“I do not pretend to understand his music. I doubt if anyone, including those playing it, really understands it… I feel this music, or rather, as I said, it opens up a part of my self that normally is tightly closed, and seldom recognized feelings, emotions, thoughts well up from the opened door and sear my consciousness.”
Don DeMichael

Coltrane - The Story of a Sound

Glimpses 08 – November 2009

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towards the end of the year-long hunch program, numerous sessions were dedicated to site-specific work. one of the sites we visited was dizengof center –  a large and established shopping center in the heart of tel-aviv. i remember worrying about getting my photography equipment in – many places in israel give you a hard time because of an unhealthy mix of security and privacy paranoia. i was relieved when i went through smoothly by parking in the underground garage, instead of walking through one of the main entrances.

i wasn’t really happy about this location. i am not a big fan of shopping malls, especially big and busy ones like this one. we gathered on one of the top floors and i recall shahar inviting us to look out and down at the space. at first I saw the noise i expected to see, but then, rather quickly, i felt as if all of my senses were softening and  coming slightly out of focus – and the noise became peaceful. the place became a single living & sensible organism – and i was inside it, no longer an outside observer. my body became soft & relaxed and my anxiety and opposition faded.

shahar spoke about a place having its own resonance and how we can relate to this resonance. we can resonate with the place and become a part of it and we can resonate in another frequency and stand out – we can appear and disappear at will. it sounds magical and it is. the group split into smaller groups of two or three people and went to explore and work in the space. i traveled the vast space – sometimes visiting shortly with a group and other times joining and working for a longer period of time with others. on numerous occasions i recall looking around and wondering how can people ignore some of the weird and crazy stuff that we were doing. people were walking past us as if we weren’t there. magic.

for me the main event took place around these stairs. ilay and yael were grazing the space and tamar was tagging along with them. i spotted ilay walking on these stairs from a distance and i ran to a vantage point on the opposite side just in time to meet this image.

00107016

then an amazing story began to unfold with tamar. i am not inclined yet to write about it – i still feel it is a very intimate story, more hers then mine. maybe i’ll ask her permission to write about it. this image of fear, yearning, craving, surrender and friendship is a beginning of that story – at the end of which tamar commanded the attention of people as far as two floors above us.

00107024

Posted in Glimpses, Images, Photography | You are welcome to add your comment

The Sky Today

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This is what the sky looks like right now!

skytoday

This is what it looked like during the last storm

skybefore

and this is my chest

mychest

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Jimmy Thing – Dave Mathews Band Central Park

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OK… another Dave Mathews Band post… this is from the Central Park concert – one of the more neighbor-abusive concert DVD’s I have – I simply can’t listen to it in a decent volume. See how they carry on for 15+ minutes (in two parts) … and how it evolves – watch it to the end and see Dave Mathews explode on stage… trust me watch it 🙂 Enjoy!

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Life Extension with Yoga

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When we are relaxed our breathing is slower – each breath is long and relaxed. When we are stressed, anxious, worried, fearful our breathing is faster – each breath is short and sharp. This is common knowledge. Consider this:

  • An average adult person breathes 16-20 breaths per minute – each breath is 3-4 seconds long.
  • With just a few yoga lessons most people can easily bring that  down to 8-10 breaths per minute – each breath is 6-8 seconds long.
  • With consistent practice (weekly lessons) many people can bring that even further down to 4-6 breaths per minute – each breath 10-15 seconds long.
  • With a personalized and consistent practice (~daily) practitioners can bring it down further to 2-3 breaths per minute – each breath 20-30 seconds.
  • Given time (years of practice) that number goes down to 1-1.5 breaths a minute – each breath 40-60 seconds.
  • … and this goes on

Now consider this:

“As per the traditional view, all human beings are endowed with a constant number of breaths. This is equivalent to living for one hundred years at the rate of fifteen breaths per minute. The total number of breaths per day is 21600. If one breathers more than 21600 times a day, his life span will obviously be lowered.

We all know that breathing becomes faster, when one is unwell or disturbed. This shows the importance of Yoga practice in regulating the breath and thus prolonging the life span.”
(Krishnamacharya commentary  from “Nathamuni’s Yoga Rahasya” 1.35)

Assuming this is true, we are, as a species, under-performing. Krishnamacharya lived to 101 years old. My teacher tells a story that on Krishnamacharya’s 100th birthday he was asked to say something – so he uttered “Om” for one full minute (that would be a 60 second exhale). When asked how he managed to do it he replied that when he was 60 years old he could do 5 minutes.

Posted in Breath, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Know Your Pulse

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“the pulse rate reflects whether  a person is calm or has mental illness. A pulse rate ranging from 65 to 72 represents a calm mind. A pulse rate of more than 72 implies physical illness. If the pulse rate is more than 90, then the person has a combination of physical and mental illness”
(Krishnamacharya commentary on Visnu Purana 6.5.6
from “Nathamuni’s Yoga Rahasya“)

Your pulse (the number of time your heart beats in a minute) will provide you an additional perspective on the state of your body & energy. It is useful to familiarize yourself with it. To do this you will need to take it at regular times and similar circumstances (such as first thing in the morning, before lunch, etc.). In addition to counting your pulse, you may discover changes in its quality – it can be throbbing, gentle sharp, soft, steady, erratic,etc. This will give you a general reference point.

Then, there are numerous points  in a Yoga practice in which you may want to measure your pulse:

  • At the beginning of a practice.
  • At the end of a practice.
  • At a mid-point of your practice.
  • After an intense sequence in your practice – before & after resting.

You may find that exercises that challenge your breath cause your pulse to rise, after which a short rest should bring it back down.  Generally, your pulse at the end of a well-balanced practice should be equal to or less then your pulse at the beginning. You may want to make a list or a chart to write down your findings – so that you can observe change over time.

How to feel your pulse:

  • Find a comfortable seated position where you can relax your arms.
  • Turn one palm facing up.
  • Use the index and middle finger of the other hand to feel the pulse.
  • Trace the fingers along a path from your thumb – following the bone structure towards your wrist – until you reach a soft area into which your fingers can sink deeper.
  • Use the tips of your finger (just before the fingernails) to feel your pulse.
  • If you can’t find it you can apply more pressure, and then when you find it, release to a more gentle touch.

Practice finding your pulse. You should be able to find it quickly and without applying too much pressure (which may affect the pulse itself and give you an imprecise measurement).

To measure your pulse you will need a clock or timer that clearly shows seconds:

  • Place your fingers in place and find your pulse.
  • Look at the watch/timer and choose a round starting point to count.
  • Count the beats of your pulse for 20 seconds.
  • Multiply that number by 3 (to get the number of beats in a minute).

I find that taking the pulse can be both informative and meditative.

Posted in Anatomy, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-08

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  • Ubuntu 9.10 finished downloading … now installing. #
  • "it's not that we're scared, it's just that it's delicate" ♫ http://blip.fm/~fpm7v #
  • there really is good in everything, but sometimes it's very well hidden #
  • contents of a yoga practice can change to match tendencies and needs in phases of life: http://bit.ly/2eWu0o #
  • RT brilliant @SirKenRobinson: Ricky Gervais probably is a genius, as he says himself. This is very funny:http://twurl.nl/aucihz #
  • tea anyone? #
  • great song for a winter-day 🙂 ♫ http://blip.fm/~fqzlq #
  • Intent, Breath, Motion: http://twurl.nl/p8ydpa #yoga #asana #
  • OK… this is what I've been thinking about my eggs: http://bit.ly/rKC12 #
  • גלגלו לתחתית המסך וראו תמונה "טרנר מימין וימין משמאל" http://twurl.nl/qsu7f6 ענק #
  • liquids left over from cooking lentils – great as soup or even better for cooking rice! #
  • turned on the heating for the first time tonight #
  • What is there now? http://bit.ly/1td2LJ #
  • our order of wood for the winter arrived yesterday http://twurl.nl/t7xmj6 #
  • @ronenk קודם העץ… ואז נראה… וזו חתולה 🙂 איזו יפה אההה? in reply to ronenk #
  • "What is wrong with me?" If u r asking – then the answer is "nothing", if you r not – then the answer is "something" #
  • my "low down" reflection, to date, on the first chapter of the Yoga Sutra: http://bit.ly/2lFgg6 #
  • the fruits of not pushing and the consequences of not paying attention: http://bit.ly/1At8KF #

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Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

The Morning After

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The morning after I decided not to push myself began with a special quality of practice. Seated postures (forward bends) had a long and soft quality which I usually manage only in evening practices; so was the Pranayama – I was able to practice a soft and refined Nadi Sodhana (which is usually not available to me in the morning). It led into a morning with a pleasant pace. I, again, witnessed, how doing less can sometimes be more.

Then some surprise physical work came my way. I enjoyed the work greatly but I lost track of time and I failed to eat and drink properly. By the time I realized this it was too late. I spent the remainder of the evening with a painful headache and bad digestion. I had to force myself to eat and drink to quiet and replenish my energy, against the wishes of my digestion. I woke up the next morning feeling better but close to the edge. I spent the next day mostly cooking and eating, barely able to focus on anything else. It took until the next morning (a total of 36 hours) to bring my system back to health.

“Living in this hut, free of all anxieties,
one should earnestly practice Yoga as taught by one’s guru”
(Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.14 – translation by Brian Akers)

These past few days reminded me about a subtle, often overlooked, aspect of the relationship between Yoga and everyday life. People today often come to Yoga for relaxation, for relief from the stresses of life. But originally it was the other way around – a prerequisite for Yoga practice was a life free of anxieties. I spent 36 hours rejuvenating my system to a point where I could effectively practice again.

This  also sheds light on the ideas of practice “on-the-mat” and “off-the-mat”. Usually I touch on this subject in asking how on-the-mat practice can reach out and extend off-the-mat. Here it is encountered the other way around: how can off-the-mat practice effect on-the-mat practice. My relationship with Yoga (as I think is the case with most people) started on-the-mat. I now believe that beyond  a certain point, a practice on-the-mat cannot continue to evolve unless it resonates off-the-mat as well. At one point you will have to make changes in your life, to create conditions for your on-the-mat practice to continue evolving.

Posted in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life, Yoga Texts | You are welcome to add your comment

Low Down Yoga Sutra – Chapter1: Clarity

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What is Yoga?

