Friday, May 27, 2011

Your Facebook Persona

Your Facebook Persona

Much is written about “privacy” and Facebook.  I wonder if those of us who use and peruse this marketplace of social, political and commercial exchange have noticed how each of us over time is displaying a distinct personality?

After watching my friends’ posts for a year it is easy to predict what kind of a status line they are likely to add.  It’s even easy to predict how often a given friend will weigh in on something or offer an idea. Most of us have become wildly predictable on Facebook and seem to develop a consistency that is slightly alarming.  It’s easy to tell who is seriously addicted and needs to post round the clock.  Others show up intermittently.  You know who you are.

Whether or not our “real” personality is like the reflection of our posts it is clear that each of us is in danger of having a FB Personality.  Here are some of the archetypes I have observed:  (perhaps some of your friends fall into these profiles, eh?)

1.    The Complainer.  This person only chooses to post when they have something negative to say.  “I hate Mondays”  “My boss is such a jerk.”   “Why are doctors such poor listeners?”  “I got a ticket while texting today.  Boo hiss for patrol cops!”  “Feeling stupid this morning.”    The Complainer is an equal opportunity complainer- saying negative things about both self and others.

2.    The Politico.  This person only posts links and clips of articles about their political point of view.  Count on a YouTube link to some political rhetoric or a NYT editorial.  This type is often trying to raise money for something.  Beware Paypal links to “worthy causes.”

3.    The Major Family Announcement Messenger. This person only posts when they have something BIG to announce: a death in the family, an engagement or wedding, or an x-ray of a broken fibula.    “I got fired this week.”  “The dog got run over.” Would also quality.

4.    The Jokester pointer.  This person is privy to every weird or comic YouTube.  Count on getting a link to a video of kittens pooping on Grandpa’s lap while he is sleeping.

5.    The Literati.  This person is fond of showing off his wide intellectual range by posting links to poetry, art and criticism.  Clips of classical music abound.  Look for a Yo Yo Ma video.

6.    The Jetsetter.  Count on this guy to use the location/Place entry liberally.  “Here I am at the Taj Mahal.”  “This is me at the Sands in Vegas.”  “Climbing Kilimanjaro this week.”  “Just checked in at the Paris Hilton.”  “Eating crab off a boat in Patagonia.”  All of these are accompanied by IPhone photos.

7.    The Spiritual Guide.  This friend seems to be connected to complete information about some (or many?) spiritual path(s).  Count on links and photos of gurus, temple bake sales, books on The Way. Often there is simply a quotation to uplift you spiritually.

8.    The Self Promoter.  This friend only seems to post links to the thing that they are selling:  “Click here to buy my book.”  “Only thirteen spots left in my Seminar!”  “ Three ways to contact my Agent.”  “Did you know that I’m selling my pottery at a 10% discount this month?”  “Come see my show tonight. It’s awesome.”

9.    The Artist. This writer likes to post photos of current art work or photography.  The hope is that they can garner praise by getting a bunch of “likes” and thereby validate themselves as artists. 

10. The PartyHound.  This writer only posts when they have a bunch of photos of themselves wasted and hanging on the necks of other drunken friends.  This type is sometimes a subset of the Jetsetter.

11.The SmileyFace.  This friend only says NICE things.  It’s common to use their status posts to thank people or wax poetical about how great life is and how lucky they are.  (Definitely the polar opposite of the Complainer.)

12.The Enigmatic.  This writer seems to write in code.  Posts are cryptic and usually indecipherable:  “Gve RQP some tips. Need more windows.”  “Took 6 h to finish. Phew . . .Did you?”   “Why does K go in circles?”
(What is she talking about?)

Oh, and a few of my friends are combos of these profiles.   I guess each of us gets to use FB for his own purpose.  Different strokes for different folks, they say. I am sure I have missed a few.  Would love to have you add some I've missed. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nothing lasts . . .

