Posted in PEACE GROOVES

Ending Online Defragmentation

Over the past year, I have:

deactivated 4 twitter accounts,

deleted 2 Facebook pages,

canceled 1 LinkedIn account,

deleted 1 Pinterest account,

let Google Plus die,

canceled 3 photography site memberships,

canceled my Amazon Prime membership and am no longer shopping on Amazon,

am no longer posting on or checking my Facebook account,

deleted both Etsy and Square Online stores for my inlay business,

deleted multiple apps from my phone,

unsubscribed from multiple email lists (ongoing),

unsubscribed from multiple Yahoo groups as Yahoo Groups has gone away,

And

removed many notification permissions from multiple apps on my phone (ongoing).

As a result, I am:

happier,

feeling less all over the place,

writing more,

feeling more centered,

having fewer interruptions,

praying more,

updating my resume,

dreaming again,

finishing art projects

and …

anticipating some thing(s) amazing just around the bend.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

A Hidden Life – Why I’m Leaving Facebook

Recently I had the privilege of attending a pre-showing of the movie “A Hidden Life.” To say that I was profoundly affected would be an understatement. I sense that there will be other changes occurring in my life as I continue to reflect on the quiet faith and conviction of an Austrian farmer, yet there is one that I feel I must make in the new year.

That change is to leave Facebook, at least the public, manually posting part. (My PeaceGrooves and Lyndaker Inlay pages will update automatically when I post to my blogs for now I think, but I will not be maintaining them or overally obsessing about visits, comments, etc).

I have appreciated connecting and re-connecting with many folks I have known over the years. I have been encouraged by comments and likes for various posts or endeavors I have shared.

Yet I have also been frustrated by the tendency for folks to engage in online discussions that are really not very productive or to present opinions that they otherwise would not dare to do so face to face. In other words, there seems to be a greater appreciation of the relationship, lack of ego as it were, when one does not have the distance the internet provides. There is also an illusion of it being a safe place to share anything when the reality is, it is anything but.

There is a moment near the end of the first Highlander movie when the main character states that with his new powers, if he is quiet, he can hear the thoughts of everyone in the world. As much as I would love to, I can’t, nor can I keep up with the lives of my friends on Facebook. I’m not the Highlander. Nor am I God. I cannot nor should I strive to be omnipresent. And it can be overwhelming at times looking into the rather strange window that persons choose to present on FB. As much as I feel I have something to share too, there is quite a cacophony out there, with a plethora of voices competing to be heard, and so, as difficult as it may be, I am going to remove one voice, my own, from the noise.

I began by limiting the notifications I received, even at the cost of missing birthdays. Still I found myself succumbing to the temptation to visit FB. I continue to be in the process of limiting all of my notifications, because I am realizing that my everyday life is constantly being interrupted and my ability to remain attentive is subverted by the distractions. I have yet to find a notification, however important, that fits the definition of “the one necessary thing.” I must ask myself if I am growing more receptive to the still small voice that calls me from my cave (internet cafe?) or less so as a result.

The older I get, the more I realize that I am on borrowed time, and there is no substitute for real rather than virtual interactions with people. If I am honest with myself I have fallen into the illusion of connection that FB presents. I must also confess that I have sought out validation based on responses or lack thereof to my posts. And I must ask myself if my online presence is truly Christlike or is it quite frankly about feeding my ego?

I must admit that I spend way too much time online. Am I happier as a result? I don’t think so. I also wonder if some of my discontentment is fostered by my scrolling through FB posts. I did see a survey awhile back that stated that folks who left FB were less informed, but happier. Am I the only one obsessed with information, suffering within the paradox of sensory overload yet never getting enough? And do I really want to keep giving away pieces of myself and my loved ones to the internet giants?

Part of this is about taking my life back. Like Pavlov’s dog, I have been well trained. And similarily, no matter how much I salivate, the bell, however loud, is no substitute for real food.

I’m not withdrawing from the world. Rather I hope to be more fully engaged in the world….the real one. I seek less face-time or Face-book, and more face to face. I invite anyone to visit or give me a call. My line and door will always be open.

