How the words get here

I’m process oriented. I want to figure something out once, and then move on to having other interesting thoughts or experiences. That leads me to a sort of, “do one, cross off two,” mentality; I try to do more work up front—do the more complicated things first—in an attempt to reap a larger gain in the long run. I’m a tool builder you could say.

But my power of process, can also be a problem. There is, of course, an XKCD for this lesson: https://xkcd.com/974/. I digress.

Today, I wanted to share a bit of the process that I use to distill the things I find, and to focus my thinking. (I’m not going to go into how I find things, nor how I ensure a fresh “stream” of those things is brought to my attention.)

I have a WordPress-based blog using my own domain name. I also have a separate email account with a non-obvious address. It’s in my address book at “blog – Postie to Blog” [as you can see in the screenshot].

Whenever I see, read, or find something that inspires an interesting train of thought, I fire off an email to this special address. I simply brain dump my thinking. I insert bare URLs into the email. I put a “>” in front of blobs of text I want to show quoted. But I don’t bother with any formatting; it’s all just basic text.

I use the Postie plugin for my WordPress site. It’s an email client which periodically looks in my special mailbox and creates draft posts on my site. It deletes the emails as it creates the drafts.

When I want to work on blog posts, I go into my WordPress site and look at my drafts. I clean up the draft—fixing anything that I couldn’t stand having out on the internet. I dress up the links, organize the quoted parts, season it with my personal style, etc.. Very rarely, I’ll simply delete a draft. This has the advantage of giving me a chance to review my ideas for posts at some distance from when I initially captured it. Most of the time, I can see ways to drastically improve the post, but I don’t bother preferring instead to post the snapshot I had originally captured. I schedule the post for whatever day I want it to go out on. I’m writing this blog for my own benefit—it’s part of my process of reflection. So it’s not usually important when any particular post goes public.

Finally, I have a Mail Chimp account that has a recurring Campaign. It follows the RSS feed from my site, and emails whatever it finds to be new at 11am every day.

Why? Well, that’s probably best left for another day.

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On a mission

When I arrived at the atelier, the canvas was blank and I simply began poking at making little pin-points of color. Poking just to see each little point. Sure, I avoided some entire areas of the canvas. That top-left corner didn’t interest me, but that area above the center caught my focus. Then my gaze wandered a few inches and I found I was putting points down in another, new-to-me, blank area. Day by week by month by year by decade I wandered up to the canvas. Curiously, I now realize I never looked each day at the canvas as I walked up—or walked away or simply past. I just headed to this atelier and— Although, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I thought it was a video game Arcade at one point, and it looked like a snowy ski slope too for a while, and I recall breaking waves and some sea smells. That’s… interesting. When exactly did I realize that this place is a true Atelier? Sure sure yes yes, the particular dots are still very [very!] interesting; the minutia seems fractal and the more closely I peer, the more interested I become.

But just the other day—although, it quickly became a couple weeks ago, soon to be a couple months, a couple years, a couple decades…

But just the other day I peered over my glasses and looked at the whole canvas for what might have been the first time ever. Holy shit, it’s a Georges Seurat painting of some afternoon on some island! I mean: The overall composition is so blindingly freakin’ obvious and banal that I’m tempted to chuck the whole thing as trivial— …until I pear closely and see all the infinitely intricately interconnected dots and—bam!— VERTIGO!

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish.

My mission is creating better conversations that spread understanding and compasion.

Will you join me?

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Anything but boring

…what I see is not chaos but home. A prose style that interrupts itself, that can’t seem to make up its mind, promises me the thing that I open a book looking for: a friend. That friend might be insufferable (Hello, Mickey Sabbath!) or maniacally self-involved (Bonjour, Marcel!), but what she won’t be, her parentheses assure me, is distant, withholding.

~ Ben Dolnick from, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/opinion/parentheses-coronavirus-writing.html

Say what you will about the Times—no really, go ahead, I’ll wait—but I am frequently glad that I keep the old Grey Lady in my RSS reader. skip skip skip skip yawn skip and then oh-hello! This piece is fun, and his perceptions about parentheticals and asides is something along with which I nod. (I shall torture my mother-tongue as I see fit.) Meanwhile, if I can get you to say, “not boring”—my goal isn’t so low, but while aiming for the stars I’ll settle for it—if ever asked to assess my blog. (Yeup, that sentence is broken just to make you read it multiple times.) A few days ago I was talking about texting. Today’s ramble through the brambles—is that a movie title? …it should be—feels like a postscript to my bit about how texting, (in it’s various forms,) slots in as sub conversation but supra full-on prose. Because I feel that my writing is as close as I can get to having a conversation… if you were a blind mute whom I couldn’t see.

End of line.

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The process of reflection

Much of the power of the Movers Mindset podcast’s signature question, “three words to describe your practice?” comes from thinking about one’s personal understanding of the word practice. In the podcast episodes, sometimes the guest’s discussion of that understanding is a profound part of their interview. Sometimes their surgical statement of three words is its sublime culmination.

