Monthly Archives: July 2014

How to preserve your digital memories and not lose them?

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This article invites you to spare some moments on thinking about how you preserve your digital memories and how precious they are for you. Plus, what you can do to make them last…

We all know that time flies. What happens to our memories when we don’t save them? What happens to all the pictures you take digitally and forget to copy/forget where they are? If they disappear in the abyss of your home, or worse, if you never get to find them again, are they lost?

This is the case with digital photography. Before it became widespread, and certainly before smartphones, people used to preserve their moments in colourful albums, with captions and descriptions, dates at the back etc. A material remaining of a time that has passed.

Nowadays we don’t do that; we can share stuff in seconds, but how much of it is actually time-proof? How much of it will remain? When I once bought a hard drive, a friend told me it was future-proof. But was it, really?

I wonder what would happen if some day our computers and networks collapsed. Just hypothetically. All the shots taken would be lost forever, wouldn’t they? Only a fire could do the same thing to paper photos… On the other hand, no matter what the current device, we can still see the photos taken by Cartier-Bresson in 1940s or pictures of our ancestors, little yellowed, but still, can’t we? What if we found them instead hidden for a 100 years on a device that is broken and not compatible with anything of our times? The pictures might never see the light again…

There is some magic about digital photography, and its fragility. And such pics are more than ever susceptible to a disc crash. Not like your grandma’s paper photos? She could probably recall a person and a time even if it was taken 50 years before. What if the photo never existed? We know the incredible power of photography to bring back emotions, memories, smells…

In this digital era we often cannot recall each of the 700+ pictures we take on holidays (if not many more!), and do we really watch them all afterwards? When we had analog cameras, each picture was physically made on a film, and therefore felt more precious… There were 24 or 36 pictures to be made, so I was more careful to capture only the most memorable moments, instead of everything that caught my eyes. But how do you know upfront which moment will be memorable so that you can prepare your camera? You don’t. In this way digital photography certainly has many benefits. And I won’t even mention uncomparable editing capabilities, automated options and other amazing features right at our fingertips. In this article it’s all about memories that last.

I sometimes print my pictures on paper and put them into an album – just to preserve the most important moments. It’s hard to choose which ones of the hundreds to keep – but it also dignifies them, making me preserve the most representative ones. NOT the most beautiful ones. Only the most meaningful.

What’s the solution? Well, it’s certainly up to you. My role is not to advise the come back to analog photography. Nor it is to tell you to not trust its digital brother. I wanted to only highlight its fragility and to maybe make you think twice when you are archiving your precious memories… And to keep them safe… And to copy them to a newer means of technology that emerges, before they become too obsolete to revive… We all know the digital landscape changes quickly. So, be aware!

photo credit: 2,000,000+ views Thank You! via photopin cc

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Great album to relax to – ‘Shanti Guitar’ by Stevin McNamara

Relaxing guitar

Not often can you find something soothing and interesting at the same time. This is clearly the case with the album called Shanti Guitar by Stevin McNamara.

The heartfelt picking seems deeper than the usual relaxation sounds you can find online. Very acoustic and natural, it works as a really good background to your daily activities.

This is a piece of intuitive musicianship not to be missed. Repetitive patterns that make you want to listen more. Captivating and yet calming. This album is full of subtle surprises. Delicate percussion instruments make it even more pleasurable. Headphones recommended, although that kind of music would probably sound right in any setting.

My rating: 5 stars.

You can find out more about Stevin & his music here.

photo credit: foltzwerk via photopin cc

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A Short Guide to Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating is a practice of savouring every bite of your meal, in the same way you cherish every day if you live by the carpe diem maxim.

In an era when there are so many overweight people, it might be a good idea to focus on what you are eating, instead of watching TV or reading at the same time. Because we think we are multitasking, whereas in practice we dissolve our energy and do not even notice what we are eating, which can lead us to actually eat more than our body needs. If we practice this for a prolonged time, that can lead to some additional kilograms… Why put so much stress on ourselves? Wouldn’t cherishing every bite in silence bring us better results? After all, it would be nice to have a break in our tight schedule, to enjoy the moment and slow down for a minute.

