Rewilding

Excerpt taken from a book coming out next month called Rewilding:

Before embarking on a hike through a forest, meadow, or other wild space, take a few moments to center yourself. Close your eyes. Take some slow, deep breaths. Allow your exhalation to be twice as long as your inhalation. Let go of anything rattling around in your head—whatever stress or worry you are transmitting. Tune into the sounds, sensations, and rhythms of the land around you. Stretch out with your feelings and sense the aliveness of the earth. Know that the beings that call this land home are paying close attention to what is happening here: They have to; their lives depend on it. Your presence will be felt and communicated far and wide. Notice the birds and the chipmunks—the little creatures we sometimes consider background noise. In a relaxed way, be curious, and with your eyes closed, observe what is happening around you. Take a few minutes to be with it all.
Then, open your eyes and look around. Simply observe everything while expressing your gratitude and respect for the land. Set a strong intention to stay present and connected to your breath, and create as little disturbance as possible. Let each footstep be an experience of soulful connection with the planet, each breath a rite of interbeing with the holy winds that blow.

2019 Reading Goals

Now that I have completed my reading goal of fifty books this year, I am already making plans on next year’s goals. It won’t be fifty. It may be less than half that, I am not sure. The reasons are many but it boils down to appreciating what I am reading. I want to read intently and purposefully. Fifty books was too fast and unproductive. I picked up a few kernels of knowledge but forgot the rest. Well not this next year. This next year:

  • Read-It-Later I have some time off for a few weeks. Time to catch up on all those articles I’ve saved on Instapaper, Pocket, Feedly.
  • Digital magazines My local library provides no-cost access to hundreds of titles. Time to take full advantage of them.
  • Read my night stand stack I do not want to buy or borrow anymore books until I have exhausted my current supply. If someone gifts me a book, obviously that is different but I need to appreciate what I have first.
  • Mix it up with both fiction and non. I want to be both informed and entertained.
  • More physical less digital I’ve mentioned previously that I will be mentally dissecting these books. Mostly with books in hand, not on my devices.

If interested, you can follow me on Goodreads, a tool I will use to help manage my reading life.

Distraction-Free Reading

When and how does anyone make the time? The simple answer is deliberately. There are plenty of mind-numbing, time-wasting activities out there but who wouldn’t want to get something out of it?

One helpful tip is that “Airplane Mode” on your device works just as well
on the ground. That’ll help you with distraction-free reading.

I can say I have accomplished another one of my groundhog resolutions in finishing over 50 books this year. Next year I may limit to something much less and even more deliberate. I also want to invest in more physical books instead of digital copies.

Because another goal for next year is practicing marginalia, the art of marking up one’s book with notes in the margins. I consider it a dialogue with the author and would invest myself back into the book as opposed to reading it and moving on to the next one, learning almost nothing.

This, I think, will make for the best, distraction free and deliberate way to enjoy books.

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Physical vs Digital

Inspired by the time-tested practice of marginalia, the art of
note-taking inside of books, I wanted to explore note taking in digital
books.

In most apps like Amazon’s Kindle, I can highlight, notate and save until next time I open it up like below:

But there are limits. When you purchase a book it is not owned but
rather it is licensed. You are borrowing it until at some point either
the publisher pulls it or the digital store no longer supports it. They
cannot be transferred, and at some point the digital purchase will be
deleted.

Also, you cannot pass down your digital books or their annotations to the next generation.

I
used to have crates full of books but after moving them around the
country more than a few times, plus the introduction of digital books, I
gave away or sold most of them because of the inconvenience. Now, I am
regretful.

The next time I want a book for a quick read I’ll
purchase a digital license and be done with it or borrow from the
library. For long term books to keep I will be grabbing a physical copy
and look forward to scribbling my notes and commentary.

Minimal Bookshelf

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” 
― Stephen King

For the longest time I collected and hoarded books. I loaded up bookshelves, totes and closet space to store them. But after moving around the country a few times those books began to become a burden and no longer a joy.

Eventually it became necessary to sell or donate these once-treasured items. I resisted the urge to go to an e-reader. That is almost blasphemy.

In most recent years I’ve discovered the value of digital reading. I can store thousands of books on my virtual bookshelf that I can hold in one hand. Now I get upset if I can’t find a digital copy of a book. 

I’ve purged almost all of my physical copies and have replaced only a few of them when migrating to digital.

Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Feed Me

With Google shuttering the wildly popular Reader, I’ve looked at some alternatives such as Flipboard, Feedly and even the other Google product, Currents.

I am also trying to create a feed reader on my server using the TinyTiny RSS schema. Having issues with the PHP and mySQL files. Really don’t want to rely on a third party service anymore.

Also comes with an Android app. w00t.