  1. Now begins the teaching of how everything comes together
  2. It’s all about the ability to focus steadily on one thing without any distractions
  3. Then that thing appears for what it truly is
  4. Instead of what you want to make it out to be

Activities of the Mind

  1. There are five activities through which you relate to the world around you – each can support or obstruct you
  2. They are:
    • correct understanding (based on what is before you)
    • misunderstanding (based on what you think is before you)
    • imagination (based on what you think with little regard to what is actually there),
    • deep (dreamless) sleep
    • memory (recalling what was once before you)
  3. Correct understanding is based on:
    • what the senses report directly  to you
    • mental processes which you use to make sense of what the senses report
    • what other (trustworthy) people (sources) tell you

    Where you get your understanding is up to you – there are times when direct experience is best and there are times when asking or pausing to think are better.

  4. Misunderstanding is a temporary understanding that expires when it is replaced by a better understanding. You can live your entire life in a satisfying misunderstanding or you can stay open to new experiences in which cases misunderstanding may be a seed that grows into learning.
  5. Imagination is a mental process that sprouts from understanding and goes beyond it – it can stay imaginary and it can evolve into correct understanding – associated with reality. Imagination is a seed from which both  insanity and creativity can grow.
  6. Deep sleep is  a heaviness that overcomes the mind and brings it to rest. Heaviness is great when it helps you to sleep, it can be irritating when you are trying to focus.
  7. Memory is an impression left by experience – ideally it is a clear and true impression, but often it’s not. Memory is tricky because once its there – you have no way of telling where it came from – you can’t tell apart memories of understanding or imagination. Precise memory helps you move forward and build upon past experience – otherwise gaps between what you remember and what actually was, can get in your way.

Practice

  1. There are two things you can do to achieve steadiness and clear perception:
    • Practice, practice and then practice some more
    • Distance yourself from dogmatic opposites such as likes and dislikes, good and bad… this will come to you almost naturally if you practice.
  2. Practice should be something you can sustain consistently and over a long period of time. A teacher can help you find a correct practice.
  3. A practice will be effective if you can really get into, if you are passionate and eager about it.
  4. Such a practice will moderate cravings that lead you away from practice, it will pull you in.

Clarity & Focus

  1. Until eventually you will understand your true nature and will no longer get caught and distracted by it’s constant shifting and changing.
  2. Then when you focus on one thing – you totally get it, you will gain a new and deep perspective that goes beyond anything you’ve known before.  You will feel at one with the object – so much that nothing around you distracts you.
  3. But even then you carry with you your memories – beware,  they can arise and affect you at any time.

Faith & God

  1. Some people are born with the gift of clarity – they don’t need to practice for it.
  2. The rest of us need to have faith that this is possible – and though it may be against the odds it is possible. It takes time.
  3. Intense faith will propel you closer to clarity.
  4. Intensity of faith is different for people. It also changes over time – this change is in our nature. These variations and changes are reflected in the practice.
  5. If you don’t have faith – praying to God, if you are so inclined, may help.
  6. God is not some idealized religious symbol – it is simply that which never misunderstands, is not bound by suffering and therefore always acts based on clear & correct understanding.
  7. This concept of God represents something that is all knowing. Connecting with it is connecting with that knowledge.
  8. God is timeless – an eternal (past, present and future) source of spiritual guidance.
  9. Call God whatever works best for you, just make sure that you can relate to it with respect.
  10. When you do find this timeless, spiritual quality – try to connect with it as often as possible – spend time in its presence.
  11. This will be your practice, and eventually you will find clarity.

Handling Interruptions

  1. You may encounter 9 distracting interruptions on your path to clarity: sickness, lethargy (“stuckness”), doubt, careless action, fatigue, overindulgence, delusions, low motivation and regression.
  2. You can tell that you have been interrupted if you experience any of these symptoms:  disturbed thoughts, negative thoughts, disturbed body (can’t find ease and comfort), and difficult & unsteady breathing.
  3. Practice one thing, just one thing that supports you, practice it regularly.
  4. Practice calming social attitudes(instead of disturbing ones):
    • Be happy (instead of envious) when you encounter happiness in others.
    • Be compassionate (instead of gloating) when you encounter unhappiness in others
    • Be joyful (instead of critical) when you encounter virtue in others.
    • Be calm (instead of angered) when you encounter evil in others.
  5. Practice breathing with an emphasis on holding the breath and long exhalations.
  6. Inquire about the senses. They are your window to the world – control them so that they don’t control you.
  7. Inquire about the nature of life. Is there a bigger picture before me – something that goes beyond me and the things occupying my mind?
  8. Find inspiration. When you can’t find your own way, try to be in the presence of someone who has. Sometimes, just thinking of such an individual can help.
  9. Rest in sleep. Inquire into dreams that may occupy your sleep
  10. Meditate on something that shimmers for you – something you care about.