This artwork is by Dan Jones of Telford, England.  He creates thought provoking doodles.  I love this piece.  I shared it with a good friend who made the tiniest of adjustments. The second image is the "improved version." Don't you like the new one?  Dan did. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

The most wonderful man I know

I snapped this photo of my amazing husband Ron Madson with an IPhone at Sarah's wedding. Here he is intent listening to a young woman of around 30 years who has been doing Genealogy for 15 years. He loves finding a kindred spirit in family history. He's the kindest, strongest, goodest man I know. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's four thirty on a tuesday afternoon. I'm sitting next to our gas hearth and reveling in the quiet. Ron and Joan are both away. Bodhi is sleeping soundly in his kitty bed. The world seems gracious and good. Few states provide more healing for my spirit than that of silence. Actually silence isn't accurate. There is the ticking of two family heirloom clocks that Ron has going. They strike alternately doing a gentle tick tock dance. The gas fire has a soft whine and periodically there is the sound of a car driving up El Granada Boulevard. Otherwise there is a kind of silence.

In this silence my thoughts can rest. I am not pulled by offers to add something to my world or news of the latest update on Japan's tragedy. I am not massaged by music or song. I can slow my body/mind and troll for what may be important or useful now. Or I can avoid selection and simply take this now into consciousness. Silence feels like cool water on my soul. In a noisy world I rejoice in the blessing of silent moments.
(note:  this essay was written several months ago when our beloved Bodhi was still with us.)

March 22, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Painting the Farmer's Market Bouquet

Two weeks ago our local Farmer's Market of Half Moon Bay launched its 2011 season.  So much to celebrate seeing the fresh local produce, bakery goods and even fresh caught salmon.  For only  $5 I brought home a multicolored bouquet.  Since this week has been filled with spring rains it has been a good time to paint indoors.  Here I share a recent painting of the flowers with our White Tara thanka in the background.  
All hail the spring!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Talk less. Do More

Energy Crisis in America

I’m not talking about the oil crisis. Have you noticed the outlay of energy expended everywhere all day by the act of criticizing, complaining and venting negative thoughts? The media is overwhelmed by it. News channels thrive on it. Comic satirists make their living doing it. Anyone with half a dozen or more friends on Facebook knows already that each of us has a preferred sense of what is worthy of posting. I can predict in advance which of my friends and relatives are likely to use their status lines to vent rather than express something positive or point to resources that are constructive. Even writing this I fall into the category of critic: the very thing I seek to deter.

What if instead of voicing criticism or complaining (“What about those ****’s who hog the highways?” “Don’t you just hate it when it rains on game day?” “I look like a bag of trash today.” “Those blasted politicians are off their rockers . . .” each of us used the same amount of time to DO SOMETHING constructive? If I picked up a single piece of trash for every time I complained about someone else, the world would be a better place.

I am arguing for two things: Talk less. (Especially useless complaints and negative reflections) and Do more. Do more good. Tiny constructive actions. (Clean something. Put something back in order. Contribute a single dollar to a cause you believe in. Help a friend. Send a thank you note. These are tiny actions, doable at any moment.

Our opinions and commentary on the world (“The Republicans/the Democrats/the Capitalists/the greedy oil companies/my inlaws . . . etc. fill in the blank here . . . . . . . ) are the problem. Blaa blaa blaa . . . ) does nothing to change our reality. However, everything you do (or don’t do in the case of ecology) matters.

So, when you notice yourself going off about the latest thing you don’t like, stop. Quit complaining. Take some small action to make anything better.  If we all heeded this advice just think about the amount of improvement we could make. This is an energy crisis we can fix on the spot. And, while it won’t bring down oil prices at the drop of a hat, it’s a better use of time, don’t you think?

Talk less. Do more

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Painting the garden at Esalen

Last weekend I taught a workshop titled "Everyday Spontaneity: Improvising Our Lives" at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. During our afternoon break I was able to sit in the beautiful garden and do watercolors. No art can truly capture the vibrancy of the color. I dedicate this small painting to my mother, Virginia Louise Pittman Ryan (1920-1998). She was a flower.

Location:Big Sur, CA

Friday, May 6, 2011

An essay by Susan Piver

I was not among those celebrating and cheering wildly upon the news of the death of Osama Ben Laden.  I am grateful that he is no longer alive, but it seems that this is a somber time.  Like many I have been searching for words to express what I really think and feel.  Susan Piver's thoughtful essay says it well.  She makes sensible suggestions in the wake of this event.  I commend it to you for reading.

Osama bin Laden is dead. One Buddhist’s response by Susan Piver

This is a watercolor of Pillar Point Harbor in Princeton, CA near my home.