the feeling tonight that there is an intense buzz, important thoughts vibrating across the planet. You just stick your rod into it, and with the right hook, you can pull out any number of riveting tidbits. Like a few from Clay Shirky, for example:

“The unthinkable scenario unfolded something like this: The ability to share content wouldn’t shrink, it would grow. … People would resist being educated to act against their own desires. …Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception.  … the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world was increasingly resembling the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. … When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry. Leadership becomes faith-based, while employees who have the temerity to suggest that what seems to be happening is in fact happening are herded into Innovation Departments, where they can be ignored en masse. … “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke. … With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves — the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public — has stopped being a problem. … Elizabeth Eisenstein … focused on, though, was how many historians ignored the transition from one era to the other. To describe the world before or after the spread of print was child’s play; those dates were safely distanced from upheaval. But what was happening in 1500? … What was the revolution itself like?” Chaotic, as it turns out. The Bible was translated into local languages; was this an educational boon or the work of the devil? Erotic novels appeared, prompting the same set of questions. … That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place. The importance of any given experiment isn’t apparent at the moment it appears; big changes stall, small changes spread. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen. Agreements on all sides that core institutions must be protected are rendered meaningless by the very people doing the agreeing. … Ancient social bargains, once disrupted, can neither be mended nor quickly replaced, since any such bargain takes decades to solidify. … And so it is today. When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. … There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie. … We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age. Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. We just got here. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen.”

… and so forth.

Or Seth Godin … who I won’t quote, just link to.

There are, of course, many more sources.

I am prompted to write this by my friend’s previous post. Add to that, a discussion over lunch yesterday (with females in the “new-agey-scene” that should know better) about Obama and conspiracy theorists, who are apparently convinced that he is the Antichrist, etc. etc. I agree with Stephan completely that it is indeed time to increase one’s sensory sensitivity. Where I differ, or choose to focus my attention, if you will, is that we simply must - for our survival as a species - give up doomsday thinking. I refuse to think that Obama is going to treat some essential issues the same way Bush did. The very fact that his brain apparently functions in an entirely different way is testament enough for me to trust. For I have learned that, hey, that’s about all you can do as a citizen of this world. Trust and vote. Certainly discussions are necessary, too, and involvement to some extent. But two things are on my mind:

1) The discussion I had this evening about the demise of newspapers. The worry here is that only these information providers had access to or the journalistic, research-based wherewithal to “discover the truth”…

2) The many avenues I am currently dealing with and discovering or re-discovering about intention, the power of positive thinking, etc. etc. Articles about the scientific proof of visualization helping stroke patients to heal, etc. etc. Old news, really. A German filmmaker here told his story in a book about his transition from being paralyzed to walking and leading a normal life. I went to see him talk at a German university and yes, needless to say, he walked in. And stood during his talk. And walked out. And founded an institute for self-healing.

Are these two somehow connected? Where you put your focus is where the “energy” goes. Seems logical, otherwise no one would get any work done and bus drivers would constantly be hitting trees or trucks or other drivers. Our focus, our attention, our hopes, our dreams, our will to do – perhaps belief, perhaps personal intention – may play a bigger role then we think. What if we not only believe but also INTEND Obama to do the “right” things, to pull the right strings for us as a society? What effect could that have? If one’s focus is on something vile, ineffective, violent and damaging (to oneself or society), it’s really as if you are drawn to that magnetically.

This lesson was brought home to me with an “over 40″ skiing lesson. Of course we wanted to learn how to ski. But of course this group of 40-something women were terrified. Of the speed, the slope of the mountain, other skiers, just everything. Our teacher, a not-quite-yet-40-something, told us something that made sense and stuck for me in many other situations. And worked, very clearly, empirically. She said, “If you stare at that pole, if you focus on that other skiier, you’ll head straight toward them. Chances are good you’ll crash right into it/them. Focus on the valley, where you want to go, where you want to be, as far away as that may seem. Look at the valley.”

And we did. And it worked. We sailed down in no time, with seemingly little effort and no injuries. A wonderful experience – and invaluable advice.

When I think of my focus today, or even the past few months, I find myself looking at the essentials, the things that really nourish me, pleasure me, make me happy, content and - ultimately - free.

Do you want to know what they were today?

Cleanliness.

Hot water.

Sweet potatoes and broccoli in a nice sauce.

Companionship and connection with people who I am personally intertwined with.

Laughter.

Being able to drive a motor vehicle where I wanted to go.

Using a telephone.

Being able to write this.

It’s so simple, really. I gave Obama my vote, now I need to give him more. WAY more. My faith, yes. Trust, also yes. But he needs my intention and concentration on how I want this world to be. Some things ultimately will not work because people just are the way they are, but the flip side is true as well: some things WILL work because people just are the way the are. So many things in our lives are changing so rapidly that there is no way to see through the chaos and people who claim to be able to do so are just … delusional. What is time tested is going with one barometer and one barometer alone: your own passion for what works for you. And go right on to the end with that. To your own personal end or whatever end that may turn out to be. That is, ultimately, what hones your focus, whether your realize it or not. Making it CONSCIOUS is part of what this shift is all about - in my humble, yet focused, opinion.

