A Requiem for Facebook

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“Always Drink Upstream From The Herd” – Will Rogers

I’ve been sidetracked and distracted for a long while now since my last post.  Its interesting to note that I started this blog to connect back to who I am and partially who I was and find the joy I use to feel about life that has somehow eluded me through various circumstances which has led to a huge disconnect from personal purpose.  But one of these steps kind of threw me off and took me the wrong way, until mid July when I decided enough was enough and when I first wrote this post but waited until today to post it.  Not much has changed and the below still stands after two months.

The mistake I made was thinking maybe I should be a little bit more like the crowd and try not to be such an outsider. I signed up for a Facebook account and reconnected to some old friends, some people I work with and some who were friends of friends.  It all seemed exciting and worthwhile, I was feeling a momentum and a little hope that this thing is actually working and I am rebuilding some bridges, displaying a side of me publicly whether politically or artistically that I don’t often show.  In a way by doing this, I thought it will help me learn more about myself or at least validate those traits that I value but can hardly display at other places, such as interviews with some old timer like Mel Blanc (Not sure why I remember this between all the stuff I shared), political comics, engineering marvels, unique artistic expressions, etc etc.  

What Facebook did to me was alter my behavior and attitude.  Even though at the beginning I knew that I have to watch my addiction to it, I disabled my cell phone data option for Facebook so that I couldn’t check it without wireless, thereby limiting its use and didn’t make the icon so accessible on my phone or computer.  But that didn’t last long and I began wanting to check it constantly and changed all my options.  

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As the political atmosphere of the US began to change through the primaries, I began to share more and more stuff, to try to get some of what I believed to be the truths of the moment, out to the “Friends”.  They were not opinionated, but informative.  I got zero likes and then noticed if I posted something absolutely dumb, I got a bunch of likes.  So I decided to post comic strips about our political process and mostly not flattering to Trump.  

 

“So you think you have friends on Facebook, let’s see how many of them show up to help you move” Mark Yard from the Nightly Show

 

As you might have guessed already, I have leftist liberal, but really middle of the road political views as I agree with some of the conservative view points too, such as self reliance, though I believe some temporary help to accomplish self reliance is necessary as so beautifully demonstrated recently in Episode 4 of the new podcast by Malcolm Gladwell called  “Revisionist History”.

But I noticed that I am getting nothing, not even any comments and so, I tested the water and posted something absolutely stupid and there again got a bunch of likes. Now, I know that it’s really the circle of friends that affect that, but I think I had a good blend of them and frankly, maybe two of them were Republicans that I know of who would have disapproved some of my political views.  But on one post when Huffington Post bashed Trump, I came and posted that it was too hard and noticed that she appreciated the post and we chatted a little.  It wasn’t just political though, it was anything that was slightly serious or required reading or demanded more than a quick glance. I realized this is also a lazy medium, though I know that should have been obvious from the start, but I am slow!

The other thing that I noticed is when something was liked, majority of the time the bulk of the likes came in quickly, so it wasn’t like most waited to check their FB.  They were just as much as a like junkie as me.  But to me the likes were half the satisfaction, I wanted the comments.  I needed more than an emoji, I needed original thought.  It’s something that I’ve had since childhood that has in many ways hindered me.  I urge interactions to be real when it matters.  I am a little wiser about it now, but it is still part of who I am.  Emojis are great, but augment it with something when it matters.  

I also noticed on a specific user would only like my stuff when I liked hers.  At first I thought I was imagining it, so I started testing it and ignoring her for a while and then I liked something random and noticed she immediately liked something I posted.  Then I would repeat the behaviour and see the same results.  The truth was she had nothing interesting to share and though she tried, it was boring 90% of the time, but her close family and friends supported her.  I appreciated that about them but I didn’t appreciate the behavior.  

