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found time

I enter my home and it takes a few seconds to acknowledge the culprit responsible for the stripes on my walls. Street lamp light barges in past my window blinds. Whoa, it must be late. The stove clock reports 9pm. I have a whole hour before bedtime. Woohoo!

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leaving facebook

everything from old ipad 972

Sea turtle rescues on video, lengthy political rants and daily selfies. Multiple captures of tasty food and romantic moments. 25 versions of outrage about an appalling news item. It is time to turn down the volume.

For a couple of months I have rehearsed the idea of stepping away from Facebook. After seven years of being able to peer at the veneer of people’s lives, I thought it was time to analyze the purpose of this digital connection. This exploration has inspired me to converse with people who use it regularly, and a few who have either deleted their profile or were never on Facebook. Continue reading

a daily slow down

a photo of the author smiling broadly while on a swing in a playground.

An empty swing tempts this kid. (photo by Karl)

Say that title out loud and it sounds like a country dance. Yet the mood of this post is decidedly quieter with a lower heart rate!

My regular readers know that I practice mindfulness in the form of meditation and walking around my neighbourhood.  Even when running (walking?) an errand, I gently notice my surroundings which makes me smile and feel calm as I arrive at my destination. How can we get more of that feeling? Continue reading

just sit

a photo of Karl meditating in front of a window that looks out over dense green trees.

Morning ritual. (photo by Jo)

by Karl Pruner

What is meditation? There may be as many answers as there are meditators. As a practitioner for forty four years, I can only say for sure what it means to me. Meditation means rest. In meditation, my mind rests in the awareness of the present moment. Noises come and go. Thoughts come and go. I let them come and I let them go, without any action required on my part. I am not distracted because I have no goal, no expectation, no preferred outcome. I am awake but, otherwise, I’m on a short break from choosing, deciding, preferring, wishing, feeling, thinking and/or doing.

There are lots of meditation techniques, most of which develop mindfulness of the present moment by offering the mind a simple task, along with an invitation to gently and uncritically return to the task, each time you become aware that you have become distracted. One of the simplest techniques was described by Buddha. Continue reading

minimalism 101

A photo of a wooden floor, clear and clean, lit up by a setting sun, revealing doorways into several rooms.

Clear lines, clear mind (photo by Jo)

Are you a minimalist?

For over 15 years I have been shedding whatever I perceive to be in my way of living a satisfying life. I don’t remember exactly how this transformation started but I suspect I have been conditioned for it: years ago, living an artist’s life required moving from place to place, transferring whatever possessions that could fit into a borrowed car. However, that just answers the question regarding physical objects. When asked what it is I get out of minimalism, I reply “truth”. So to talk the walk, I believe that managing toxic relationships since I began adulthood is likely the birthplace of my perspective. Once powerful barriers (guilt from expectations mostly) were removed, then I could see the landscape that is my life. Continue reading

when the lights are out

A photo of multi coloured tulips in a clear vase on a white mantle. The angle of the sunlight from a nearby window casts a strong shadow on the wall behind the flowers and the glass refracts and sparkles. It is early evening on a Spring night.

During a ‘No Gadget Night’ in the Spring, we revel in the sunlight until 8pm. (photo by Jo)

As Earth Day approaches, (April 22nd) I have been receiving reports about the challenge I put to my readers to try a No Gadget Night (NGN). With lights off and all electronics put away, what happened? Finding activities to keep occupied did not seem to be a problem. What I find fascinating is the variety of thoughts and feelings around habits of consumption and how we live with technology.  Enjoy these great stories! Continue reading