Clear Perception

  1. Infinity is revealed when clarity is attained – your will have mastery over the infinitesimally small and infinitely vast – everything will submit to your will.
  2. When there are no distractions, your mind can focus completely on one thing. Then gradually, as you sustain this thing in your mind you become totally immersed in it. Your mind becomes like a clear diamond – filled with nothing but reflections of this one thing. This is a gradual process – it doesn’t happen all at once.
  3. At first, your perception is clouded with echoes of past experiences. Their reflections mix together with the reflections of whatever it is you are trying to hold in your mind.
  4. As you sustain your focus, your past experiences will settle down and the mind will become clear. Then it is as if you are not there – there is only clear perception.
  5. This kind of perception can be achieved with anything you choose – gross or subtle.
  6. There is only one thing the mind cannot comprehend – and that is the source of perception. That is the one place the mind cannot go.
  7. Whatever you choose to focus on – that will be the seed – the starting point for this process of evolving perception. You have to have an object that interests you for this to happen. Your interest in it will help you get over any initial distractions you may encounter. Without interest you will not get past them.
  8. When you have experienced such total immersion and pure perception you will experience not only the object of your perception but yourself as well.
  9. Now your experience of knowledge is the absolute truth.
  10. It will be a spontaneous and immediate knowledge. This knowledge is different from anything you have been told or anything your reasoning may have uncovered.
  11. As you practice this kind of immediate and direct perception – it will become a natural experience. It will keep you from reverting to your old habits. It is like a one way train – once you get on, there’s no getting off or turning back.
  12. Eventually the mind reaches a state where there are no more distractions. It remains open, clear and transparent.

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Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga Sutra, Yoga Texts | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

For a Warm Winter

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Yesterday our order of  burning wood for the winter months arrived. It’s a first for me. When the truck left this huge pile was left on the street near our house.

wood01_arriving

Shortly after I started tossing pieces down to our house some kids from across the street came and asked if they could help – which was a great help. Soon other kids appeared and it turned out to be quite a celebration.

wood02_kidsarriving

wood3_tossing

I arranged some bricks that are lying around into a small, closed storage space which I will cover once it’s filled.

wood04_filling

wood05_filling

There is still some work left to place everything inside.

wood06_filling

… and this is Tree!

tree

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

What is there now?

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Here I am, writing instead of practicing… writing as a practice…

In the book “Cave in the SnowTenzin Palmo (I don’t have the book with me to offer a precise quote) says that you shouldn’t be on the mat unless you are present on the mat. Preoccupations prevent us from being present. The mat is special, it’s a space dedicated to a practice of presence. So if you’re not there – you may as well be somewhere else.

My days that begin with a Yoga practice are different then days that don’t – they are better.  In a similar way, the first asana of a Yoga practice affects the rest of the practice.  Tonight I chose to not get on the mat. The first “asana” in my practice is choice. I did not want to get on the mat. Recognition of that choice triggered an internal dialogue – second guessing myself with a diversity of less & more convincing arguments.

The original choice remained… and I chose to act on it. I feel that had I gone on the mat I would not have been present on it – and the practice would have distracted and agitating – I have tried this many times in the past.

I am now present – writing this with a movie playing in the background. I am present with  my impatience, self doubt & disturbed-energy. Getting on the mat would have been an attempt to escape from this – it probably would have failed. Instead I am:

  1. Doing what I felt like doing – sinking towards sleep with the help of a movie.
  2. Doing something I didn’t expect to do – writing this post.
  3. Looking forward to a fresh morning practice.
  4. Thinking back on the day, trying to see if there is something I would like to try doing differently tomorrow.
  5. … and awaiting an unplanned visit of a friend seeking help with neck pains.

On the mat, off the mat … in the end it all comes together… nicely!

Posted in Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

My Eggs

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I live in a small village who’s residents work in agriculture – specifically fruits and eggs. If you approach the village in the late evening hours – when it’s getting dark – you will be greeted by hills covered with stripes of light – these are the chicken coops (the lights are kept on to keep the chickens feeding – which increases egg production).

One of the “perks” of living here is free eggs (and fruits in season)! Whenever I need eggs I help one of the coop-owners collect the eggs (its a daily chore) and in return I get a tray of 30 eggs. They would give them to me anyways – but I prefer this exchange. But “free” has a high price – and I am not at peace with my choice. The chickens are kept in terrible conditions – they are kept 3 or 4 in a small cage with barely enough room to move, industrialized food is supplied automatically – and they live that way for 2 years after which they are replaced and processed for their meat.

But here’s the thing. If I were to setup a small protective coop with two or three free-to-range chickens in it – they would supply enough eggs for two or three families. They are very low maintenance and the cost is practically nothing (you do need to feed them and collect the eggs). I know it’s a naive question – but it’s been with me for some time now – why doesn’t this scale up? Why does this process, when scaled up, compromise so many qualities – which are naturally there in it’s basic nature?

I really do not have the knowledge to answer this. I realize that cities are not planned with space and conditions to have free-ranging chickens. Maybe the problem is the cities? We had 5 or 6 consecutive days of rain in Israel. I live in the north, where it rains much more then in the center area, where my parents live. My parents reported floods and power failures. Here there were no such problems – the land is now a rich dark brown – saturated with water, the plants all seem grateful – the air is cool and clean.

