Where attention goes, energy flows

Monday 7 February – Sunday 13 February 2022

The title of this blog is something I read and it really inspired me. Lots of practical conversations at the moment about energy in terms of how we are physically reliant on oil and gas from dodgy places like an addict dependent on a fix from their dealer. I know about this, I’ve been there – losing addiction is hard.

But we need to think not just about how can we find oil or gas elsewhere. Also how we can create energy supplies that totally aren’t oil and gas such as renewables. And, most of all, how can we simply use less energy.

This world situation totally relates to our individual everyday lives. Not least where energy = food and so many of us are addicted to food leading to obesity.

But body energy is a finite thing, you particularly realise this as you get older. So the important thing is how to use that finite energy. How to focus it on good and useful things. We can use it on crap like the career hamster wheel or chasing the next high. Or we can channel it for stuff that really matters.

Too many people buy things they don't need, with money they don't have, trying to impress people they don't even like.

Health and Efficiency

Mental Health

Being used to the idea of oblivion

Had a fascinating conversation with a younger colleague this week who said how much they and others are worried about Ukraine. Made me realise that for many, living through the threat of nuclear war and mass destruction is something new. I grew up in the 80s and the threat of nuclear conflict was a constant.

I’m certainly not downplaying the pain people are going through – see my previous blog here about how we are all being stress tested. But the real pain is for the people in Ukraine being bombed by the Russians. Anything we are feeling is secondary. Basically if there is a nuclear attack then we are all dead. And if it doesn’t happen then the war will end at some point.

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.” 

Aldous Huxley

Focus attention and energy on defeating Russia

That isn’t an excuse to be neutral in the face of evil nor to pretend it’s not happening. Rather we need to be aware of the people’s suffering and put our energy into helping them. Life has taught me pacifism doesn’t work. It would not have beaten Hitler and some people deserve to be bombed back into the stone age. So we need to stay steady, help Ukraine, and stand up to Putin (the real Nazi). Better to fight and perish for what you love than live under someone’s boot for the rest of your lives.

Take practical action

One thing we can all do is give money to those on the ground. Cash is more important than donated things that have to be transported, stored, distributed, etc. One of the best ways to donate would seem to me to be via the donation site run by the Ukrainian embassy here

Gym and weight

Managed two gym sessions last week – each on one of my days off. Thus 15 sessions done so far this year = £33 per session. But more important, I love putting energy and effort into doing my gym sessions which makes me both happier and healthier.

Weight is not going well. Back over 14 stone again. Indeed, very bad news is that I am now a whole stone heavier than I was a year ago – details here. This is classic fit with ‘where attention goes, energy flows’. I need to have focus if I am going to lose weight. And I don’t think that is going to happen until I enter my period of semi-retirement from end of May onwards – see below.

“The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing that you’ll make one.”

Elbert Hubbard (American writer, publisher, artist, and philosopher)

Work Life Balance

Not too bad a week at work. Still loving hybrid working which primarily means working from home unless there is a reason for me to go into the office. The usual never-ending onslaught of emails and google messages. As well as trying to do my Tech for Good work, I also sorted out signing up to the Green Pensions Charter – see below. Also check-in meetings, catch-ups with internal and external people, running the social change induction session for new staff, and interviewing potential new members of staff.

Work is very busy even doing just 3 days p.w. And I am reconciled to the fact that I am moving towards what I think of as semi-retirement. Once my colleague Jeantine is back in May, I will be moving to 2 days p.w. And my current contract ends on 31 Dec. Obviously it’s going to be interesting not having so much money but I feel time over money is more important to me now. So I look forward to focusing energy in the future on things like reading, learning, and travelling.

outside a street cafe at night

Tech for Good

  • Great to dip in and out of the sessions last week for Public Sector Insight Week via the Digital Leaders site – access it here. I think you can still register to catch up on all of the recorded sessions.
  • Continuing to support my brilliant colleagues doing pro-bono / low bono work for both Citizens Advice and BMMRO
  • Working on the session we will be doing at the upcoming Third Sector CEO Summit (details here) and also an event to be done in the future as part of our involvement with the Green Software Foundation
  • Had a lovely catch-up with my old colleague Dalia who still works at Comic Relief overseeing their Social Tech work. So good to be able to swap experiences and learning from both our work that cover different angles of Tech for Good.
inter-connected tech

Sustainability

As I said at the start of this blog, energy is both personal and societal. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuring war are awful. Not least in terms of people dying and becoming refugees. But the impact of climate change could be worse, more pervasive, and much longer lasting.

