A Blogger’s Diary 12/20/20: On Writing, Reading, Listening, and Stimulation

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Alright, another week closer to this year’s end, and entering deeper into winter, which, for where I currently live, means more, well, a ton more rain to be accurate. Whereas, I didn’t grow up in a very rainy area, Los Angeles is, of course, known for sun most of the time, I am more comfortable with the rainy weather these days.

And, yes, writing did occur this week, and here is what that looked like.

Writing

  1. Simpler
  2. Leaving
  3. Sitting
  4. A 3-minute Reflection on 3 Ways to Display and Visualize Linear Data
  5. Walking
  6. Shadows
  7. The Social Construction Series Part 9: The Social Construction of Power
  8. Grace

One of my goals this week was to get, The Leadership Series Part 2.5: Why Developing the Self is Always the First Step in Leadership completed, and that did not happen. Next week. Yes, so what about next week? Let’s take a look.

In the poetry realm, I have a few ideas. I am thinking about two poems right now, one on flow, and one on force, which will be fun. And, then the aforementioned leadership article will be a focus next week, as will another entry in the social construction series. I’m not sure about the latter just yet. Meaning, the topic. Not sure.

I’ve also got a couple of ideas about creating vision, and managing the gap between your current reality and your future projected reality, or the real and ideal in leadership terms. Alright, how about reading. Sure, let’s go.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Reading

Well, I am still working on, or, rather, finishing, the book about and by Sri Ramana Maharshi, and I am now reading Killing Commendatore, which I started last week. And?

It is a very Haruki Murakami type book, which means? That, so far, it is awesome. Of course, it starts with a prologue, and the main character is painting a portrait of a client that has no face, or rather has a face of mist. And then?

Then Murakami begins to create the world you’ll be entering into, all of the typical trials and tribulations and the emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs that follow for the main character. I’ve only read about 60 pages, and Murakami has already covered a lot of ground.

I am looking forward to discussing what I’ve read thus far with the remote book club tonight. How about listening? A new entry topic this week. Ready? Good. Here we go.

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Photo by Ilias Chebbi on Unsplash

Listening

Though podcasts have been around for well over 25 years, I didn’t start listening to podcasts until about 5 years ago. I know, I know, I am now playing catch up. Fun!

Here are a couple of podcasts, which you may not have heard of, and are very good.

  1. An Oral History of the Office
  2. Louder Than A Riot
  3. Resistance

Alright, so I have a soft spot for the television show the office. Fun. And, an Oral History of the Office does a great job recounting just how hard it was to get that show on the air in the United States. A very interesting and entertaining podcast.

Louder Than A Riot was one that I stumbled onto, as I listen to most of my music on Spotify, and I caught an ad about the new podcast. Wow. The podcast traces systematic and structural racism in this county in regard to hip-hop. A caution. The episodes are raw and explicit. The topics they cover are so important, and the two hosts, Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, are stellar.

Resistance is one I just found this past week, and it traces systematic and structural racism in the United States through the lens of protesters all across the country. I’ve listened to most of the episodes already, and they are well done. Again, the host, Saidu Tejan Thomas Jr., does a fantastic job. This podcast is also raw and explicit.

Alright, that was fun. I recommend all three. How about stimulation? Yep, here we go.

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Photo by Luis Reynoso on Unsplash

Stimulation

It has occurred to me off and on over the past several weeks, and I’m sure I’ve written about it, that stimulation is something that I monitor. Important. Why?

Because when we are constantly stimulated with work, computer screens, phones, television, even conversation, we are depleting our vital energies. And? That’s oaky, we just need to be aware that replenishment is needed and necessary.

What can we do? Well, there are many things. All of which we have discussed in previous posts. My favorites? Yep, there are two that I consider paramount.

  1. Meditation
  2. Walking

So important. Both meditation and walking get me away from all stimulation, and, in a way, create a reset of sorts. Simply meaning, they restore my energy levels. Oh, and there is one more. Naps. I take several naps now each week. Super refreshing.

What we do to get our quiet and reenergizing time matters less than we get it. That I get it, and that you get it. So?

If you’re not getting enough replenishment time for yourself, make sure to create that time. It can start with simply leaving the computer station, or setting the phone down, and walking out the door for a walk. Really important.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and a lovely remainder of 2020.

Be well.

