Bootstrap and build it yourself

The quickest way for me to learn is to bootstrap and build something myself.

I have slowly built my website over time, learning as I go.

The upside of building my stuff is that I’m not reliant on someone else. I experiment and tweak things on my timeline. I own the schedule. If I break it, I know how to fix it or revert the change. If it’s a total screw up, I can ask someone can show me. Significant improvements to my site sometimes mean cutting and pasting bits of code from a google search result and then refreshing to see if it works.

If any WordPress developer peaked under my website’s hood, they would see the equivalent of a one-bedroom house with extensions like a loft, basement, and garage all stapled on that have not been built to code.

My father is also building his site, so sometimes it’s about us sharing notes about new intentional and accidental discoveries that pop up when we tinker with the website.

There’s no formal syllabus. The building roadmap is dictated by what I need next.

Building on the fly is like learning a new language. I prepared by attending some formal French classes when I lived in Luxembourg for a short period. None of that helped. When I arrived in Lux, I couldn’t even understand what people were saying, let alone have a conversation. I learned to get by over time by repeating phrases like ordering coffee, buying bus tickets, and asking for directions. These practical phrases were my building blocks.

It’s the same with building anything new. Look for tools you need to get from point A to point B. Then figure out how to get to point C. It won’t be pretty, but you’ll keep moving forward and being in control will empower you.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

The paths to the well

“The knowledge I have is not my own. I just know the way to the well.” –@KapilGuptaMD

All our stories and ideas are connected. Nothing is original.

There are different paths to the well. Some trails are well trodden and wide open, some are narrow, hidden and hardly used. The source of the knowledge is the same, we all just get there on a different track.

We end up saying the same thing in a different way.

Activation energy

Sometimes the best way to start writing the next chapter of a book is to sit down and write. That sounds obvious, but it’s scarier to do when nothing is waiting to pour out on the page. Sitting down, creating space and time is sometimes the only activation energy required to break through the writer’s block.

It’s the same with exercise or getting some long overdue work project completed. Upfront activation energy is sometimes all you need to break through. A run around the block turns into a couple of blocks. Composing a response to one email you’ve been ignoring frees up energy for other things that need your attention.

Communication vs. connecting

There’s no social media version for a face to face conversation with a friend. With everyone spread out across the globe these days the next best thing is a conversation over the phone. The best version of this is a video chat. Texting via Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, Snapchat are essential communication tools – they help you communicate, but they don’t connect you with people on a deeper level.

Even though our smartphones have the word phone in them, we use them more for other things like email, social media, work and entertainment.

To stay in touch, you’ve got to make the time to be there in the moment. Video chat, phone and face to face is the best way to connect.

Toe breathing

Toe breathing? Yup, your toes breath if you concentrate on them. Ready to try?

Okay. Take a pause. Relax your shoulders, eyes, and jaw. Feel the ground on your feet and wiggle your toes, so you know they are there. Take a deep breath through your nose and feel the air enter your body. Imagine the same fresh air coming your lungs, tummy, legs, feet and finally your toes. Feel the body expanding. It’s like blowing up a balloon. Imagine the clean oxygenated air reaching the very tips of your toes and that everything it touches on the way down is cleansed.

Now exhale slowly. As you exhale, imagine your body deflating slowing and breathing out the stale air. All of the aches, pains, anxiety leave the body with that exhalation.

Is like rinse and repeat. Try it 3 times. Concentrating on the toes will make you breath deeper and slow down the exercise. Remember to the breath through your nose and relax the shoulders and face.

Stay grounded today and enjoy.

Change the Universe

The mystic and poet William Blake asks us to see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of our hand and eternity in an hour.

The entire universe is inside all of us. The entire universe changes when we change. Everything in existence feels the ripple of our development because we are all part of the whole. That’s a radical and powerful realization.

In today’s world, we get up every day and have interactions where there are opportunities to grow. Interactions with our kids, spouse, friends, work colleagues, pets, cars, nature – EVERY moment is an opportunity to grow and change the universe. Wow.

William Blake and Gandhi were onto the same thing. Gandhi said ’Be the change you want to see in the world’. Here’s my spin on that quote – Be the change you want to see in the Universe.

Now get out there and change the Universe.

Sometimes you only miss it when you do it

The less I do something, the less I miss it.

Paddling out for a surf on a winter’s day.  The water is dark blue and cold. I’m warm in my car sipping some coffee. I fight the urge to drive away. Only after the first duck dive and feeling the salt water hit my face do I miss the feeling of being in the water

Waking up early for a morning run. The first few minutes out in the wild are the hardest. I’m talking myself into turning around and heading home. Then something magical happens after the first mile. I started to look forward and forget about what’s behind me. My body loosens up and I start to smell the morning.

Yoga first thing in the morning. I’d rather be sleeping or getting a jump start on the day. My body resists the first stretch and the inner dialogue comes up with reasons why I should rather cut it short, shower and check my phone. Only after the first three stretches do I get into the groove and am grateful that I overcame the initial inertia.

Leaving my phone at home when I go for a hike. Initially I have phantom phone syndrome. Even though I don’t have my phone I can still feel it vibrating in my pocket. Only once I’m far away from the roads and deep in the trails do I disconnect and am reminded of how good it feels to be free from the likes, hearts, pings, retweets and favorites.

The ego is crafty and will seduce you into the path of least resistance. Feelings fade the longer you are away from something. Overcome the inertia and all resistance crumbles.

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Turn off notifications and alerts on your phone and control when you interact with people. This includes all text messages and social media. Take back control your schedule and don’t let other people control your day.

Imagine if people felt it was okay to bang on your door at any time of the day or night with the expectation that you answer and be present with them. That’s not sustainable. Why should it be acceptable on your phone?