That wasn’t a big deal though, I think the reality check of Facebook came to me when I was around people who looked so happy and amazing on Facebook and then in person were the most miserable, unhappy, nitpicking and dysfunctional relationship I had ever seen.  As someone who dabbled in photography, I have always known the lies of the image and how that image can be used to control, case and point Hollywood & the Entertainment Industry.  But this opened my eyes a bit more to something else.  We are becoming a culture of personal public relations engines.  Each one of us is emitting this persona that is showing half the picture.  That encounter placed a great impression on me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I came back almost disgusted with Facebook and felt even more disgusted by ourselves.  But I couldn’t stop using it.  I wanted to be accepted in this realm and grow my friend count and share more interesting stuff or at least what I thought was interesting.  I had lost control of what mattered and not in a happy place.

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In the past few week I picked up smoking for a little bit, thought stopped again and I noticed that I would love to go out with my phone, sit down somewhere and have a smoke while I browsed Facebook. I started going out more and more and suddenly I noticed myself feeling lost.   I felt my life meaning depleted and myself more frustrated.  Why don’t they get it.  I shared a real study or I shared a great comic that clarifies the hard truths of our time and existance.  I even shared a great comedian with one of the funniest skits he has and very little notice!  Then a friend shares a pet picture and they all go crazy.  Is the social group I’ve created in this realm that shallow and escapist?  Are they really afraid to share anything real that could potentially reflect badly on them.  Has the PR machine totally taken over?

The one thing that didn’t stop getting likes was family pictures though.  For most part they kept their popularity when I had the kids in them.  But anything that required a bit of thinking, just wasn’t cutting it.  I know I can join groups and post to them, but didn’t really want to expanding that much more into Facebook as I already see the great comments on youtube to know what to expect from those I don’t know.  But to be honest, that wasn’t the point.  The point was that I started caring about this medium and it changed my behavior, my joys and my motivations.  I know the political shares were a turnoff to many but I shared great little artistic bits or great quotes.  The question was why does sharing this crap matter?  I had never shared that much in my life and now not only was my brain instantly saying, this will be a great share but it wanted instant satisfaction too.  social-media-addiction1

When I look at it, I wasn’t learning nothing I couldn’t learn better and much more elaborately through a book.  I wasn’t walking away satisfied half the time.  I might have pissed off some people with the posts and I was being distracted constantly.  So what was the point of using this medium when I could gain peace, learn much better and more in depth about the topics I am interested in and frankly feel much more peaceful and happier.  Why was I doing this to myself?  I decided I have to end this, but couldn’t bring myself to quite doing it.  Not that I didn’t want to, but because it is an addiction, just like any other drug, including that cigarette.

Last night, I am sitting watching a little TV and here comes Rami Malek on the Late show.  I had only seen him in the Pacific and he left an impression on me.  He started talking about his new series Mr. Robot, which I hadn’t heard of, so I went on youtube to look it up and this scene came up after watching a few: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYo2wtL9fsY   

It really confirmed the dissatisfaction vividly and I didn’t want it to get any worse.  I can keep most things in balance, but not this and maybe that’s why the owner of Facebook is a Billionaire.  This is a social drug and has an epidemic addiction which no one really seems to want to talk about.   Apparently, much like the cigarette companies, Facebook has also done its own study and knows of the social damage it has created.  Maybe in years to come, we’ll see a class action law suit too.  From the little I read online, it appears that it creates jealousy, resentment, makes people feel lonely, less imaginative, decreases intimacy, makes them happy and unhappy, amplifies grudges, avoid social contact, compare, affect mood and ostracized to name a few.  It might not give you lung cancer, but I am sure all these negative traits will in the end create some sickness that could well be a cancer.

I see its affects of social media on my kids who don’t use Facebook but have many other apps. I kept my Facebook addiction out of their site too.  Even though I talk to them and try to make them aware, they for most part seem to ignore me for now and look at me as the old man who doesn’t understand.  Though I know later these efforts will come to fruition in their lives.  I am not saying social media is bad, but if not used in the right dose for the right purpose, it can have adverse effects.

