“The secular pleasure of Sunday morning isn’t simply one of relaxation and freedom; it’s also linked to a feeling (which might not always be very explicit) that one has the opportunity to reengage with the wider horizons of one’s life.”
The above quote from The Book of Life site is a poignant reminder of why Sundays often have a feeling of secular sacredness, and why doing anything other than what we wish to choose on that day, more than any other day, feels like such a violation of that which is and should be wholly ours. Continue reading “The Importance of Sundays”
I have not been on Facebook now since December 2015. I wrote about the reasons why I was leaving it in an earlier post. I would say there are both upsides and downsides to not having Facebook. However, the good far outweighs the bad.
Boredom has a long cultural history and an adaptive function in human life — it serves a vital creative purpose and protects us by helping us tolerate open-endedness; in childhood, it becomes the wellspring of imaginative play. And yet we live in a culture that seems obsessed with eradicating boredom, as if it were Ebola or global poverty, and replacing it with a peculiar modern form of active idleness oozing from our glowing screens.
The above quote by Maria Popova comes from a post she wrote about Kierkegaard’s writings on boredom, and gets at the crux of the matter for what seems to be one ailment of the modern condition of western civilization.
She coins a term called “active idleness” that is quite fitting to the situation. We are more disconnected from nature than ever before, and ironically, more disconnected from ourselves and one another. We stare at screens all day with the hope of connecting. Meanwhile, there are those all around us, in the flesh, that we choose not to connect with given the opportunity. Continue reading “Allowing Boredom in Our Lives”
The end has come. This marks my 30th blog post in thirty days. I took up the challenge just after the Christmas holiday as a way to try and see if I could create a new habit for writing. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I had new habit forming activities in mind – things that would take me a month to ingrain, and the whole year to follow through. There are some things I’ve learned from the experience, not only about myself, but about writing and creativity as well. Continue reading “Day 30 – What I learned from 30 days of writing”
For all of my friends in the mid-Atlantic states today, take care and take cover.
The last time we had snow like this in the region was February 2010, given the hyperbolic name of Snowmagedon by the media. I was living in Washington, D.C., at the time, and remember the endless snow, blowing winds, and brave (stupid?) drivers navigating the blanket of white where roads used to be. The city was pretty much shut down for a week which gave me a LOT of time at home to myself. No distractions from friends to go out and spend money. Just me at home, the white stuff coming down outside, as if by machines that someone forgot to turn off.
What does it mean to be fulfilled? To have a meaningful life? As sentient beings, aware of our past and future selves, how do we reconcile our sense of meaningfulness in the present? Some of us find solace in religion, and resign to its teachings of mystery and sacrifice as a way towards greater meaning. Others find meaning and purpose in how they make their livelihood, or the activities that make up their daily lives (parenting, teaching, cooking, etc.). Still others find their deepest meaning when silencing the mind, and disconnecting from their worldly relations. Continue reading “Day 28 – Thoughts on Finding Meaning”
At some point in our adult lives, we’ve all said some degree of the following: “If only I had more money, I could take care of XYZ and everything would be better.” After living with this mentality for years, and after having received multiple promotions and raises, I realized after a while that I continually ended up in the same place that I started at the end of every month: broke.
Each pay period I would pay my bills, save a small portion, and then see how much I had leftover. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but this money was a motivator for more spending. The more I had leftover, the more I felt obliged to spend it on nicer things for myself. The way I figured it, I had done my part by saving a little and paying all my bills on time, so I “deserve” to get these other things as a young professional for my career, health, lifestyle – name your spending category.
We convince ourselves that having more money will close the gap between having money and not having money at the end of every pay period. If only we could see that it is not so much the lack of money coming in, but the amount of money going out that keeps us in a perpetual rat race. It takes time for most to realize this, some never do. Continue reading “Day 25 – A New Financial Mindset”
Ask someone how they’re doing nowadays, and in varying ways they’ll say, “I’m so busy!” Are people actually busy, or do mindless activities consume their day which people call “being busy”? Never mind the fact the question of “how are you doing?” isn’t really asking about activity, but a state of mind. It is interesting that people choose to describe busyness as their state of mind. Rather than saying, “I’m doing well.” or “I’m really feeling good/bad today.” – they say “I’m busy.” Given the fractured and frantic nature of the average person’s attention these days, it’s no surprise that a feeling of constant busyness defines how we think about our state of mind. Continue reading “Day 23 – Why is Everyone so Busy!?”
Somehow, I’ve managed to make a post everyday now for the last twenty days. Now, with ten posts remaining (including this one), I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll make it. Doubt is creeping in once again.
The act of writing is a decisively deliberate one – an activity that is all to easy to let pass us up in this mostly mindless daily toil we call “making a living”. This accepted necessity of human existence, at least for most of us, is a bulwark we must daily hurdle ourselves over (at some point or another) if ever we hope to achieve and/or maintain a creative balance in our lives. It’s a daily cycle, and the struggle is real. Continue reading “Day 21 – Pressing on – (the home stretch)”
Yesterday, I participated in an alumni organized professional development teleconference. The topic of conversation was “risk”, the different facets surrounding the concept, and our personal approach to taking risk, or not. I was asked to think back to a time when I took a large risk, and how I approached making the decision. My immediate first thought was that of deciding to go to graduate school.
Going to graduate school was a very big risk for me. At the time I got the idea in my head, I was enjoying a full-time cushy government job, with a pension, and a capped 40-hour work week. Sure, life was a little beige and boring, but at least it was fairly secure and predictable. I decided to leave all of this, take on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and pursue a career path in field fraught with uncertainty and financial woes – the Arts. Some might call this a risky decision. That being said, I probably couldn’t have picked a better time to return to school. It was the midst of the economic recession that hit hard in late 2008/early 2009, and everyone was reassessing their professional worth. Continue reading “Day 18 – Reflections on Taking Risk”