Sunday, January 30, 2011

Solitude as oppose to networking

I was surfing the cyberspace and happened to land in big think blog.

Michio Kaku, the physicist, was talking about graphene, the material that will revolutionize science.He wrote:"Potential applications for the material include the replacing of carbon fibers in composite materials to eventually aid in the production of lighter aircraft and satellites; replacing silicon in transistors; embedding the material in plastics to enable them to conduct electricity; graphene-based sensors could sniff out dangerous molecules; increasing the efficiency of electric batteries by use of graphene powder; optoelectronics; stiffer-stronger-lighter plastics; leak-tight, plastic containers that keep food fresh for weeks; transparent conductive coatings for solar cells and displays; stronger wind turbines; stronger medical implants; better sports equipment; supercapacitors; improved conductivity of materials; high-power high frequency electronic devices; artificial membranes for separating two liquid reservoirs; advancements in touchscreens; LCD's; OLED's; graphene nanoribbons could be a way to construct ballistic transistors; and nanogaps in graphene sheets may potentially provide a new technique for rapid DNA sequencing."

Then I read about William Deresiewicz,a Yale professor, who wrote about "Solitude and Leadership:" He said “So solitude can mean introspection, it can mean the concentration of focused work, and it can mean sustained reading...But there’s one more thing I’m going to include as a form of solitude-friendship-But I’m talking about one kind of friendship in particular, the deep friendship of intimate conversation. Long, uninterrupted talk with one other person...Yet if we believe leadership is about the things literature tells us—like risks, and creativity—there is something to be said for solitude. And solitude is the opposite of networking.”

And lastly I listened to an interview of Rita Dove, a former Library of Congress poet laureate. She said oral tradition is coming in this digital age. To write poetry one has to dig deep down and squeeze life experiences.

I want to think more about solitude and its importance in leadership as oppose to networking. I thought it was a profound statement by the Yale professor.
How should I look and listen at the universe? Of course, the imagination jumps and I should hurry to prevent the ice cream from melting.

Graphene, solitude and poetry-That's a lot to digest in one night.

The photo of the graphene is from big think.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lessons from life

Diana Strinati Baur ( A Certain Simplicity) was a guest blogger on Karie Tallo's blog Momentum Gathering. Diana and her husband moved from Germany to Italy. In Piemonte, Italy they "restore a four hundred year old farm into a bed and breakfast..." She wrote: "with every pile of rocks we moved and every tree we cut, we internalized lessons that would give us wings to carry us through the next seven years and make our home everything we had imagined and more."

They learned 6 lessons. I copied two: "There are whole worlds of things you don’t know but can learn if you listen. It’s no longer about what you know, but rather about how others can enlighten you...

You get better at things because you have figured out how they work."

And I copied one conclusion: "Hard core change might knock the life out of you for a while. But once you have gotten your bearings, you might find yourself living more deeply, more softly, and more consciously, than ever before."

An inspiring story.

Her blog: A Certain Simplicity.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Living in a small village

I was very lucky to grow up in a small village in southern part of Luzon, in the Philippines.
The village was less than a mile form the ocean and a few 100 yards from the river. During my teen years, we (group of friends or young kids), swam in the river often.There were lots of cherry trees along the river and we loved picking the fruits that fell on the banks.

On certain nights when the moon was full we carried an empty kerosene drum to the ocean and picked small crabs and put them in the drum. When we came home my mother will boil those tiny crabs and we ate them as evening snacks before bedtime.

The forest was also nearby. We built forts and built tree houses and spent afternoon playing house or simply taking naps there.

Being near the ocean we could buy fresh fish from the fishermen when they came ashore from fishing from the night before. Until now I love eating fish, shrimps, crabs and lobsters. And of course squid and snails (escargots).

I love eating leafy vegetables, which were plenty, since I was little and still do until now.

I would not know what eating habits or experiences I would have had

if I was born and lived in a city.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was reading Tara Stiles blog and she wrote that we could not live

every moment to the fullest. But when we are quiet or silent we might get the vibes, the hints of that tranquility that seems to boost creativity. Also when we connect to others like friends or family it opens that contentment inside us.

There is something about the stillness or maybe solitude that taps the inner feelings, almost like the angelic presence that tags the heart, that brings joy.

We have to be quiet than we listen for the melody.

Friday, January 21, 2011

To Choose

I was reading an article about a chess player who attained the master rating very recently. One of the lessons he learned on the way to his accomplishment was: it's not enough to want to improve. "You have to choose to improve.

I choose to be a chess master," he said. And he became a chess master.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stop and think

Think about the world from another point of view said Richard Feynman, the nobel prize winning physicist. You can train your imagination."Stop and think" and enjoy the complexity of the universe.

Every day when we wake in the morning think of new ideas. Don't pre-decide he said when you look at the world. Things that do not fit might be the most interesting.

Put "enthusiasm in your inquiry".Embrace ambiguity and contradictions. Look for another path. Do not rehearse the same tried methods.
Enjoy new encounters.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Today is a warmer day. Just before noon I walked my usual route in the neighborhood towards the river and the nearby condominiums with other houses still being constructed. Being Saturday the sound of hammer was absent.Off day. Surprisingly there was only one man fishing in the river. He was an older gentleman who smokes a pipe. He said the fish was not biting.He had only one bite -a 16-inch fish that he had to release.

There was one kayaker slowly going up the river. The lone egret watched him glided by.
There were a couple of walkers each one walking with a chihuahua, one with white ears, the other with black ears.

Three different ways to spend a part of the day-walking,fishing and kayaking.

There was no reason not to be delighted.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Walking & books

I had my walk earlier today than other days. Yesterday I went to the health club and did weights.
The challenge of doing meaningful exercise at least 5 days a week is heavy in my will.
Many people are doing it. It's for my own health.Walking 30 minutes everyday increases awareness and stability and balance. I like to hike and to be able to do it needs good

strenght of the legs and of course balance.
Yesterday I borrowed a lot of books from the library plus what I have in my own library.
I'll have no reason to just surf the cyberspace.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I could never feel unhappy when the thick fog hovers over the hills, the cold breeze brushes my face when I, bundled in3 three layers, walk in the neighborhood.

I could sit, wrapped in blankets, snug on the sofa wih a stack of books to read and movies to watch, all borrowed from the library.

I would be ungrateful to lament my state and ask for more.

It's a delight.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


If a grandpa can not help but shout to quell a child stubbornly crying, what does it teach the child?
A grown man, a parent, or grandparent should be an example,not of unreasonableness, but of temperance.
To teach humility, the grown man should talk, not with a loud condescending voice, but humbly, to a child.
And especially after knowing that all of us are created in God's image.
Or after remembering that Christ was once a child.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lessons from Jonah

I'm reading about Jonah in Bruce Feiler's Where Was Born and noted several lessons. "In moments of personal turmoil, a person no longer wants to be alone.He no longer wants independence...The only answer to chaos is God...As long as humans can still learn to live righteously, God says, he will protect them...God meets you most intimately in your moments of darkness," writes Bruce Feiler.

Lead a virtous life. Be good. Be patient. God will wait for you.

God will wait for me if I try to keep his word.

Bruce Feiler writes-"God cares only that you conduct yourself in a moral way,even if you have to repent to do so."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Light and Darkness

Father Gabriel in his homily today at mass noted the meaning of the story of the three magi. Jesus Christ was born as the light to dispel darkness in the world. We, too, can be a light to dispel all the darkness in the world today-darkness of violence, prejudice, hatred, greed,etc... It is not an option but an obligation as a follower of Christ. We should bring Jesus Christ our gift of commitment.

We should think more of how to love Jesus and our neighbor.