#bloggersdiary, #diary, #harukimurakami, #listening, #louderthanariot, #onwriting, #reading, #resistance, #sriramanamaharshi, #stimulation, #theoffice, #writing

A Blogger’s Diary 12/5/20: On Writing, Books, 300 Followers, and Connection and Communication

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Well, like many places around the globe, cases in Oregon are approaching an all-time high. Difficult. Yet, it is the current reality. For now.

And, as I wrote about in a previous entry, the time I have to write is less today than it once was. Partly due to work, which continues to expand as we serve more and more people with remote education. Lovely.

Though there was less time, I did write quite a bit of poetry this past week. Even submitted a couple to two other national publications, just for fun! Right, so here’s what that looked like.

Writing

  1. Hand-in-Hand
  2. A Dream
  3. Sorrow
  4. Becoming
  5. Sensitive
  6. A Developmental Moment #1: Inspiration
  7. Run

Wow, that was fun. Fun to think about, reflect upon, and write. So much Fun. And this coming week?

Well, I am currently working on three more poems, a new entry for the reflection series, the second installment in the leadership series, and a new developmental moment article. And, you all know that as new insights occur, well, those will also be considered and written about. Happens every week.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

Books

Be As You Are: The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, by Sri Ramana Maharshi

What a powerful book. In fact, it is so powerful, I’ve purchased my own copy, which has arrived, so I can read it again. I also watched a great documentary about Ramana last week, called Arunachala Shiva, The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, which I highly recommend. And, along the way?

Well, I fell in love with a mountain. Arunachala. My life coach spent 5 years at the Ashram at Arunachala, which I had no idea about until yesterday; and when we talked, we talked about how drawn I am to that mountain. I will find myself there in the future. That is known. The book?

I may have more on that in the future. Now? I am taking it all in, reflecting, and meditating upon it. That’s about it for now.

Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman

An excellent read. About? Yep. I believe the book is about compassion, and humanity’s resiliency. Meaning, whether we are aware of it or not, we know far less than is knowable, and, well, quite frankly, that can be painful.

Yet, inside an awareness that there is much more to know about, than we know, there is also beauty, and a joy that comes from this gift. Both pain and joy are possible. It really depends on which one we choose.

Photo by Howie R on Unsplash

300 Followers

Wait, what?! Yep! WOW. I would just like to say two things. Ready? Good. Here we go.

I appreciate you. I appreciate you liking my work, commenting on posts, and supporting me on a regular basis. We’ve had some excellent engagements and conversations. Know that you are always appreciated. Always.

I also want to thank each of you for the lovely community that has developed, and that I have so graciously been welcomed into. Absolutely wonderful. I am so grateful for all of you. I love reading your work. You are all so inspirational and talented.

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Connection and Communication

This past week, I’ve been very present to connection and communication. Yep, first with the connection and communication I have with myself, and then with everyone else. and then? Yep. The connection and communication I see that everyone else has with everyone else. Does that make sense? Good.

We can in fact call this the connection and communication system, which I’ve also called the relationship system. They are one and the same. It looks like this.

Why am I present to connection and communication this week? Good question.

Mainly because connecting and communicating is harder today. Yet, it is a paradox though. Watch.

Though you may be thinking, well, that doesn’t make sense because technology bridges connection and communication. Yes, this is true. However, what’s often missing is the feeling part.

Let us say that we are also a system made up of the following. Thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. Well, when you are connecting and communicating almost exclusively through technology, not in-person, the feeling part of connecting and communicating is much harder to manage. It just is. And?

Well, if we are unaware, the connection you have with that person, or people, may become disconnected. Or, rather, less connected. Meaning that connection and communication live along a spectrum, so it’s not connected or disconnected, there are subtle variations.

And, knowing about these variations is important. Sensing them, knowing about them, and then creating contexts to talk about them. Important for our friendships, familial relationships, work relationships, and, well, all relationships. Important.

Alright, before I go, one question.

  • What are some things you’ve done to remain connected and communicative with those you are in relationship with?

I wish you a lovely coming week. Please stay healthy and well.

#300followers, #bloggersdiary, #communication, #connection, #onblogging, #onwriting, #pandemic, #poems, #relationships

A Blogger’s Diary 11/22/20: On Writing, A New Series, and Being Thankful

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Well, as it has been the past couple of weeks, poetry remained a large part of my creative writing experience this week. And? Well, as I’ve written about before, I do love it so much. Fun.

Let’s take a look at what happened this week, and what I’m working on for next week.

