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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Its a while since my last post because I have been enjoying being quiet. Its nearly a year since my final day as a full-time employee, and in that time I have explored a lot of interests and options, including writing this blog. Its been a fascinating time, and I have enjoyed the journey, welcoming each unexpected twist and turn.

The latest twist, which I didn’t see coming, is that I am beginning to think that I may have retired. I didn’t think I was retiring when I left my job, and I have been exploring different money making options. None have really come to fruition, but thats OK.  If I live very simply I have enough to tide me over until my superannuation is available.

Accompanying this desire to be retired is the desire to be quiet and refective. The urge to write and take photos has subsided, and my mind wants to be quiet and still. I have loved blogging, but it does occupy a lot of space in the mind, and its a very outward activity. For a while, I am going to be going inward, being quiet, reading, journaling, reflecting, meditating, and paying attention to the world around me.

I don’t know what is going to happen next, as that will come out of the stillness. For now I need to let go of distractions and listen to the small quiet voice. In the meantime I may not be posting as often because I feel inclined to keep my thoughts private for now. I will write something if I feel the urge to share it, but I won’t be following a regular schedule.

I just wanted to let friends and regular readers know that I am fine, and still pursuing my journey of self discovery, even though I am not saying much just now. I feel content with where I am and have appreciated you reading and following along with me.

 

 

I follow quite a few blogs and have started noting posts that stand out to me for the Linking Back post each week. What I am noticing is that a number of the blogs I follow are written by people who have been influenced by Christianity or Buddhism. This presents me with a dilemma, as I am not aiming to promote any particular religion. If I had to fill out religion on an emergency room admittance form, I would probably put Nil or Not Applicable. However these two traditions have both been a big influence on my life and my thinking, and continue to influence me through the blogs I am reading.

What strikes me about the blogs I follow is that very different religious and philosophical starting points can lead people to hold similar social values or come to similar conclusions about what is important in life. This is certainly the case with simplicity and minimalism, which attracts people from humanist, christian and buddhist traditions, among others. It seems like intentional living and the desire to live more simply can be the fruit of any many different belief systems if thoughtfully applied. I like to think that the things which unite us are stronger than our differences and try to remain open to learning from people writing from different perspectives.

So in this spirit, I am going to mention a blog on which I find a lot of thought provoking material, which is Storyline Blog. This is the most overtly Christian blog that I follow; however much of the focus of the posts is on how we choose to live our lives. I can’t comment on the theology of the Storyline crew, because that’s not my department, but I do find some of the fruit of their thinking valuable. I like the respectful and thoughtful tone that the host Donald Miller adopts, and I feel like although we might be on different sides of some debates, we could have a respectful and rewarding conversation.

A post by Donald Miller that I enjoyed is 2 Things I do that Increase My Creative Output the Most. He describes creative work as a dance, and adopts an approach he calls “write where the wind is blowing”. His description of working on what wants to be written, rather than forcing himself to stick to a scheduled topic, is a lot like the way that I prefer to work. I feels more effective for me to go with the flow than force myself to do something when I am in the wrong frame of mind. I must admit I like it when I come across other people flying the flag for this more flexible approach.

Also on Storyline Blog was a post called The Question That Changed Everything for Me by Allison Vesterfelt. Allison writes about the impact of conversation where a friend asks her What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about money.” This question prompted Allison to challenge her worries about money and embark on a road trip across the USA. Of course money is a significant factor in our life decisions, and not everyone is in a position to quit their job and take off in their car for an adventure. But I  think we can limit ourselves unnecessarily in a quest for ironclad financial security, I know that’s what I used to do. I admire Allison’s willingness to challenge those self-limiting beliefs.

Finally, I want to mention an inspiring talk which I found in the post Sunday Morning Sermon: Caitlin Crosby “Love is the Key”. Caitlin has been able to generate work and hope for homeless people by starting a business manufacturing keys engraved with hopeful messages. I was struck by her message about helping the people in front of you. I also liked the description of how the business evolved, particularly the fact that she waited six months for the right solution for manufacturing the keys to present itself, rather than just leaping in with her first idea. In the song at the end Caitlin has a line about being “Too safe to feel”. That certainly struck a chord with me. As I choose less safety and certainty, I find I am more open to feeling connected with other people.

I have started going on Sunshine Walks after lunch. Late autumn and early winter still supply a fair share of sunshine most days, but unfortunately it does not reach into my south facing unit (ie facing Antarctica). When I get the chance I take an afternoon stroll and seek out the sun. Here it is, backing up a poinsettia tree.

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For those of you interested in photography I have put up a few photos of Sydney Harbour in Lights on the ImageChest Photography website.

What if, instead of bashing out a quick blog post, I could luxuriate in words?

What if I were to be enveloped in imaginings?

What if I could soak in a idea until it came out my pores?

What if I were to take the time to write what I really want to say?

What if I would write to my hearts content?

Yesterday I got a FaceTime call from my teenage protegee who was looking for assistance with maths problems based on Pythagoras Theorum. I am happy to report that I was able to quote the theorum off the top of my head and assist in the calculation of the height of a kite from the ground, and the bottom of a ladder from a wall. Go Aunty Linda. Not much help was needed and I fear I will soon be left behind on the maths front, however I do enjoy our little video homework hook-ups. (Clicking on the link to the Theorum is not mandatory.)

I enjoyed a thoughtful post titled Is Minimalism Naive? at The Other Side of Complexity. Mike has picked up on an interesting concept, that there is simplicity on the other side of complexity, but you need to get through some complexity to get there. This post provides encouragement to work through that complexity to get yourself into a better position. Anyone who has tried to do a significant decluttering project will probably relate to this concept. It also resonated with me as I was resolving my dispute with the internet advertising company earlier in the week. Letting go of my idealised view of what should be happening and taking on the battle was necessary to get out of a messy situation.

Joshua Becker wrote a post this week called 5 Live-Giving Truths From 5 Years of Living with Less, marking the 5 year anniversary of his minimalist journey. I could relate to his first truth, that “Desiring less is even more valuable than owning less”. I find it encouraging when people writing about minimalist lifestyles go beyond the benefits of having less physical clutter and express the deeper benefits of a less materially oriented way of living.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits has recently released The Little Book of Contentment. There’s plenty of great advice and wisdom in this little eBook. I particularly liked his description of Where Happiness Comes from and Finding Happiness Within.

The most moving thing I saw this week was the video of My Last Days: Meet Zac Sobiech.  If you haven’t come across this story, then I suggest you take a look when you have 20 minutes of quiet time. The video is a celebration of Zac’s life, and a farewell to his family and friends as he faces death from bone cancer. I understand he passed away since the making of the video. What a wonderful young man he was. I hope I can face life and death as well as he did.