Excercise. Passion comes at least in part from the body and when you are awash with endorfins it becomes easier to be passionate about things, even intellectual things, such as moodling.
Not only is it easy to be passionate about music but music does have strong, drug-like effects. Sure, I'm biased. And I'm not saying exercise isn't important. But musicking is not just fun. It can really give you a life-enhancing workout.
And, no, I'm not talking about playing scales on a piano. That can do wonderful things to your sense of discipline but it's not as good a way to find passion than playing Guitar Hero or Dance, Dance, Revolution.
Thanks for the reminder Timothy.
I see you have a little one on the lap. Often a combination of work and singleminded determination to spend every second with the children means you forget about yourself, in particular exercise. When I make a conscious effort to recognise for a moment that I'm starting to feel a sausage short of a BBQ, I also recognise that more often than not I haven't taken a routine bout of exercise.
We shouldn't forget the passion that the creative imagination of a child can bring about either.
You might want to read the book written by Rick Warren "The Purpose-driven life: What on earth am I here for?"
Here is the Web site:
It seems that you are living in Singapore. You might want to contact with Pastor Abraham Lee at email@example.com. He is a really nice pastor with great sense of humor. He used to be the pastor here in my church here in San Francisco, but now he moved back to Singapore. I'm sure if you go to his church in Singapore you will love it!
Just my 2 cents, hope it helps.
Again please don't flame me on this. It works for me, but not necessary would work for you. If I remember correctly (I might be wrong), I remember reading that Martin Dougiamas (our Mr. Moodle) is also a Christian. So he might have some insight to share with you too.
And I thought that BTW meant "Back to Work" which sounded like a good remedy for navel-gazing.
I agree with Timothy and Alexandre, music, dance and exercise are excellent ways to get that "re-connected" passion back.
I also find that sex works very well too, but I not going to go too deep in that direction.
Wen's reading choice is excellent, even for a non-christen or people who just doubt the existence of a higher power. Another good reading choice is "Conversations with God" (http://www.cwg.org/) I hear the movie wasn't too good, but I loved the book.
Speaking of movies here are a couple of suggestions:
- The Razor's Edge (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087980/) Not the original "westernized" version, but the 1980's remake with, believe it or not comedian Bill Murry.
- What Dreams May Come (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120889/) My wife will not watch it because it reduces her to a blubbering mass. My daughter and I love it!
- What the Bleep do we Know? (http://www.whatthebleep.com/whatthebleep/) Truly a mind bending look at life and science. Plus Marlee Matlin stars...........
I have drawn inspiration from all of these sources at one time or another. Hope this helps!
Man, is the Moodle community strong!
This thread is a pretty good example. Especially since it seems to bypass expectations about gender lines.
I've been very active on literally hundreds of mailing-lists and forums and this one is really one of the most welcoming places I've been in quite a long while. Other Moodle-related forums are also reasonably "nice" in this sense, but I must admit how impressed I am at how considerate people have been around here.
In fact, it gives me some hope for what my courses' forums could become.
(Of course, I fully expect someone to prove me wrong about this in the next few minutes. But I have 30 minutes to edit my message... )
I agree. I not much of a contributor to the boards myself, more of a "lurker". I have seen a lot of support, both technical and non-technical here at Moodle, which is one of the reasons why it stands head and shoulders above the rest!
Exactly! That's actually the reason I'm not so worried about Blankbored. I had to use two versions of it, in Massachusetts. One of the reasons I disliked it was that it lacks this sense of community. I mean, it's a decent platform for textbook-teaching. If you happen to have a textbook package, the level of integration is somewhat appropriate, to those students who prefer to read the material and take the test. But nothing about it made it appealing as a community-building tool.
I really mean it when I say that I'm impressed with the sense of community, here. Oh, there's the occasional communication breakdown. But, at least, we're not lost in corporate speak.
I remember the first time I went to the main Moodle site. I could see right away that it was built by learners and teachers as a way for learners and teachers to collaborate in teaching and learning. Though it sounds like an advertisement for the software, I've been telling people about it from the point of view of using Moodle in teaching.
Now, this doesn't mean that we all agree on what Moodle should do. But Moodle is so flexible and the community is so active that all of these ideas about and through Moodle are considered carefully.
