Short musings on taking an extended break from the computer

Recently I took an extended break from all things computers (w/limited smart phone usage) and I was surprised at noticible changes within and “outin.”

Here’s my musings:

  • I feel physically better and not drained as I tend to feel from being on the computer.

  • Less tension. My breathing pattern has changed to a more relaxing pace. I didn’t realize being on the computer tenses me up.

  • My focus isn’t as burned out and I have less headaches and remarkably sharper vision.

  • My thoughts are calmer and I feel more grounded.

  • I have more energy.

  • Dreams are more vivid and memorable.

  • I feel more connected to earth, nature, and spirit.

  • As a result I feel more alive and aware.

  • It’s easier to meditate and go deeper.

  • When writing on pen and paper, my thoughts slow down and crystalize.

  • More ideas flow forth and I’m motivated to write.

  • When on the computer, an intense focus mechanism triggers whereas writing on paper is different in the focus is there but it is less intense and of wider spectrum.

  • The more I write by hand, the clearer my handwriting becomes as old muscle memory is resurrected.

  • I now carry a small pocket note book w/pen around for dumping of thoughts, ideas, to-dos, etc. on demand instead of using the phone.

  • A larger notepad serves well for longhand writing pieces. More space = less cramped for free flowing writing and by sticking to a larger notepad for longer pieces I’m programming my mind to see it that way while the pocketbook is for quick dumping.

  • Choose the right kind of paper and pen that makes it a joy to write.

  • My RSS feeds and newsletters piled up but browsing through them I realize I’m not really missing out on anything. Due to the cyclical nature of things, the interesting stuff will show up again anyway. I ended up clearing them all out and I’m still alive. ; )

  • It’s also an opportunity to cull feeds and newsletters I find myself skipping (Note to self: Set a quarterly “culling” reminder.)

  • It’s hard to explain but going analog via fountain pen & paper seems to connect me more to humanity and our ancestors, as if ancient neurons are brought back to life.

  • There is a subtle shift in interacting with fellow humans. They come across not as faded — more real. Their colors, flavors, and nuances are more vivid. I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me, “Where have you been all along?” (This metaverse thing might not be such a great idea given how it seems to more physically disconnect us…)


  • When I got back on the computer I felt this sense of dread in my body, as if “here we go again.”

  • I’m going to honor that and permanently reduce my computer/phone usage by going as analog as possible.

  • After all, our ancestors managed without somehow all this time, yea?

  • I hired someone to transcribe my notes into computer text. I ended up nixing the experiment because it was like sending my words off to the laundry and they get whitewashed of their personality. I’d rather continue to roll in the dirt and tangle in the smells of my words as I transcribe ’em myself.

  • Now I’m starting to write everything (long and short hand) down on paper first to stay connected this way.

  • I’ve fallen in love with writing again — it’s a wondrous thing to feel ink flowing out of my hands in a poetic dance with mind and paper.

  • This blog post was written on pen and paper.


“How can you build a future if you keep having to rebuild the past?”

Poignant quote from “Little Fish” movie that’s very relevant in these times.


Scars of Bear Canyon

The photo above shows remnants of the infamous Little Bear fire near Bonito Lake in Bear Canyon in New Mexico. The fire was back in 2012, this was taken in 2017 as I passed through looking for a camping spot.

I had no idea this happened so it was astonishing to drive in and see utter devastation everywhere. The lake was filled with fallen & burnt trees and the closed (South Fork) campground mirrored apocalypse.

I later learned the fire destroyed over two hundred buildings over 44,000 acres of land. Scary and we seem to be seeing more of this these days.

The good news is the area has come back to life with new growth and the campground re-opened not too long ago. I hope to visit again soon.


Short musings on Digital Gardens

I’ve been going on a learning spree about digital gardening lately…

Not familiar with digital gardens? Pop over here and there for a few explainers along with functioning examples out in the wild.

