I hope the questions in Part Two awakened some dreams and piqued your curiosity. You may have even gotten a glimpse of a side of yourself that goes beyond your self-imposed limitations and the ones life has heaped upon you.

Google is most people’s usual “go to” search engine and there are many more but there are other means of finding what suits you on the Internet. Sky Watch Friday provides a gallery of thumbnail links to blogs which have posted a mostly sky-filled photo. Posts come from all over the globe and, if you choose to, adding one of your own is relatively simple. Using Sky Watch or a similar site as a search engine opens a unique door to wonderful national and international blogs. You’ll enter an exotic and intriguing world just by browsing countries and states from your list. Don’t let the fact that some are written in unfamiliar languages frighten you off; translate them if you wish, but even if you don’t want the bother, blogs using Oriental and Cyrillic, etc. scripts are often well worth a glance just for their stunning photography. Since blogs are all set up basically the same way, whatever language or alphabet is being used it’s fairly easy to locate the blogroll; simply scroll down with your eyes on the sidebars. If the language uses the Roman alphabet it will pop out at you–if it uses another script, you’ll still find it.

On a recent Friday visit, I began with a blog on New Delhi because, for me, India epitomizes the word exotic. Written in English, it listed a dozen or so favorite blogs. I chose a Polish one since my maternal grandparents emigrated from Poland. Following the gorgeous photos running down the right hand sidebar, I scrolled down to Moja lista blogów and found blogs from Japan, Norway, Russia, and Spain. Each blog was a gold mine and each visit propelled me off on another adventure.

At this point a little self discipline and orderliness comes in handy. Label folders with your initials and your chosen categories to separate them from your regular favorites and pop in any promising blogs immediately. It will save so much time in the long run and you won’t lose what you love. Simply saving blogs isn’t what you’re after–it’s quality you want not quantity, so stop after about half an hour. Next time you log on–go to the sites you’ve saved and read further. Do they really fit your list? You’re sense of enthusiasm will let you know immediately. If it’s not there, let them go.

Using Sky Watch for even a couple of weeks will give you plenty to work with: interesting blogs, beautiful photography, cities, states, and countries for exploring, plus the possibility of practicing a language you may know slightly, or the unexpected delight of discovering common interests with bloggers half a world away or right next door.

In my next post we’ll we’ll delve into your unique interests using another common Internet site that can either be a huge time waster or an efficient search tool.


In Part One I explained how I use the Internet. Now it’s about how you can use it–not just to cruise aimlessly, but to find the person deep inside that you’ve been ignoring most of your life. Before you answer any of the following questions, accept the fact that there are no limitations to your answers. You’re not applying for a job or setting up an impossible schedule for self-improvement. Your age, education, physical ability and bank account are of no concern. Consider this an experiment or, better yet, a journey of discovery. Remember:the three “W’s” stand for World Wide Web–and it’s all available to you just by typing a few key strokes. Keep a pencil handy and add to the questions that grab you. Later if some of mine were of no interest you can toss them, but for now–let’s go!

What’s your idea of a dream job? We’re not talking money here–remember–you have all the money, brains, strength and youth you need. So, what did you want to be when you were a kid? What did you dream about? Does it still appeal to you or have you outgrown the dream? What area of the world would you love to visit or move to? What conjures up your imagination, cruising down the Seine or following Marco Polo’s Silk Road? Where did your parents or grandparents come from? What group or collection of people would you love to hang out with, be a part of: athletes, artists, professors, movie stars, astronomers, chefs, poets, saints, architects, photographers, journalists, . . . . . .? Would you search for adventure or peace and quiet, big cities and fast cars or country villages and dusty libraries? What books lifted your spirit when you were a child and, now, as an adult? Why have you never forgotten them? What lit a fire in your mind, what’s the thing you longed for and never got to do? If you could choose a mentor, an expert (alive or dead, real or fictional) who could pass on his/her skill, knowledge, or wisdom to you who (what) would it be?

This is the richness and the miracle of the Internet. Neither it nor I can transform you into a different person, but the ability to access what calls to your intellect and heart is available and I hope, at this point, you’re wondering why you’ve been spending so much time on forums with people you wouldn’t invite into your home, or why you’re always convinced the world is going to pot when you log off, or why you believe the only thing you’re smart enough for, or good enough to spend your time doing is playing the same game over and over. You deserve better than that! Stay tuned for Part Three.

