The Digital Life

I go back and forth a lot on physical and digital possessions. This week, I am all in on a digital kick. I’m sure in a few months I’ll start accumulating more physical items. Perhaps digital possessions are superior to physical possessions?

With digital items, I can take them everywhere I go. They don’t take up space. As someone who has moved back and forth across the country, this is always a good idea. This lines up nicely with my current desire to approach minimalism again. If that word or philosophy sounds too pious, I’ll simply call it “essentialism.”

The physical things I own are for me and the relatively few people who visit for me to show off to. I can easily share digital with potentially millions of people if they are interested.

Furthermore, in case of a disaster, my digital files are all backed up and archived. Just purchase another physical device to access, and I am good to go. In the same disaster, I would have more to lose had I invested in physical goods. Most could not be replaced so easily or cheaply.

Digital + minimalism = the way to go for me.

mnmlist

I caught the minimalism bug again. I recently decided to create a list of all the things that no longer served their purpose in an attempt to declutter and called it the mnmlist. Get it?

I emptied my bookcase of everything except sixteen books. Seven are about photography. The rest were donated to a local book store. From now until I change my mind again, I’ll be borrowing e-books from the library or online resources to view on the iPad. Done.

Next up, record albums. Earlier this year I caught the nostalgia bug and purchased a few recent releases and the rest were acquired at my neighborhood record store. The majority of those records were from mystery packs. Pick a genre of music and get 20 albums for $10. Only a few of those survived after I traded them in yesterday for store credit. That didn’t last long and I brought home a Jimi Hendrix, and Rolling Stones album for a grand total of $2.50. Most of my music is streamed through Apple Music from now until I change my mind again. Done.

Working from home during the pandemic made me realize how many dress shirts and slacks I have in my closet that I am not wearing. Throw in some old shoes, and they will all be donated very soon.

Up next I will be tackling my digital archives and reorganizing them in a way that makes it easier for me to find and access along complete with physical and cloud backups. I’ll probably log that in a future post.

Photowalks

Enjoy a walk for the sake of walking. No expectations, no pressures. Take your camera and find something unique to capture.

Photography as a zen meditative practice.

The Stoic Day Planner

After studying the Stoic philosophies these past few months, there are a few recurring themes, or practices that we can apply today.

Early to rise

Thankfulness

Meditation

Control of self

Walking

Reading

Purpose

Reflection

I’ll go into more detail in the next post.

Meditation Alternatives

“You need not meditate; just close your eyes and sleep or think about one of your fun moments in life.”

Is there an alternative for meditation besides sitting on a zafu, legs crossed and chanting “om?” Yes, there is.

Staring through the window

One of the benefits of working from my home office are the windows. Unfortunately it is next to an abandoned house but there are beautiful trees and all sorts of critters peeking in to watch me work. When I need to, I will stand up, lean on the window frame and stare out. This has many benefits:

  • Your mind becomes calm
  • Your concentration level increases
  • You will connect with nature
  • You will get instant relief from the digital world

Look at photos

The mobile photo gallery in our pockets is an excellent time to remember and reflect. I enjoy swiping and reliving these memories. I think about the people in these images with love and take the time to wish them well. When I have more time, I will bring out the photo albums because these old photographs bring me happiness and soothes me.

Nature Walk

Walking is one of the best way of relieving your stress and good for health, but what is a nature walk? Instead of walking on the same ground or park, try to walk in a different route every day. It gives you a new perspective of life for sure. Humans like to explore. The more you explore, the more you connect with yourself.
Most importantly, those thoughts that are going everywhere will slowly settle down, and you will soon enjoy the walk as your mind will think only one thing which is exploring a new route. It is why most creators can go for a quick walk and come back with a new idea.

Meditation does not mean it has to be done in a sitting position by closing your eyes and letting go off the thoughts. I enjoy changing it up and achieving similar results; a clear mind.

Practice vs. Belief

I’ve been taking a strong look at two similar but different philosophies recently and want to dive deeper.

Stoicism and Taoism.

I’ve studied, practiced and taught Christianity but these days I have a hard time coming to terms with so many things that I actually don’t know what to think anymore.

I understand the word of God but sometimes it is a difficult concept. It is mysterious, sometimes enigmatic, but not beyond my capability.

I’ve served in a few missionary trips overseas, witnessed modern day Biblical miracles so I’m not divorced from it, and would never call myself an atheist. Spirituality pervades everything I’m involved in, but I don’t know how to put my finger on it.

Studying other schools of thought is permissible, even encouraged. So I will do just that.

Stoicism is a philosophy of personal ethics informed by its system of logic and its views on the natural world.

The truth taught in Taoism is to embrace life in actions that support you as a person.

These philosophies don’t diminish beliefs but enhance by putting them into practical, applicable use.

I can believe in that. I can practice that.

3/3 Check In

Last month on 2/2 I began my year long journey to create life long habits for myself and throw in some fun intentions as well. The plan is to check in every month to monitor my progress.

Nutrition & Training

Still no concentrated effort to change my diet and this breaks my heart (literally?). I am, however, seeing the scale go towards the right direction. I’ve lost five pounds these past four weeks. Thirty-five pounds more to go.

Walking and yoga have been my focus when it comes to training my body. How much better would it be if I added gym time? Coming soon, cycling, thanks to a recently acquired bicycle.

Yoga & Meditation

Hard to believe but I am actually looking forward to practicing both of these. The discipline to being consistent is still elusive but the desire is still there.
Smile. Breathe. Focus.

Photography & Writing

Slow progress in organizing the decades worth of photos in the archives. The Vault is setup and the images now need to be culled. After that, I can begin the process of further organizing and printing.

On writing, the saying goes: if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader. So let’s chalk this past up to a lot of reading and zero writing.

4/4

This is a year long journey and I feel like I am off to a slow start. When I check in next month I want to detail better results.

Mindfulness

Being new to the state of mindfulness it’s easy to get the wrong idea from all the jargon I can find online. The internet will show me images of people at complete peace with the world and themselves by sitting still and meditating for a few minutes but that isn’t my reality. I think being mindful can be powerful and I look forward to practicing it as often as I can but I want to do so in a way that will benefit me, not a guru wannabe.

Practicing mindfulness is difficult. I can meditate and then I will get antsy, want to get up, want to go do something else, plan my day, go to work, or anything else but focus on what I really want to do. It is difficult but I think it is worth overcoming that.

I will start with meditation and feel good about myself. Then miss a few days. Start again. Miss a day and feel bad about it. But this same lack of discipline and practice is EXACTLY why I need to do this to begin with.

Mindfulness can be uncomfortable. There are times when I need to be alone with nothing but my thoughts and there are times when I do not need to be alone with those thoughts. No one wants to face their personal demons when all they are wanting is to relax their brain, right? Or sometimes there is an itch that must be scratched right now. And now. And now the other side needs scratching instead of focusing my brain. Or the low growl of a hunger pain is overriding meditative thoughts. Am I doing this right?

That’s another thing. I can practice a certain way only to be told that there is a better way and try that instead. Even though I have found personal success. Tune that out.

When I do manage to practice mindfulness I realize it isn’t a cure-all. It won’t magically solve problems. It does require you to open your heart and be vulnerable. To be compassionate towards yourself and others. It forces me to except things as they are not what I wish them to be. Mindfulness requires me to let go and to unlearn some of the wrong things that I have learned. And mindfulness requires that I be curious, persistent.

I will never ever have this figured out. But this is why they call it practice.

To paraphrase Buddha: