Mar 27

The Body and Sickness

The body is quite a wonder. Observing it from perfect health to sickness and then beginnings of health again has been a deep practice in mindfulness.

Hello body, I know you are there and I smile in amazement.

I first felt the emergence of sickness over two weeks ago. Some grumpiness in my emotions and a little tickle in my throat. It didn’t seem like much the first couple days but I knew something was happening in my body. It’s good to be attuned to my body.

The sickness came slowly and then in the second week it got worse and I spent three days in bed. What can you do aside from observe the body and take care of it wholeheartedly. When in that state of sickness, it definitely dominates everything. Thinking. Feeling. Touch.

Yesterday I managed to stay up all day and putter about the house. Feeling the body get better and also sensing its weakness. Its limits. Today is much the same in that I am up and about but feel the shortness of breath and the limits of the body as it continues to heal.

I miss my routine and my normal energy level (my coffee!!) but can’t push to fast or hard to get there. Soon I will be able to return to my daily run and my daily sitting meditation. For now, I honor my body and its need to rest.

My meditation on sickness of the body is best observed within the sickness. All we encounter is an opportunity for practice.

Finally, I am very grateful to Leslie who has cared for me these past days. Thank you.

Feb 27

Today’s Happiness

The day is coming to a close and I feel happy. What brought me happiness today?

  • the beautiful sunshine
  • arriving at work super early
  • dinner organized by Leslie (yummy food from Farmer & the Cook)
  • completing two OCLC WMS tasks that have been waiting for weeks
  • completing a sangha directory request from the UK that’s been waiting for months (and it wasn’t even that difficult)
  • new David Sylvian bootlegs (2003 & 2007)
  • shipment of Tonx coffee arrived – they are Sandia de Puno from Peru
  • making new connections on LinkedIn

I’m just going to stop there so I can also be happy for my bed in a few minutes.

Peace.

Feb 24

Mindfulness and Social Media: Shifting Perspectives

One of the results from the past few weeks of mindfulness practice, first a few days at Deer Park and now a few days at the Wisdom 2.0 conference, has been a looking deeply at my social media presence. I love the technology and am relatively active on several networks. I heavily use Twitter and app.net. A moderate user of Google+ and Facebook. And a very light user of LinkedIn.

In all cases, I have practiced being mindful about the content I share and have the hope of cultivating positive relationships. It has served me well over the past 6-7 years of regular sharing. I have taught full semester courses and workshops on social media and it has therefore contribute directly to my livelihood. I have found new friends and I also believe has served as a platform to share the practice of mindfulness and meditation. This is all good and I love playing with the technology.

Continue reading

Feb 22

All This Relates to Everything

This is what Ev of Twitter fame said during his interview with Soren Gordhamer from the stage of Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco – all this relates to everything. Brilliance in five words. Wisdom 2.0 is a tech conference, but it’s not. It’s business conference, but it’s not. It’s a wisdom gathering, a dharma talk, a practice, and a community.

Ev was talking about mindfully building a company from the ground up without really talking much about his new company called Obvious. He talked about meditation practice, about building culture, and about using Holacracy within the new company. This is something to explore and learn more about.

The day began with Ev and got increasingly better. I’m sitting at the end of the day with a cup of coffee and an espresso feeling inspired and motivated; trying to digest all that I heard.

Receiving the dharma rain throughout the day from the likes of Padmasree Warrior (CTO for Cisco), Gopi Kallayil (Google), Jack Kornfield, Tony Schwartz (Energy Project), Pam Weiss (Appropriate Response), Jane Fulton Suri (IDEO), Bradley Horowitz (Google), Peter Deng (Facebook), Melissa Daimler (Twitter), Jon Kabat-Zinn, and a fantastic interview with Jeff Weiner (CEO of LinkedIn).

A few highlights that I’m left with to ponder include integrating mindful planning into my work day, discovering my True Job, and managing compassion. My thoughts go to how this can manifest at Santa Barbara City College in my capacity as the director for the Luria Library and soon-to-be Academic Senate President.

All this relates to everything indeed. My work as a dharma teacher, a parent, a partner, a mentor, a librarian, a colleague. Cultivating wisdom and compassion is my practice. I’m feeling the energy to focus on how I can share about being a mindful leader here on misc.joy even more. Please encourage and support me on this endeavor.

Jan 04

What I Read in 2012

This is a reasonably accurate list of the books I read in the last year: nine eleven non-fiction and six fiction titles. That said, since I didn’t keep track as the year went by there may be a couple missing titles.