Students who are afraid to "speak up" are unlikely to use tools with which they don't feel comfortable. With Moodle being so exciting, I already see the positive effect Moodle has on my courses.
Now that Moodle is making it big outside of schools, into other forms of online communities and social networking, even the most typical bean-counter can see the benefits of using Moodle over, say, Blankbored...
I am a great believer in distraction. When feeling the ennui that you describe is not necessarily a good time to think about the future or even too much about yourself. Physical activity, fun (various examples already given) are great distractions, especially if their focus is on giving to others or just enjoying being with them.
Failing that, take up knitting and then you can blog about it. I even managed to link knitting to the Internet in an idle hour.
I know that is much easier to say than do, but your post shows you're interested in reaching out which is a great start. I know from Moodle that it's so much easier to stay enthusiastic with something if you have others around you interested in the same thing.
And not just friends on the Internet. Local people you can meet up with and share some experiences with. If you can't find a group start one!
I do see (and feel!) a definite trend/gravity for people in IT-saturated societies towards living alone, physically isolated by ipods and computers and TV, keeping their sharing restricted only within that plane, and it does worry me. More moots!
Hate to disagree with someone I respect so much
But, Martin, I must say that Moodle and the Moodle community clearly show that there's no reason to worry about people's physical isolation. Making friends through Moodle is, in fact, a great way to get friends "in real life" (IRL).
Now, Moodle itself hasn't really served that purpose for me yet. Although, some former students have been contacting me thanks to Moodle and I'm definitely on friendly terms with them. Many online/virtual communities have helped me make lots of new friends that I wouldn't have made if it weren't for online communication. And I really see Moodle as the ideal system for enhanced human interaction. I already see that in my classes. Students meet on Moodle and then get to interact in class. It's not only fun, but it's quite reassuring.
Recently, I seem to have angered someone whose work is very valuable to me. I guess I must have rubbed him the wrong way, something a talkative guy like me is bound to do on occasion. Upsetting other people is one of the things I dislike the most in life. This difficult situation prompted me to write a blog entry . I really should have written an entry about how friendships get started online.
And though we tend to think about differences between online and IRL friendships. Thing is, in my experience, I can't always say that online friendships were necessarily less fulfilling or valuable.
Ok, ok. I'm a geek.
But still... One French-speaking mailing-list which started in the 1980s has brought people together in every possible way. Some subscribers traveled from Quebec to Australia thanks to the list. Couples have been formed. Children of some subscribers became subscribers themselves. Gallons of coffee and beer have been shared thanks to contacts made through the list. Perhaps less importantly, some people probably got new jobs because of the list.
The point is, while it is very important not to limit our lives to our contact with technology, Moodle and similar tools are bringing from us the human side of life. I do hope I'm not the only one who cherishes this possibility.
Hey, speaking of which... Any Moodlers out there who might be spending any time in Montreal? I should also be spending some time in Western MA (NoHo) in May and would love to meet fellow Moodlers (in addition to my students, of course).
Multiple cheers for Moodle bonding!
If it weren't for my debt load, I would really love to stay in Mali or other places where friends are the real wealth.
For myself, though, I have really noticed (on my travels around the world in the past decade or so) how especially in the bigger cities it is really rare for strangers to talk to each other, even just a friendly observation or two. Even when they're sitting next to each other and practically touching for half an hour on a subway or bus. This includes Singapore, where William is from.
MP3 players and other gadgets are obviously increasingly popular, and you just see rows and rows of people sitting isolated, seemingly (I guess) grateful for the excuse to not have to talk to random strangers. Especially younger people. I totally understand they may not be confident doing that but that's less likely to change with headphones wedged firmly in or by watching TV, don't you think? Especially when everyone around you is the same.
I've experimented with this on planes and even on long journeys of 14 hours or more, the people I sit next to have very rarely initiated conversations (I'd estimate 1 in 10 or less). However, once I do make an effort to ask a leading question or two we usually manage to have very stimulating discussions and we both learn something. I've met some really interesting people that way who I would never have met otherwise.
(I try to be outgoing without being a loudmouth by making an effort to be sensitive to when they really don't feel like talking! )
Personally, though I'm clearly a technology enthusiast, I'm not a technological determinist (contrary to McLuhan). When Sony released its Walkman personal audio cassette player, media outlets spent a lot of time saying that it was causing aloofness and social problems. So the issue isn't new.
