It's that time of the year again. Ash Wednesday is tomorrow, which signifies the start of Lent. And that means it's time to go through another Digital Declutter phase. I would like to invite anyone who reads this to start their own Digital Declutter.
If you don't know what a Digital Declutter is, it is an exercise I read about in Cal Newport's Digital Minimalism book. It's almost like a Digital Detox or a Digital Sabbath. The main differences are that you do it for at least 30 days, and that you are replacing addictive digital activities with analog activities. For instance, instead of browsing social media at night, you read books, or learn a new craft like cooking, or learning to play a musical instrument like the guitar, etc...
I suppose the easiest way to understand it is to look at the Digital Declutter rules I'll be using to guide me this year. I'm using the same rules from last year. The main highlights are that in addition to not using social media at all, there will be no blogging done as well.
Of course you don't have to follow the same rules I made for myself. You can create your own set of rules and do it at your own time. My main motivation for this post was to invite people to give Digital Declutter a try. If you have any questions regarding this, you can find ways to contact me on this page, but sending an email is the best option.
Have fun going offline, I know I will. Peace be with you and see y'all online on Easter Sunday.
The more we depend on technology to make decisions for us, the less we actually decide for ourselves. On the surface level this seems good; the less decisions you have to make, the more mental bandwidth you have later on to decide on something else.
The problem is that technology cannot measure everything in the world around us. It cannot measure people's reaction to certain things, it cannot measure feelings or emotions, it cannot measure a person's mood, etc... And so technology cannot reliably predict everything that's going on around you, nor can it reliably predict what's going to happen in the future. Hence, the decisions it makes is based on its own expected reality, not yours.
Focus on consuming information that you know you need right now
Trying to consume everything to learn something, is not the best use of time. It is better to consume information that you know you need right now. Consuming information that you might need in the future, in other words reading just in case you will need it, is a waste of time.
I could have a Porsche or a Ferrari parked in my garage, but even that would pale in comparison to the joy I get from being able to enjoy a quiet breakfast with my son. As I grow older, I'm learning that it's the simple things in life that bring the greatest joy.
It's the end of the year and for some reason I'm itching to start writing journal entries again. I considered just turning this into another Weeknotes post, but I don't think I can keep up with that schedule. So, this will be the start of a new journal entry series.
I say new because I've had a journal entry series before. If you are a returning reader, you've most likely even read them. If you are a new reader, then you missed out on a number of cringe-worthy personal posts. And that's part of the reason that series came to an end. I somehow outgrew that phase and no longer wanted to write about overtly personal stuff.
So, for this new series, one of the things I want to focus on is just sharing what I've learned. Instead of this journal/series being about “What's been going on with my life?”, I want it to be more about “What have I learned today?”
Also, I won't commit to a schedule for posting. It could be once a month, once every 4 months, or even just once a year. Whatever it will turn out to be, I'll write one when I feel like writing. So before that urge to write fades, here goes.
The Chosen is a television show about the life of Jesus, that I never knew I've always wanted. Until this show was created, I didn't even know I would have an appetite for this kind of show. There have been a lot of depictions of Jesus in movies and films, but none tell His story like this show does. The twist here is that the life of Jesus is told from His' followers point of view; that's why it's titled The Chosen.
In fact, the first episode of Season 1 revolves around Mary Magdala. And it is a beautiful, heart-warming episode. If you've ever felt lost, alone, abandoned, with nowhere else to go, Episode 1 might resonate with you very deeply. Episode 1 is what got me hooked on this show. The ending brought tears to my eyes.
In the past few months, I have prayed the Rosary and read the Bible more times than I could count. This is more than I've ever done during the last 10 years of my existence. How did I manage to do it? I did it by telling myself this statement as I settle down at my desk at night:
If you have time to play video-games, then you have time to pray the Rosary or read the Bible.
As you can see from the example above, I'm simply following the format for this statement: “If you have time to do X, you have time to do Y.”
At first glance it sounds like I'm only guilt tripping myself into doing said activity. It might even look like I'm only tricking myself with the use of the statement. And maybe I am. But I like to look at it a different way. It as a way to refocus on my priorities. Playing video-games is a past time of mine, but it is not a priority for me — working on my relationship with God is.
I stumbled upon the Mayonnaise YouTube channel a couple of days ago. Mayonnaise is a rock band from the Philippines that makes some really good soaring rock music. Needless to say, I'm a fan. While most of their songs are written in Tagalog, they do some in English too. I was delighted to find out that they do covers of popular rock songs from the early 2000s. Here are two that are really good.
Most people know Yellowcard. Most people know their hit song “Only One”. It is my favorite song from Yellowcard. This is a very nicely done cover by Mayonnaise.
The subject of this short film is the theologian John Hull (1935-2015). He recorded the words featured in the film in an audio diary. The recording began in 1983, when he became fully blind after several years of progressively losing his sight.
Watch this short film and you'll gain a much better appreciation of your gift of sight.
Listening to John's words as he describes the despair and the hole he finds himself in, trying to break through the wall of blindness, but never getting anywhere — it was at times hard to listen to. But that's what makes you really appreciate being able to see right now.
We can't go on a walk, or a run, or a bike ride without sharing photos that we did so. We can't read a book without sharing a photo of the book we are reading. We can't drink a latte without first sharing a photo of it. We can't eat without sharing a photo of the food we are eating. We I can't listen to music without sharing what song we're I'm listening to. We can't live our lives without documenting a part of it — if not all of it — online.
Why? Why are we doing all this? Why do we feel the need to do all this? Does anybody else think that's not normal? I've been asking myself those questions for months now.
There's lots of advice on what to do to take control of your data online. For instance, you should have all your blog posts and photos under your domain name, so you keep control of them. And if you're not concerned about that, there's lots of advice on what platform is the best for photo-blogging, long-form blogging, micro-blogging, etc... There's all sorts of advice regarding the best ways to manage your data online. But no one seems to be asking the question, why?