I wonder…

Posted in AltEco, Expanding, inside, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Contents of Yoga Practice in Phases of Life

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This model offers a perspective on how the contents of a Yoga practice change as a function of age – from a practice that is dominated by asana (physical practice) at a young age to a practice that is dominated by meditation at an older age.

contentsofpractice_age01

contentsofpractice_age02

In childhood and adolescence the practice is made up mostly of asana. This makes sense – if you think about children and young teenagers – it’s not practical to expect them to sit through elaborate and subtle Pranayama (breathing) and meditative practices. They need to be kept involved otherwise their attention gets pulled away. Asana is the primary tool used to keep them engaged.

Adult life is about creating a life – family, career, etc. There are many distractions and preoccupations. The body is not a supple as it used to be, and there is typically much less space and time for practice. Asana is a shorter practice and used mostly to prepare for Pranayama and meditation, which in turn provide a counter-balance to the business of life.

Old age is typically another major shift – from business to contemplation. As responsibilities take up less space, there is room for exploration. Departure and death become a more substantial part of life. This phase  of life leans towards a meditation.

This model depicts Pranayama as a key ingredient of Yoga practice. It is introduced early in life and maintained throughout. It evolves from a goal (of Asana practice) to a means of preparation and support for meditative practices. It also demonstrates that Yoga practice moves together with the cycle of life from gross to subtle.

Posted in Breath, Models & Metaphors, Yoga, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-11-01

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  • @ronenk אני הולך יותר בכיוון של לא לעבוד בכלל ושאשתי תעבוד… וזה גם נושא אחר 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • Shakuhachi music notation – it's not science it's art – so conceptually different from western notation: http://twurl.nl/4gl1o4 #
  • does someone know of a GOOD substitute for iTunes for XP & Ubuntu? #
  • @ronenk לנהל את אוסף המוזיקה שלי בצורה נוחה ובתקווה גם לסנכרן אותו – אולי אפילו לאיזה איפוד…. בעקרון מעדיף אופן סורס in reply to ronenk #
  • @lindenitzan yes I have tried SongBird (with great expectations) – ran into errors and I walked away, maybe I'll try it again… in reply to lindenitzan #
  • Not only does Apple lock me into iTunes (if I want to use an iPod), but also into Microsoft…sheesh…open is the only way to go! #
  • not having iTunes for Ubuntu may keep me away from iPod , dat's just plain dumb. Apple took from Linux, now they should give back! #
  • @ronenk באסה שאופן סורס לא רק לא נוח… אבל הם גם לא נותנים לעזור להם להפוף את זה לנוח… ממש מבאס in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk הכלתי חזרתי והוצפתי… אין לי איפוד – זה העניין… כמעט היה לי… ונראה לי שלא יהיה in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk ובכלל זה משהו אקולוגי – רוצה להיפטר ממאות דיסקים – כדי שאוכל לנוע, ללכת בקלות… ועכשיו שאין כסף אני בכלל גונב מוזיקה in reply to ronenk #
  • @iamronen ואני לא רוצה להיות גנב, מוכן לוותר על נוח ולהיות צנוע, להיות איפה שאני, לא איפה שביל וסטיב רוצים שאני אהיה in reply to iamronen #
  • @iamronen ובעוד אני מעביר דיסקים למחשב… בכלל שואל בשביל מה… יש עוד רכושנות בי… שילמתי אז לא אשמור… איזה מצחיק in reply to iamronen #
  • @ronenk ופתאום אני קולט שאני שולח הודעות לעצמי במקום אלייך… אני דפוק – או הטכנולוגיה? למה שאעשה ריפליי לעצמי, היפי לא סכיזו in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk בוא לטייל… יפה ונעים פה כל כך עכשיו in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk הכל מחובר, תודה שגם אתה, זה תומך in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk המכשיר הכי טוב!! שולח אותי לתהות שוב על קנקנו של טוב… ואני לא בטוח שהוא באמת כזה… לפעמים הדפוקים יותר טובים יותר… זה דורש מאמץ in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk good is not nice http://www.inkupakor.com/nice/ in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk חופשי להיות זה טוב in reply to ronenk #
  • heard this on the last episode of Sopranos season 2! ♫ http://blip.fm/~fdkue #
  • @ronenk אין לי ניסיון בדרופל, לפי מה שאני יודע מג'נטו זה בכלל מסחר אלקטרוני וחנויות וכאלה… ואכן רוב הניסיון שלי בוורדפרס in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk ממה שבדקתי מג'נטו נראים רציניים, היה לי ניסיון בינוני עם זנקרט in reply to ronenk #
  • @ronenk couldn't find tracks online. taste Oren Marshall – Tuba & Electronics: http://twurl.nl/2t036v I'll play it 4u when u visit 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • RT very busy guy – so only serious buyers please 🙂 @adambn: I'm selling a samsung galaxy brand new in the box. Contact me if you want it. #
  • @ronenk yesss… I found a place you can listen to Oren Marshall – BRILLIANT stuff: http://twurl.nl/56ea3w in reply to ronenk #
  • RT so much fun in one instrument woah!! @ronenk: @iamronen There she is http://twurl.nl/50ngwc #
  • @ronenk אני שמח שהתחברת – תתחדש ותהנה – הוא עובר טוב בווליום מוגזם 🙂 יצאתי מתרגול ואני הולך לסמבוסק בחורפיש in reply to ronenk #
  • can anyone recommend a simple and free application to convert/compress "MOD" movie files (from a camera) to FLV or MPEG for web? #
  • "you gotta have a dream, cause if you don't have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?" Daniel Johnston #
  • @kfirpravda PC please 🙂 Thank u ! in reply to kfirpravda #
  • heart brings together, mind takes apart #
  • RT great utility @davewiner: Printliminator Quickly, Easily Makes Any Page Printer Friendly. http://r2.ly/vj64 #
  • קניתי בטעות את הביסקוויטים הגדולים, פחומתאימים לתה, יש יותר ביסקוויטים בתחתית הכוס מאשר בבטן שלי, צריך לפתח הרגלי טבילה חדשים.. איזה מתיש! #
  • Exciting vibrations from Mozilla's Raindrop project: http://bit.ly/2wbnZz #
  • another day… good night all! ♫ http://blip.fm/~fhtz4 #
  • @SaraJChipps the hate can get better if you work on it (see: heart). as 4 responsibility – i have a feeling that is an illusion #
  • http://tumblr.com/xmt3qd2qe by @raymondpirouz congrats on "holistic", I have a feeling that "thinking" can use some holistic! evolution 🙂 #
  • how would you feel knowing that only 1 of every 100 of your work hours was effective? http://bit.ly/3cAtJ4 #
  • RT amen @raymondpirouz: @iamronen Thanks, it's all an evolutionary work in progress. 😉 #
  • טיול בגבעות, ארוחת בוקר צבעונית – פלפל אדום, אבוקדו ירוק, לימון צהוב, זיתים שחורים, לחם חום… והחתולה מחכה לי בחוץ לקפה בשמש… אחחחח #
  • in performance: http://twurl.nl/l21rs1 #
  • all of a sudden the day became wintery, covered in clouds, rain on and off… welcome change 🙂 #
  • iTunes Genius can only be launched from a single track, I would like to have it start and enrich an existing playlist… not so genius! #
  • recess, progress, excess: http://twurl.nl/bc6czx #
  • @janeforshort 3-hour naps are RE-orienting… question is if thats the orientation you want!? in reply to janeforshort #
  • RT @erangalperin: wall painting + street art = awesome http://bit.ly/2Dqigu #
  • all of a sudden it's winter, long sleeves indoors, cool floor…. #
  • listening to Jeff Buckley – Live at Sine album – what a rare and brilliant performer and performance – so direct, honest and present #
  • @ronenk this 'aint Germany Dorothy 😉 in reply to ronenk #
  • "Reason is merely reflecting an outside order, and that reason knows nothing about that order" http://bit.ly/rKSqu #
  • sometimes I know I missed my opportunity to do whats right for my energy… and its usually done for the day… #
  • open-source and designers need to find a way to work together: http://bit.ly/3mLTVb #
  • started an intimate photography project with no intentions of sharing images… such a great relief #
  • @ronenk אני יכול להסתכל שעות על השעה 02:34 in reply to ronenk #

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Closed Open Source

n

I am a fan of open-source. This started with WordPress and is gradually expanding to cover almost all of my information needs. I am writing this post on an old latpop I resurrected with Ubuntu and purely open-source solutions. In some cases, such as Open Office, I have had to surrender many niceties and make do with simpler and more limited tools. In other cases, such as Firefox, I have found a better overall solution and even some new useful features I didn’t have before.

Open source generally suffers from a poor user-experience. This is an issue for most software tools and developers, but commercial solutions have an upper-hand in this domain. They can afford to make design efforts to either make their products better or at least make them look cosmetically better.

Open-source is rooted in a passion for developers to express themselves – to create software the way they think it should be (technically -and morally). Open source is therefore dominated by developers. Most of “open-source” is hidden from end-users – it is a highly technical environment and social process in which developers in remote locations work together to create software – it’s a pretty amazing process. Though it’s called “open” it’s actually a very private party – you need to have a developer state-of-mind and technical capabilities to participate. This pretty much closes the door on many other disciplines that are essential to making good software.

For some time I’ve been wanting to partake and contribute to open-source products. I have some experience in product design and user experience which I believe are greatly missing from open-source. So far, all of my attempts to help have failed. Actually they haven’t actually failed – I never even got through the door. Actually, it feels like there isn’t even a door for me to knock on.

WordPress

WordPress is a wonderful tool. I’d like to see it evolve into my one and only home on-line. I’d like everyone to be able to get a WordPress website as an alternative to Facebook (and I think BuddyPress is the wrong way to do it). I think that one of the greatest obstacles to moving in this direction is the complexity of the administration interface (which is one of the best in the open-source world) – which is way more then what many non-technical people can handle. WordPress has actually been able to bring graphic designers into an open-source development process – but I don’t think that nice icons or a color palette are enough to make WordPress more accessible.

In this video (3:38) Matt speaks about what he feels is the greatest misconception about WordPress – and he points out that people think it’s only for professional bloggers – when actually much work has been done to make it accessible to everyone. If a lot of people are thinking it, maybe it’s not a “misconception”?

https://videopress.com/v/creB0kaV

I don’t know what the solution is – but I have some ideas. I’d like to be able to present those ideas and discuss them with others. I’d like the WordPress developer community to be open to product, graphic and user experience designers. But even that is something I don’t know how to do – it’s a great challenge.

