Digital Intimacy and a Facebook Reacharound

I have been passionate about Digital Intimacy – the ways the web can show Love – for a decade. But last week I realized that Facebook has taken it to a new level.

After returning home from a 500 person camping event, I’ve saw the net used as a Love Connector better than I’ve ever experienced before.
It has been over a week since Fuente ended and I am still feeling strong Love vibrations through my Facebook World.
**
I saw someone post that – among certain Tribes – status updates are becoming a form of positive life affirmations.

That is certainly a trend in my online world.

If your online presence consists of you complaining frequently, starting political debates, or speaking often of interests that I would rather not spend time on, I’ll probably “Hide” your updates from my daily browsing. This is not a judgment, of YOU, just a choice about what I am consuming. It is the same discipline I use when choosing what TV I watch.
Since Facebook provides me with an bottomless trough of digital morsels – Sweet, savory, soothing, sexy, silly – I can feed indefinitely. Some of it is healthy. Some of it is toxic.

“Digital Dieting” is becoming as important as Food Dieting.

And Facebook gives you the tools to be vigilant about what you consume.

If you checked the people who are on my “check frequently” filter, they are all optimists. They are all noticing what is going RIGHT in their world.
If they are dealing with a challenge, they are focusing on progress.
I’m not expecting people to have lives without challenge. But if I want to make another person’s life a part of MY daily narrative, I want to make sure it enhances.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Many people I follow have roses to deal with. I simply have no desire to have my energy directed to the thorns, when the flowers are so much more wonderful.

Jacob Glass said, “You live the life you narrate.”
So be very careful of the life you choose to tell.
I’ve found that the people I follow tend to flowing with their praise. I love it. Whether it is art/music/food they are enjoying, or public comments proclaiming appreciation and Love for friends.
Jenny Cutebutton posted on Daniel Hugfellow’s wall “Thank you so much for helping me out yesterday! You are a lifesaver and I feel so lucky to have you in my life!”

I love seeing these one-to-one comments in my stream of people I know slightly – but who know each OTHER with a deep open love. It makes my world full of people who speak boldly from their hearts. Who shower praise. Who count their blessings.
I’m affected positively by being exposed to their digitally intimate Love.

It is a Love Cloud.

The expressions don’t happen in real time. They are lobbed into a cloud. Like a bottle into the ocean. Or more accurately, a “stream.” To be read (and released into my world) whenever the post is read from the stream.

This week my stream has been littered with pictures, comments, thank you’s and revelations from Fuente Eterno. For the first time I am feeling a post-event Love vibe Reallllly strong in the digital world.

The size (aprox 500 people) lends itself perfectly to online connecting. As people tag one another in photos, I learn the names of people I met briefly, or maybe saw across the dance floor.
I’ve also seen people track down one another with amazing ease. “I’m trying to find Larry Loo.”
Someone replies, “That is Sonnata’s boyfriend. Search Sonnata on my friend’s list.”

And the phsycial/digital connections grow.

The Burning Man event also has a digital connection, but it involves so many more people, spread out through Tribe and ePlaya and regional lists. The same way you may not see someone more than once during the week on the vast Playa, the chance of finding shared experiences online is also much less.

But with Fuente, the common areas and shared experiences are plentiful.

**
This Saturday I am hosting an informal Fuente Decompression brunch at my place. I created a Facebook Event and posted on the Fuente Group Page. Will the word spread and people show up? The Digital Intimacy experiment continues!

John
March 26, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dad!

SANDWICH!

Today we’re celebrating my dad’s 69th birthday.
I feel so lucky to for his presence in my life.
My dad is one of those people who follows no religion, but follows a righteous path.

I learned from him that doing the right thing is it’s own reward.
I learned that nothing you can gain from deceit is worth being a dishonest man.
I learned that Time is finite resource to be treasured. But Money is just a tool.
I learned that Respect comes from Integrity.
I learned that “idea men” are a dime a dozen. The world needs people that get things done.
I learned that the News is never 100% correct.
I learned to respect the Constitution and the US system – and to participate to fix it’s flaws.
I learned that men hug.
I learned that parents can become your best friends.

My dad pushed me hard to achieve. But when the day came that I wanted to step off the beaten track, he gave me his blessings. He gave me strong healthy roots. And he allowed me my wings. I never feel like I have to earn his approval. I know that – even when he disagrees with my choices – he loves and respects the person I am.
And learning how to love people like that is the greatest lesson of all.

Happy Birthday, Pop. Thank you for being you.
-Johnny

"Would you rather be Right? Or Happy?"

A neighbor forwarded me an email from the local Neighborhood Watch group.
It was full of updates about “the parking situation,” and a copy of an email sent to our local councilman.
Unfortunately, “the situation” revolved around my motorhome.
I’ll admit that my first reaction upon seeing accusations and unkind words about my beloved vehicle was anger.
I was also upset that a neighbor would email the councilman before emailing me. (My url is all over the vehicle.) Many people have emailed me saying they enjoyed seeing the pink on their commute. Only two have asked why I don’t move it. (A third person told me that it was offensive to park such a cheery vehicle on a corner where a violent crime occurred 10 years ago.) Apparently a number of additional neighbors have gone straight to the police.
I learned about the complaints from the nice officer who came by two days ago. The officer noted that I was compliant with the law, but that people were still upset.
It is an uncomfortable feeling to know that unknown neighbors are harboring resentment towards you. It makes me want to stay inside my house.
It also makes me want to rise up and challenge the attacks.

I wanted to park right in front of the complainers. Find a way to obey the law but while being as annoying as possible.
I wanted to attack the attitude that a row of shiny SUVs is pretty, but a unique piece of art is an eye sore.
I want to take each comment in the email, one by one, and dispute them.

But that would just create a fight.

I am reminded of an exchange I witnessed between my grandfather and one of his neighbors at the retirement community. While waiting for an elevator, he was being his jubilant and social self with the rest of the people waiting. Accidentally, he backed into a woman and stepped on her foot.
She EXPLODED in rage at him. Screaming about his clumsiness and lack of consideration. I felt the hair on my neck stand up, my muscles tenses, and I went into a fight-or-flight “PROTECT GRANDPA!” mode.

But he barely reacted at all.

He spun around and faced her humbly. “I am so sorry” he said, while holding the elevator door open. “Let me get the door for you. Please forgive me.”

I was still trying to calm my inner rage, and he had already diffused the situation. What stuck with me was that he did not react at all. It is one thing to feel the anger and then work to calm it down. It is another to be screamed in the face and never raise a heartbeat. He was pure love.

It was almost like a Jedi mind trick. She *wanted* to be angry at him. She was angry that he was so happy and whistling like an idiot. When he stepped on her toes it justified all the frustration and bitterness she harbored.
But when she swung her bat of righteousness at him, it hit nothing. It whooshed right through him like he was vapor. He gave her nothing solid to rail against – and the fight was over before it began.

I remember the exchange vividly. I remember being in awe of grandpa’s calm. I remember thinking, “That is the difference between practicing, and being.” Someday I hope to walk the walk like he does.
Clearly I am not there, yet. But I can still learn from him.

1) I cannot control how people react to my actions. I need to act from a place of Love, and trust that things will work out as they should.
2) If I am discover that my actions (even those coming from Love) *are* causing distress, acknowledge the situation and apologize for any negative reactions.
3) Look for a solution that is win-win. If that is not possible, find an agreeable cost/benefit situation. NOTE: This solution *may* be that the other person will have to deal with my actions. (Their discomfort does not outweigh the benefit of my actions.)

I am no stranger to rubbing people the wrong way. For years I cultivated that kind of interaction. “A pink furry bike makes you react so negatively!? WAKE UP!!!!”
But I have mellowed somewhat. (*cough* *cough*)
I am still sitting with this and have yet to send a reply to the neighborhood watch. But I am thinking my next steps will be:

1) Be vigilant about moving the RV every 72 hours. Start setting calendar alarms to ensure that all rules are followed.
2) Respond to the email with some (gentle) personal clarifications AND acknowledge my willingness to help with their big picture goal. (Which I understand to be “don’t let the street become an industrial storage area.”)
3) If needed, solicit some honest “pro-Hugmobile” emails to our councilman so that City Hall has a balanced view of “What the neighborhood thinks.”
4) Make sure they have my contact info and clearly leave the door open for future dialog.
5) Invite them all to join me in the Hugmobile this Saturday for our monthly “Help the Homeless” run.

When I told the police officer that my grandpa’s ashes were mixed into the paint job, he was a bit stunned. He was concerned about how I would ever be able to repaint or sell it without disrespecting my grandpa.
All I could think was, You don’t know my grandpa very well. His left his body 4 years ago this week. And this weekend his ashes are going to make (another) trip to skid row and help spread pink Love. I don’t think he feels disrespected at ALL. I bet he is stoked.

-John
April 1, 2010

Would You Rather Be Right? Or Happy?


A neighbor forwarded me an email from the local Neighborhood Watch group.
It was full of updates about “the parking situation,” and a copy of an email sent to our local councilman.
Unfortunately, “the situation” revolved around my motorhome.
I’ll admit that my first reaction upon seeing accusations and unkind words about my beloved vehicle was anger.
I was also upset that a neighbor would email the councilman before emailing me. (My url is all over the vehicle.) Many people have emailed me saying they enjoyed seeing the pink on their commute. Only two have asked why I don’t move it. (A third person told me that it was offensive to park such a cheery vehicle on a corner where a violent crime occurred 10 years ago.) Apparently a number of additional neighbors have gone straight to the police.
I learned about the complaints from the nice officer who came by two days ago. The officer noted that I was compliant with the law, but that people were still upset.
It is an uncomfortable feeling to know that unknown neighbors are harboring resentment towards you. It makes me want to stay inside my house.
It also makes me want to rise up and challenge the attacks.

I wanted to park right in front of the complainers. Find a way to obey the law but while being as annoying as possible.
I wanted to attack the attitude that a row of shiny SUVs is pretty, but a unique piece of art is an eye sore.
I want to take each comment in the email, one by one, and dispute them.

But that would just create a fight.

I am reminded of an exchange I witnessed between my grandfather and one of his neighbors at the retirement community. While waiting for an elevator, he was being his jubilant and social self with the rest of the people waiting. Accidentally, he backed into a woman and stepped on her foot.
She EXPLODED in rage at him. Screaming about his clumsiness and lack of consideration. I felt the hair on my neck stand up, my muscles tenses, and I went into a fight-or-flight “PROTECT GRANDPA!” mode.

But he barely reacted at all.

He spun around and faced her humbly. “I am so sorry” he said, while holding the elevator door open. “Let me get the door for you. Please forgive me.”

I was still trying to calm my inner rage, and he had already diffused the situation. What stuck with me was that he did not react at all. It is one thing to feel the anger and then work to calm it down. It is another to be screamed in the face and never raise a heartbeat. He was pure love.

It was almost like a Jedi mind trick. She *wanted* to be angry at him. She was angry that he was so happy and whistling like an idiot. When he stepped on her toes it justified all the frustration and bitterness she harbored.
But when she swung her bat of righteousness at him, it hit nothing. It whooshed right through him like he was vapor. He gave her nothing solid to rail against – and the fight was over before it began.

I remember the exchange vividly. I remember being in awe of grandpa’s calm. I remember thinking, “That is the difference between practicing, and being.” Someday I hope to walk the walk like he does.
Clearly I am not there, yet. But I can still learn from him.

1) I cannot control how people react to my actions. I need to act from a place of Love, and trust that things will work out as they should.
2) If I am discover that my actions (even those coming from Love) *are* causing distress, acknowledge the situation and apologize for any negative reactions.
3) Look for a solution that is win-win. If that is not possible, find an agreeable cost/benefit situation. NOTE: This solution *may* be that the other person will have to deal with my actions. (Their discomfort does not outweigh the benefit of my actions.)

I am no stranger to rubbing people the wrong way. For years I cultivated that kind of interaction. “A pink furry bike makes you react so negatively!? WAKE UP!!!!”
But I have mellowed somewhat. (*cough* *cough*)
I am still sitting with this and have yet to send a reply to the neighborhood watch. But I am thinking my next steps will be:

1) Be vigilant about moving the RV every 72 hours. Start setting calendar alarms to ensure that all rules are followed.
2) Respond to the email with some (gentle) personal clarifications AND acknowledge my willingness to help with their big picture goal. (Which I understand to be “don’t let the street become an industrial storage area.”)
3) If needed, solicit some honest “pro-Hugmobile” emails to our councilman so that City Hall has a balanced view of “What the neighborhood thinks.”
4) Make sure they have my contact info and clearly leave the door open for future dialog.
5) Invite them all to join me in the Hugmobile this Saturday for our monthly “Help the Homeless” run.

When I told the police officer that my grandpa’s ashes were mixed into the paint job, he was a bit stunned. He was concerned about how I would ever be able to repaint or sell it without disrespecting my grandpa.
All I could think was, You don’t know my grandpa very well. His left his body 4 years ago this week. And this weekend his ashes are going to make (another) trip to skid row and help spread pink Love. I don’t think he feels disrespected at ALL. I bet he is stoked.

-John
April 1, 2010