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After the incessant nudging of my mother, I’ve started reading “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. If you haven’t heard her TEDtalk about vulnerability, you should check it out. While I’m only at the beginning of the book, there are a few concepts emerging that I wholeheartedly agree with. I expect to finish the book by next week and I’ll write more about it then.

It amazes me that vulnerability isn’t celebrated. Being totally authentic should be recognized as a great feat of courage. To be real, you must be vulnerable. You open yourself to ridicule when you express your ideas. This openness is necessary for living life fully.

There isn’t a lot to catch up on, I just wanted to talk briefly about Brené’s book before I went to bed. I hope you are all having a wonderful night!

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No more “Liking”!

A few months ago I wrote about my lack of satisfaction with Facebook. I felt that people weren’t communicating enough and that we were becoming a more passive society. So I took a two week hiatus to figure all of this out. I knew that social media was becoming lonely but I couldn’t narrow it down to why.

When I returned I had some insight. I declared that I wasn’t going to “like” anything from then on. I thought maybe social media was becoming lonely because we stopped having meaningful communication with one another. “Liking”, “favoriting”, “starring”, all remove meaning from how we talk. Actually, we don’t really talk anymore, we just “like”.

This isn’t to say that people don’t comment on my posts, it’s just annoying to get 20 or 30 likes but words. It’s easy in our society to just throw support out there. Clicking a button to “like” is incredibly easy and there isn’t a commitment. You can show support for a picture someone posted without having to write anything down.

That’s where the flaw is: by clicking the “like” button, we avoid actually interacting with one another. Every time I logged on Facebook, I would have a few notifications. After I clicked the status bar, it would show me that all of them were “likes”. There’s no way to respond to “likes”, there’s no conversation.

Maybe it’s only me, after all, I did move away from my friends, but I can’t help but feel like social media is supposed to be more about conversations. It’s about tossing an idea out there, like how a person is feeling or what’s going on, and then chiming in with friends about it. I don’t really care if my friends support me with “likes”, I just want to communicate in a different way.

So it’s been two months since I’ve “liked” anything on Facebook and I really do feel like I’ve solved part of the problem. When I find a status that I normally would have “liked”, I choose to comment on it. This helps start conversations and interaction. “Liking” doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s impossible to comment on everything that I was liking before, so if I don’t feel like commenting, I don’t feel the need to click “like” either. My contact with people is more meaningful because I don’t continuously click “like”.

While maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you, I want to issue you a challenge. It’s simple but it will take a little while to get used to. I challenge you to stop “liking” anything on Facebook for one week. Seven days isn’t a long commitment but it teaches you enough. Usually the first two days are difficult because it’s so simple to click “like” that you don’t even think about it. After that, it’s easy.

Instead I encourage you to comment to replace “liking”. It doesn’t have to be long or anything but just try it for one week. You’ll find that you start more conversations and have a better time on Facebook. After you complete this challenge, send me a message or write on my wall on Facebook, I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

Happy social media-ing and I wish you the best!

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26/31 Blogtober

P.S. What’s with “liking” comments mid-conversation? I get it if you say something really funny or profound but why? I don’t understand… 0-0

Satori

Like in the book “Pure Heart, Enlightened Mind” I occasionally experience moments of satori. The word satori translates into “seeing one’s nature” or “seeing things as they truly are”. More or less it means having an enlighten experience. These moments are characterized by feelings of great clarity or oneness.

While sometimes they are unexplainable, they happen most during rigorous Zen practice. After manually opening one’s mind, a person can glimpse into their true nature and see reality as it is. I feel like this past year has been a huge exercise in training my mind. Last August was a lesson in presence, January through March was a lesson in attachment, and these past few months have focused primarily on emotion.

Cumulatively I feel like I’ve started to open past the mind and I feel like I’m starting to resonate with life. I don’t have the exact words to describe it but I felt like documenting today on this blog. It isn’t much but each journey can only be taken one step at a time. This year has been long and it’s definitely taught me a lot about myself.

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23/31 Blogtober

Gentleness and Joy

Yesterday’s post was about being part of a painting, or a greater picture. I felt connected with the world and at peace. That emotion extended into today and there is a gentle calmness in my life. Every moment feels like when you wake up in bed and just relax. There is no commitment to move or to hustle through the day – you can just lay there, in a blissful daze of appreciation.

