Dealing With Self Doubt, Internet Shame, Mockery, and Loving Kindness

For the last 18 months I’ve been meditating intentionally and unintentionally. I actually started meditating much further back in life finding a quiet place and just trying to shut off my thoughts. That’s what my parents told me Zen monks did. In the summer of 2016 my meditation practice became very deliberate. I installed a meditation app and began going through various exercises to focus, and move my thoughts beyond the noise and distractions that unknowingly were all around my mind.

Until now the YouTube videos I started making in December last year had nothing to do with meditation. Today I realized that when I’m deciding what I should and should not publish on the Internet, the way I’m putting myself out there has a lot to do with the feelings I work through in my meditation practice.

A very common activity in meditation is loving kindness, one starts by focusing on themself, finding kindness and love to feel inward, then focuses on someone else towards whom one can also feel and direct feelings of loving kindness toward, then one thinks of someone with who there is difficulty, negative feelings for. This process discovers and builds the strength of love and sincere kindness, develops it, then projects it. Finally using it to overcome negative feelings surrounding others. The activity sheds light on the tooling needed to overcome moments of frustration, anger, anxiety and even fear.

Sometimes while I am making videos the back of my head is a sea of these dark feelings. I have judgements and doubt towards myself, and concern about being shamed. Putting so much of ones self out into the Internet is just asking for those kinds of reactions, and indeed it’s happened in the past. But I make the videos out of love, out of hope to connect with my family and friends who are so far away. To perhaps give ideas to a couple strangers for new things to try, or that it’s ok to be silly and explore ideas that could be mocked.

In this way I find the ability to move beyond the darkness of what could happen, in general being myself has gotten me to the places I was happiest in life. Obfuscating my true character only caused discourse, confusion, and disappointment.

How to control your circadian rhythms during the winter

 

I moved to Boston when I started my first year of college. Until then I’d lived in Palo Alto my entire life. It was literally a move to the opposite side of the country and there were a lot of adjustments to make. Of all the things I’d read about Boston such as the heavy Massachusetts accent, the use of “pop” when ordering a soda (never actually experienced this), and of course the weather, the one I wasn’t prepared for was the shorter days in the winter. I recall stepping out of class at 5pm in early December, having been in a windowless room, and being surprised to see it was already practically nighttime.

Since then I’ve lived in other places with shorter daylight than in central California as well as Boston. Berlin, Germany however is by far the greatest stretch of this phenomenon of the late autumn and winter months. With less than 8 hours from the sunrise at 8am and the sunset before 4pm, it can get pretty dreary. Fortunately I’ve learned a number of coping mechanisms for this. Lack of daylight has some well known consequences like not getting enough vitamin D through sunlight exposure on the skin. But it also changes our circadian rhythms, the biological clock that controls our production of adenosine and melatonin, which tells the body when it’s time to wake up and time to go to sleep. Of course, with the invention electricity, and more recently of cell phones, tablets, laptops, and LED lights, humans have done their fair share of man handling the delicate system that regulates when to feel sleepy or alert.

Suffice to say I make an effort to stay on the good side of these natural influences. By trying to get as much light as possible from the sun and artificial sources in the morning and mid-day. As well as avoiding screens and bright lights in the evening when it’s time to wind down and get ready for some shut eye.

This video is a bit a peak at my days in Berlin, in early November when the shorter daylight is noticeable, and also how the daily routine looks.