my name is phillip

This is my little corner of the internet

I like books, music, cooking, Gardening, mountaineering, and building embedded systems

Collected Musings, 9/14/18

Collected Musings, 9/14/18

On Wednesday, Rozi and I were on an errand downtown, and I decided we should abandon work to have a tea break at the Yerba Buena Gardens. We never noticed that behind the Yerba Buena Gardens waterfall is a civil rights monument dedicated to Dr. King. There are two iconic photographs, as well as a series of Dr. King's quotes. Each quote is printed in English and translated into one additional language. Walking through the monument, I was awestruck by the unceasing power of Dr. King's words.

I've had these two quotes in particular stuck in my mind since visiting the monument. They spoke to me in a way that still sends chills down my spine.

"There is nothing in all the world greater than freedom. It is worth paying for; it is worth going to jail for. I would rather die in abject poverty with my convictions than live in inordinate riches with the lack of self-respect."

"We must rapidly begin to shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered"

Our society is still trapped in the vice of our thing-oriented society. Perhaps we don't really want to escape - we love our toys, alcohol, weed, and sugar.

I've been doing some heavy reading these past few months. I've recently finished reading The Fall by Albert Camus, The Dhammapada, Rites and Symbols of Initiation by Mercea Eliade and Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh.

It's telling that I've managed to read Anger twice now, but haven't shared the book notes yet. I've decided to revisit Deep Nutrition while I work through my overwhelming book note backlog.

After reading so many books, it can be quite disturbing to look at a book which you've previously read and have no recollection of its thesis or plot. I originally started my highlighting and book review process to attempt to combat this memory loss, and reviewing my book nots at regular intervals has been quite helpful.

I recently started creating mind maps while I'm reading a book. After a reading session (usually the next day), I take a moment to draw out some of the points that stand out in my mind. Creating these maps helps me in many ways:

  • I can stretch my memory muscles, increasing recall
  • I am forced to distill complex ideas into single words and short phrases
  • I create visual connections between ideas
  • I create visual anchors to associate with words and ideas when possible

I'm still quite new at this practice and my mind maps are rough and cluttered. Plus, my drawing skills are greatly atrophied.

So far they've helped me cement the ideas from the two books in my mind, and I have a handy one-page cheat sheet whenever I need a refresher.

Here's a mind map for Rites and Symbols of Initiation by Mercea Eliade:


And here's my mind map for Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh:


Seth Godin recently posted "Ignore the Questions", which hit me right in the gut.

I was in great need of this reminder in particular:

Instead, consider using the question as a chance to see more deeply in what this interaction is for, where are you hoping to go? Focus on status roles, the creation and resolution of tension, and most of all, changing minds.

If you’re not working to change minds, why are you here again?

My Thursdays are dedicated to two purposes:

  1. Volunteering at the Japanese Tea Garden
  2. Working on my business (rather than in my business)

Gardening helps me turn off my thinking brain, focus on quality, and step away from my computer for a few hours. It's practically impossible to step into the garden early in the morning without peace entering into your soul.

The past few months have been quite foggy, but we got some brilliant sunshine this Thursday, so I snapped a few photos.


I love playing with loops using Apple's live images. Water is always a fun subject:

I was talked into attending a bonsai auction at the behest of my gardening friends. You can't go to an auction without joining in on the fun, and picked up a (seemingly) lifetime supply of wire, some pots, a few tools, and this 10-yr old Ginkgo.


I have no idea what to do with it yet, other than prevent it from dying.

Since my mind is focused on plants, I'll leave you with this quote on gardening which I lifted from Tim Ferris's newsletter:

“Gardening is not outcome-oriented. A successful harvest is not the end of a gardener's existence, but only a phase of it. As any gardener knows, the vitality of a garden does not end with a harvest. It simply takes another form. Gardens do not ‘die’ in the winter but quietly prepare for another season.”
James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games

The Fall

The Fall

Let it Enfold You

Let it Enfold You