Sharon Salzberg Talks About Real Love

My blog frequently discusses attention and also embodiment.  And these themes play an important role in Sharon Salzberg’s newest book, Real Love.  I found this to be a particularly lovely and comforting read, filled with stories and sweet practices. 1.  What prompted you to write a book on love?  In your wildest dreams, what impactContinue reading “Sharon Salzberg Talks About Real Love”

We’ve Got Rhythm

At the Near Future Summit 2017, I organized and moderated a capsule on Cycles and Rhythms.  After years of studying the psychophysiology of our relationship to technology (how our attention, emotions, and physiology (breathing, etc.) are impacted by the way we use technology today), I realized that, at a deeper level, this all relates toContinue reading “We’ve Got Rhythm”

Thinking about Metrics

Our lust for analytics sometimes divorces us from our humanity. We have “superpowers” that are  mysterious and challenging to quantify, and, that are at the heart of who we are as human beings. Only with mutual respect for both the metrics and the mysteries will we thrive as a species. This is all top ofContinue reading “Thinking about Metrics”

The Genius of Attention: Making Peace with Bossy Mind

I am at the airport, in conversation with a man who is deaf. He is speaking, and I’m struggling to understand his speech. I’m distracted. My flight will board soon, and I’ve injured my knee, so I’ll need extra time to board and don’t want to miss the announcement. He is telling me that heContinue reading “The Genius of Attention: Making Peace with Bossy Mind”

A Discussion of Essential Self Technologies

Essential Self technologies rely on SENSORY input to connect us with our essential nature through the sensing and feeling self. These technologies are often passive, ambient, and non-invasive. They involve the use of light, vibration, sound, music, and temperature to support us in discovering and sustaining flow-like states and contributing to a sense of embodiment.

Cute Cats Redux

Ethan Zuckerman, who is wise, kind, and brilliant, posits that people have a preference for using the Internet for banal activities, like surfing for “cute cats.”  It seems true that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like, are, indeed, rife with cute cats.  I’m beginning to believe there is a deep explanation for that.  I’mContinue reading “Cute Cats Redux”

What Part of You is Free?

This post was written several years ago.  I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments… From January 2010 I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen.  I’m right-handed.  I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there. Continue reading “What Part of You is Free?”

Falling in Love (How To)

A few years ago, in a conversation with a friend, I caught myself paying more attention to another, nearby conversation. Realizing I was missing the moment to connect with this friend, I created a “game” for myself to counteract the distraction. Now, as much as possible, when I make a choice to be in conversationContinue reading “Falling in Love (How To)”

Our Powerful and Fragile Attention

What if I told you that the way we are talking about attention is part of the problem today? Our conversation about distraction, multi-tasking, and the stern command to focus actually creates a level of stress, anxiety, and shame. Headlines read: Dangers of Digital Distraction! Taming the Distraction Monster! Time to Unplug! This conversation stressesContinue reading “Our Powerful and Fragile Attention”

The Time We Have (in Jelly Beans) My friend’s 16 year old son stopped playing video games. Cold turkey. From hours a day in front of the screen one day to those same hours spent with friends ever after. “Why did you stop?” his mother asked. “Jelly Beans. My life in jelly beans.” Thanks to Ze Frank for creating this powerfulContinue reading “The Time We Have (in Jelly Beans)”

Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation

I started hosting dinner parties when I was 12.  I enjoyed cooking and especially loved great conversation.  Over the years, I started to notice that even with fourteen fascinating people at the table, sometimes the conversation was like fireworks and sometimes it fell flat. I wanted to figure out an algorithm for dinner party seating.Continue reading “Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation”

Aspen Ideas Festival: “Information Overload”

Can we be productive in a world full of constant updates? Will we adapt or will we burn out? Linda Stone and William Powers at AIF 2011

The Essential Self: Health Beyond the Numbers

“What are you tracking?” This is the conversation at Quantified Self (QS) meetups. The Quantified Self movement celebrates “self-knowledge through numbers.” In our current love affair with QS, we tend to focus on data and the mind. Technology helps manage and mediate that relationship. The body is in there somewhere, too, as a sort of “slave”Continue reading “The Essential Self: Health Beyond the Numbers”

From the Atlantic: Interview with James Fallows

Jim Fallows asked me to talk with him about the future of attention.  I wanted to share the links for the short version that appeared in the magazine, and the longer version that appeared online. The short version, followed by a link: From the time we’re born, we’re learning and modeling a variety of attentionContinue reading “From the Atlantic: Interview with James Fallows”

A More Resilient Species

Play researchers’ findings indicate that self-directed play, for both children and adults, nourishes the human spirit and helps develop resilience, independence, and resourcefulness. Yet, our desire to be efficient and productive, and our tendency to over-schedule and over-program, has crowded out opportunities for self-directed play in our education system and in our lives at home.Continue reading “A More Resilient Species”

Conscious Computing

Our focus has been on technologies as prosthetics for the mind, and human-as-machine style productivity. This has led to burn-out, poor health, poor sleep, and what I call email apnea or screen apnea. We wonder where our attention has gone. Turns out, it’s right where we left it — with our ability to breathe fully. What if technology became a prosthetic for our beings?

Quantified Self: Can We Measure What Really Matters?

Chris Anderson’s April 7, Google+ post describes the quantified self lifestyle: Philips DirectLife, Nike Fuelband, Polar FA20 Activity monitor watch, a Withings scale, a Zeo, and Runkeeer on the iPhone. Chris’ wife has a FitBit, Zeo, and Runkeeper.   The kids wear Zamzees.  To say that movement is tracked is an understatement. But where doesContinue reading “Quantified Self: Can We Measure What Really Matters?”

A Badass Musician & a Sixth Degree Aikido Black Belt Advise on Email Apnea

Watching Cameron Carpenter play the organ is a transcendant experience. It’s as if he’s “lit.” The organ just sits there, and Carpenter’s body exudes a powerful energy. Most of us, when we interact with digital technologies, “merge” our energies with the device, exhausting ourselves. Experienced musicians don’t do this. In the evolution of our relationship with digital devices, we have a lot to learn from experienced musicians.

Point of View is Worth 80 IQ Points

“Point of view is worth 80 IQ points,” is a constant guiding consideration for me. It comes to mind when I convene groups or organize advisory boards for companies: Is there a diverse mix of thinkers, personalities, and expertise represented? It’s on my mind when I organize dinner parties. In the years I spent working at Apple and Microsoft, it was on my mind when I made hiring decisions and assembled teams to work on any type of project.

Suspending Disbelief

Everything we know, our strongly held beliefs, and, in some cases, even what we consider to be “factual,” creates the lens through which we see and experience the world, and can contribute to a critical, reactive orientation. This can serve us well: Fire is hot; it can burn if touched. It can also compromise our ability to observe and to think in an expansive, generative way.