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Now, someone could be reading this and thinking of me as some sort of a misanthrope.  Well, you couldn’t be more wrong.  I like people, but I like them in small groups and preferably educated and well traveled and if neither, at least open minded and experienced in life to share something they’ve learned in their journey.    I get my best highs of people like this.  But this digital medium we have sucked ourselves into is taking away something human, something instinctive about us.  Its making human interaction too easy and too comfortable.  It’s just like text and email.  Rapid fire of communication, most of which need a reply and as a result we begin to get efficient and ignoring is part of that efficiency.  The problem is that this is all great and can be seen as a tool, but what happens is that many of us replace it and forgo the personal experience.  Look at the Millennial generation.  So many have poor social skills and so many are struggling to even look you in the eye.  I am not saying previous generations were great, but they caught on quicker as we didn’t have this crutch.  The most social Millennials that I’ve seen are the ones who have customer service jobs and have been forced to interact with people.  But then that is true of anyone, which is exactly my point.

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I posted the Mr. Robot post and said goodbye to the Facebook friends with a quick two word note and logged off.  Removed the icon from my computer, removed the app from my phone and today I feel more at peace.  I feel more motivated, more alive and haven’t had one cigarette.  The inner voice that I have learned to listen to more and more has confirmed this to be the correct move too.  It feels like one of those essential truths you learn about yourself as life progresses.  

The funny part is today I heard a great interview with the ghost writer of Trump’s Art of the Deal book, which was really eye opening and then another great podcast which I posted above and the sharing feeling came over me, but then I said to myself “What’s the point, you are the only one who cares and that should be enough”.

So as the heading implies, I wasn’t made to move with the herd unfortunately and would rather be ahead or to be quite honest, even behind if I can see and avoid the herd’s crap.  But frankly it doesn’t take much to stay ahead.  All you have to do is read a book, the newspapers and find something you love to do and do it, even if it kills you.  In a recent interview with Bryan Cranston, he said something almost as a matter of fact that struck a chord with me.  He said “I knew I wanted to be an actor, even if it meant getting by and sharing an apartment for the rest of my life”.  He was certainly keeping ahead of the herd instead of on the chain gang. 

I want to reiterate that I am not against social media.  I love youtube and have learned so much by hearing great lectures, watching tutorials and currently improving some photography skills.  There is nothing like finding a group of people with positive comments who enhance that experience.  I am writing this blog to share a certain truth and experience in my own life, hoping someone else will relate and grow from it, post a comment to elevate my view, etc etc.  What I am saying here is a necessary balance that allows our human experience to be elevated not restricted and diminished.

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Not related to the topic of hand, but worth noting, if you haven’t seen “Trumbo”, it’s a great little movie that takes on the topic of standing up for your beliefs, the challenges it produces and the long term cost.  An adult movie we don’t see that often anymore.

Do what you love, enjoy the moment and veer from the paved path once in awhile.

 

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Forgive Thyself!

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Forgive

I know I am getting a little personal about my life and I have to admit, I hate doing it but I also don’t want to be bound by strict rules that can diminish more than replenish.  There is power in sharing, even on a blog.  I’ve been thinking for a while about what I want to write about and today, while listening to the Ted Radio Hour podcast which covered compassion, I realized that the whole show was about compassion towards others.  Then it clicked.   We extend ourselves and risk something when we show compassion and for those whom sanity still has left some seeds, we get back some joy from that act of compassion.  But this is mostly targeted at others, so why not show that same compassion to ourselves.   How can we really know what compassion truly feels like unless we bestow it onto ourselves.

Our culture has its fangs deeply into this need to be perfect.  We strive daily in our lives to be a perfect worker, perfect parent, perfect child, perfect partner, perfect lover, perfect friend, etc etc.  We get judge quickly for not being so perfect and we shape this image in our mind based on this perfect criteria.  I can’t say how many times I’ve seen that nervous look in a women’s eyes who has for year’s judged themselves based on their beauty and when it begins to fade or has faded, they find themselves in an uncomfortable place due to the lack of attention.  I want to reach out and tell them, I enjoy their company and their character and they don’t need to worry, but I hold back and shut up.

But it goes deeper.  Forgiveness has a healing effect on the brain and bitterness, hostility and unforgiveness can demolish a being.   The part most get wrong is that they think they have to confront the person they need to forgive, but the truth is that it’s internal and you don’t need any confrontation.  They will most likely not change and possibly it is not healthy to be around them, but you can forgive them in your heart for being something they can’t help.

