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?


Flowing into the suck

I’m always meaning to write more on this blog. Folks who know me well say I ought to be a prolific writer and all that.

I used to think the same, but many times when I sit down to write, I’m empty inside.

There’s nothing to give.

I don’t know what it means, nor do I want to give it meaning so that I’d have to do something about it.

My life has always been about flow. Even when there’s no flow.

Flowing empty.

All I can do is embrace it rather than struggle against it.

It doesn’t make the discontent go away. Sitting with it, maybe.

Flowing into discontent.

Sounds like a zen thing, doesn’t it? Maybe it is.

I don’t know, nor do I feel the need to define that either.

Flow I’ll continue. Embrace the suck and the not.