What I’m Doing Now

November 4, 2015

I’m in Madrid, attempting to stay sane, focused and free from the Kardashians. I spend my time on these things:

  • weightlifting, sprinting, meditating, training for a half marathon
  • writing new articles (for myself and clients) and journaling
  • answering emails
  • reading books
  • improving Spanish
  • learning how to code
  • tracking all the new media I consume in 2016

My main obsession of the moment is eating large quantities of food and lifting heavy weights in order to improve my physique. And running. Which I have to force myself to do.

If my activities or priorities change, I’ll update this page. Last update was April 2016.

Resistance is a big thing in my life, as I imagine it is for most people. By no means have I conquered it. Nor do I think it’s something you can simply vanquish forever, or address and practice by reading advice online or listening to a friend.

My primary feeling about resistance is that it’s never going to go away. As long as your mind functions, and as long as your body is animated by life, resistance will always pervade in some form or another. Our goal in life is not to obliterate it. Nor is it to ignore it.

What we must do is simply attempt to diminish its hold over us as much as possible. Read More

Writing this reminds me of my attempt to write about the camino. Words are never quite enough to encapsulate experience. Our memories of things distort what we thought we felt or experienced at the time. And thus, I’m suffering the same affliction in my attempt to put into words what I experienced during 10-days of silent meditation. Possibly the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in life.

For those requiring a brief rundown: I recently completed a 10-day vipassana course at the Dhamma Dipa Centre in Herefordshire, England. What that entails is joining a retreat, pledging as a student to follow the precepts of the teachings (which require a noble silence – no conversing, no sensual input (reading, movies, phones etc.,) and then spending 10 days in meditation.

What I found it to actually be was an exercise in spirit and mental fortitude. Yes vipasanna is an ‘educational’ course but it was also, at least for me, a huge test. Being alone with only your mind for company and stimulus, especially when you’re haunted by all myriad of mental falterings and demons, can only be described as torturous and horrific. But entirely necessary if you ever hope to liberate yourself from everything you perceive to be holding you back.

And ultimately, before I dive into further analysis, some kind of liberation is what I got. I recognise that everything I associate with myself (or what I assume to be my ego) is simply an invention and imagination of the mind. Being reminded of this, as you incessantly are during vipassana, can be, I believe, a healthy dose of reality for all people. Especially those striving and suffering to get here or there. Believing the stakes are high and that the outcome matters. That they need this or that. That something, in the future, will ‘complete’ them or deliver them a certain sense of happiness or peace.

The truth is none of it will. And to understand that you can’t intellectualise it. You have to experience it. Read More

Freestyle: Stay the Course

February 23, 2016

“80% of success is just showing up.”

That’s a Woody Allen quote that’s stayed with me ever since I first read it a few years back. Impactful because, moving through life, I see just how much it appears to be true.

The dispute over its accreditation doesn’t interest me (although if Woody Allen did say it, it makes sense – being someone who has produced a type-written screenplay every year for the last 30-plus years). What interests me more is the notion of “showing up” and how I can consistently show up in life when it counts most.

I recognise that everyone has different priorities. Showing up at your work most likely will lead to you not being homeless. Showing up with your family will likely lead to more formidable personal relationships. It’s all relative.

What’s important is that we all strive to stay the course. Read More

Ever since beginning learning how to code and exploring more about the foundations on which the web has been built I’ve become increasingly more interested in how it is actually used.

One of the questions that keeps coming up regularly in my study surrounds the usefulness of web platforms, apps and what software developers and engineers claim to be doing in helping to “change the world”. Somewhere amid the pages of JavaScript instruction and the lengthy reports of how people learned how to program, I keep coming back to the idea: does any of this really matter?

What I’m actually asking here is whether software, apps and websites actually make our lives easier. Does the time they allow us to save relate directionally to the amount of happiness we’re able to derive from them? Or do they simply make us more anxious to try and stay on top of everything and get more done, get more done and gettttt mooorreeee doonnnneeee?

Steve Krug’s book, most-often referred to by web developers as the “UX Bible”, has a lot do with helping to answer my questions. Read More

I thought I might try a number of health and wellness related experiments throughout the year, tackling something different each month.

January saw me give up alcohol and coffee. Two things I realised that, after undertaking the challenge, actually played a bigger role in my day-to-day lifestyle than I first thought.

Still, suffice to say, (at this time of writing with one day left to run in the month) I’ve successfully completed my first health and wellness related challenge of the year.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from it. Read More