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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Doing "Nothing" is "Something"

Don't feel like “doing” today…want to relax this morning after teaching my college class for four hours last night. Slept in…looked at the clock…and rolled over. Permission to self to take the day off.

List of things to do can wait till tomorrow. Instead, sip coffee in my pjs on the front porch and write while the birds sing and the soft breeze and checkered sunlight caress my neck ever so gently. Enjoying springtime in Phoenix.

Ah, the luxury of musing, reflecting without deadlines, appointments and obligations for the day. Simple and delightful and so different from my former self, the Type A, overly responsible, overachieving Super Woman who tried and at times did do it all…single mother, professional career woman, wife, hostess, etc. Exhausting.

No more. I have officially retired my Super Woman cape, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. My “self” has earned and deserves time without the requirements of work and responsibilities that compete for my time with me.

Putting me first is a relatively new experience after years of doing just the opposite for bosses, family and friends. It’s very liberating and peaceful to not have “to do” anything. I never had that choice or so I believed.

How lovely to finally know what it’s like to be free and not have to answer to anyone but me, a heady thought indeed. Just floating for now…see where the current takes me. During my life, the raft has taken me over the “falls” (divorces, moves, layoffs), and I’m still here.

The fears and worries of those times no longer have power over me. I realize now I did learn survival skills on my life journey, but the angst isn’t worth it.

Is my glass full or empty? Both, I think: Full from my life’s experiences with some wisdom as I near my next birthday and Empty of the cares and struggles of the past with space available now for what comes next.

Doing nothing for a day is good for something.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Alarm clock photo by Zvone Lavric

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Live in a McINFO World

We live in a McINFO world that is dazzling and dizzying.

Ancient cultures delivered information over long distances through drum beats, smoke signals and messengers on foot or horseback.

Today we send information digitally in a matter of seconds all over the world. Time has become inconsequential. You send it…it’s there.

No more waiting for the mail to arrive, the daily newspaper on the doorstep, the weekly magazine. There was a certain pleasure in the anticipation and delight when they did finally arrive. We had to wait and delay our satisfaction and perhaps appreciate them all the more.

The pace of our lives has changed too. Keeping up is impossible. Information is fed to us moment to moment, never ending bytes of headlines, sound bites, keywords, bullet points, images and animation.

Digital fragments…quick tidbits of what’s happening in our world, thousands of messages bombarding our senses daily. We use spam filters, “unsubscribes,” and firewalls to create some barriers to the ongoing sheer deluge of data.

Are we better informed by so much of so little? Do we understand complex topics that are presented in chunks, blurbs and captions?

What’s going on? Check Twitter; find out on Facebook; open
e-mail. Text it…share it…participate in the constant churn to stay on top of the news, your friends’ lives, and your profession.

We meet on the Internet at the digital well to share our lives, but we don’t drink deeply…just sips, just a taste for busy lives on the go. Have we lost something along the way…reflection…the luxury of pondering vs. pouncing on information as soon as it appears?

The digital revolution has affected our behavior, our relationships and our sense of community. I get my daily fix whenever I want it. I consider myself someone who helped pioneer the Internet’s power to reach everyone in a start-up venture that later evolved into AOL back in the ‘80s.

I championed the Internet then and even now to my students in
e-marketing and interactive content writing college classes. But I do wonder if our ability to reach anyone, anywhere, anytime helps us understand ourselves and our world any better.

Google (today’s Oracle), Wikipedia (today’s Encyclopedia of Britannica), and YouTube (today’s home movies) have become our educators, researchers, scholars and reporters who we rely on for information. Is the information accurate? Manipulated? Fact checked? What is true and not true? We don’t know. Many of us do not check the sources for credibility…we’re in a hurry to know and move on.

Are we smarter? Do we know more? Does it help us in our daily lives? Yes and no…it’s a tradeoff…know something now, right or wrong…to satisfy our insatiable thirst for more. Is more, more or less?

In spite of that, I’m hooked, an Internet infomaniac, who still believes in its power to enlighten and disseminate information when needed, even though it is harder and harder to distinguish illusion from reality and truth from lies in a McINFO world.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Rebana Ubi drum photo by Kasmadi Muhammad
Country well photo by Kriss Szkurlatowski

Saturday, April 10, 2010

“Take Care”…there’s an “app” for that.

There seems to be an app for just about everything these days from turning off the lights to checking x-rays on a smart phone.

I was thinking about how we use the simple phrase, “Take Care.” It is an all purpose expression with many apps and nuances in our culture.

We say it when we mean, “Be safe” to show our regard for someone’s journey, a modern day version of “God Speed.”

This is the Concern App for when friends and family get on the road or are on their way. We say “Take Care” as they depart.

Another way we apply “Take Care” is when we signal closure for those awkward times when there is nothing more to say.

It is over and there are no words left for breaking-up a relationship, except “Take Care.” This is the Goodbye App for endings.

We say “Take Care” as we leave someone at the hospital wishing recovery and good health even when we know that it may not be so.

It is another way to express our emotions, show compassion but leave much unsaid, for again there are no words, except a kind “Take Care.” This is the I Care App, but more than I can say.

There is also the breezy farewell of “Take Care.” This is the Casual App, just a brief and friendly “see ya” like Ciao.

“Take Care” gives us a versatile, functional app for many occasions ranging from the casual to the profound. It’s a simple phrase representing what is said and not said.

It’s short, sometimes sweet and sometimes sad, but it says it all when we need it.

Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2010 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED