Back in the World

After a wonderful monastic retreat, I’m back in the everyday world. Here’s a report on activities, thus far: The “Way with Words: Writing & Meditation Workshop” (see below) was awesome, thanks to all the amazing participants who wrote beautifully, shared generously, and supported each other wholeheartedly. Kate and I are looking forward to offering this workshop again next summer at Hollyhock. We are also thinking about offering a shorter, non-residential version of the workshop in Vancouver or in Bellingham, WA, so if you’re interested, please check back here from time to time.

I just got back from Victoria, where I gave a talk for The Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. I mention it here because I had some more thoughts that I wanted to share with the folks from the conference, so if you’re a member of ASLE and you happen to see this, please check out my weblog posting on the conference for some resources on introducing contemplative practices in the classroom.

Also on my weblog is a new feed, so if you’re interested in what stories I’m tracking on line (providing I remember to post them!), check out the feed in the right hand column, under All Over Creation.

Between email and all my other on-line networking outlets (this news page, my weblog, my facebook page, my feed, flickr, twitter, not to mention, etc.), I’m getting very confused as to what I’ve posted where, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. The retreat made it clear to me how hooked I am on this wired world, and how, while it’s great to be in touch, it’s also interfering with my ability to write and read and sustain my focus and attention. However, the good news (at least for those of you with Mac’s) is that I have found a solution, of sorts: FREEDOM. I don’t usually endorse products, but this one is terrific. It’s a small Mac application that you can download for free (and if you like it you can make a donation), and when you open it up, it asks you, “How many minutes of freedom would you like?” You can enter any number from 10 minutes to 480 minutes (8 hours), and Freedom will disable your computer’s networking for that length of time, making it impossible for you to go on-line, check your email, or be distracted by some piece of missing information or research or consumer item that you absolutely must have or tend to immediately. It’s possible to disable Freedom and get back on-line, but it requires that you reboot your computer, which is a big enough disincentive to keep me from cheating. This small intervention has really helped me focus and write. I think it’s effectiveness lies not just in the mechanical disabling of your internet access, but also in the power of intention that you engage when you open the app and commit.

So that’s what’s new. I’m going to post this and sign off, and enjoy a good long stretch of freedom.