Writing

There we go. See. Lot’s of poetry. Fun. And, this week.

New Leadership Series

Well, I am currently working on the first installment in a new series on leadership, and I am pretty excited about it.

I think the information contained in the communication article I wrote this week, and the forthcoming leadership series will keep me busy for some time. Yep. Why leadership? A good question.

I do believe that leadership is a fundamental concept that is applicable to all of life. Yet, leadership is mostly talked about in regard to the workplace.

In this new series, then, we will take a different vantage point, and look at leadership as something that happens every day, in every context. And guess what?

Yep. It all starts with us. That is where leadership begins, and will be one of the main focuses of the first post. Lovely.

Poetry? Oh, yes, that will come too, and will be much fun as always.

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Being Thankful

As the pandemic cases continue to rise locally and in many other places across the globe, I am reminded of taking the time necessary to appreciate all aspects of life. And, to be grateful and thankful for everyone and everything. Important.

The Monday message I wrote for the team I work on this week, was about being thankful.

An important takeaway in times of great distress? Yes, I believe so.

I believe we can hold and practice gratitude and thankfulness even, and I would say it is even more important, when things are hard. Very hard of late. How?

By being present to all that is around us. A flower, a tree, the wind, the rain, each other, life in general. A precious gift.

I’ve actually reinstituted my daily walks, which, for a time, I had let go of. Why? Because it is a good way to practice being present. Present to all that is around us.

Here are a couple of beautiful pictures from my walks this past week. One from the campus where I work, and one from close to where I live.

Albany, Oregon
Corvallis, Oregon

I absolutely love the colors in both of these pictures. Just gorgeous.

Alright, before I end this entry, I would like to do two more things.

First, I would like to let you know how grateful and thankful I am for each of you. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, all of you, this past year. And, I want you to know that I appreciate each of you.

Second, a quote I adore.

“Use every distraction
as an object of meditation
and they cease to be distractions.” -Mingyur Rinpoche

Quote Mirror

Have a lovely week, everyone.

#bloggers-diary, #diary, #fallpictures, #leadership, #leadershipseries, #mingyurrinpochequote, #onbeingthankful, #onwriting

3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice

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Alright, so I’m making my way through some Medium stories, and I get to this one, Meditation Is a Terrible Strategy for Self-Improvement, by the Cut.

As some of you know, I started practicing meditation about three years ago; taught to me by someone that spent 15 years in India. And it has been one of the most important developmental inquiries in my life. So, of course, when I read that title, I was like, wait, what?!

Of course I read it. And?

The writer completely missed the point of meditation. Further, the “expert” the writer draws examples from throughout the article is questionable, at best, as an authority on meditation.

Well, what followed then was an important distinction for writers that came as an insight of reading the article. The distinction? Yep, here we go.

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I’ve written a couple times about the importance of making the distinction and understanding the difference between theory and practice. The distinction between the two is paramount in organizational development and education.

Yet, what I’ve been reflecting upon more this past week is just how important the distinction between theory and practice is for writers. Yep.

As I’ve been writing for years, I think I’ve always understood this distinction, yet it’s really only been the past three years that I’ve really known about it. Did you catch the distinction? Ah, if you did, excellent, if not, never fear.

Before we get into the discussion of theory and practice, let’s define our terms.

theory

noun /ˈθɪəri/ /ˈθiːəri/,  /ˈθɪri/ (plural theories)

[countable, uncountable] a formal set of ideas that is intended to explain why something happens or exists

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

practice

noun /ˈpræktɪs/ /ˈpræktɪs/

[uncountable, countable] doing an activity or training regularly so that you can improve your skill; the time you spend doing this

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Very good. Now, what do you see? Yep, it’s pretty straight forward.

Theory is about idea generation. About trying to explain something to the best of one’s ability by rationalizing the knowledge one has about a subject through their intellect. Yep, that’s about it. Practice?

Different. Practice is about doing something. It is about understanding a subject through the practice of actually doing that subject; and, then explaining that subject through the practical knowledge now possessed.

Now, both are needed. Yep. We need both intellectual knowledge and practical knowledge. However, theoretical knowledge can never supersede practical knowledge. Why?

Because no matter how much we know about a subject, we can never really know about that subject until we engage in it. Example? Sure.

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Let us say I want to create a new budget. One that will connect all of my daily spending to my bank accounts, which will then funnel back to a spreadsheet that I can track daily.