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I realized this morning that perhaps that wasn’t the most intelligent photo to put up on a blog last night. On the other hand, maybe not. There are people who use firearms responsibly and people who do not. From what I’ve read about the family home of the young boy who wiped out 16 lives the other day, his father wasn’t exactly keeping his weapons collection under lock and key. Which is where that type of thing belongs. You should not be allowed to own them unless you are prepared to do this. And only someone who is responsible enough to keep the key on their person at all times or locked in a safe to which only the person licensed to own and operate these things knows the combination. Heaven help us, why aren’t these few simple principles crystal clear?! The other, more dire message to parents everywhere is: know your children! Be there for your children, talk to them, become involved with who they are. Of course, it’s perhaps unfair speculation to say that these parents didn’t. Young boys will be young boys. But hating girls? Having previously pestered the neighborhood kids with air guns? Having been caught by police due to shooting firearms in the woods? Wouldn’t these be clues for you as a parent? If you own only books and sports equipment, you could shrug it off, I suppose. But you should brace yourself carefully - and double up your locks - if you own the sort of stuff this family did. Yikes.

On a lighter note, two other words that start with k have me preoccupied.

The first is “keester,” also spelled “keister” - the etymology is rather dull, which is sad, because it seems like it should be stemming from some sort of German word. What screws me up even more is knowing that a German would pronounce a word spelled like “keister” with emphasis on the second vowel, so it would be “k-eye-ster” and not, as the predictable second spelling variation hints, “k-eee-ster.” The fact that the word is a slang term for buttocks is noteworthy when you see the only other word in connection with it that Merrium-Webster will offer up is “satchel.” (!) Ah-ha… Right. I’ll stop with associative patterns right there, thank you…

The second word is “kindle” which, as anyone who has ever been up to a cabin in Northern US states would know, is a word not far away from “kindling,” which is the small stuff with which a person seeking to start a fire in a fireplace puts underneath logs or wood of some sort. More specifically, it has a Middle English root, “probably modification of Old Norse (how cool is that?!) from “kynda”; akin to Old High German (I knew it!) cuntesal fire…” From there, the definition goes in all sorts of directions: Light, arouse, illuminate, to become animated, to flare up…

So how long did the “Branders” look around (”brainstorm” indeed) to be able to christen a sleek little gizmo with this particular name? I’ve now heard this word so often that I had to see what the fuss was about. It makes perfect sense that none other than Amazon would take that first bold step (I think its’s a first?) to produce a flat digital, amazingly powerful digital “book” - and why wouldn’t they? They stand like no other to profit from it! Think of all the gas transportation trucks will save and the miles service men won’t have to walk to put little pink or blue slips on the door/in the mailbox telling you (well, me) to pick up the books you ordered at the nearest “Automated Pack Station” (though they sometimes still resort to post offices, which serve the same purpose, if in an archaic, humans-moving about sort of way). Think of all that paper that never needed to be produced, all those trees saved that can now produce oxygen and all the designers for book jackets, not to mention printers and book-binders that are now free to … well … blog!!! Or perhaps develop clever content from their misery to feed all those Kindles burning out there.

Kindle - could have been candle. But Kindle is also close – from the poetic flow of it – to fondle, cuddle, handle, all those cute “dle” words… I could go on. The fact is, I just cannot sign on for it. It may be one of the “no, no, no - I won’t go” protests like I have held with, say, Facebook, Twitter, other social networks and assorted programs and – shudder – HTML. At some point, there you are. Strange how that works. Not sure if it’s good or bad. I sit here looking at a good some thousand books. I always have trouble deciding which ones would go if they had to. Always. I love the differences in them, the difference in the backs they show to entice you to pluck them from the shelves, full of color, some with glitz and glitter, some with loud lettering, some very soft and delicate. Then you have it out and in your hand and you savor the various sizes, shapes, paper, textures, even smells! It isn’t just the words you read by any means, it’s a total sensual experience. Perhaps “doing it digitally” may be stripping it down to the bare, sexy essentials (I have heard reviewers of the Kindle saying it makes the words themselves even more precious.)  and I’m absolutely sure it could be a brilliant tool for people that are faced with… loss of motor skills, to put it carefully. Or that, for whatever reason, can no longer drive. For them, it certainly re-opens the world of reading.

But for me, I can’t help myself… something, somewhere is lost (or not yet achieved) in this development. I certainly wouldn’t give up my car for a horse, I know going backward is not an option, but I get dizzy and nauseated thinking I would, could or should be reading off something flat, plastic and predictable. Negroponte described it very differently when he envisioned this. Perhaps his version will make it to market some day. With pages that actually move and make paper-like rustling sounds (even if it’s only one page you’re physically turning gazillions of times)… I hope to be able to wait for that day. Or avoid – somehow – altogether.

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Greeted by Alfie! Fun talking to his wife! Wonderful dinner, nice light wine...

and now lessons in WordPress and blogging…
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It certainly was a bit like “those with severely impaired vision leading the blind” – but we had fun and I could do a bit of quality petting.

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Awakening is Up to You

Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting—whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us.

– Pema Chodron, from Comfortable With Uncertainty (Shambhala Publications)

Another Daily Dharma from tricycle.com

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I do so love these blurbs some days. This one was particularly good this morning after a disastrous night. So how comfortable ARE we with uncertainty? Every day brings a bit of uncertainty, which explains weather reports, which are often useless. I love it when they all yell “rain! snow! sleet!” and I wake up to blue sky. I’m certainly compassionate about the fact that they do try to pin the weather down (pilots and hanggliders, after all, really depend up on it) and it’s a respectable field of employment.

What will wake me up today? What will put me to sleep? I’ll be taking a look at that.

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