Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Summer Vacation

Well, OK, Spring Vacation.

For the last month and a half or so, I've been giving Google Reader a rest. I haven't read any news feeds or blog posts, and I haven't posted much of anything here. So if you were wondering whether I had fallen off the face of the Internets, I guess the answer would be yes.

I'm not sure why I've unplugged to this degree ... maybe it's my debugging instinct kicking in, turning things off one at a time to try and find out which ones improve my life and which ones degrade it. Still working on that task.

Anyhow, I apologize for the somewhat narcissistic thread that I perceive to be woven through this blog. I prefer to talk less about my particular life and more about ideas and happenings. But thank you to those of you who have shown an interest in my personal thoughts and situation. It is a pleasant way to be loved.

And since I've started down that path, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask for a little more help. If you recall, when I posted my post about taking a break from church, I mentioned that one of the things I was looking for was a new mentor or group of mentors. Not that there weren't virtuous people at church, but the virtues they exhibited weren't really the ones I wanted to acquire. Recently, I made a list of virtues that I would like to learn, which looked about like this:

  • kindness

  • other-interest

  • courage

  • healthfulness

  • calm, rhythm (not-hurry)

  • skill (expertise)

I can think of several ways to go about pursuing these qualities, but I'm curious about where you have learned them. I know quite a few of you have experience with particular disciplines such as fasting, prayer and meditation, 'spiritual exercises' and the like. How have those formed you?

I expect habit formation to be an important part (maybe the entirety) of virtue formation, so if you find yourself (or maybe a friend of yours) to have some of these virtues, how did you (or they) develop them?

There also seems to be this conventional wisdom that virtue is best learned within a community of people seeking the same virtues. Well, the American transcendentalists might disagree, but for the sake of argument ... what communities have you experienced that contain an inordinately large number of people who exhibit these virtues?

Or if this more specific question is easier, try answering it instead: If you could recommend that I do one thing different today, what would it be?

Friday, May 09, 2008