I can theorize about how a new budget system like this might work by reading about it, however, I will never really know if it will work for me until I try it. Simple, right? Yep.

Why, then, is this important to writers? Because when we write, and we are writing about something that we are theorizing about, we should own it.

We should let the reader know that the piece they are reading is a theoretical exploration, not a practical one. Why?

Alright, here are

3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice

1. Transparent

Being transparent about the subject matter we write about is important. It’s important to our own development, as writers, yes, and as human beings; and, it’s also important to the reader.

When we write about a topic that we know intellectually, that’s fine, write about it that way. Letting the reader know that you are conducting a theoretical exploration is just fine, and needed.

Have you ever heard the phrase theory informs practice, and practice informs theory? It’s true.

When we theorize about how something might work, we will only ever really know if that theory will hold true by conducting an experiment, yes, or by simply doing it. Yep.

And, when we do something, like create the budget from the aforementioned example, we will learn things we did not, could not, theorize about; and, we can then recreate the theory in light of this new information. Finished? Nope, not quite. Why?

Because someone else might conduct the same experiment with the budget system, let’s say, and get a completely different outcome, or experience. Yep.

I once had an instructor that would say, show me any theory, and I can show you a mitigating variable for that theory. Meaning another idea that would change the outcome of the experiment, or experience.

Therefore, it is very important when writing to elaborate on the knowledge that we currently have, both intellectually and practically. It helps readers know where the limits of our knowledge is, and where they can pick up from, if they choose, and move that knowledge forward.

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2. Thoughtful

In owning the limitations of our own knowledge, whether it is intellectual or practical, we are being thoughtful. I love reading an article or a book about a topic where the author has been intentional in communicating the limits of their knowledge.

As a reader, this kind of commitment from a writer garners a whole different level of trust from me. And, I am more likely to read more of their work.

Being thoughtful about our own limitations is an important thing to do; though, it will probably feel awkward and scary. Human beings don’t usually like to own their own limitations.

Yet, I would argue that owning our limitations is not, in and of itself a limitation. Rather, owning our limitations is a starting point, a strength.

A place from where we can grow and develop. Learn more, both intellectually and practically.

And, in that growth, guess what? We learn more, which means we can do more, and be more. We can write more. More about what we know about. Both intellectually and practically. Fun.

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3. Truth

Of course. When we stand in our truth, we get back way more. Though owning a limitation feels scary, it is the only way we can ever grow and develop. If you have no limitations, or rather, areas to grow yourself, then there is nothing to ever read, or really do.

Life inside of that world, where we know all there is to know, is finite. That world is the limited one.

However, when we are truthful about our own developmental opportunities, we immediately become unlimited. Why?

Because we have now taken a stand to learn more, to develop more, and to possibly transform the person we are today into a whole new iteration. A new self that stands in the reality, or truth, about themselves. That is powerful. A paradox?

Yes, and no. The whole world is full of paradoxes like this one.

We are fearful of the exact thing that, when embraced, is the key to relinquishing that exact fear. That is life as a human being on this planet.

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Alright, so there are 3 Reasons Why Writers Should Know About the Distinction Between Theory and Practice. And, to be clear, this distinction is important for every human being. Really.

It is important in all aspects of our lives. When we are clear on the areas we want to develop and grow, we can engage with people in meaningful conversations and create contexts to move those aspects of ourselves forward.

We can learn more, become more, and then, yep, do more.

It has occured to me in writing this post that I can do a better job of letting readers know about the limits of my intellectual and practical knowledge.

Though the focus of my writing is, and will continue to be, on both my intellectual and practical knowledge, writing this post has brought a new awareness of this topic to the fore of my consciousness; and, for that I am grateful.

#beingunlimited, #development, #distinctionbetweentheoryandpractice, #growing, #onwriting, #owningourlimitations, #practice, #selfdimprovement, #theory, #theoryandpractice, #writing, #writingaboutpractice, #writingabouttheory, #writingandthoughtfulness, #writingandtrasnparency, #writingandtruth

A Blogger’s Diary 9/29/20: On Writing, Strategy, HSP’ness, and Books

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Every time I write an entry in this series, I usually write something like, phew, what a busy week. See, I did it again. Well, it is busy and also quite wonderful. 🙂

Alright, here’s what I’ve been up to the past two weeks.

Writing

This past week, I wrote a couple of articles. In case you missed them they were as follows:

And, now you ask?

Well, I am currently working on a couple of new pieces, which include an article on the mind, one on being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), and one on writing. Fun.