In 2019, we posed the three-words question of the project itself. This turned out to be a surprisingly fruitful exercise. We came up with three words to describe our practice, and I subsequently adopted them as the three words to describe my practice:

Discovery. Reflection. Efficacy.

If those three words describe my practice—the journey of my whole life—then what is the purpose of this web site? Why go through all this work? It’s taken me 9 years and the previous 2,499 posts to understand:

It’s a vehicle for my process of reflection.

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Big changes for 2020

For the past 5 years, I’ve been passionately working on a project called Movers Mindset. I’ve been particular about keeping it separate from “me”—in the sense that I would think, “is this idea something I want to put into Movers Mindset or on my blog?” (It sounds weird, I know—why didn’t you tell me years ago?) This led me to wind up with multiple “outlets”; this blog, public Movers Mindset web site and the Forum. As part of my continued efforts to simplify, we’ve taken down the Movers Mindset public web site.

* We didnt literally turn it off, but it’s just a static page about the project, and it powers the technology to make the podcast work. There’ll be nothing new posted there, and everything that was there will slowly appear in the Forum.

The entire Movers Mindset project grew from conversations I started having as part of my personal journey rediscovering movement. The project started late in 2015, under a different name, and it was initially simply a web site that shared others’ writing. The project grew, and in 2017 I started a companion podcast involving a team of people. In 2019 I created the Movers Mindset Forum. I’ve worked extremely hard, but none of this would have been possible without so much help from so many people.

The Movers Mindset Forum

Everything Movers Mindset does, everything we create, all the people who work on the project for fair pay—  Everything is made possible by people who value what we create and support our work by joining the Forum.

If you’re already a Forum member, thank you for your support.

If you do join the forum, you instantly gain access to everything. I hope you will consider supporting our work. To learn more, see  Welcome! Join the Movers Mindset Forum .

A note about “access to everything”: I’ve a tremendous amount of stuff to repost into the Forum. I’ll be chipping away at it, but it will take months as I work through it. If there’s something in particular you’re looking for, let me know.

Podcast

The Movers Mindset podcast is available wherever you normally listen to podcasts. Just search for movers mindset and you should be set. You can also find a listing of the podcast episodes in the Movers Mindset Forum. See the topics tagged “podcast “.

The public topics for each episode have only the show summary. Forum members can see the members-only Podcasts category where everything else is actually posted.

Thank you!

I hope you find my blog, the Forum, or the podcast interesting. Please consider sharing if you do.

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Once more unto the workshop

https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2011/08/22/because-you-cant-live-in-a-hammer-2/

I’m well past 2,000 posts here and it does often occur to me to wonder why am I writing all these posts. It seems to be boiling down to…

If you can’t write clearly…

Crafting these blog posts has become a daily practice of introspection. Once a day or so, I stroll out to the digital workshop and putter around. Sometimes I simply clean up. Sometimes I do a bunch of heavy-lifting work. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of what it might mean to be a human being.

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Quadrupedal Movement

(Part 74 of 74 in series, My Journey)

Quadrupedal Movement (QM) is a diverse collection of movements using both hands and feet on the ground to support one’s weight.

QM is almost always done using just the feet, and not the knees, since our knees are not capable of taking prolonged usage or impact. That said, there are some small-size, low-impact, movements using various surfaces of the knees, lower legs, buttocks, and thighs which integrate well with the usual hands-and-feet-only QM.

There are countless variations of QM. Many variations are physically demanding, but many are drastically easier than the more usual bipedal movements: Using a railing with your hands for balance and support as you ascend stairs, using walking sticks and canes, and “scrambling” on hands and feet up steep slopes, are all common variations of QM.

Start here https://gmb.io/locomotion/

…and then take a look at some advanced options, Two Hours and a Slab of Concrete.

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Meta: I’m retiring this series, “My Journey.” Over the years, my blog has changed a lot. In the beginning I had a lot of more random things here and I used this series as a way to highlight this aspect of my blog writing. Today, the blog itself is basically a record of my journey.

Well that escalated quickly

Warning, this post is so meta even this acronym…

This blog just had it’s first month with more than 10,000 page-views.

Wanna guess where most of my traffic comes from? Ok, sure, most of my traffic comes from the Goog. That’s trivial. But where does most of the non-goog traffic come from?

https://www.stumbleupon.com/

By a long measure too. Years and years of all the other social channels, nary a bump — deleted. Bookface? nary a bump… I think about 7 (s e v e n) people click through from Bookface.

I urge you to click over and join my growing email list before Facebook implodes entirely ;)

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small-b-blogging

http://tomcritchlow.com/2018/02/23/small-b-blogging/

Small b blogging is learning to write and think with the network. Small b blogging is writing content designed for small deliberate audiences and showing it to them. Small b blogging is deliberately chasing interesting ideas over pageviews and scale. An attempt at genuine connection vs the gloss and polish and mass market of most “content marketing”.

~ Tom Critchlow

…and of course, my having just linked to him is one the affect he’s talking about (among several others.)

Zooming out: This reminds me to get back to writing. Several months ago, I began an intentional hiatus from writing every day… and I really miss it. Hop to it, Craig!

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