The Habitual Hills – a map of pilgrimage and possibilities

The Habitual Hills map

I have ritual.
I yearn for ritual.
I am unhappy with some of my rituals.

Rituals are very similar to habits. Both come in good and bad flavours. Habits form because we let them. Do something regularly and it will become a habit. Do something in response to something else and it will become a habit with a trigger. To change and break habits, do something else and respond in a different way. Like most things this is simple. However, it may not always be so easy to implement and achieve.

The land rises before me once again. This time it isn’t mountainous land, so I don’t need to detour. This land is hilly though. It will need an effort to traverse. The route will be similar every day, these are the Habitual Hills. The Habitual Hills can leave us feeling like we do the same thing every day. Up and down, reaching a height and then descending to the valley. We can let habits control us. We can climb the Habitual Hills day in and day out, going over the same ground. It is good here.

There are lows but there are also highs. We have a good view at times. We even feel like we are getting somewhere. We are happy – it is easy to forget the valley when it is so easy to climb and find the next high. I feel like I am confusing comfort with happiness as a I climb and descend each hill.

The high of the hill is short-lived. It brings the valley too, for without one you can’t have the other. Climb, then descend. Up, then down. Habit. Repeat.

There is so much more to see.

I must not stay in the Habitual Hills. There are greater rituals and habits to form by travelling far and wide. This is not my permanent home.

A story about wifi, bluetooth and giant files

floppy disks

A few months back I was one of many who updated my Macbook to Yosemite 10.10 and began to have WiFi issues. I followed the forum posts, messed with system preferences recommended by the experts and waited for a fix from Apple. Several 10.10.x updates later I was still having issues. When an update came along that promised to address the issues I was hopeful… until a familiar WiFi dropout happened just like before.

Along with several others I took to the Apple forum and pleaded for help. My voice was heard and I was asked to play a part to help sort the issue out. I downloaded debugging tools and was given access to pre-public release updates to test.

At this point in the process we all knew that the issue was a conflict between WiFi and Bluetooth. I could have one or the other but getting both to work at the same time was a problem. As part of the process I was asked to turn on logging for bluetooth. When a dropout occurred a diagnostic report could be generated and sent off to the Apple engineers to see what was happening.

Within a short while the situation was resolved and for the past six months or so, I have been WiFi worry free and bluetooth happy. All is working well and as a result I have been able to write using the external keyboard and mouse and not get any WiFi dropout. Sorted.

Recently I began to think about the free space I had on my hard drive. I have a lot of music and photos and some of the virtual musical instruments use a lot of space too. I was running out of space so was thinking, like all good minimalists, what I actually needed on the Macbook. What software or files can I get rid of or store elsewhere?

As I began to look at what I had and how much drive space was being used by each, I realised that something wasn’t quite right. I had a lot of music, plenty of photos and some Audio Units that took a lot of space, but not enough to make a significant dent in the amount of space that had been used. It was time to look a little closer.

I downloaded a little program that visualised what space was being used and I quickly discovered the culprit. In a folder was a file that was 34gb in size. It was a file that was growing every minute that the Macbook was on. It was being accessed constantly. It was a log file. It was a bluetooth log file. It was the file that began generating when I had the issue earlier in the year. It was now huge. This was a plain text log file that had grown to 34gb in size! I don’t know if this comes close, but I wonder what size the human genome is in plain text?

A quick check in the bluetooth preferences showed me that I was still running the logging tool. I turned it off and the file disappeared. My hard drive breathed a sigh of relief and the urgency in sorting out my folder and file system moved from being urgent to important, that’s the right quadrant it should be in.

So a little question to ask each of ourselves today is, what are we still doing that doesn’t need to be done? How much of what we do on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis is no longer needed? What things are being done simply because they have always been done?

There are things we do that are no longer important or need to be done. Take a moment to see if there is anything that needs clearing, or removing, from your life. If you don’t need it, or it doesn’t need to be done, get rid of it. The less that is going on the more we can focus on what is important and brings us joy.

Benign Bay – A map of pilgrimage and possibilities

benign bay map of pilgrimage and possibilities

I was woken by the rain falling on the window ledge outside my room. It was way before the alarm was supposed to sound. Nature has its own alarm calls, like the birds as they greet each new day with their song. The birds were quiet this morning though, keeping out of the way of the worst the clouds were throwing down.

According to the latest weather reports there are two storm fronts crossing my path today. The first has woken me up. The second is due much later in the day, but it is on its way. In-between there will be a time of peace. Not quite the eye of the hurricane, but a moment, a period of time, when there won’t be rain and all, weather related, will be calm.

The wind may not blow. When that happens the waters are peaceful. At times of peace it is good to spend a morning, afternoon or even a whole day at Benign Bay. At Benign Bay the waters are still. Your mind can relax and clear the mess. It is worth chilling out for a while when you’re in the area.

We don’t know how long the waters, or everything around us, will remain calm. It might be a moment, it could be several or it could be many. The point is that when calmness is there we have the opportunity to grasp it and savour it.

When the waters are calm we can savour the beauty of the sea, or the lake. When there is calm we can notice the things we often miss, or take for granted, or just don’t realise they contain such beauty. When was the last time you sat and watched the setting sun, or the stars in the sky, or a butterfly drifting silently by? How often have you sat and watched a bird sweep and swoop and seemingly effortlessly defy gravity?

There is so much going on in our lives that we can miss the beauty that is always there. When the moments of calm come, even between two storms, we can savour that time. Float across Benign Bay and take in the sites, enjoy the sensations and savour the moments – it costs nothing too!

Rest and stay a while… the waters are not always calm.

A few months back I wrote a song about savouring moments so thought it was apt to share here, but don’t let it stop you visiting Benign Bay. Listen by clicking the little play triangle. If you like the music you can find more at This Temple Eden.



Silence and solitude
Camellia Sinensis
Brewed infused

Words read, neurones fed
Sound sculpting, time at rest
Breath inhaled

I savour all these moments

Personal victories,
Waves breaking on beaches
Blossom on breeze

Use what I have
Have what I need
Contentment not greed

I savour all these moments

Moments to meditate
Don’t rush just hesitate
This time’s my time

The future’s not happened
The past can’t be changed
The present, the gift

I savour all these moments