“Our physical brain changes and experiences “renewal” when you choose to forgive.  Learning to forgive yourself is not about about forgetting. We may never be free of the actual memory of a painful event, but we can be free from the pain and anger associate with memory”

The point of this post is not about them though, it’s about ourselves.  Like the old saying goes “The son of the shoemaker has no shoes”. We put the needs of others ahead of our own repeatedly.  Yes, we are the most important.  More important than even our Children but not because of anything selfish.  Our children form their identity by monitoring us and if they see a happy Individual, they have a chance at learning those habits and if we are negative, they will dwindle in it.  I once heard a great advise about marriage that went something like “Make sure your children know they come second to you and your wife so that they learn that marital relationship and grown up needs come first”.  Sadly, we were so in love with our kids that we forgot about each other and when the times got bad, the relationship wasn’t strong enough to hold.

So where do I start forgiving myself.  How do I go about it?  I guess the best way for me is to monitor the thoughts and when I can deal with it in a forgiving manner, do so and when I can’t, hopefully recognize it soon enough.  I should recognize the patters and make notes.  Maybe it’s a person or a place.  Maybe it’s a routine that bring about my state.  Maybe write notes to help me see those patters better.  It needs to be a daily occurrence and gradually it will build up and become a part of me.  Ofcourse, I need to be healthy of mind and body so exercise and meditation and anything that creates that space of silence and freedom is essential.

I haven’t watched the recent Brando documentary based on his recordings, but after reading about it, I found out that he talked to himself and put himself in some sort of a meditative state.  I kind of like that.  He started with “Listen Marlon…”.  Kind of cool actually as long as you don’t start talking back loud!  We don’t really acknowledge ourselves and our existence fully.  I think we all do it in little portions and as it applies to the situation, hence it make sense if we have a very distorted vision of ourselves and an outsider sometimes can see us more clearly.

So go on, it’s ok, try and start to forgive yourself for all you thought you have done wrong.  For all the things we’ve crucified ourselves.  For all the things that veered us off the path we thought we should be travelling.  It’s OK.  You can do that, I can do that.  Forgive myself.

 

 

Isolation is a Gift

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If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

This is a Charles Bukowski Poem read at the end of Factotum movie that went directly into my bloodstream, traveled the express way into the core of my imagination and planted a seed that though needs nurturing, has never died.  Granted I was a couple of drinks in, but I have gone back to it many a time and just re-read and listened to it.  Bukowski’s book, Post Office, was what got me back into reading after years of neglect due to a busy job and raising small kids.  I find this poem to be absolutely the truth of producing anything real, though I am sure many have done this out of isolation too as any great movie can testify, but remember someone sat alone in a room most likely to write it.  The sacrifice that goes into creativity is unbelievably difficult to accept as it can produce a feeling of stagnation when you are not creating and that’s enough for many of us to step back or give it up.  Bukowski doused himself in the spirits to be able to function, but he moved forward and left the rest of us a crack in the giant mountain, to hold onto at difficult times and for some of us to possibly get to a higher level.

Due to mostly unknown factors ranging from geograpy to friendships which I later learned to find had no strong bond, personal disappointments that must have affected others in me and slowly moving up in age, though not old yet,  I have isolated myself and the struggle to get back into the game of building a social network worth my time is a monumental task.  I was never an artist, but always knew I could become one and always felt I needed the space and opportunity.  I missed the education and the social network of the group of people whom can enrich the endeavor and now I realize that I was always around talkers and not doers.  Maybe that is why I keep going back to this poem.  Bukowski was alone for a long time and didn’t waste it on drink but wrote more than most and submitted his poems more than most of his contemporaries while holding a boring full time job.

I guess what I am saying is that most of us have a fear of being alone and though I am truly over that, there are times when it comes and haunts me.  I know who I am now and I don’t doubt it will ever go away but I also know that there is power in that isolation and I truly enjoy it.  We can’t let ourselves be sucked in by it and define us, because we chose a path that doesn’t rely on what we were taught or accepted.  Joy comes first from within and for me that joy is when I am creating (and ofcourse when having a special family moment) and have the courage to do so.  It’s always about courage and always will be.  The courage to be alone and use that isolation to grow instead of letting it diminish you into something you yourself can’t recognize anymore.