I care, I want to contribute, I want to participate, I want there to be a dialogue. I’d like to have an opportunity to express my thoughts and ideas. I don’t know of a place for me to do this, and all my attempts to reach-out so far have met thin air.

Mozilla Raindrop

This recent initiative from Mozilla Labs is exciting. I have been wishing for something like it for a long time and it’s even a part of my vision for WordPress. After reading what information was available about it – my mind begin churning and I began looking for a place a discussion can take place. The Raindrop Community page offers several options:

  • Design is a collection of screen-shot images on Flickr – which I really can’t see as a place to converse and innovate.
  • On Get Satisfaction I asked where I should post my thoughts
  • I was referred to the Ideas section (all the rest are technical/developer oriented spaces) – where the most popular suggestion is about a missing icon.

So again I was left scratching my head. I continued to collect my thoughts and reflections but I don’t know where to share them with the community – which has left with me a feeling that maybe the community doesn’t even want to hear about it.

It’s a frustrating experience –  I haven’t given up yet. I’ve been thinking about this post for some time – a post I read today at Weblog Tools Collection finally prompted me to write it.

Posted in Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff, Wordpress | You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours

Recess, Progress, Excess

n

A part of me wishes I could tell you (and myself) that over the years I have practiced Yoga (on the mat) consistently. But that is not the truth. I’ve been through periods of consistent & intense practice, periods of erratic practice, and periods of no practice.

I have observed numerous patterns in the development of my practice:

  • Recess leads to Progress. Almost every time I came out of recess and resumed practice – I experienced substantial progress. I found I could do things with my body and breath that I couldn’t do before. It felt as though recesses enabled my  body to assimilate things I had learned and practiced. My body not only remembered what it had known but found it’s way into new places.
  • Progress usually leads to Excess. Progress leads to a sense of achievement and satisfaction. It enables me to do more, to intensify my practice. Being able to do more makes me curious and curiosity motivates me to push my limits. If I am not attentive I over-do and push my system into excess. Alas, progress is a temporary experience – it is quickly assimilated and then it’s gone. When progress ceases, motivation wavers. So I cannot maintain excess for long, and my practice breaks.
  • Excess leads to Recess. When my practice breaks, it usually wavers and eventually I find myself in a period of no practice. And the cycle repeats itself.

I am currently in a period of consistent and focused practice. My focus and exploration now is on correct effort. I try to approach every practice session, every practice sequence, every asana and every breath with an awareness of correct effort in intentions, breath and body. I have a feeling that I am doing something different this time. I know where the trap to excess awaits me, I am practicing near it and I have not yet fallen into it.

I think that my Shakuhachi practice is tempering me. I am a beginner in Shakuhachi playing so I am revisiting a phase of learning that is slow, unsatisfying and requires persistence, patience and much repetition.

I am curious to see what happens in the coming months.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi, Yoga, Yoga & I, Yoga & Life | You are welcome to add your comment

In Performance

n

This is a rare glimpse into a rare session of Shahar & I playing around together with musicians from The Meeting. The images that are projected in the background are being broadcast live from my camera.

… a few images from that session:

[slidepress gallery=’shahar-at-tel-aviv-meeting’]

Posted in Photography | You are welcome to add your comment

One Percent

n

Imagine that of every 100 hours of work that you do, 99 hours would be spent on lunches & coffee breaks and only 1 hour would actually be spent on work that is actually productive. If this sounds ridiculous, think about it next time you get into a car.

In a typical combustion engine car about 80% of the energy created by the engine becomes heat, only the remaining 20% is actually transformed into locomotion. Those 20% are used to move the combined weight of you and the car itself – your weight is only about 5% of that. So only 5% of the locmotive energy is used to move you from place to place – that equals 1% of the total energy created by the car engine. Terribly inefficient.

This information comes from a book titled “Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution” (which is also available as downloadable PDF’s). I have only started reading it and am currently in the second chapter which is about the automotive industry. I am enjoying it.

Yet as I read it I can’t  help but thinking that there is a very basic perspective missing altogether, not just from this book, but from many so called “ecological” endeavors. How much energy can be conserved through personal awareness and lifestyle changes – such as driving less? One of the deeply planted hooks that the industrial revolution has left in greater society is consumerism. Would the automotive industry continue to evolve as is amazingly outlined in the book knowing that the number of cars sold worldwide would drop drastically? Would they actively work and support such a reduction?

What is the vision/motivation that drives the automotive industry? Is it about “creating efficient transportation for the greater needs of society” or “making a profit by selling vehicles”? Though some (mostly business stakeholders) claim that two such motivations can live in harmony, I believe that they are very different points of origin and that they lead into very different journeys.

Posted in AltEco, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Welcome Mozilla Raindrop

n

Mozilla has just revealed Raindrop – a new messaging project from the Thunderbird (email client) team. I am happy about this project. I have been thinking about it quite a bit since I heard about it last week. It’s not clear to me yet what Raindrop is. I like that it is an exploration.