While I haven’t completely “Walden”, I’ve heard this quote many times and yearned for the same joy that it describes. For the first time in a long time, I feel like this:

“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself.” -Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Today I received a package of books in the mail from my mother. Occasionally she sends boxes of books and magazines that she thinks that I would enjoy. This pile made me roll over in joy. Each book seems beautiful and I can’t wait to start reading them.

Tomorrow I’ll write a review of another book that just arrived in the mail! Hope you are all having a wonderful second day of blogtober!

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2/31 Blogtober

Creative Contradiction

Mathew Schuler wrote on his blog about a book called: “Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The book discusses creativity as the writer interviews 91 different artists. The resultant idea is that creativite people are full of contradictions. One of these contradictions that Schuler discusses is:

Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted. Many people tend toward one extreme or the other, but highly creative people are a balance of both simultaneously.

This resonate with me because I feel caught at these two extremes; people are wonderful to be around but I don’t always want to be with them. Visiting a coffee shop or an airport is great because I’m at that in-between state. I’m introverted because I’m not interacting but I’ve extroverted because I’m near them.

It’s difficult to explain this to a person who hasn’t felt it. There are days that I need to go out but it isn’t to interact with people. It’s simply to be around them. Energetic environments motivate me but for some reason interaction with people is draining.

Even further I’m incredibly outgoing if I’m in a group of two. Add more than four and suddenly I’m introverted. Talking with one other person is great but I don’t know what to talk about if there are more people.

These contradictions are unusual and I cannot explain why I feel them. They are a huge part of who I am but yet there are two opposites inside of me: introversion and extraversion. Why do I need people but need independence? It’s bizarre and baffling.

Mathew’s post is interesting and I suggest you check it out. It’s titled “Why Creative People Sometimes Make No Sense” and you can find more information about the book I linked above. Creativity is such an odd and interesting topic! What contradictions do you experience in yourself?

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P.S. Mathew B. Crawford (“Shop Class as Soul Craft“) is releasing a new book next March titled: “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction“. I can’t wait for it! If you haven’t read his first book, you need to go to the library and check it out now!

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I want to apologize for this past week of posts, it really hasn’t been my best. The week has been emotionally and intellectually chaotic. It’s funny, in retrospect sometimes these are our greatest moments. Only after the event can we look back and laugh.

Right now I’m working on the very beginnings of a book. It’s still in idea/conception form but I feel obligated to write and I think a book will be the product. Unfortunately this 365 has been suffering as I focus more mental energy into book-writing.

If you’re a friend on Facebook, I’m still on hiatus until next Monday. I’ll have more to write about that later. For now I must get some sleep!

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“AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller

Flipping through the last pages of a well-liked book is like coming to the end of a great friendship. Both people and books take you places and make you experience the world in a different way. When I reached the end of “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail”, I felt as though I had hiked the trail with him and I was sorrowful that it had to end.

AWOL’s journey resonated with the wanderer inside and, if only for a moment, made me escape the humdrum of my daily life. In 2003, David Miller gave up his day job to spend five months grueling up the eastern United States. The Appalachian Trail (AT) is over 2,000 miles long and goes into 14 states.

When David got on the path, he took the trail name “AWOL” to represent the abandonment of his stable job. Perhaps also to show the escapism involved with hiking a 6-month long trail. He went AWOL from his life and set course for Maine.

This book is heavily descriptive and lingers on the what it’s like to live in the woods. It doesn’t romanticize hiking in heavy rain or sleeping in uncomfortable shelters but it creates an enticing environment where AWOL ventures into the wilderness. He encounters bears, snakes, handfuls of foot injuries, and a myriad of hikers. Nonetheless it is an interest read.

I highly recommend this for anyone who is caught up in the 9-5. Similar to Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, AWOL explains aspects of modern life that we seem to forget. He writes about the openness of hikers, and the community that he quickly finds himself immersed in.

After spending two weeks reading this book I’ve decided that I want to hike the AT. It may be a while before I do but it’s a journey I want to take in my lifetime. Again, I highly encourage you to read this book.

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