I am not saying to become isolated by choice, because that is a mistake.  I am saying, when isolated, don’t let it define you and get out and find social gatherings that help you grow, but find power in that isolation too and utilize it, never forgetting it’s a gift.

Starting is always the toughest part

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Start

I do too many things and sometimes as a result I freeze and give up.  What I find the most difficult though is starting something again, even though it consumes me and pushes me internally like a small child pushing an adult.  Something just stops me short and I sit and stare at it for years.  The other day, someone who was chatting about another topic said “Starting anything is the toughest part” and as obvious and ubiquitous that saying might be to you, it was like fresh water to a thirsty being for me. Words are so powerful, we forget their power.  I remember when a very sensitive person once told me, “A sentence can change your life”.  So true.

The road seems long and impossible.  Confidence wavers and the road of less resistance becomes almost home.  Sometimes a drink, to feel the dream enhanced and pumping through your veins like adrenaline.

Why is it so hard.  Why do so may of us reside in the pool of dreams and fail to grasp the reality of what we are doing to ourselves.  I can’t let this be the story though, I have to make that small drop and add to it daily until I build enough momentum to feel it becoming a reality.  In my case, I find intellectual accomplishments so much more difficult than technical.  Working on a car, building a woodwork project or even managing a job is not as mentally tasking as putting a few words per day to paper or even thinking of a design for a bookshelf.

I wonder if it is that sense of self confidence that creates that resistance.  I wonder if something deep inside pulls the strings and says you are not good enough and you shouldn’t try it or you’ll make a fool of yourself.  Why do we listen to it when so often that voice is wrong.   In the end, it truly is the being in the arena that obtains the glory of their risk.

Man in the Arena

 

I’ve learned so much in the past few years by myself in taking risk and forcing myself into projects that were over my head.  I’ve walked away every time with more confidence, though I jump around too much from one project and skill to another.

From what I am seeing, this is normal and normal is sometimes good.  Its not me, its the process.  Frankly, we can’t be on all the time as it will become unhealthy but it is important to be able to move yourself and not become stagnant.

I often think about the comment Elia Kazan made of Jo Van Fleet’s career “Jo stagnated, and, since she knew it, was bitter. And as she became bitter, she become more difficult”.  If you ever watch East of Eden with James Dean, she is the only actor that is as intriguing as James Dean and gives him a run for the money and yet, even she stagnated.

The most energy goes into moving the ship from standstill and then it becomes much more efficient.  So be that ship and start off with all your might and keep moving slowly and I’ll do the same.

Enjoy your journey.

 

 

Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone

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A friend of mine who enjoyed chalking wrote this at a bus stop a few years back while he was waiting for a bus.  It stayed with me as I know how dangerous that comfort zone is and see so many of us in it.  I’ve always enjoyed stepping out of it and never once regretted it.  There are times when I am glad I am back, but never ever glad of staying too long in it.

A few years back, in the midst of a very unhappy time I wanted to get out to the Eastern Sierra’s, where I’ve always felt an amazing presence and joy.  I kept procrastinating until dark and was about to change my mind, but I finally forced myself into it.  I love the drive by day as the 395 freeway is something to behold when you get up to Lone Pine as you are flanked by the Sierra’s on one side and the Inyo mountains on the other. That is usually my pay off on that drive as it comes in the last few hours.  It is a majestic view that is very hard to match and for me to give that up and drive by night was not something I was excited about.

However, while driving in the Mojave, it started raining and then I ran into a big thunderstorm.  At first I was fearful but then the sheer power of the thunder snapped me back into life.  Here I was, wanting to stay home and lazy and this effort in getting my ass into the car out of my comfortable space was rewarded with a natural force that quite simply woke me back up to life.

Another time, while forcing myself to get out on a hike, I met a hiker walking the Pacific Coast Trail in Bishop and then another two who were doing the Tom Muir Trail.  They were all in need of a ride down to town and I was the only one with a car.  We ended up having a great conversation and then a fantastic dinner.  Nothing more and I never saw or heard from them again, but it was serendipity at its best.

