Join me as I attempt to develop awareness as a framework for success at work and at home.

As I got up from the loo and turned to flush it this morning, I had an acute lower back pain which made it unbearable for me to move for several minutes. The pain has subsided greatly by now, twelve hours later, and it feels like a stiffness but now my neck is also feeling stiff.

I worried if this is a side effect of the Covid booster I took three days back but now I think it’s a second order effect — the booster hit me hard with fever and headache and I was on the bed for most part of a day and a half. That prolonged lying down might have played a game with my spine. I hope this is nothing more than that but it did make me wonder what kind of a life it would be after an early retirement if I get hit with a chronic back pain, considering I intend to do plenty of long distance bike tours, something that I have started on a small scale this year with a couple of weeklong tours. Also, definitely makes sense to sock up plenty for medical expenses.

In hindsight, I wasted an opportunity to practice awareness but I’m not asking for another similar chance!

Today, I turned off auto renew for a domain I have owned for five years. It was a business domain that I never started. I had a “coming soon” landing page and I still have an unpublished Facebook page. Thankfully, I turned off GSuite as soon as it became paid. I never created anything of value associated to that business idea. I registered it on a whim, with a friend, and we had a few brainstorming sessions but neither of us was serious enough to give our time and energy towards it. So, the idea died without any pain or struggle and therein lies my lesson — don’t put the cart before the horse.

I felt a tinge of shame thinking about my weaknesses that this highlights — (1) not having the maturity to see reality, (2) conflating itch with passion, (3) trying to create a company before creating a product, (4) wasting time by not fully understanding the why, and (5) drifting instead of anchoring on life goals.

This was a pet project but lack of time was certainly not a reason why I didn’t aggressively pursue it. I executed on other personal and professional goals in the last five years, most of which gave desired results. I’ve come to believe that I didn’t want it seriously enough to grind after it. My partner had other priorities and that didn’t help either. I’ve moved on since and giving away the domain is a closure for me. Will I try to rekindle the ambition underlying this half baked initiative — likely not, at least not in the same form.

//todo expand on the weaknesses

Just a quick journal entry about how the day went – 1. Did an hour of intense indoor cycling. 2. Watched Harry Potter with family and dozed off midway, as usual. 3. Jotted down some notes on long range priority at work. 4. Pondering on what's the most important thing I should be doing in my personal time when I am not doing the usual — reading, writing, workout, meditation. I'm opening myself up to more hobbies and interests like tinkering with small mechanical and electronic toys and playing saxophone. However, I keep coming back to the thought that it should be something that I can take up as a full time engagement once I am financially independent (from employment perspective), expected in 5-10 years. I'm considering both large scale problems impacting society as a whole, like climate change, and doing something at an individual level in a medical field, like at the intersection of mind and brain. More to come on this...

I lived in Bangalore for several years, including when the city witnessed huge growth, largely owing to rise in software and supporting industry jobs in the early 2000s. There was a small and narrow bridge connecting the Outer ring road to Whitefield, one of the software hubs, which used to get jammed during commute hours. Drivers, often needlessly, honked. I remember being stuck in one such rush hour morning traffic over that bridge, and hearing drivers honking. I didn't feel annoyed or impatient; rather, I remember being at peace with myself, all the while listening to the cacophony of honks. It was an Aha! moment — there's noise only when we expect the sound to occur in a particular way. If we simply observe without expectation, even traffic sounds in Bangalore rush-hour is music. Okay, I am going too far — let's rephrase it to being easily tolerable.

There have been other instances when I have heard noise and have not perceived it as such. Besides listening without prejudice, I have another hypothesis why I didn't get annoyed — I was not preoccupied with thoughts like planning, mulling, or ruminating. How fortunate that I witnessed evidence of what I later read in books about awareness!

When my boy was very young, perhaps in pre-school, I used to tell him that there's music in everything. His eyes would lit up and with a mischievous smile, he'd beat the table or whatever was in front of him, to make “music”. Even now, as an eight year old, who is learning piano and ukulele, he never shows even a minor annoyance when notes go out of order. I believe this is true of all kids — they really do find music in everything and it's primarily because their senses are much less obstructed by prejudice than adults.