So it’s about focusing on how to help Ukraine but also how to mitigate the impact of climate change. I continue to try to live a less materialistic life – getting rid of things and purchasing / owning less. And it’s great to get out into nature as the weather improves with the arrival of Spring – still enjoying watching the birds on Dave’s main balcony.

Close up of a blue tit

One thing I worked on at my paid work this week was the public announcement of signing up to the Green Pensions Charter. One of the biggest ways we can all take action on the climate emergency is to put our money into ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments. This includes savings but also our pensions. Really worth pressuring pension companies into taking away their massive funds from non-ethical companies.

Books and Reading

‘The Passenger’ by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz

Finished this brilliant book. Also titled ‘The man who took trains’, it’s the story of a Jewish businessman in Nazi Germany in 1938. He is basically trying to escape to another country but this is impossible. Fundamentally he’s trapped in a real life nightmare. And his suitcase full of money is useless. His rapidly diminishing energy is put into simply travelling on trains to and from across Germany searching for any way to get out.

It’s a grim book about life in a totalitarian state where you are part of the ‘enemy inside’. True for dissidents in countries across the world now.

Farage, Putin, Lavrov and GB News. By Cold War Steve.

But what makes this so sad is the true story of the author. A Jewish German who escaped to the UK and was interned in an ‘enemy aliens’ camp on the Isle of Man before being transported to Australia. He was then released and was travelling back to the UK to fight the Nazis when his ship was torpedoed. Everyone on the ship died, he was 27 when he was murdered.

Family and Friends

Mum and Dave

Spent a big chunk of the week with mum who is doing OK. As I spent so much time with her and because Dave had been away the previous weekend, the focus for the weekend just gone was spending time with Dave. Particularly nice to chill out at the Union Jack Club on Saturday night doing dinner in the restaurant and drinks in the bar. Not sure what people thought of us both sitting there reading our books.

Friends: Phyllis, Brian, Jamie

Had a phone catch up with Phyllis on the Costa Del Sol on Tues afternoon. He is fine and the lucky sod is going off to Gran Can. Unfortunately, didn’t get a chance to meet my friends Brian and Rene on Wed as I was working. They are also now in Gran Can. Wish I was there too.

Gran Canaria Hotel Neptuno

Did have an unexpected catch-up with my mate Jamie during the week. He lives near Torremolinos in Benalmadena but was on a surprise visit to the UK. Fun to meet for a coffee on Old Compton St and chat whilst watching the weird and wonderful world go by.

Personal Development

I continue to put energy into developing myself. Still trying to hit Spanish on Duolingo every day. Doesn’t always happen but I am making progress overall. I look forward to the time when I am semi-retired and I can focus on developing myself. TBH, I can’t see myself ever giving up on learning new things.

Art and Culture

As is the norm at the moment, no opportunity for any art or culture uptake in the week gone – simply too busy. Though I continue to read and catch some TV including my guilty Sunday night pleasure ‘Bargain Loving Brits in the Sun’ – living the dream. As with PD above, my longer term plan is that semi-retirement should give me the time and energy to have a lot more artistic and cultural experiences.

The Week Ahead

  • Keep on keeping on – stay calm in the face of the ongoing war, help Ukraine where possible, and look to the future with optimism
  • Trying not to waste energy on feeling sad and annoyed that I will only get 1 gym session in next week. That will be during my non-work day on Thursday.
  • Sadly, for my non-work day of Tuesday, I have blood tests to be done at the hospital and the GP’s as well as some work things to attend to.
  • Looking forward to accessing the activities and resources making up Charity Digital’s Digital Transformation Week – details here
  • Will finish reading ‘Of Men and Angels’ by Michael Arditti. A brilliant book made up of 5 novellas related to the themes of angels and the destruction of Sodom.
  • Looking forward to starting a new ‘real’ book as well as one on my kindle
  • Happy St Patrick’s Day on Thursday everyone !

And Finally…

There is always light

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