Now, is it really because people use personal audio players that they become more isolated or is it because they feel the need to isolate themselves that people are so enthusiastic about personal audio players?
My take on the issue tends to be broader. Individualism takes on a very different value in different parts of the world.
I mostly have lived in: Central and Eastern Canada (Quebec and New Brunswick), Southern Switzerland (Vaud and Valais), MidWestern and Northeastern United States (Indiana and Massachusetts), and Southern Mali (Bamako, Kasela...).
I hate to be enumerating cultural differences as series of stereotypes, but some of them are quite striking to a lot of people. At least, in my experience, Mali is quite different from other places where I have lived (which are all heavily industrialised societies).
In Mali, where I do my research, individual behaviour can be very important but still relates to community life, even in Bamako (the capital). Individual achievement will matter in many ways and may even influence a broader group's sense of honour (usually, within an extended family). Different people have different sets of roles that they are expected to play but there is in fact a lot of leeway in whether or not those roles are important in the person's life. People are as "selfish" as anywhere else, but there's a lot of ways in which social life becomes more important than individual isolation. At your birthday, you should give gifts to everybody else. Households typically bring together an extended family, including people from multiple generations and bringing several mothers together. Children are "raised by the village" in the sense that children spend most of their time as rather large groups with few parents present (i.e., one woman frequently has authority over her neighbour's children, at least during group activities). Specific groups of people eat together in different parts of the household (usually based on perceived roles). Solitude is often considered a problem rather than a way to get away from problems. Many issues are discussed publicly, often with the help of multiple intermediaries. Television sets are put outside so everyone can see them. People watch a few television shows together but rarely talk about them. Work life and domestic life are completely separate and people who work together rarely interact outside of work. People rarely talk about their work outside of the workplace and rarely talk about their domestic life in the workplace. Social rules are constantly negotiated by large groups of people who try to reach consensus. There's always someone to help anybody in need. Death is an expected occurrence and grieving individuals are surrounded by a lot of social support (from empathetic but level-headed people). A lot of social pressure is put in making sure that social problems are solved rapidly. People are encouraged to have their own ideas about different issues and to discuss them with others. Suicide is virtually unheard of (rare exceptions may have to do with family honour). Diseases abound and aren't always treated. Life expectancy at age zero is very low, as many children die quite young. Many people practise subsistence farming. Cities and rural areas remain connected as urbanites keep going back to the village to help out, especially during harvest season. Surplus resources are limited so droughts and other catastrophes can destroy large groups of people.
Perhaps more importantly: "ghetto blasters" and cellphones are very popular but Walkmans and iPods have never taken off.
The pattern is quite different in those heavily-industrialised societies that I know the most (especially Quebec). In my experience in those societies: Older people are often put in separate homes. People of all ages are encouraged to think of themselves as "special individuals" (the Mr. Rogers principle). Adults tend to live either by themselves, with their boyfriend or girlfriend, and/or with a child or two. Young children spend quite a bit of time in institutionalised daycare or schools but are treated with very special care by their parents at other times (we call such a child «enfant-roi», "child as king"). Households with multiple children tend to have separate bedrooms for each child. Much emphasis is put on competition. Individual achievement is a matter of some pride for the family but little dishonour is brought by someone's failures. Gifts are given to every child during birthday parties to make sure nobody's jealous. A lot people eat their meals alone, even if they live in the same household. Many people spend a lot of time discussing what everyone has seen on television. Social rules, whether explicit or tacit, are considered stable and individuals are expected to find ways to follow them. People who need help are advised to seek it by themselves. Suicide is an important cause of death among teenagers.
And the iPod bypassed beer as the coolest item among U.S. college students.
I did enjoy living in all of the places where I lived and I sincerely don't think that one place is inherently better than another. But, in terms of solitude, it's considered as a social pathology in Mali and it's quite valued, here in Quebec.
Now, time to go back to my iRiver to finish cooking for my own meals for the week.
;) I am just wondering what William is making of all this. Hope his silence means he is off having fun with friends.