Here’s my thought process as they pertain to my needs/desires (which can be completely different from yours so I encourage you to make your own conclusions).

  • The geek in me wants to have a digital garden with rows and rows of notes and ideas. Oh my!

  • It’s a human tendency to want to compartmentalize, to put things and words and thoughts and data into nice neat little boxes on shelves.

  • But can digital baggage become a psychic burden?

  • I keep coming back to old notes and finding them stale, no longer relevant.

  • So would I be accumulating words and data just for the “doing” of it? 

  • When transitioning from house living to nomadic wandering, it meant shifting to an ultra-minimalist lifestyle because my tiny camper can only hold so many things. It forced me to get rid of everything and change the way I live.

  • Adapting to that life was surprisingly easily after a bit of time acclimating to it and I can’t imagine living beyond the means of my camper.

  • When staying in one place for unusually long periods of time (such as a couple years of recovery time from Lyme disease) I start to accumulate stuff again.

  • The difference this time around is awareness. I consciously feel the burden of these extra things and my constant instinct is to get rid of them as soon as I can. “Stay light!”

  • Being light of stuff brings lightness to spirit. It is freeing to be free of the burden of physical accumulations.

  • I’d imagine the same for data — it may not be physical but it can be an intangible/accumulative burden over time.

  • As much as I love the idea of having and tending to a digital garden, my wandering soul refuses it (and says my garden would wither!). It wants to be free in all ways, including data. Haw! Can’t explain it in any other way…

  • I have learned living the wandering life that change is constant — the environment and my “home” is always changing as well as my needs and wants depending on where I am.

  • Change also means maybe one day I’ll settle again into data accumulation for good cause?

  • While having a digital garden isn’t in the cards now for me, I enjoy browsing through others and see their value.

  • Thinking about growing a garden? Tips I’ve gleaned:
    • Bend the garden to you, not you to it. It exists to serve you. 
    • Do it for you and not other people.
    • There’s no right or wrong way to garden — build or utilize what works best for you with the least amount of friction in cultivating it.
    • It can be a blog, a wiki, a card index, software or all of it. Whatever works for you.

Here’s a few favorites:

Have any thoughts or resources & cool gardens to share? Do chime in.


P.S. I do like the idea of saving individual memory snippets (as custom post types) and filing them as a living journal of sorts on my blog with bidirectional linking to relevant notes & photos. See here and scroll down a bit for an example. I suppose that could be a form of digital gardening-lite?


No gas, no groceries

Passed this on my way into Pie Town to …take a wild guess… sample one of their world famous pies back in 2017.

Blueberry and yes, it was quite good (but the absolute best was out in Nova Scotia… If only I could remember the name of the place, sigh).

Nearby is the Water Canyon campground nestled up in the Magdalena Mountains. Easy to get to yet remote with a rather treacherous hairpin curve tossed in just before you get to camp. Barely made it with my camper but it was so worth it.

I was the only one there, which is just how I like it.

A bit further down is the Datil Wells campground (on BLM land) and it was very nice with a beautiful, winding trail through the mountain above.


The last embrace of my grandparents

I saw them in the hospital.

There they were in a dark ICU room lit by the glow of electronics, beds rammed together by nurses.

Their arms crossed the void. Grandma’s hands wrapped tightly around grandpa’s arm and he clenching hers in a forever embrace.

It was a simultaneous act of love and desperation.

Image seared into memory, it was the last time I saw them together.

So strange their health would fail at the same time for different reasons… Or maybe they just couldn’t bear to be without their dearly beloved so one followed the other not just in health but also in sickness.

More than a half century of a marriage of true love will do that.

They plunged into deep comas, the prognosis grim.

Grandpa somehow came back for a brief shining moment and asked about her. He succumbed a few days later.

Grandma emerged a week after only to find her forever love gone, passed on. Devastation ensued.

Somehow she healed enough to make it back home. But she was never the same and said so:

“I have this big hole in my heart.”

She died less than a year later, heart and lungs black with cancer.