Non-Fiction

  1. What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us Guy Kawasaki (ebook)
  2. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Michelle Alexander
  3. Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Over Worked Librarian Nancy Dowd
  4. The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity Bruce Hood 368 pages
  5. Awakening of the Heart: Essential Buddhist Sutras and Commentaries Thich Nhat Hanh 544 pages
  6. Your True Home: The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh Thich Nhat Hanh, Melvin McLeod 384 pages
  7. Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice Thich Nhat Hanh 92 pages
  8. Healing: A Woman’s Journey from Doctor to Nun Sister Dang Nghiem 146 pages
  9. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking Susan Cain 368 pages (didn’t finish)
  10. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh 62 pages
  11. Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Committment by Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks (my wife just reminded me that I read this book too)

Fiction

  1. Time Travelers Never Die Jack McDevitt 385 pages
  2. The Facility: A Novel Simon Lelic 352 pages
  3. Cloud Atlas David Mitchell, 509 pages
  4. Amped Daniel H. Wilson 352 pages
  5. Among Others Jo Walton 304 pages (ebook)
  6. Those Across the River Christopher Buehlman 352 pages

See my online bookshelf with details and reviews.

Dec 14

Possibility for the Beloved Community

I’ve noticed in myself that I have awareness of the tragedy that happened today, it’s filling my streams, but I have no desire to dwell there or debate the various issues. Seeing the headlines is enough.

I’d like to start a discussion on building the Beloved Community. I think it can applied to so many aspects of suffering, violence, peace, justice, and compassion. Martin Luther King saw this wisdom as it related to racial injustice and violence in the United States and the war in Vietnam. His vision for a beloved community still resonates today and hasn’t been fully manifested. As written on the King Center site, the beloved community is an “achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.”

We can try responding by cultivating our own beloved community. Strength resides in our connections.

What do you think?

Dec 10

Accessing Dharma Talks by Thich Nhat Hanh

We are currently in the midst of the Winter Retreat and Thich Nhat Hanh is giving dharma talks on Sunday and Thursday mornings (CET) each week. As in the past, most talks during winter are in Vietnamese with translations. The schedule will probably change slightly once we near Christmas and New Year.

If you are in a time zone that supports being awake, then you can watch these talks live on the New Livestream  – the talks may be archived here as well, but there hasn’t been consistent archiving on the Livestream site.

If you would like to watch at a time of your choosing, and can wait a day or two, most talks are archived on Vimeo  – if you create an account on Vimeo, you can often download the talks and save to your computer or share with your sangha. Right now there are almost 300 videos on this site and, like the Livestream site, it is managed by the monastics at Plum Village.

If you’re interested in a comprehensive archive of dharma talks starting with Winter 2009-2010 then look no further than tnhaudio.org – this searchable site includes annotations for each talk and therefore sometimes it takes a few days or week to get a talk posted. If you use iTunes, you can find this source in the Podcast library and each talk will automatically download to your computer. Alternatively, you can get an email notification for each talk by adding your email address on the home page (right side). This site is managed by me and the language posted is always in English regardless of the language of the talk.

Finally, a great source that is pretty reliable is the Vietnamese site Lang Mai – here you can usually get French, English, and Vietnamese versions of each talk. Unfortunately, they sometimes remove the talks after they’ve passed, so if you want French or Vietnamese then you should download and save the file (English is archived on the previously mentioned source).

Written transcripts are sometimes difficult to come by due to the work load involved with transcribing and editing. I can’t recommend an English source, but our brothers and sisters in France have been posting French transcripts online.

That’s my summary of Thich Nhat Hanh dharma talk sources across the internets. I hope you can find what you’re interested in seeing or hearing. Listening to all the talks has been a great source of nourishment for me and I will try to share a highlight here and there.

Dec 09

Experimenting With a More Sustainable Business

I think many of you know I’m a technologist and that I enjoy playing with the latest gadgets, apps, and social media options. According to a recent article (Big Data is not the new Oil) in the Harvard Business Review, “Our browsing habits, our conversations with friends, our movements and location — all of these things are being monetized.” This fall I’ve been giving app.net a try because it pushes me into a non-librarian community (mostly developers), allows me to see what developers are interested in creating, and demonstrates a more sustainable business model that aligns well with library values. This new company, less than six months old, is experimenting and I appreciate their efforts. It may look a lot like Twitter, but scratch under the surface and there is a great deal more. Find me on ADN.

What do you think?

Oct 27

Hope or Fear? I Choose Hope

Compare and contrast a political campaign. Here we have two grassroots efforts that are starkly different. One portrays hope and the other generates fear. Where do you really want to put your effort and resources?

I’m not being Pollyanna when I say that positive thinking brings about positive change. If we surround ourselves with hope, then we can be hopeful. It’s not an ideal world, by any means, but a president that is thoughtful, kind, mindful, and willing to recognize mistakes is the kind of president I’d like to see, even if I don’t agree with all if his policies.

Though I don’t agree with every policy decision, regardless of being on the left or the right, I do appreciate moving in a general direction. The philosophy and outlook of the candidate. The values the candidate represents.

Fear or Hope. What will you choose?