Interesting what you say about technological determinism. Some of your first statement about Moodle vs BB did come over a bit that way. Just goes to show how easy it is to misunderstand each other (sub flame-war level) when fast-reading text-based communication. (I didn't understand your reference to gender above).
One thing I do find interesting is that black men in my neighborhood (which is a pretty mixed race neighborhood) frequently will say hello to me when I pass them in the street or meet them in the elevator. They are usually total strangers and are simply saying hello to everyone they pass by to be friendly, nothing more. No one of any other race or gender EVER does that.
As for airplanes, I don't know Martin. Do you appear threatening in person? I'd say at least half of the time people on the plane engage in conversations, if they speak the same language. Last time I flew to Egypt from Chicago to Madrid I think I had conversations with at least 3 women sitting around me at some point or another during the flight. When you are crammed in that kind of space at some point or another you have to negotiate space and so forth and you get into conversations. I also think some people start conversations in the beginning because they feel more comfortable knowing who is sitting next to them, especially in this day and age with security concerns. And since these days you have to arrive so early for a flight that one frequently gets into conversations while waiting for the flight. My husband travelled to Egypt last month and he happened to strike up conversations with at least three other doctors along the way!
Here in Montreal, people do find ways to interact but it's not as automatic. It partly has to do with language identity as people are sometimes unsure which language to use.
One thing I notice is that, in most places where I've been, people can easily be prompted to get involved in thoughtful conversations even if they rarely start those conversations themselves. For a social butterfly like me, the end result is that I can usually talk with a lot of people.
BTW, Robin Lakoff, Deborah Tannen, and others have done a wealth of cross-cultural research on who starts discussions in which contexts and based on what topics. The classic case is to look at the influence of gender when you bring strangers together. In some contexts, women are more likely than men to "break the ice" and might use personal relationships as a prompt. In other contexts, men are more likely to begin the conversation but will use more "small talk." Don't have references handy but they're relatively easy to find.
(Speaking of references, is there a references module in Moodle?)
Hey, I could even talk about hockey, if that's the only thing we have in common...
The references use of the Database module is pretty neat!
Although, what I meant was more in the lines of "integration with RefWorks" as it enables collaboration on references (RefShare) and full bibliography management (MSWord integration, citation formats, access to journal databases...). Seems like CSA has a good track-record of responding to demanding academics.
In fact, my observation in the United States has been that men "keep their distance" for quite a while in terms of talking about personal issues.
I recommend Spoof Mac Commercials.
You know, it may sound weird (and it's probably just a personal issue) but I find that one of the best way to regain my passionate outlook on life is to do slightly silly things which have no real negative effect on anyone else. For instance, on Monday, I was listening to a Swiss comedy podcast will riding the metro and couldn't help but laugh. Instead of refraining from laughing, I used my laughter to liberate myself.
'Twas fun. And nobody was hurt.
One thing with which to be careful: don't intake any liquid while you're laughing.
And in terms of stress management related to fairly-random silliness, the Snoopy dance.
Never been a huge fan of Peanuts but there was this one cartoon about Snoopy dancing with arms extended, snout toward the sky. Not sure what it looks like in action but I regularly use my interpretation of that dance (call it "interpretive dance" and it will sound serious) as a way to relieve pressure.
Although... For a while, I've been interpreting Cecilia's dance. More contemporary-iPod than 1950s-dog.
Happiness, passion, exuberance... those are slippery bastards. Sometimes they feel like opening a tangled ball of cables: the more you yank, the tighter the ball gets. Existential things are very complicated. I find philosophical aspects of life very interesting, but being for too long and in too deep in existential thoughts can lead to a very dark place. "Just doing" stuff is liberating, as mentioned above. Running, with or without music, very lightening... Let the passion come, don't push it.
Even if things seem very dark: find new hobbies, sports, crafting, drawing, literature, movies, music... Just do stuff, lots of stuff. That's my advice, as silly it may be.
If things don't start to look up, don't give up. A year is a very short time afterwards, it just seems like a decade when buried in gloomy thoughts.
It only stopped working when I was too busy to realise I was incredibly happy.
- the love my mother showed me when I was a boy and
- my many connections to wonderful people as an adult, especially my wife and my daughter
- fulfilling work
And I am not sure that it really helps anyone else for me to post it, but there it is.
Yes. It does.
