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Archive for December, 2008

The Rush is Over!

I started this blog intending to write about what was happening in my life and how meditation was part of it.  I watch bemusedly as computers keep coming into it.

Traffic to this blog is fairly light, as is expected given the subject, the newness of the blog, and probably the content.  The blog software does record statistics that describe how many people have visited the blog and what they have looked at.  (Only statistical summaries are available; individual users cannot be identified.)

A month or so ago, a friend asked about using an mp3 player with the Macintosh.  I did a quick check on some forums and said “sure, it will work fine.”  Well, that turned out not to be the case.  I researched the problem further and wrote a web page on how to use an mp3 player with a Macintosh computer.  I shared that with my some friends and also referred some people on the Sansa Fuze forum who were trying to get their player to work with the Macintosh.

Since then, the majority of accesses to the blog have been to read the article on using mp3 players with a Macintosh.  The busiest day on the blog was the day before Christmas, the second busiest was Christmas, and the third day was the day after.  I guess lots of people gave or received Sansa Fuze players for Christmas and then needed to figure out how to make them work with a Macintosh!  (By any web standards, we are talking small numbers here–peak use was less than 100 visits per day.)

Traffic is now returning to normal levels.

Emotionally, I find reinforcements to my expert persona like this to be difficult.  They build the ego, the sense of “I,” and the sense that “I am an expert and everyone should recognize that.”  I fall into a mode of answering questions and playing an expert on mp3 players, and on use with the Macintosh.  The latter is particularly a problem as I don’t even have a Macintosh.

So the challenge is always to back off and let others be the experts.  I need to say something myself only when what I say is truly useful instead of just being first with the “right answer.”

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A Computer Weekend

As some of you know, my pre-retirement career was developing software. I also gained a lot of experience with computer hardware, especially PCs. In retirement, I still use PCs a lot and enjoy helping friends with their computer problems.

I maintain my computers carefully, keep all software updated, and generally have a trouble-free existence.  All computers fail, and mine are no exception.

Even computer experts can have bad days, and this was a doozy! (more…)

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We had more snow in Port Townsend yesterday–four to six inches, drifting to 18 inches.

This let me re-experience another childhood memory: snow over the top of the boots and into the socks!

Our neghborhood

I took lots of photos of our neighborhood so everyone can show off their snowy house to their friends.  With complete overcast, the lighting was not as magical as it was on the photos I took last week.  The complete gallery is here.

The roads were extremely slippery.  I was standing on the road and suddenly found myself sliding down hill!  I’ll be driving later today and may put on chains to be sure I can get back up the hill.

Inside Cappy's Trails

I walked through Cappy’s Trails.  It was a lovely walk surrounded by snow-covered trees.  The snow photos are in this gallery.

Last week I saw only tracks of a cross-country skier.  On this walk, I saw several pairs of skiers.  Finally, personal experience of this rare sight!  Staying in Port Townsend all winter (which is barely begun) is giving me the experience of a true winter again.

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If you look at a hurricane from space,  you see a well-organized, beautiful object.  If you are in the middle of one, the experience is brutal and deadly.

Expectations can be the same way.

I’ve spent the day struggling with being attached to expectations, and it has been like being in the middle of a storm.   I’ve felt battered and shaken from one side to the other by unexpected changes.

It started last night when the weather report predicted four to six inches of snow.  I looked forward to a nice walk in deeper snow.  I woke this morning to find almost no new snow.

Then the dentist called and offered me an appointment today (for a crown preparation) instead of tomorrow.  That sounded great, so we hurried to get ready.  By the time we were ready to leave a half hour later, it was snowing steadily.  A round trip of more than 80 miles in uncertain weather and road conditions seemed imprudent, so I rescheduled that appointment.

The snow Sunday was cold, fine snow that blew off the trees in mists of snowflakes.  Today’s snow was heavy and wet, falling off trees with a thump like a wet rag.  I did get out for a walk in the afternoon.  Instead of the bracing cold, dry weather of Sunday, wet snow was falling and almost immediately melting and soaking my coat.  Instead of sun breaks lighting up the snowy landscape, the clouds were dark and heavy.

I needed windshield wipers for my glasses with this snow!  My winter coat will need a day to dry out.  With greater caution needed for more slippery conditions, the walk wasn’t as easy as a few days ago.

I spent the day struggling with attachments to expectations.  It was hard slogging.  Meditating several times helped.  It was not until late evening that I began to feel lighter.

When I’m not feeling attached, I can go through the day like this with a “Wow! Look at what is happening now!” attitude.  It’s like looking at a hurricane from space–you can see the destructive forces as a thing of beauty.  I’ve reached the point where I can take mostly that view of my attachments to expectations today.

Which doesn’t mean the attachments and suffering won’t happen all over again tomorrow!

Several teachers have given talks on expectations.  Berget Jelane has a talk on expectations at the Insight Meditation Center that I found helpful.  Click  here to listen to that talk.

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Snow Buddha

Snowy Buddha

Snowy Buddha

May all beings be
free from animosity,
free from oppression,
free from trouble,
and may they look after
themselves with ease!

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I Get My Wish!

We woke up this morning to find snow!  We see snow in Port Townsend perhaps once or twice a year.  Mostly it seems to have snowed while we were out of town.  This time we were here to see it!

Snowy day in Port Townsend

Snowy day in Port Townsend

True, there’s not a lot of snow.  The accumulation was  between one and two inches, drifting to four to six inches on our deck.  It’s been more than forty years since I’ve lived where I could expect significant snowfall, so any snow gives me a feeling of freshness and peace.

I got to take a walk in the snow—a childhood experience in Illinois that I’ve missed for a long time.  I see a totally different world when walking in the fresh snow.  There are tracks everywhere, each telling a different story.

When I first left the house, the only tracks in the road were footprints.  As I walked further, I saw more.

Here I see where a couple has walked to the mailbox to pick up their newspaper.  There I see where someone has walked their dog, with side trips to the edge of the road for doggy business.  Another person had taken their trash out for collection the next day.  Three kids build a snowman in their yard.

Some tracks were more difficult to interpret.  One set to the bluff and back looked like a tricycle.  I saw the same tracks later and now suspect it was a tricycle baby carriage.

I got a good look at my own footprints.  That was interesting because this was also my first walk with the new orthotics that I received yesterday.  Teresa tells me it has improved the way I walk.  They sure feel bumpy when I put my shoes on.  I get used to them quickly and find them comfortable enough to walk in.  It will take a while to see whether they make a difference to ankle and back pain problems.

The last set of tracks was a real puzzlement.  At first I could not figure out what made two narrow, parallel tracks.  As I walked up the hill I finally realized they were cross-country ski tracks.  Seeing where the wearer had sidestepped up the top of the hill confirmed that.  I have never seen cross-country skies in use in this area—we just don’t get that much snow.

For more photos I took on my walk, click here.

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It would be nice to learn from experience!

As I wrote on Tuesday, I applied mindfulness very successfully for reducing pain to simple sensation while having laser pulses to my retina.  This morning, I did something that resulted in low back pain.  Did I explore treating that just as sensation?  No, I forgot completely about that possibility and worried about what might be happening.  I went directly to using ice and resting to resolve the pain.  After I woke up from a nap, I realized what I had forgotten to do.

For better or worse, by that time, the pain was gone.

Well, maybe next time—and there will be a next time—I’ll remember to practice being mindful! “Practice” is certainly the correct word to use. It takes practice, practice, and more practice at being mindful.

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