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn puts it,

When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality.

So, I suggest you do the following next time you have lunch, dinner, or any other meal. It can also apply for snacks, fruit, and tea:

- find a comfortable place to eat

- place your food in front of you and look at it for a couple of seconds, enjoying its texture, colour, shape, temperature,   vapour over a hot tea, or anything else you find special about what you are consuming. Settle into this moment

- breathe in and out

- slow down your thinking and focus on your breath

- take the first bite/sip. Focus on the texture of it in your mouth, on the flavour and on the feeling of eating/drinking. This is the only thing that interests you now. Feel the sensation of swallowing each piece/sip and how it makes you warm inside

- keep eating/drinking like this. If you get distracted by other thoughts, that’s ok. In this case, come back to your flavour and cherish it once more

- when you’re done, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge the experience, how relaxing it was

- you can now come back to your duties and enjoy the day :)

I hope that helps. It’s a lovely practice of being here and now. I am mindfully eating pieces of Green & Black’s Organic chocolate while resting my eyes from the screen, and it is a truly pleasant experience. You can do it too.

If you would like to get to know more about it, there is a book called Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Love,

Anna

photo credit: Jiuck via photopin cc

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EARTH(L)ING. How to tap into the Earth’s healing power

photo credit: jjay69 via photopin cc

Have you ever had that feeling that when you go out into nature, the troubles that were on your mind before are not that stressful anymore, or sometimes they completely vanish? Even sitting on grass in a park at lunchtime or after a hard day can replenish our energy, relax us or cheer us up. Do you know what exactly is happening?

I have recently encountered (both theoretically and practically) something that certain authors call ‘Earthing’ – the Earth’s natural power to energise your body. According to Clinton Ober, author of the book called Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever!, walking barefoot on natural surfaces like grass, sand or plain dirt is a very natural thing, practiced by people for centuries and there are reasons why. The electric field of the Earth, with its subtly pulsating frequencies, has a significant impact on human body. Free electrons from the ground can make your body’s self-healing and self-regulating mechanisms work better. Electrons are the source of antioxidant power, he says, and they can neutralise free radicals in your body. The free radicals would otherwise cause oxidation reactions, taking electrons from healthy tissue, damaging cells and potentially causing inflammation. Therefore it might be advisable to just have a walk outside, or sit with your shoeless and sockless feet on the ground, and wait for the results.

According to C. Ober, going barefoot in nature for 40 minutes can bring the results like reduction or elimination of chronic pain, improved sleep, normalisation of the body’s biological rhythms, reduced muscle tension and headaches, acceleration of healing of injuries and many more. You can find the whole list in the Summer 2014 issue of Mind Body Spirit Magazine. The author claims to have recovered from years of chronic back pain in this way.

Simple solutions can bring remarkable results. Clinton Ober even says that walking barefoot on concrete can bring some results. But not on asphalt, glass or other surfaces created by humans.

If you’re still unsure whether to give it a try, there is a nice article by a biomedical professional, Dr Jon Briffa, called Earthing – important discovery or mumbo-jumbo?, giving some more references, research and his personal experience on the subject…

Practicing Earthing briefly for just two days has made me feel relaxed, connected to my body, and it made my mind a bit clearer. It has relieved my headache and made me feel rejuvenated. This may be because the pace of nature is much slower to the usually busy lives a lot of us live nowadays… More to come if I dedicate some time to do this on a regular basis (this is the plan)… Because when you do it,

you look, feel and sleep better. You have more energy and less pain. It’s Mother Earth’s gift to all of us.

(quote from Clinton Ober’s article entitled EARTHING: Tapping into Mother Earth’s Remarkable Healing Power, Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Summer 2014, page 18 -> you can read it on paper or on your iPhone/iPad using this app)

Take good care and enjoy your barefoot walk!

photo credit: jjay69 via photopin cc

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