Danielle, here in the Lounge we have our very own Moodle Multimedia Jukebox - where you can play media or create your own.
There's a move, right now in North America, toward enjoying food in new ways. Part of the movement has to do with "foodies" who have their own way to do things. My own approach has more to do with altruistic hedonism, sensory experience, and sensuality. Because the medium makes it hard to bring across, I can't really expose my passion for food, but lemme just say that I'm an experimental homebrewer of beer, an experiential homeroaster of coffee, and a staunch advocate of taste as pleasure.
Must be Quebec's culturally Catholic emphasis on embodied existence...
(Ain't passionate intellectualism fun?)
Warm feelings to everyone!
(And Frances is right on about hugs...)
Eat local produce and in season!
My local butcher has a whiteboard where he announces the farm of origin of this week's lamb and beef. The meat is delicious and his pies are also to die for - he gets a nomination here.
I live in Cheshire, UK, one of the pie counties
Quite a long post and I haven't mentioned knitting but you can see what I have been busy with.
Since it hasn't been mentioned - and I have a degree in Psychology - let's not overlook the possibility of clinical depression and an organic base for same. Perhaps William should ask around for a counselor/psychologist or medical doctor to assess him. Serotonin and nuerotransmitter levels should be checked.
Of all of the wonderful suggestions thus far, I like the more potentially life-changing (and after-life changing) advice of reading the Purpose Driven Life. A personal favourite from many years ago titled 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor Frankl, made deep impression on me. He wrote of life in a WW II concentration camp. Many of the thoughtful suggestions thus far are merely temporary fixes/distractions.
Your positive attitude is an inspiration for those of us distracted by day to day cares.
You have reminded me that one of my great sorrows in life led me to fully appreciate joys in other areas, and regret the sorrow less.
I need a lot of reminders - thanks!
Today Morning my friend posted this link for me. I share this link
It seems to be coming from Ralph Marston's The Daily Motivator: http://greatday.com/
Interesting that Marston should specifically write his motivational messages in a religiously-neutral way. Clearly shows respect for people's beliefs.
Interesting also that he should live in Austin, TX (where my wife and I will move, in the not-so-distant future).
So, Nagarajan, thanks again for this link!
I visited the place (Singapore) many times and have friends. This island nation is unique with respect to control. Singapore is a wired nation with excessive social control and people get detribalised and atomised due to the implementation of information technology.
McLuhan stated that Guttenberg harmed human collectivity through print. Though computer is a marvel to recreate tribalisation and establish the second orality, the people behind computer (manufacturers, distributors and deveopers) miserably failed to make the cyberspace a meeting place for networking and sharing.
Virtual reality is void of human touch.
Probably this may be a reason for loosing passion in life.
I think everyone comes to a point in their lives where they just go, "what am I doing here?" and, "does anything matter in the big picture?" In short, you lose your Hope about life. This hits everyone differently, and yes, there are plenty of distractions as posted above. However, if you actually want to Deal with the issue, then there is some hard work to be done.
Ask yourself what motivated you, what made you get up in the morning, what you loved to do and why it was so fulfilling... sometimes a reality check can be the best thing for us, if it wakes us up to the reality that we're going nowhere. Better to suffer some pain now than wake up at the end of your life and have achieved nothing.
So what really matters? People have come up with a whole pile of answers. Some have said you create your own happiness, and others come up with "become the God within you"-type suggestions.
I think that if God were me, then why would I worship someone whose capabilities cannot ever exceed my own? Sure, I can learn and expand my mind, but I will always be limited by that, and frustrated. No, God is way, way bigger than me.
I say that relationships matter. With God, and with people. After all, what is eternal? What will matter to us when we are old? Is it making a million? Being successful, famous, the best in the field, travelling the world? But that is empty without the people to admire us, look at our photos, love us, cry with us, encourage and achieve with us... and what will matter to us after life is over? Some say there is nothing there, but I believe what will matter is our relationship with God. He offers it, but we get to choose to accept or no. Life is empty without a cause- something greater to live for, something outside our selfish inner worlds. We are fulfilled in loving, sharing, relating, giving. In altruism, in connection, in being UNDERSTOOD. We're designed for it, which is why loneliness is there to act like physical pain, letting us know that something is not right with us.
