NOTE: I cross-posted this on my Salisbury High School blog.
On of my PA Discovery Educator Network friends, Jennifer Dorman, a.k.a. cliotech, is an avid blogger with a widgetized digital footprint. We are a part of each other’s social networks, and that is a very good thing for me because I always learn from her footprints. Usually my learning takes the form of acquiring a new Web 2.0 tool or tutorial, but often I learn things that were eluding me, like how to show I had a digital footprint (that’s next on my to do list when I have some time out). But her recent cross-post about connecting the right-brain creative accidents of Evan Williams (creator of Blogger, Twitter, Odeo, and his company Obvious Corporation to Discovery’s Webinar with Dan Pink and A Whole New Mind was an insightful connection. Interestingly, however, what lingered from her post was her first sentence admission that she had “unplugged” for several days.
I, too, unplugged for several wonderful days with my family, who traveled many miles to share the holidays. But unlike Jennifer–who returns with a wonderful technology post from her reading The Economist–cover to cover, I read Real Simple and Body + Soul, January-February 2008, selectively concentrating on whole living. ‘Tis the season for resolutions, and while RS focused on organizing the new year, B+S targeted living healthier in the new year. Similarities: undoubtedly, since both are Martha Stewart Omnimedia Inc. publications. In that way that sometimes I purchase something because “it speaks to me,” I subscribed to Body + Soul’s “10 Healthiest Resolutions,” embracing #4 about breathing deeply (hard copy p. 101) because it resonated for me the need to unplug to recharge (not really an oxymoron) to live richly, the goal of this month’s magazine, and what I suspect we all do when we unplug. The problem is that we just don’t unplug enough. It’s not about being off line, although sometimes that’s where I start. It’s really a lifestyle change. I think of how Viana LaPlace‘s unplugged kitchen returned me to the simple authentic joys of cooking. And how Jennifer’s simple unplugging–and that from a high-end, high tech achiever, allowed me to unplug without guilt and make time matter with those who really count: family and friends.
So, how will I achieve balance and simplify my life in the new year. It will, I suspect, connect to what I have come to think about abundance, one of Pink’s 3A’s. While Pink’s definition of abundance links to his theories of automation and Asia as reasons why people in the U.S. cannot compete at their current level of abstraction and logical thinking in the marketplace, Terri Trespicio offers a different reading of abundance. In “More Than Enough” (pp. 107-112, B+S), she asks how we achieve a better life without letting the quest consume you. Her answer: striking a balance between not enough and way too much. That’s my new year’s resolution: finding balance. Making room for the new and creating spaces for the old. Rediscovering center somewhere between too little and too much. And like everything else wonderful that happens through social networking, I have so many friends in the Discovery Educator Network who will keep me on course, educated, and timely.