Another time, while I was doing some street photography, I met a man living in the streets. We walked and talked, laughed a bit and I even got some good advise.  All the time, before getting out, I thought I’ll be all alone and have to drive far and whatever excuse I could find to pile up, only to have myself challenged and become a little bit more educated and my spirits lifted triple fold.  The funny part was the guy who started talking to me as he passed asked me “Why do you look so pissed about?”, to which I replied “Really?  I am actually happy, I am doing what I love” and he said “It sure don’t look like it”, which made us both laugh and began a pleasant walk and talk.

There has been many times ranging from small trips to city bars to meetup groups. Not all are as magnetic, but you can’t regret something that is out of the ordinary as long as its semi healthy!  As the picture above shows, there really is magic when you start experiencing the unexpected, but don’t seek permanence and flow with it. In my case, it has been un-regrettable, but if I had one escaped into drugs or drank too much during these exertions to find a bit of confidence for the unknown, it would have changed the dynamics and I would have never tried it again.

Comfort zone is a great place to have, as it give you the shelter and stability, but its not a permanent residence and it will do nothing but make you stagnant in life. Challenge yourself to at least one outing per month and start off small, but don’t make it too small.  Maybe have a criteria, such as meet new people or learn something new.  Volunteer possibly or join a group on a hike you always wanted to do.

Don’t let that invisible coat of comfort envelope you and its weight strain your movements. Push it off and try something totally new and experience the other zone!

Have a great one and enjoy your day.

Bonding, Belonging, Believing

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belonging

In Oliver Sack’s “On The Move” book, he discusses his three B’s, Bonding, Belonging and Believing.  A recovering alcoholic acquaintance once told me, we drink to fool ourselves that the world we desire exists.  Maybe we are trying to creatie the three B’s artificially.

Here was a brilliant man named Dr. Oliver Sacks that left his mark on the human landscape, yet was very lonely.  In this article he writes about how after finding someone at 77, he had to relinquish “the habits of a lifetime’s solitude… like decades of meals that consisted mostly of cereal or sardines, eaten out of the tin, standing up, in 30 seconds.”  I don’t think he was a lonely man in the sense of the homeless who feel invisible, as he was professional and must have had many associates, but there was something alone within him as it is with many artists.

If you read between the lines, you will realize that he must have been a bit awkward and probably shy.  Being gay in that period must have been another difficult hurdle for him too, but he does discuss how he was free in Amsterdam as they were ahead of their time in accepting gay people.  Still, he brings these three B’s up and for me it say something.  It says you can still be a productive human being regardless of how you think of yourselves or others might perceive you.  You can produce great work and add a page to the human knowledge.  Isn’t that what Don Quixote is about, follow your dreams regardless of what anyone thinks.

There is this really intriguing documentary called “In the Realms of the Unreal” about a strange human being named Henry Dager, who is described as “Visionary artist, Janitor, Novelist”.  He must have gone through life extremely alone but produced some really interesting work with barely any money or social contact.

What this teaches me is that you have to create those three Bs for yourself, if you find them important.  You can bond with your work, you can bond with an idea, you can bond with a feeling and equally believe in them and belong to that place you created. We can’t sit and dwell on why they don’t exist and have our only action end up being self pity.  You can create this but from my experience, you can only create it from a place of peace.

Yes, based on all the research done on happiness, it keeps going back that nothing material or adventures like a good vacation makes us as happy as the essential human social contact.  We can’t push this aside, but if one needs to feel alive and connected and struggle with some of these attributes, then you have to recreate it with your own flavor and gradually work your way towards the social part.   I am not a Doctor, but I know enough to say that you can’t ignore good science.   You can’t live by wanting it all now but have to build it gradually in your own way and without the pressure.  That pressure is a killer and having something like the three B’s or similar traits to worry about, can do great harm.  In Oliver Sack’s life, he ended up being alone from the age of 42 until 77 but still lived a productive life.  My guess is he could have still been productive but felt more joy if he had shed some of these burdens and limitations, but who am I to really know that.  Just a guess.

There is an ancient saying “drop by drop you make an ocean”, start making those small drops in your life and shed the negative or any unhealthy expectations of yourself.

Enjoy the moment, feel the life.  Have a good day.