Or feel free to comment here or zip me an email. I do intend to continue to explore contemplative writing as long as it does not feed the ego and remains prayer, which requires much practice. To that end, I have found blogging quite helpful. Again I welcome your responses and reflections here now and for future posts.

I hope to do more longer length writing. Perhaps on paper like I used to and not so much on the screen. I’ll keep working with my hands. I’ll still have an online presence I think but I want to be fully open to the possibility that perhaps I should have none.

Other changes are in the wind I think as I continue to reflect on what it means to live A (more) Hidden Life.

Posted in Musings and Reflections

A Hidden Life

I am wondering if it is time to be silent;

To remove myself from the noise, to be one less voice clamoring to be heard.

I am still so full.

I have so much to share.

Yet who am I to say my voice is more important than any other’s? There are so many….singing, crying, shouting, falling silent.

I am overwhelmed by information, by the incredible cacophony of sound, of the millions living and dying around me.

This is not simply a moment of stepping away, a few days spent in quiet. There seems to be a greater pull, another voice calling me away into the dark depths of my soul.

There is a dying here, a fear that I will become forever mute and unheard, that I will forgo my responsibility to creation and others by withdrawing,

Though there seems to be a difference now, as if the crashing outside the cave is only that and that if I wait with intention I will be called out into the light of purpose in a timing not my own by the quiet voice of God.

Posted in Leaves on the Poet Tree (Poems)

Detente of Discomfort

this world of love hate
a presence on the web
leads to reconnections
with old friends
affirmations of life events
and yet tis so easy to
forget the one necessary
thing
to become distracted
to lose oneself to the
fear of hacking
(a strange word, so like a bad cough when you think about it, disease?)
to join the endless narcissism

i go back and forth
to keep or delete my account
that is the question
and others
to remove myself
from it all and return to what was before
would i miss it?
is my life so much
better now?
or have i merely succumbed
to the virtual voices crying out
when what i really need
who i need to connect
with
is the one of flesh and blood right here
before me?

for now it is enough
to keep these questions
ever before me lest
i forget who i was
the days before i
was snared by the web
trembling here with
the myriad connections
in a kind of
detente of
discomfort

Posted in Musings and Reflections

From Facebook to Amazon, these are the default privacy settings you should change – The Washington Post

Hi folks,

This is a pretty important (and kind of scary) article on protecting your privacy, and what information/activity is automatically being recorded mostly without our knowledge.

I spent today following the recommendations. I suggest you do the same.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/01/hands-off-my-data-15-default-privacy-settings-you-should-change-right-now/?utm_term=.b3732627f8eb

Posted in Musings and Reflections

Stop Blaming Facebook for Your Stupidity

Maybe it’s because we don’t have to put “www” in front of urls anymore, but there seems to be a collective amnesia as to exactly what the internet is.

AKA, the World Wide Web.

As in the most. public. place. ever.

As in anything you post on the internet can be seen by anyone.

So show some discretion, people!

Vet the links you share before you share. Make sure you’re not a mouth piece for some entity masquerading as something completely different.

Heck, vet your rants and opinions before you post them. Ever looked back on something you wrote years ago and been embarrassed? Yeah, well the journal entries are a little more public now, aren’t they?

Think! Reflect! Then respond.

Stop reacting to the latest . . . well . . . whatever!

Stop being a slave to the 24/7 news cycle. No news is good news, right?

And above all, stop leaving the responsibility of protecting your privacy with Facebook, Google or any of the host of, well, other web hosts.

If you don’t want the world to know where you live, what your kids, your body, or your dirty laundry look like, then quite simply don’t click upload.

Sure, Facebook needs to be held accountable for Russian trolls, fake ads, Cambridge Analytics, and such. There is much they can do to clean things up.

But really? Really?!

“C’mon, man!”

It’s the World Wide Web, for Chris Christie’s sake.

Fix Facebook?

Sure, but you might want to try some of them same tools on yourself.