I view Raindrop as a key piece in a bigger puzzle. The bigger picture I see is that of an online personal space that is mine. A place where my information is stored and shared with others, a place that I can access from any computer or mobile device, a place where I can meet people and people can meet me. Naturally this involves much sending, receiving and processing of communication. This website (based on WordPress) is in some ways that home, but there are still some pieces missing in it. Raindrop is can be one of those pieces.

“A central principle behind Raindrop is that messaging should be personal”
(Mozilla Labs – Introducing Raindrop)

Email is no longer a means of communication with the outside world – it IS the outside world. Email, whether you have surrendered to it (and it contains tons of information accumulated over many years) or constantly fight it (by working to keep it clean and empty), is not just a highway – it’s a storage place.  The “Inbox” is a very impersonal experience – it contains everything the world wants me to have. “Personal” is the context in which I view the Inbox and the choices I make in dealing with it. The information that makes an Inbox personal cannot be found in the Inbox. I believe this is a gap that Raindrop is trying to fill. To do this I feel it’s going to have to perform a magic trick – it is going to have to disappear! Raindrop should sit on the shelf  closer to HTML then Thunderbird.

If Raindrop wants to help me and truly become personal it is going to need help. It needs to become a parasite and hook into existing services in which I already “exist”, that already know me fairly well. For me this would be my website, for others it may be their accounts on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Imagine, for example, how differently a communication can be treated if it comes from a known or unknown associate/source? Or how it should be treated if it comes from an associate with whom I communicate frequently?

If you think about it there is  an irony in this process. Much incoming communication (especially the kind that Raindrop is trying to identify, filter & organize) is generated in systems in which there is a known context. Context gets lost when communications are funneled into an email Inbox. A direct message on twitter is a communication with specific context (it’s on twitter, it’s from someone I am/not following, it is a reply, a retweet, contains a reference to another twitter account, is part of a sequence of messages, is in a different timezone, etc.) – but when it’s passed into an Inbox as an email it loses much of that context and becomes another incoming message for me to figure out.

I’d like to see Raindrop become a technological infrastructure that:

  • Can hook onto and listen to on-line resources in which I have a presence.
  • Can collect and store communications (and payloads) that are dispatched from these resources.
  • Can be taught to extract from stored communications (and payloads) contextual information.
  • Can automatically extract from stored communications (and payloads) contextual information.
  • Can dispatch outgoing communications using various communication protocols/infrastructures
  • Can operate on standard open-source web technologies.
  • Can be easily deployed in a self-sustained package.
  • Has building blocks that designers & developers can use to create front-end applications.

Specifically I’d love to see Raindrop offered as (for example) a WordPress Plugin that will:

  • Enable millions of non-developers (including me) to experience it directly and provide feedback as it grows and develops.
  • Benefit from an easy and seamless installation/update process.
  • Enable the WordPress Developer Community to bind it’s capabilities into WordPress (developing contextual capabilities and user interfaces).
  • Provide owners of hosted WordPress installation an alternative self-owned email hosting service tightly bound with their websites.
  • Provide a built in mail server which can relay raw or processed communication into email clients such as Thunderbird (which may act as a native interim client GUI for Raindrop).
  • Free the Raindrop developers to focus on the core/infrastructure technology (while other developers can experiment with and maintain front-end applications).
Posted in Open Source, outside, Tech Stuff | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Eigenharp

n

Pretty amazing technological instrument:

And a guided demonstration of what it can do:

Thank you @ronenk for sending this my wa.

Posted in Enjoy, inside | You are welcome to add your comment

Shakuhachi Notation

n

Yesterday I had my first official Shakuhachi lesson (though it is our second time communicating). When I first purchased a Shakuhachi I also ordered a guide (book and CD) that includes instruction on reading notation. I couldn’t figure it out – and it was rather disappointing – especially because I was told it’s fairly easy!

Now I know better. There is no one Shakuhachi music  notation – there are numerous notations, each representing different schools, traditions and eras of Shakuhachi. Therefore, Shakuhachi notation is best learned with a teacher… and it is fairly simple. A teacher will choose a notation for you – and that choice carries with it hundreds of years of evolving tradition. Each notation is a doorway to musical pieces that come from that same tradition. There are even some well-known pieces that are written and played differently in each tradition. I am guessing that in time a teacher may present more then one notation to a student.

It is of course best to learn notation by learning to play a piece. As we started studying a piece and the notation required to read and play it, I encountered some symbols, such as the length of a note, which were not precise – as I had come to expect from western music notation. I asked my teacher “so this isn’t like rocket science?” to which he replied “no, it’s art”. What a relief… I was scared of notation because I had an unpleasant experience learning to play guitar some years ago – I was overwhelmed by the complexity of the theoretical aspects. Shakuhachi notation feels so different and so right for me. There is so much space for exploration, personal expression… so much space.

Aside from Shakuhachi playing I am reconnecting with the experience of having a teacher present. It is inspiring, supportive and already greatly affected my playing.

I am learning a well known piece called Take Shirabe in a variation & style that is typical of the Fudaiji temple. I have learned the first 6 breaths. This is an excellent rendition of it:

It is, for beginner Shakuhachi players kind of like Pink Floyd’s “Is there anybody out there?” for guitar players. It’s a great starting point – accessible and beautiful.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours