Archive for June, 2012

[music: High Wire – The Happy Hollows]Image

 

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Update

Posted: June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

29 June

What’s in a Box, Punch #1

Music Links open a new tab in You Tube

Coming over the next days:

– Remaining Cigar Boxes

– NLP Experiment

– Mindfulness Exercises

What’s in a Box?

Posted: June 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
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[music: No Light, No Light – Florence and the Machine]

We all have special boxes filled with ‘stuff’, don’t we.

I’m not speaking of boxes with bank statements, electrical cables, or winter clothes. These are those boxes that we carefully put away somewhere for the purpose of future nostalgia; the things we want to keep with us throughout our lives, but we don’t necessarily want on display. They could be old letters, moments, postcards, children’s teeth, a lock of hair, some old photos, diplomas; things that were important enough for us to say at one point, “I want to hold onto this.”

I have been scouring the house for a lost bicycle pump and have come across 8 boxes: 4 cigar boxes and 4 ‘shoe sized boxes’. Over the next days, I will go through my boxes to see what’s inside of each of them. I’ll post the results in the ‘About Me’ section. The contents are probably not interesting enough for the wider blog audience, but they certainly will say something about me. At the very least they will say something about me in one of my past lives.

Have you had a look of what’s in your boxes lately?

As FATM sings “You can’t choose what stays and what fades away“… regardless of whether you pack them away in those boxes.

Fly Away

Posted: June 24, 2012 in IdeoKoan 圖像公案
Tags: , ,

[Music: Lullaby – Book of Love]

[music: Teardrop – Massive Attack]

Ever wonder why holiday photographs usually suck? Why those photos of your last party are pretty lousy? And why am I blogging about mindfulness and photography.

Good photography requires awareness. Running from one site to the next, a guide book or drink in one hand and camera in the other are not conducive to a level of engagement a good photo deserves.

Money can buy equipment, but as Chase Jarvis famously said: “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Here are some of those of mine that can be found on Jarvis’ website:

I can find a distinct difference in photos depending on how involved I am with my environment. Engaging the shutter release takes no effort, understanding your surroundings, the person you’re photographing, requires active presence, or non-presence.

Here, Ken Rockwell will discuss the importance of composition (and he is right) and the irrelevance of subject (hmmm… not sure I agree). But scroll down to ‘Never Imitate’ and you will read that photography is an exercise in awareness of the present moment. Photographers must put themselves in the frame of mind of seeing, not only their surroundings, but what will make an interesting photo. In this sense, the camera can be a useful tool to engage more fully with the world.

Photos of people requires patience, an eye for a special moment, a mood, a look; the photographer has to notice. Even a candid photo is a relationship the photographer has with his subject.

Digital photography can also be a barrier to good photography; how often has a massive volume of photos become the objective? When sifting through thousands of pictures in search for something good becomes the goal, when speed and intent replace communion. With film photography, one needed a ritual, time to make all of the necessary adjustments; the result would only become clear after processing.

My experiment will be mindful photography. I would like to see if deliberate engagement can improve the quality and content of my photographs, regardless of the equipment used.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
― Ansel Adams

 

Ever have the impression of spending a whole day working and wonder what you have got done?

There has been a lot of talk of digital distraction (link to an excellent article on Gwarlingo): one can easily be distracted by a little red number on email, a jumping icon, a Skype notification, ping, bing or buzz. Digital stimuli are distractions, but they can also be addicting.

For me digital distraction feels a lot like my reaction to visual stimuli, I have trouble concentrating, I feel tense, I can’t think clearly, but it differs in one crucial way: I run away from visual stimuli, I have been conditioned to react to digital cues.

For example, I can barely last 20 minutes inside an IKEA store before my brain shuts down and I start to feel like I am drowning. The same is true for department stores or those gigantic metal boxes on the side of the highway that are stuffed with shit nobody really needs. I want to run away.  On the other hand, I can’t go 20 minutes without checking my email, it’s the first thing I do after my airplane lands, or I wake up, I even check right after Yoga… a stressful email could ruin my whole evening.

And although, I have learnt that there are times when ‘airplane mode’ can also be used on the ground, these times are still to few and far between. I still have every means of communication open when I am writing or working (right now: Skype, SMS, email, telephone – all possible distractions).

I have two ways to cope with these distractions:

Unclutter: remove the distractions. For me this would be rid my environment of physical tchotchkes and close the digital more frequently. Dealing with the digital requires more of the self-discipline associated with going Cold Turkey.  Uncluttering sets the stage for productive work.

Connect: When you walk, just walk. Let the walk, walk. Focus on the task at hand, pay attention to what you are doing, be aware of the present moment. Connecting allows one to make maximum use of our capabilities.

Climbing allows me to do both. There is no sense in surfing on your iPhone as you are climbing a granite wall, neither can one allow oneself to be distracted by tomorrow’s ‘to do’ list. But outside of tasks that rely upon adrenaline to focus the mind, it seems as if concentration is becoming more elusive.

One of the questions we should be asking ourselves is about the importance of the task at hand. While walking may be a good time to ‘retune’ our minds, it may also be a good opportunity for other valuable activities, like thinking “Only those thoughts that come by walking have any value.” Nietzsche.

On the other hand, if the task is important, perhaps, the metaphor of climbing may be appropriate. We want to reach the summit, we don’t want the wall to win. The same goes for all activities: “If you don’t find a way to create a wall between it and the world, the world will always win.” Jonathan Safran Foer.

Any thoughts?

Worth spending 1 hour watching. A video of Jon-Kabat Zinner on Mindfulness.

It’s the 18th of June and I find myself in an unusual state; one that I can only describe as change. So many things are possible that a little work and reflection is demanded.

Day 1 – the beginning (perhaps every day should be Day 1, but this would make it difficult to follow any evolution that may occur).

So it’s rather arbitrary to call this Day 1 – there have been 15,135 days since my birth – but since most things are pretty arbitrary, I’ll call it Day 1. Thankfully, I don’t need to hold coalition talks with myself to get things moving.

I have spoken with many friends over the past weeks and I have sensed unsettledness: from work, to economic conditions, feelings of powerlessness, and difficulty in relating to others. This is my small contribution, writing about finding balance, and I am starting with this video from Jon-Kabat Zinner.

What’s next? – I don’t know 🙂

[music: silence]

[location: Brussels, Belgium]