swimming in data, drowning in wisdom

i was just watching a video from the Digital-Life-Design(DLD) conference that was in Munich, Germany in january. the video was a talk between Arianna Huffington and Paulo Coelho, called On Mindfulness.

it was about a half hour in which they discussed Arianna Huffington’s new book and the effects of living in this world of constant movement. to me, it sounded like they were talking a lot about regret, or rather warning against it: regret of missing out on the beauty of life, regret of getting lost in routine, ¬†and most importantly, the regret of losing sight of one’s values.

Paulo Coelho seemed particularly insistent on this last one, but i think losing sight of one’s values is the result of the former two. what i see happening to myself and to many others around me is the idea of getting lost in a routine, being caught in the never ending cycle of to-do lists without really paying attention to what is being done around me. it’s too easy to lose myself in whatever i have to do that day and ignore what i need to do for myself. it’s too easy to keep going, and harder to stop to take a look around.

this is when values are jeopardized, when one doesn’t stop to check in and realign their actions with their intentions.

i write this in fear of sounding like a broken record, but i say it mostly as a reminder to myself. i’m full of regret if we’re looking at the way Paulo described. i’m absolutely guilty of getting lost in my daily work, getting absorbed by what is due, what i need to get done. but as a student, by definition, there’s almost no getting out of that. so how do i work inside of it? how do we as a wider community incorporate Paulo’s warning into daily life and bring value back into our daily interactions?

each person has to ask themselves these questions to get to their own sense of the truth. for me, it means just taking everything task by task. i love to let myself dive into projects, i wouldn’t be myself if i didn’t. but once i finish something, i take a step back and see what i’ve done. where do i want to go? what can i do? how am i a part of something larger that effects not only myself? it’s a play between thinking about what i am doing, what makes me happy, and what i want to be doing. when i get these answers right, that’s when my values sync with my actions and i’m off and running.

Paulo Coelho and Arianna Huffington referenced meditation quite a bit in their talk. since october, meditation has quickly moved to the center of my life. i meditate at least once a day, and every other day if things get crazy. it brings me back and allows me to create a space to step away and reorient myself. for me, meditation a chance to reset. if you’re looking for something to help you reset, try it. no harm, no fowl.