I love having conversations with people I click with- we talk a lot, but so much is unnecessary to say, and the connection is amazing. William, make friends- sure, but don't ignore the existence of things that are bigger than you, or you will remain dissatisfied. John 14:27.
Have a look at going to this seminar http://www.frankshapiro.com/seminars/regainyourpassionforlife.html
When I was 18 years old I suffered from a nervous breakdown, I was doing too many things at once, and taking them all to heart. It pushed me to the point of suicide I was that despirate. But after I got over my breakdown, what I took away from it all is don't worry about anything. Worry is just a real waste of time and emotion.
My recommendation to you... laugh! I am now 36 years old, and loving life. Why...? Because of my sense of humour. I am now known as the guy that can make a joke out of anything and most people love being around me because of my outlook on life.
Give it a try... it's easy to do and trust me, the weirdest of things will start giving you endless amusement.
William, here's how to discover PASSION once again in your life:
1.Sign up for an shared web hosting account with a Web Hosting company and purchase a domain (www.william26Msing.com)
2.Install Moodle by using cPanel
3.Surf to Moodle.org's download/plugins section:
http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?id=6009 and browse through
the 3000+ plugin list
4. Install the BEST of the BEST of plugins for your Moodle version (if you're using Moodle 1.9+ then the world's your oyster coz there are literally, tens, NO HUNDREDS of killer plugins, filters, mods, packages to boost your Moodle site to one that is on steriods!! If you're using Moodle 2.0, then the world is STILL your oyster, coz just over the horizon are mods and plugins being written for version 2.0.
5. Since shared web hosting isn't going to do the trick with resource-hungry-Moodle-especially-wheb-20-or-more-users-login-concurrently, go ahead and sign up or upgrade to a Virtual Private Server with your now-very-happy Web Hosting company.
6. Buy a one year license of cPanel and install to your heart's content all Web 2.0 stuff (Joomla, Web site builder, shopping cart, Wordpress, etc.) to beef up your website.
7. Advertise or get the word out that you've got the BESTest Moodle website on the planet, chockful of the latest can't-do-without mods, plugins, packages, filters etc.
8. Watch the users sign up, especially the busy teachers and academicians who do not have the time to do what you did in steps #1 to steps #7. If they pay you a PayPal donation or a monthly subscription which ought to cover your annual web hosting bill. You could even consider going for a dedicated server (drool!).
9. Integrate your moodle site (www.william26Msing.com) with Facebook, TurnItIn, OpenMeetings, BlueButton, Mahara, WizIQ and rub your hands with glee as you realise that only 8.23% of Moodling academicians on the planet have managed to accomplish what you have done.
10. Find a life-partner, one who will share your hopes and your dreams, who will bear your children and who will grow old with you and help you update your Moodle site on a regular basis.
11. Find out about the One for life's solutions to man's sin and spritual bankrupcy, find out more about the Saviour named the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, the Good Shepherd, the El-Shaddai, the Kings of Kings and the Lords of Lords, Jesus Christ of Nazereth. And consider him either a liar, a lunatic or Lord.
Steps 1 to 10 mostly (except for the integration part which still eludes me. Also, me wifey doesn't Moodle like me) done by me since October 30th 2010. Step 11, by the grace of God, done by me in 1986. So, keep your chin up mate and glad to be of service to you. Hope my long-winded post is an aid to curing your depression. Hey, you got 80+ replies to your post, so at the very least, you've got that sense that your post resulted in a surge of help from the Moodle community! Remember William: It's never that bad. If you so decide on your own free will to, then turn to the Lord and be saved today.
Frankie "moodleace.com" Kam, Melaka, Malaysia.
I am impressed with all of the great ideas I read here about restoring passion to life. I think I will try doing these daily:
- Enjoy today; look forward to tomorrow, and don't compare either with yesterday.
- Laugh, and don't be afraid of looking like a lunatic, especially if you are a lunatic.
- Kiss someone you love, and enjoy their fragrance. (Bathe first!)
- Eat a juicy fresh tomato (my daughter added that one).
- Live out loud, and dance to your favorite music.
- Eat spinach (my doctor suggested that one).
- Indulge in random kindness toward others.
- Do something profitable and creative.
- Fight FOR people, not with them.
- Draw near to God.
Did I miss anything?