Lost and found on the Web

One of my intentions for the coming year is to be a little more conscious of the time I spend online. Those hours and hours that go by as I’m mindlessly consumed by my inbox, or following links, or scanning Twitter—my colleague Nannette calls this “getting lost.” I’d like to be less lost…or lost less.

A delightful book, Wisdom 2.0, offers practical ways of dealing with this phenomenon.  The author, Soren Gordhamer, presents conferences on using technology for genuine connection rather than distraction—the second annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference is coming up in February, in Silicon Valley.

The book’s chapters are short and pithy, with lots of simple and useful exercises.

I’m working with the very first exercise. When I’m at the computer and feeling scattered or overly focused, the idea is to do three things (actually, Soren frames this as two things—he combines the first two steps below into one—but it’s helpful for me to separate them):

Notice my state of mind. Bored? Excited? Connected? Lonely? Am I feeling constricted? Expansive?

Notice what’s going on in my body. Shoulders tight? Breathing shallow? Relaxed anywhere?

Explore my options by asking, “What would be best for me right now?”

What I find, in my experiments with this practice, is that the last question sometimes scares me off. I mean, it’s a wonderful question, but I’m someone who has trouble taking a stretch break even when my shoulders are crying out for one. “What would be best for me right now?” feels momentous—it implies that I might need to do something different. If I know this question is coming up, I might skip the earlier questions so I can stay lost in cyberland.

But to ask just the first two questions, on a semi-regular basis—that would be enormous progress. Not asking in order to change anything, just to notice. Even that bit of awareness could start to bring me back from the land of the lost.

Maybe I could follow the two questions with two conscious breaths. Ahhh.

I’ll keep it simple and start with:

What’s my state of mind right now? (Hm. A little impatient. Feeling a little behind.)

What’s going on in my body? (Back of my neck is tight. Ankles crossed. I’m uncrossing them. I think I will stand up and stretch.)

Happy New Year!


  1. Ahh–fresh new noticings for the new year! I think focusing on your two questions will be both doable and really helpful. If the checking in becomes a new habit…! :o)

  2. Janet Bailey says:

    @Michelle – So far so good… 😉

  3. Allison says:

    I find that meditation is most useful to get me in the right mindset. And your right, paying attention to how your mind and body feels should help you decide the best direction to head in and what to work on for the day. It’s all about acknowledging how you feel to determine and help identify goals. Great article, thanks for sharing!

  4. Janet Bailey says:

    @Allison – It can get you into the right mindset, as you say, and meditation is also good practice in identifying what’s happening in your mind and body so that you can keep doing it when you’re not meditating. Glad this is working for you!

  5. bonni says:

    Really glad you mentioned feeling scared-off by those kinds of big questions sometimes — I do too — sometimes for me it’s like “Well, right now I’m stuck in that frame of mind where I *don’t* at all want to do what’s best for me!” — so geez, asking myself that question only makes me feel guilty for not having grand thoughts of what is best! I really need more ways to bond with my inner toddler, like you say. 😉

  6. Janet Bailey says:

    @Bonni – That pressure to have grand thoughts—definitely intimidating. Inner toddlers, unite!

  7. Tom says:

    These are good ideas; the last question especially is common sense but it’s often the obvious that needs stating. Thank you!

  8. Janet Bailey says:

    @Tom – You’re so right, a common-sense question that I need to be reminded of again and again…

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