Editor’s note: Midweek Essays are posted every Wednesday. See the publication schedule for details.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

86: Facebook’s New Name?

Facebook-Gun by kmlsCraigslist and Ebay prohibit the sale of weapons and accessories on their sites.

Facebook does not. It has recently made an effort to crack down on posts attempting to buy or sell guns without a background check. Though it seems this policy is woefully inadequate in light of recent events.

In a statement released by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, organization president Dan Gross said, “We are sickened to learn that the Las Vegas shooter attempted to obtain a rifle through Facebook. The post has remained live on Facebook for a month, demonstrating the inadequacy of Facebook’s gun policy. Facebook continues to make it too easy for dangerous people to find guns and should prohibit gun sales outright.”

I don’t do Facebook, primarily because I have a hard enough time making sure my blogs and other online projects stay current. (I also find the format ugly and prefer my friends to be of the tangible variety). But if I had a Facebook page, I would delete it in light of their policy on gun sales. Those of you on Facebook should at least make it known to the powers that be that the policy should change.

So why 86?

That is the number of people who die from gun violence EVERY DAY in the U.S.

Not a good statistic to be associated with by any account.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Peaceful Parenting ≠ Shooting A Laptop

I am sure you have heard the story, maybe even seen the viral video, of a father, who being upset at his daughter’s mean comments on Facebook, filled her laptop full of holes from a .45 caliber gun.

Normally I post a link to these kind of stories but not this time. I am not interested in contributing to the hype.

I find this disturbing in several ways.

One of course is the violent nature of the incident. Being a parent who has had to deal with disrespectful behavior, I too have gotten extremely angry, so much sometimes that to be honest, I wanted to kick some butt. But if I expect respect from my children than I need to be respectful. If I expect them to be peacemakers than I need to be a peacemaker in my relationship with them.

The other problem I have is the public airing of the family’s dirty laundry. So you’re frustrated, big deal. That is part of parenting. To be honest, it is as if the dad is looking for kudos to justify what he did. And he’s got them. Which is the other disturbing thing about the incident. 1300 “likes” with most people lauding his “parenting technique.” I beg to differ. Pulling a gun and shooting your daughter’s laptop isn’t parenting. It is scary.

Parenting is not easy. Being a peaceful parent is even harder. Being a peaceful parent with media boundaries is near impossible. Sometimes our peaceful home has felt more like a war zone. But “when I became a man, I put away childish things.” In every incident with my children, I need to remember that I am the adult. And that every incident no matter how tough is a teachable moment. So what is the message the daughter in the story is getting? When does the computer become flesh and blood?

My children’s therapist said it this way, “Parenting is the toughest thing you will ever do. And for the most part it is a thankless job.” So why do it? I have made a ton of mistakes. I will make a ton more. But I am unwavering in my commitment to peaceful parenting.

You see my children are too important for me to send them into the world with any inclination that violence is an acceptable response to their behavior, or that of anyone else.

Posted in Longreads and Essays

Hey YOUth! Don’t Be The 21 Percent!

A recent Pew Research study has some alarming statistics about the prevalence of cyber bullying on social networks.

According to the study, 90% of teens say they have witnessed some sort of mean behavior online. Even more disturbing is that roughly one fifth (21%) of those who witnessed bullying said that they had participated in the harassment.

Not all of the study is negative. Those surveyed said that they felt better about themselves and built positive friendships through social networking.

So here are some Groovy recommendations:
For Parents: Have access to your child’s account, either by having your own account on their network or by insisting that you know their password in order for them to have an account. Then you can monitor their behavior as well as protect them from possible bullying. Social networking can be an incredibly rewarding experience for a teen. Our role as parents is to monitor that experience so that it can continue to be so.

For Youth: Don’t be the 21% who participate in cyber bullying. If you see it happening, be a different voice. Cultivate a kind and gentle persona online.

YOUth (and all of us) should be practitioners of virtual nonviolence.

The link to article on the study is below:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/nine-of-10-teenagers-have-witnessed-bullying-on-social-networks-study-finds/2011/11/08/gIQAPqUq3M_story.html