Thirty Minute Posts & The Not So Black and White Art of Life

Written from a train between Seville and Valencia
Sendero La Bojera, Montanejos, Valencia
Sendero La Bojera, Montanejos, Valencia

Despite a desire to write more often, and setting a goal to do so this year, I’ve written pretty much nothing.

A post usually takes me a few sessions of 4-6 hours of undisturbed time, time hard to allocate. In an attempt to write more, but remove that obstacle of time, I’ve decided on a 30 minute post model. Once a week, I set a timer for 30 mins, and start writing. At the end of the 30 minutes, I allow 5 minutes for editing, if I edit at all, and publish. This post is the first in that writing experiment.

I have several drafts on posts about Syria, immigration, appreciation for peace and the absence of war, on what the terms religion and spirituality mean to me, on the documentary Cowspiracy with diet, nutrition, sustainability and ethics mixed in, and on the idea of loving yourself as you are, inner and outer.

I think I’ve almost set myself up for failure with these monstrous topics. Looking back, most of what I write about is fairly easily contained in a post. Learning a language, trying out the Wim Hof Method, a few web development topics here and there, on eating eggs. For bigger subjects maybe I need to chunk them down, or not worry so much about what I write. It will be fascinating, I imagine, to look back in years to come, on how my views changed. And easy to forget that I once held a certain belief which at a different time I completely dismiss.

The Not So Black and White Art of Life

The idea of subtlety and changing context in doing the right thing in life has come to mind several times. By doing the right thing, to keep things simple, I mean doing what makes you happy and fulfilled, and at least doesn’t take away from anyone’s happiness.

I’ve found myself looking for binary answers to many questions. Black and white responses. What to eat? How to exercise? Do I go out or go to bed early? Do I give spare change when someone asks, or do I insist on giving food or something non-cash. Do I meditate everyday? Do I stick rigidly to plans even though new obligations since making those plans mean I’ll finished the day exhausted?

Trying to rigidly apply rules has left me a little frustrated on more than one occasion. Or unfulfilled in that I didn’t check everything off my list of things I need to do today to be fulfilled.

It seems easier to have a list or rules, and to stick to those. Less mental work to come to a decision is involved. And while I think it’s super important to set standards for how I live, looking at standards more as guidelines than hard and fast rules feels better. Guidelines that vary depending on any number of variables. For me it’s thinking about living artfully, rather than trying to reduce a successful day to a checklist, something the logical side of my brain loves the idea of.

It’s like knowing when to follow and break the rules. Flowing with life but not swept away by the current. Being water like Bruce Lee said.

Awareness is key to keeping on top of when decisions can be re-made for the better. Awareness of how I’m feeling, what physical condition I’m in, and the same for others around me. Meditation breeds awareness like nothing else I’ve tried. Yet another reason for me to meditate more regularly.

(update: Sunday September 11 2016. I cheated on my 30 minute rule already and did another bit of editing. The post felt rushed, a little sloppy and without much value in publishing. Although it’s still nothing earth-shaking, it’s good enough. Along with the 30 min experiment I’m going to change the view of my blog to more of a journal, where hopefully a few half way good pieces end up sticking out in the rough)

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