 

Peace of Mind

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David Lynch Jan-Mar 2013 01

I can’t think creatively when my mind is busy and so much of the time with toxic stuff that don’t even matter.  It comes from nowhere and loves to dwell and dig stuff up that take power away from me and more often than not leads me to all the wrong places.  Some call this Radio Fuck and if you’ve read the Power of Now or done any meditational practice through Zen or such, you already know this well.

The Movie Director, David Lynch, discusses this phenomenon with some detail and is an advocate of meditation, especially in relation to creativity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5J2XCXDHB8  and also has a book called “Catching the Big Fish” which is worth a read.  Most think we just need the classic pain and suffering to produces, but he argues against it and goes as far as saying, imagine what else Vincent van Gogh could have done if he had discovered this. Some may argue this, but I am more on the believer side now. More and more, I realize the truth in creativity through a peaceful mind as it is truly a more energized, vivacious but subdued creative mind.

Peace is not eternal and is a work in progress for me.  I am not a monk or have the grace of one and can’t dedicate my life to having that peace.  But I can do what I can in my busy daily life.  I am realizing that through activities such as Yoga and meditation, I can attain this peace to a certain level and have to practice daily or as often as possible to retain this.  I am also sensitive to an organized surrounding as it also augments that peace, though I am not going to get anal about it as that defies the objective.

After my short yoga today or actually during, my imagination start kicking in for the next project, which is a shelving unit in a very narrow space and thankfully I’ve made up my mind to build this shelf. I don’t think I could have done this simple task without peace as anxiety and then confusion and frustration kicks in quick for me when it comes to researching.  I was even able to find the parts cheaper than the local hardware store, hence saving me not only money but driving after work in the rush hour to the distant Home Depot.  These flanges are the most expensive part and through supplyhouse.com, I got them at almost half the price.

I am in no way saying this works for all.  I’ve learned that trying to convince anyone is a uphill battle and you have to demonstrate that with your life and let them decide on their own.  If you affect another, great, if not, lets hope it made you happy and even more importantly peaceful.

Best of luck with your project or search and remember not to rush and overwhelm yourself.  It will come to you and you will enjoy it more that way.

 

 

 

Finding a new Project

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I am new to this and this is my first post and I feel a little anxious about it, so here goes nothing or something!

Much like the character of Sherlock Holmes, I find that when I am not deeply involved in a project, I can become lost and unmotivated which can lead me to unpleasant paths. After finishing the shelving unit, seen under the Woodworking and DIY page, I felt a sense of emptiness.  I have many other projects but I haven’t decided which one and none of them really have any true shape yet, just thoughts on a to do list.

Sometimes I feel like a dog chasing its own tail, because the deep satisfaction doesn’t quite come.  I feel great when I am busy doing the project and then nothing at the end.  I think some research on happiness proved that this is how many experience joy (have to find that essay).  Updating this site has been the same as I do enjoy creating and updating it for the past few days.   Although, I feel that I am putting part of myself on the blog and it feels scary for a private person like me.

However, there is this rush of incrementally sharing something which will build up over time and that could be valuable to others without any profit.  The profit driven world has created something sad to me and though communism was not exactly the right response, maybe true socialism could be.  I like what George Orwell said about Socialism “Socialism means justice and common decency… [the] present society with the worst abuses left out, and with interest centering round the same things as at present– family life, the pub, football, and local politics.”  

When you are driven by profit, you can become ugly inside and sometimes, I have seen it in faces of those so desperately running after it.  I think at any moment you have to be acceptance of losing it all. The Buddhist say “die before you die”, so that you are ready for death.  I think the same can be said about the chase after financial stability or abundance.  Be ready to lose it all if it happens and from all the news, we could be heading to some tough times again.  That is why creativity, learning and projects are so important for me because much like reading, its something tangible that can help you grow inside and that growth is real, independent of any profit motivations and one that you might even be able to accomplish with little resource, because as we all know, libraries loan free books out!

I think my next project will be a corner shelf unit with a little twist.  I am thinking of using dead tree branches but I have no idea what it will look like, only that I’ve been wanting to use something like that ever since I saw a staircase intertwined with it.  I guess its the beginning of an idea, which feels good and from my own personal experience, it will be something totally different!