I am also considering writing something for a periodical publication. It’s been a while since I’ve submitted anything like this, and am wondering about the periodicals to send to. If you’ve got an insight for me here, I would greatly appreciate it.

Strategy

This week is my strategy week at work. Meaning that I don’t take meetings unless absolutely necessary, and I work on creating the next couple of years of work for the team I work on.

Of course, these are drafts we are talking about here, as the team I work on is highly collaborative, and will have tons of input for me on anything created this week.

It is a nice time to reflect upon where we’ve come as a team, remember where we are going, and begin to fill in all of the work needed to be completed for us to get there. It’s fun.

Photo by BENCE BOROS on Unsplash

HSP’ness

About two years ago I learned about High Sensitivity. At that time, I had never heard about it before, and was sort of stunned. Meaning that I could see myself in all that was being talked about, and yet, was in some ways resistant to the idea that I might be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

Upon reflection, and a little reading, I came to the, not hard to make, determination that I was an HSP, and had always been.

Certain feelings I always had, and things I felt more in my environment than other people, made more sense to me than ever before. Was truly a transformative moment for me.

I am reflecting upon my HSP’ness now in preparation for the article I will be writing later this week.

If you’d like to learn more about being a Highly Sensitive Person, here are a couple of books I highly recommend.

If you are still interested, here is a cool questionnaire you can take to see how you rate on the sensitivity scale. I just took it again for fun, and rated a 19. Definitely highly sensitive. 🙂

Books

I am almost finished with Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 1: 1884-1933, by Blanche Wiesen C, and have less than 20 pages left in Tibet’s Great Yogi, Milarepa : A Biography from the Tibetan, Being the Jets-un-Kahbum or Biographical History of Jets-un-Milarepa.

Both of the books are wonderful, and I highly recommend them if you are interested in Leadership and or Eastern Spirituality. Funny, they are both very alike in that regard. Interesting how that works.

Not sure what the next book will be, yet, this past week I did create a new possibility. What, you ask? Of creating a local remote book club. Yep. There are two other people interested at this time. I’m hopeful to get 2 or 3 more people.

As I was pursuing the book club idea, sending out invitations, it got me thinking about a blogger book club. That might be kind of fun. What do you think?

Alright, that’s my entry for this time.

Stay safe, healthy, and well.

#blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #bookclub, #books, #diary, #highlysensitivepeople, #hsp, #onwriting, #strategy

The Blog + Video Series #5: Writing from the Head and the Heart

July 12, 2020

There is a difference for me in thinking about something and actually doing that something. I’ve been thinking about writing my whole life, and have only actually written during a very short period of it.

A couple of years ago I read the book by Stephen King, called On Writing. A great book, by the way. In that book King asks you to practice writing by imagining a situation taking place in a house, and you have to write the character, yourself I think, out of that situation. Out of the house.

I did that, and have started several other stories, including the one on this site, yet have, to date, finished none. So far.

Yes, I wrote in college, and even completed a thesis. Yet, that is not the kind of writing I’m talking about. Writing a thesis or a dissertation is about thinking. I’m talking about the kind of writing that comes from the heart.

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

The kind of writing that moves, touches, and inspires people. Maybe even puts people into action in their life.

Now, I am not insinuating that the book I am now working on will do that. Yet, in the book I am now working on I get to write from both the head and the heart, which is also distinct.

The difference, for me at least, is that I get to let go of the way I normally think, and get in touch with a totally different aspect of myself. Maybe this is a normal experience for those that write often. I would not know. It is, however, an experience that I like quite a bit.

As for writing, I don’t think I like it all that much. Especially the editing process. Difficult. Yet, there is a very real release in writing, which is quite intoxicating. And, it does provide that outlet for the release of ideas, which I do have many.

Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash

For me the distinction on writing from the head and the heart is where you create from – are you creating from that thinking part of yourself, where you are analyzing every aspect of the paper or book to ensure it is reliable and valid.

Or, are you writing to write. Writing from the heart, which only really requires that you can stick with it until you have all of the ideas out of you.

Both forms of writing serve a purpose. Both are needed. For me, I have just realized in the last couple of years, that while I do enjoy reading both kinds of books, from the head and the heart,

I enjoy writing from the heart much more.

#creativity, #ideas, #inspiration, #intelligenceversusheart, #onwriting, #passion, #writing, #writingfromtheheadandheart