Chris Remus' Personal Blog

My free-form, unfiltered and unorganized space to reflect and explore.

Don't stop asking questions. It's the only way to continue learning.

Don't stop answering questions. It's the only way to help others continue learning.

Encourage others to ask questions. Don't criticize them for doing so, assuming, usually incorrectly, that you know exactly why they are asking the question in the first place.

Remember, none of us have it all figured out. In fact, we have a lot less figured out than we think we do.

Those that present themselves as having it all figured out don't have it all figured out either. In fact, they probably have less figured out than those who are aware that they don't have it all figured out.

This is because the former are less likely to continue learning well, because they're too busy posturing about their own invincible knowledge and/or criticizing those who don't posture this way. The latter are more likely to continue learning well, as they don't let insecurity suffocate their desire to learn.

Asking questions, admitting that we don't know what we don't know, is a strength. It's not a weakness as society, particularly those insecure in their own knowledge, would have us believe.

So keep asking and answering questions. Keep learning and helping others do the same.

The virus is forcing humanity to make uncomfortable changes. This has me thinking about the shock magnitude required to initiate and make lasting change.

The magnitude feels directly proportional to the discomfort the change requires. The consequence of not making the required change has to feel scarier than the discomfort caused by initiating and making the change itself, in order for the change to be installed.

Part of me wonders if the virus is the universe's (or whatever word you use to refer to our collective human existence) indicator that humanity needs a big-time shift in our way of being.

Might it be a reminder to reset our values and restructure our collective being around those values that we've lost along the way, e.g. in the relentless pursuit of capitalism?

Each new communication tool humans create, e.g. telegram, phone, fax, email and chat make communication more efficient and convenient.

Each has also resulted in us doing more, not less, work.

This is caused by our incessant need to constantly do more, faster.

It's the intent behind using the tool that creates the result of using the tool itself.

What if, rather than doing more, we used them to free-up time for restorative activities, allowing us to recharge our energy and attention supplies?

I used to buy into the startup culture BS about sleep being a weakness, unnecessary and for people who weren't strong enough to operate at max “hustle” (another damaging concept) to succeed.

I feel grateful to have relearned the importance of sleep. Just Rolling with It has helped me do that. I sleep about 7.5-8 hours/night now.

This has also helped me become aware of feeling tired and/or fatigued. Since I'm not always in a tired and fatigued state, I can recognize when I am.

I've been feeling fatigued the past week or so. A windy 60 mile bike ride Saturday really did me in. I felt unsynchonized during the ride, exhausted after it, through Sunday and even a bit when I woke this morning.

Paradoxically, the more tired I feel, the harder I find it is to slow down. I see this in our young son too. It's a common understanding among parents of young children.

I've learned it's important for me to slow down, rather than continue accelerating at times like this. It's with this awareness I start the week.

My father-in-law gave me The Book of Joy for the holidays. I dove right into the book and experience it as uplifting, enlightening and refreshing. I'm making a point to read or listen to a bit of it daily.

It seems to complement my Buddhist studies nicely, from a practical and grounding perspective. It also got me thinking about Sharon Salzberg again. She said that when researching her book, [Real Happiness] expected to discover that most people didn't consider themselves happy.

Her research confirmed this. Yet what surprised her more was that most people didn't feel like they DESERVE to be happy. I was one of them back then. I feel grateful to have shifted that perspective over the past 4-5 years.

One of my struggles is making time for creative activity. For me, this comes in the form of writing, sketching and photography. I'm setting an intention to do more of this in 2020. Going to more art museums is included in the intention too.

Writing I do here and in other blogs, like Just Rolling with It. Photography goes on VSCO. Sketching is a work in progress and goes in physical notebooks.

Like most things I do, trying to get these activities “just right” blocks me from doing them. These expectations get in the way. Here's to hoping that documenting this awareness helps break the ice and build consistency.

I've started an accountability group with an artist friend of mine. He's learning to code and become more structured. I'm looking to create and become less structured. We hope to help each other in our respective ways, while having fun along the way!

Living in a city means space is limited. Life feels like Tetris sometimes, trying to maximize every bit of apartment space.

It makes me aware of an accumulation and reduction cycle. Even though I feel like I try to minimize consumption, accumulation still happens. Then the reduction cycle kicks-in.

How much of this stuff do I really need? I ask myself this continuously.

I think the goal is to minimize what needs to be reduced. Yet as humans change, needs or perceived needs change. So it feels like this process will never be 100% efficient. Then again, what is?

Do you ever experience complete mental gridlock? I do.

Sometimes it feels mild, at other times intense. My body feels tense when this happens too.

I've rediscovered the inseparable power of the mind/body connection. So I don't feel surprised any longer when experiencing the physical tension.

I've learned over time the best thing to do at these times is to slow down. The mental gridlock and physicsl tension is my being's way of saying STOP.

Yet I still have difficulty stopping. This morning felt difficult as a result. Yet I finally did stop and I feel the gridlock loosening.

As I write, the expectations follow. I started this blog with no expectations. I find myself hesitating to write, now that I've been doing it for a while.

I start thinking about whether the chosen topic is consistent with past topics. I get caught in thinking posts have to be a certain length. And it goes on...

I'm writing this post to begin breaking these expectations. That's why I'll end it now, feeling incomplete.

I've been doing most of my free form writing in this blog lately. Before this, I'd been using a small physical journal.

The journal was private. This blog isn't.

I've been thinking of the trade-offs. This blog allows me to continue getting comfortable putting myself out there, being open, vulnerable and available for connection.

Yet there are some things that I feel are best kept private. Maybe they feel too painful or sensitive to share. I'm also trying to be conscious of over-sharing. Brene Brown's over-sharing definition resonates with me.

So maybe the answer is to start writing both here and in the physical journal again. In addition to being a private place to reflect on anything, I experience the physical act of putting pen to paper as a grounding activity.