Brainpickings

On my computer i have most of the time three open applications: Mail, Spotify and Firefox. In Firefox i usually have two main windows open.

The left

  • ellenpronk.com
  • wordpress backend of ellenpronk.com
  • google analytics of ellenpronk.com
  • soundcloud stats
  • youtube stats
  • tumblr dashboard
  • songs, an unlinked page on lfs.nl with lyrics of the songs i sing

The right

These windows say so many things about my daily occupations. About this website, about its statistics, about the songs i sing, about the social networks i follow, about a blog i really like, about my relaxation, the games i play.

I have written about Brainpickings before. I don’t read every post, no. But once or twice a week i go through the first page to see if there are any new posts. Usually Sunday and Wednesday.

Brain Pickings — which remains ad-free and supported by readers — is a cross-disciplinary LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces spanning art, science, psychology, design, philosophy, history, politics, anthropology, and more; pieces that enrich our mental pool of resources and empower combinatorial ideas that are stronger, smarter, richer, deeper and more impactful. Above all, it’s about how these different disciplines illuminate one another to glean some insight, directly or indirectly, into that grand question of how to live, and how to live well.

A post from 2013 writes about the start, unbeknownst of it future growth and expansion in Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living.

Please read the article. For the very hasty among you the following list:

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
  2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
  3. Be generous.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life.
  5. When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
  7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”

This weeks post is a gem. The Psychology of Time and the Paradox of How Impulsivity and Self-Control Mediate Our Capacity for Presence. I am thinking about myself and the changes in my thoughts, well, for my whole life basically. But things are developing with sound speed, these past 18 months. Before that i felt my life was getting to a slowdown, i felt depressed. Not severely, more like a bucket was over my head. I still remember thinking then, those 18 months ago, that finally the wind started to blow quietly with me, not against me. This does change my perception of the time around me. Sometimes i escape out of time, when i play a game, watch some television, read a book. And sometimes i’m inside time, like this afternoon, listening to all the sounds from the street, the cars, the birds, the neighbors, people walking by. I don’t think you should be in that experience the whole time. Earlier this evening, while watching Masterchef, i was thinking about tomorrow, what i will be doing then. In the morning i’ll be going to the Peace Garden. I’ll take my vegetables cuttings and other stuff for the compost heap with me. And a thermos with hot water, and coffee and sugar and cream. And tomorrow i will be doing my VAT for the first three months of this year.

Reading this article made me think of my own learning to wait, to postpone getting a reward. My own self-restraint. It makes me think about losing my virginity when i was 28 years old. It is not that i didn’t try before. It just didn’t work out. I felt i should have been able to go for it much younger, but it just never felt right.

I did use to drink a lot more when i was younger. But for a few years i’ve been diagnosed with diabetes 2. Since then i did loose around 7 kilos. I should loose more, i know. But i do drink a lot less alcohol. One, sometimes two bottles of wine a week. It takes me two, mostly three days to finish a bottle. Ten years ago i drank one bottle a day. Sometimes even two bottles in one evening. I am very happy that i managed to minimize to my current amount.

Time that is felt and lived, that is, a life rich in positive experiences, is made up of moments of fulfillment, often in the company of good friends or a beloved partner. Therefore, whether one lives out the moment or pursues gain over the long term is a matter of emotionally intelligent conduct and weighing decisions. Someone who is free and full of life does not always choose to delay gratification; rather, she or he is smart about when to seek enjoyment and when to wait.

There is also a collection of favorite reads.

On Being
Maria Popova — Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital World

Reading this content can be hard. I admit, i don’t always have the patience for it. My life at this moment is still a life of growth. The past year and a half i felt a difference almost every day. And yet sometimes when i read back an old post, of let’s say a year ago, it feels like i am the same person with the same questions, the same wants and the same needs. Even a post from nineteen years ago still feels like being from me. But yes, i do feel i am changing. Blossoming might be the right word.

Published on April 29, 2016 at 6:00 by

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