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There is only the trying

The Digital Calm
The Digital Calm
It’s 5:07 AM and I am settling into my first cup of coffee of the day. I’m in the mood for the good stuff this morning.
As I lay in the dark coming back into consciousness this morning, I was thinking about results. How addictive they can be. I know it’s the dopamine hit that comes from positive results that make them so addictive. By design, social media apps prey on this craving for dopamine. Our body’s natural high is weaponized against us turning us into fiends! Like the zombies on the Walking Dead, we relentlessly pursue the next dopamine hit. And we seemingly can never get enough. In fact, the more dopamine we consume, the more we crave. It’s a cycle that goes beyond vicious.
Practicing detachment (something I need to do more of) is our only salvation.
Anyway, how are you? How has your week been? Are you getting excited about the run-up to Christmas?
They turned the Christmas lights on in my town over the weekend and a handful of my neighbors have gotten into the Christmas Spirit having decorated their houses with lights, Santas, reindeer, and wreaths. Will you have the good fortune to spend time with family this year? Or are you celebrating alone, in good company with yourself? I hope that whatever you do, you get to spend some time decompressing from 2021. I haven’t had a break since the pandemic started 22 months ago. I’ve had the occasional four-day weekend, but that’s it! So I’m really looking forward to having an extended break in a couple of weeks.
The practice:
Physically, I’ve moved from the gym to being outside (haha, I know, just in time for the cold!). I need a break from pushing heavyweights. My joints could use the rest. I’m back to taking long walks in the morning. I love the feel of the cold crisp air. It’s electrifying mentally and spiritually.
Speaking of spiritually, I’m back into my Taoist practice. I have a tendency to wander off from time to time. I let busyness get in the way. Taoist practice is gentle. It brings the mind, body, and spirit into balance. But the Monkey Mind hates this of course and tries to convince me being still is wasting time - time I could use to do one of the million things I haven’t done yet.
Mentally, I’ve been sparring with my Monkey Mind a lot these past few months. It’s only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve managed to get him back under control. Relaxing into the Tao has helped. Yesterday, during my reading period, I came across the term: self-importance. I’m familiar with it as one of the power sinks Robert Spencer writes about in Craft of the Warrior. After my reading, I was curious about my own relationship to self-importance. Here’s what I had to say in an audio Tweet:
The Digital Calm
I never considered self-importance to be a thing for me, but... https://t.co/mkroVJT3jW
I’ve also been decluttering my mind. We hang onto a lot of stuff from our past. Some of it is meaningful. Some of it is useful. Some of it is pure trash. And ALL of it is in the past, and the past is gone. We must let the past be the past and let it go, so we have more mental capacity to be present. In this week’s podcast episode, I go a little deeper into the subject (but not too deep, I wouldn’t want to frighten you away from listening).
I think in the run-up to Christmas, I’m going to level up my detachment practice. It’s all too easy for a creative person to get attached to results. What writer doesn’t want to be read? What podcaster doesn’t want to be listened to? Results can have damaging consequences for a creative, especially in the early stages of a new project. It’s best to focus on the work and let the results take care of themselves. My favorite poet, T.S. Eliot said it best:
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.
And as the other sage, Steven Pressfield said: “Do the work!” That’s all that matters.
At this point in my journey, this newsletter, the podcast, and the blog are all that matter.
7 memorable moments:
  1. Remaining present requires constant conscious effort, floating in and out of past and future time seems to be the default mode human minds are set to even though we know to be present in the present is happiness
  2. Celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time in 18 years (and writing this sentence has just blown my mind realizing that 18 years of my life have passed. It’s almost too hard for me to handle the enormity of this realization of time
  3. Sipping perfectly blended French coffee while enjoying the calm of the sun slowly rising over my sleepy little town on a Sunday morning
  4. Recording one of my favorite sounds
  5. The first proper snowfall in Southam, especially taking in the view of the snow-covered fields on my morning walk.
  6. Meeting new people during a photoshoot I was running
  7. Being able to practice my very limited Romanian vocabulary
Recommendations:
Ask someone how they fell in love with the thing they do, then listen with the intent to understand.
If you’re curious about Taoism, this is a good read: The Tao of Daily Life, by Derek Lin
Why not treat yourself to a Digital Calm coffee/tea mug? You can order one from my new merch shop. There are also baseball caps, travel mugs, and protective masks.
Shoutouts:
Shoutout to spiritual seeker extraordinaire, Sarah Hunt who answered the call and shared the view from where she was reading last week’s letter. 💃🥳 🎉
There’s something magical about sharing a context for connection in this type of space. Don’t you think?
If you feel moved to share your view, I will post it here in the shout section, you can, if you want, remain anonymous. But it’s more fun to share openly.
Reading from the floor of my living room.
Reading from the floor of my living room.
May you forever feel the hunger of curiosity.
May you keep searching.
May you keep writing 😉
May we always be friends.
Thanks for the dedication. From another hungry searching soul.
Sarah xx s
One last thing before I go:
If you’ve made it this far, I am happy and grateful to have you on this journey with me. Please subscribe and share with other humans.
Peace and love,
Clay
Southam in the snow
Southam in the snow
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The Digital Calm
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The Digital Calm is a stream of consciousness audio experience of self-inquiry, reflection, exploration of the spiritual self, and nature.

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