Here’s a question I’d like to ask of both young and old. Have you considered that you might be wasting a miracle? Do you realize the true value of those few hundred dollars you’ve spent on your computer, laptop or other device? Here’s a machine that you can program to fit the person you long to become. So how are you using it?

I’ll soon be celebrating a birthday and beginning another decade, a milestone that warrants a reassessment of where I’ve been and where I’m going in this life with its beginning, middle and, much as we avoid discussing it, end.

Last night I realized how grateful I was to be alive during this particular time period. Even 20 years older, I might have missed the opportunity to avail myself of a great mind expanding experience. If I confess to you my belief that the Internet is one of the greatest tools for self-knowledge, it might seem a tad over the top, so let me try to explain.

Relatives and friends have sometimes commented that they wished they could be “creative” like me. Because I write and draw, they assume that somehow I’m smarter than they are. It’s not true, of course, I’ve simply spent my time finding out what I love and what I have a knack for doing. Right now there’s no better place to do that than the Internet. Unfortunately, both young and old have become addicted to playing games, setting up virtual gardens, and commenting on issues they don’t even care about. In the meantime their life clock keeps ticking. Months turn into years, years into decades, and they’ve missed learning who they are and what they are passionate about.

Consider, for a moment, your friends and family. You love and cherish them, but are any of them dramatically smarter than you? When was the last time you came away from a conversation feeling you’d really learned something, maybe even grown as a human being. Do you know any saints? Any inventors, geniuses, leaders, world changers? Probably not. We choose our friends, and they choose us, not to learn from, but for their comfort level, in other words, we choose people just like us. Even if we were invited to a gathering of people who were miles ahead mentally or spiritually, we might be too timid or frightened to accept, thinking we’d be out of our depth or possibly embarrassed. Not so with the Internet, where we can mingle unseen.

I’m not talking here about improving your education or taking courses by computer, although opportunities for those abound. I’m talking about “meeting” entertaining, wise, likeable people you would give your eye tooth to have mentor you, but would never have the courage or means to approach.

Last week I meditated with Sylvia Boorstein who shared the Buddhist practice of Metta. Her soft-spoken, sweet demeanor immediately drew me to her. On TED, Sir Kevin Robinson and the author of Eat, Pray, Love, gave entertaining talks with much food for thought. I’d never seen either of them before and I enjoyed their company for their allotted 18 minutes. Two online friends and I met daily in a private Facebook group to encourage one another with prayer as we each go through difficult times. They expand my soul.

I frequently visit or take courses on Spirituality and Practice for their take on world news, entertainment and the wisdom of all religions. The French site, L’Evangile Au Quotidien, contains daily Bible reading in many languages. I read the English and attempt the French, or Spanish. For the fun of it I watch creativity videos, or listen to music from the past with Youtube. There are rarely annoying commercials, no one lying to win money, screeching car chases, or shows with grisly murders and mounting body counts. I’m never bored. Unlike TV, my viewing is tailor-made to nurture and grow my mind and soul in any way I choose.

This is the world according to “porchsitter”. It isn’t the world according to you, but the point is, it could be. Why not experiment and learn who you are? Start by accessing the things you love and then ramp it up a notch. How? That’s what this little series of posts will address.

I need motivation to clean house. If I don’t have a good reason to do it, it doesn’t get done. Really. There are so many more interesting and creative things to do with my time. The best motivator is when company’s coming, then it’s, Yikes, how high the paper piles have grown,” Gee, I didn’t realize the dust was that thick,” and, “Whew, that floor looks baaad!”.

Big band music has been my go-to energizer when even I can’t take the mess any longer. It doesn’t lend itself so much to dusting, or going through papers, but putting away clutter or swiffering to Glenn Miller and Harry James is about as painless as cleaning gets. With my motorized wheel chair for locomotion my floors are done and danced to in no time.

There are advantages to living in a three room apartment. By just turning up the volume on the computer, I can hear music in the bedroom and kitchen as well. Taking this a step further I can catch up with TED Talks or some other podcast in the living room or kitchen while I cook or clean. I found a public radio blog called On Being and listened to a wonderful interview today with the poet Elizabet Anderson.
The help page for On Being has a hundred or more pod casts to choose from and several ways to access them. I used ITunes.

Speaking of TED Talks and wheel chairs here’s one you simply can’t miss. Multimedia, performance and installation artist Sue Austin has a fascinating mission at the center of her work: to challenge the idea of disabled as “other” and represent her experience as a wheelchair user in a brighter light.