Starting the day with a still mind

A friend said yesterday that she admired my discipline in writing every day. It's true that I have written a blog every day except Sunday since 14 November - my birthday - and posted it at and sent it as a TinyLetter email.

If I decide to do something, I do it. If I can. There will be times when I can't. Like in the coming days when I travel to Tasmania from Saturday until next Thursday to walk the Three Capes Track with members of my family and their friends. I will be out of my routine, dancing to a different, more communal, tune that probably won't include the space and the technology that makes daily writing as easy as sleeping and eating.

Morning writing
I woke up this morning with a slight headache. I thought about not writing, in the way that you think about not eating when you're not feeling well. But I opened my computer and started to write. I just did it.

I keep reassuring myself that I am not creating expectations of the quality of my daily writing. It is about what is on my mind, the stream of my consciousness. Regularity rather than the literary or intellectual merit.

Writing in this way is a centering and mind clearing exercise that takes its cue from the Morning Pages exercise that I was introduced to this year at a personal development workshop.

The person who created the Morning Pages prescribed three pages in longhand, and it wasn't designed as a piece of writing to be shared. Those aspects of the exercise are not relevant to me in the way that writing to start to day is.

It's a practice that I am making my own, to still the mind and collect and organise thoughts and present them as an offering to family and friends and anybody else who is interested, in the manner and form of a traditional blog.

My first Tiny Letter

I don't know how many Tiny Letters I will write. Perhaps only a handful. Or it may turn out to be something that lasts a long time. I've been retired for over a year now and it is starting to concern me that I am not doing any writing when writing and working on other people's writing was my job until a bit over a year ago. 

In a way, that's the way I want it. When I retired, I decided that I wanted to turn my life on its head and forget about sedentary activities for a while, and instead moving and exercising, for the sake of health and well-being, and change for the sake of change. 

So I've been using my Fitbit to reach my goal of 20,000 steps each day. Now I want to tweak that a little and do a tiny amount of writing each day, and perhaps let that morph into something that might strike a balance between self-indulgence and writing with a social purpose. I came across Tiny Letter in the New York Times at the weekend, so today I'm writing a Tiny Letter.  As I see it, it's a bit like The Morning Pages, but it's not private. 

I was introduced to that during a workshop I did earlier in the year, but it did not appeal to me because it was completely public, and I would like what I write to serve at least a tiny social purpose. So here it is. It's a little bit public, and potentially a lot public - or at least up to 5000 readers can sign up to the daily email. It's not my goal to be big, but to reach out beyond myself to anybody who is interested. 

It's significant that, in contrast to the thousands of email newsletters I published in my working life between 1994 and 2015, I don't care how many subscribers I have. It's a bit like, in retirement, I don't care how much money I earn. I'm off that treadmill and on another - quite literally, the treadmill in the gym. 

So what's on my mind today? It's my birthday. Normally it wouldn't be on my mind, but when I went to do a Google search, I noticed that 'Big Brother' Google knows it's my birthday and wants to rub it in that it knows it's my birthday. I don't especially like that, but it's a fact of life. I could write a lot about that, but I won't, for now. A few months ago I decided that I wanted to reduce the role of Google in my life and wanted to switch my email to Fastmail, a very robust Australian service with values that are much closer to my own. In theory 

I could have done that quite easily and kept the same email address, as I have a paid Google account that uses an email address from my own domain. But Google wouldn't let me do that without also losing all my other Google services including all the Android mobile phone apps that I had paid for over the years. So I am learning to accommodate Google in my life in much the same way that the world is having to learn to accommodate Donald Trump in their lives. 

I have a view about that which I will just touch on. It is that Donald Trump's election is not something that freedom and democracy lovers should protest against. If it could be demonstrated that the election was rigged, that would be another matter. But democracy has done its job and revealed that something is broken with the system. We might not like what it produced, but the way to react is not to slap down Trump and the 'deplorables' that voted for him, but to reach out to them in some way or another. Working out exactly how to do that is the challenge for those of us who wish that Trump was not the president elect. Protest is very much consistent with democratic principles, but protest against democracy is not.