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summer rhythm & mental clarity

My summer days tend to follow a different rhythm.  Morning swims.  Evening rides.  Abbreviated daytime trips to avoid the air that feels like being stuck in a convection oven, or avoiding the heat-induced thunderstorms.

Daytime hours have been filled with books, reading, and the other (often ignored) exercises in creativity.  While I miss long daytime rides, the wandering and exploring, I feel good about the time I’ve spent on these other things, the expanded productivity … all while waiting for cooler, dryer weather to return, and resuming my more rambling ways.

And – as evidenced by my lack of posts lately – I have enjoyed taking some time to unplug and disconnect.  I’ve been reading a fascinating book, Fast Media, Media Fast,  by Dr. Thomas Cooper, professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Boston.  It’s about making a conscious choice to disengage – to fast – from the barrage of always-on mass-media, the distractions of the e-world, and the devices that we are increasingly becoming dependent and even addicted to.

I appreciate that he does not take an “anti-” or negative approach; he does not want eliminate media any more than someone fasting from food wants to eliminate food.  Rather,  he wants to use the break – the diet or full-blown fast – to re-evaluate and examine how we approach and use media.  The goal behind the experience is to examine our thinking and opinion-forming process without the influence of 24-7 breaking news and 1,000 channels of cable television;  to take stock of our lives outside of e-mail, text messaging, twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube and blogging – and to physically experiencing the world directly rather than thru secondhand sources and without an electronic screen in front of us.   Which for me, would eliminate the use of  not only my television, radio, and iDevices but also my camera.  My bike stays.

While I have not yet started a full-blown fast, I have gone on some degree of a media diet, and plan to attempt a full, fasting, disconnection – if only for a week or two – within the next month.   I just want the experience, even briefly or temporarily.

I want to hear myself think again.  I want to re-evaluate the “ratio, quality, enjoyment and originality of what I ingest (as a consumer) versus what I express (as a creator)”.  I want to lose some “unneccessary mental weight”.  And I guess I want the challenge of finding “a Walden in my own mind.”  I want my daily off-bike routine to have more moments like those I experience while on my bike –  the direct experience, the mental clarity, the sensory balance, the perspective.

Wish me luck…

Posted by savaconta on July 27, 2012
6 Comments
  1. 07/27/2012
    Tim

    I was looking for a new book to read. Ironically I downloaded the Kindle version…LOL

    Stunning pictures as always…nice

  2. 07/27/2012

    absolutely gorgeous photos..beautiful place to be

  3. 07/28/2012
    Fresh from my desk...

    Beautiful photos. The first one with the bikes on the fence and the pic from the helm of the kickboard are fantastic! Totally agree with both you and Dr. Cooper about the need for some time unplugged. For tools that are meant to expand our ability to reach all corners of the earth and beyond it’s ironic that they are often what limit us to one small space and a narrow tunnel vision.

  4. 07/28/2012

    Wonderful pictures! I like the hummingbird and the butterfly most. And I wish you all the best for your “fast”. May I say “find yourself again”? – Not that I think you’ve “lost yourself”. But maybe you know what I mean.
    Take care, and safe bicycling,
    Pit

  5. 07/28/2012

    Beautiful post and your images are outstanding; the hummingbird is just stunning. Your post is so well timed for me; I am away for a week and wi-fi is limited; it’s a hard transition from the plugged in to the unplugged life…and I am afraid I didn’t do so well 🙂 Perhaps, I should purchae the paper version of the book!

  6. 08/6/2012

    Oh! I really love this blog!
    An avid bicyclist, I enjoy your bicycle photographs so much!
    But your photographs are so deep.
    They speak emotion to me.
    Not much does.
    Thank you. x x x

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