1. Christmas tree graveyard. A little sad to see all of these trees, decorated and primped only days ago, waiting for the mulcher.

Christmas trees

2. Technology Sabbath. On Wednesday, our network servers went down for the better part of the day. No email. No shared files. No databases. No internet. No voice mail. At first there was a lot of hubub. Hey, did you just lose the database? Yeah, and my email just quit. We figured it would be an hour or so until the systems were back on line, so we went about doing tasks that didn’t require computers. What? Exactly. These days, that leaves just two things: filing and opening mail, which took all of about 15 minutes. Then, we reluctantly started reorganizing. You know, this is good. I’ve been meaning to sort my bookshelves. After two hours, we developed withdrawal symptoms, relentlessly clicking refresh on the mail program. If I could only get to that message, just for a second, I promise, then I’ll leave it alone. At the seven hour mark, dazed and confused, we stumbled to the elevators, anxious to get home to connect with the world again.

Only once I got home and checked my various inboxes and “caught up,” did I realize I’d missed an opportunity. These windows don’t open often anymore, unless we consciously choose to take a break from being so connected in order to reconnect. You know what I mean. I’d heard about technology sabbaths – a day each week when turn off all of our devices. I’d like to give it a try. Maybe not a whole day at first. I mean, that’d be like jumping in an icy lake.  But setting the intention to have an evening untethered from all the devices sounds lovely.

In an article in The Atlantic about technology sabbaths Rebecca Rosen writes, “It seems paradoxical that abstaining from technology, which at some very basic level is all about connection, should help us connect better…recognizing that by dedicating time to one activity or one person, without interruption from gadgets, work, or other people, will help us slow down and connect.” What we’re really looking for more time.

Have you tried a technology sabbath? How did it go? 

3. The best news I’ve heard all week came from this article that the American Medical Association now says you should drink as much coffee as you like.

Not only have most of coffee’s purported ill effects been disproven — the most recent review fails to link it the development of hypertension — but we have so, so much information about its benefits. We believe they extend from preventing Alzheimer’s disease to protecting the liver. Coffee, researchers found, appears to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

And the list of benefits goes on and on from there. The studies included 80,000 women and 40,000 men over a period of about 25 years. Those who drank six or more cups a day were reported to see the largest benefits. My vice is now approved by the AMA. Someone please pour me another cup.

4. A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success. Since we’ve been talking about making (un)resolutions, let’s talk about breaking them.  All the folks who are experts on this kind of thing say that our goals need to be well defined and specific. They need to be time-oriented and trackable. Well Alain de Botton, author of The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work (also see # 2 bibliotherapist) thinks that’s all fine and dandy, but really we need to take a step back. We need first to look at the definition of success.

One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They’re sucked in from other people. And we also suck in messages from everything from the television to advertising to marketing, etcetera. These are hugely powerful forces that define what we want and how we view ourselves. What I want to argue for is not that we should give up on our ideas of success, but that we should make sure that they are our own. We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtSE4rglxbY?rel=0&w=560&h=315]

5. Slow groovin’. To leave on a lighter note, what could be better than dogs in slow-mo?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV_X6U3AxUA?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Have a great weekend everyone! 

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