Simplify, simplify

Simplify! Simplify!

I used to live rather light—at least light for a book hound. But those were the days in which I was a poor student and post-student, moving on the average every year and sometimes even more often. But the move I made this year was my first in ten years, and I found that I had found ways to accumulate stuff. Lots of stuff, often difficult-to-move stuff and heavy stuff. (Hundreds of books, for instance, the vast majority of which are still in boxes.)

The task of unpacking got me interested in alternative approaches to stuff. And that led to discovering a fascinating little blogosphere that has practical simplicity as the center of its solar system. Zen Habits by Leo Babauta (and guests) was the first I discovered. I think of it as “The anti-lifehacker. That doesn’t mean I don’t like LH… I do, and ZH and LH not only share an interest in productivity, but often refer each other’s posts. However, I noticed that after I read a day’s worth of postings on the incredibly busy lifehacker, I usually felt a bit dispirited and even tired. “How am I going to afford all this cool/neat/wonderful stuff?” would be a question in the back of my mind. Zen Habits, on the other hand, had me asking a different question to myself: “how much of this stuff do I really need or even want?” And unlike lifehacker, its mental effect was calming and encouraging.

Soon, I discovered Leo’s other blog, mnmlist, a more personal exploration of his life as a “minimalist.” Zen Habits also often refers to Unclutterer, and Ridiculously Extraordinary, Karol Gajda’s blog about using simplicity, writing, and travel. (Yeah, after my stint in Spain, I can say indeed that I likes travel! I likes it a whole lot and I wants to do it more!) On release day of his new book, I also encountered Chris Guillebeau, whose blog (and book) The Art of Non-Conformity are both well worth reading. Mac users will enjoy Minimal Mac as well.

This “simplicity” blogosphere is challenging as well as insightful. The key motivation of the more financially-oriented Art of Non-Conformity and Ridiculously Extraordinary is not so much “save money, go places,” as to become a responsible citizen of the world who learns from, and contributes to, all the places life may take their freed spirit. Unclutterer is eminently practical. And in addition to productivity and simplicity, Babauta’s spirituality shines through his blogs without a single “religious” word written.

Now, I actually don’t have any desire (at least not yet) to become a true minimalist. But I’m astonished at the ideas and potential in less that these writers present, and I’m determined to simplify more, and cut at least some of the cruft out of my life. As always, with me the application is the hardest part. Now if I can just sit down, unclutter, and practice my own zen habits…

The things you own end up owning you.

My life this summer

OK, time again for another one of those “update” posts … but I’m going to return to regular blogging after this.

Today I finished my first half-marathon—my unofficial time was 3:07:35. I may train for a full after this. And I’m definitely registering for the Warrior Dash!

My two weeks in Spain were amazing. Not only did I have a truly wonderful time there, but I really feel I learned a lot and grew there as well. I think I’ll be referring to Spain often in future posts.

For the last two months, my dad has been fighting cancer. I believe he’s winning, and will hopefully have good news to report soon.

I’ve lost 45 lbs now on the Alternate-Day Diet. Not finished yet, but the progress I’ve made since January has been amazing.

I have a new home.

I have a new kitten.

I’m rethinking the focus and purpose of this blog: Personal blogging seems to be a dying art, although a few of my online friends, Carl, Bob, Ryan, and Meredith are keeping it alive. I use Twitter often, and post statuses frequently on Facebook (usually short tweets direct from Twitter), although I’m very haphazard in actually reading Facebook statuses. I’ll admit, the fact that Facebook has replaced blogging for so many bloggers bothers me a little; FB is great, but it seems poorly structured for the kind of in-depth sharing that is typical of the best personal blogs.

I’m also wondering how apropos the title “The Wild Things of God” still is, since I have had so little to say about “God” as such. As my faith has become more open-ended and less-defined over the years, such a loaded word as “God” which brings an unpredictable host of deeply-embedded concepts and memes every time it’s used, and it might be less-suited to describe what I write about here, than something a bit more abstract … maybe “Wild Things of the Spirit,” or something else, or keep it the same—I’d like to hear your thoughts.

I’d also like to hear your thoughts about what you’d like to see here: a mix of varied personal musings and spiritually-focused posts? More of one and less of the other? How-to posts, like dream interpretation or dealing with changes and challenges in the spiritual journey? More reviews of movies and books? I’ve been putting my more technical posts about the Internet and technology on Wild Web Weaving. Should they stay on a separate blog or should everything be together? What do YOU want?

Talk to me, my friends!