Web presence: an existential exercise

If you never created a website for yourself before, or did but it’s been a while–make one! It’s an opportunity for gratitude in disguise.

The technical details don’t have to be a deterrent–experiment starting with free blog sites (for instance, here’s a guide for wordpress, lots of options exist including things like wixx, weebly, and strikeingly), or a simple one-page site like about.me the point is more about finding good things from your life to share in the best way feasible than it is about where you choose to put it.

At its best essence, the practice is an iteration of gratitude which is a powerful (and practical) exercise: it challenges you to elicit your best from personal reflection and for your aspirations in a way that you can share with others.

Perhaps one of the best times to do it might be when life is most challenging and you’re not feeling at your best.

Of course, under the assumption that you’re willing and able to give time to introspection and building amid chaos, and not in a life-threatening situation.

I can back this claim with both neurological and psychological reasoning:

1) When people undergo just enough pain or stress, their senses tend to be more acute
It’s an evolutionary survival mechanism. Given the benefit that most existential threats no longer exist (Sabre tooth tigers went extinct long ago, rarely any need to worry about big cats waiting to take you as dinner now)–you can focus that mental and emotional acumen on organizing your previous successes, and ongoing aptitudes. Even if doing so only a little bit at a time.

2) As a matter of mindfulness, gratitude is an effective way of creating confidence through embracing what you already have–whether it’s material or experiential. It’s a quick confidence booster based on very real things: your own life and whatever you’re willing to find that’s positive about it. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a way of mending together the brighter truths of your reality in the face of events that tear and wear at it.

For someone who’s isolated from regular interaction with people, it presents an opportunity to immerse yourself into the wider world (at least, digitally) even when there’s no one around.

When creating a website to present some aspect of yourself–and I know this can be an incredible challenge from doing more than three major attempts–you’re encouraged (at least, I encourage you) to find your best, put it in one visible location, and make it easier for other people to understand.

About the featured image:
It’s a sculpture I found at the public library in Traverse City, MI called “May Peace Prevail on Earth.” You can read details in the caption below.

A man seated with legs crossed in lotus position on top of the world sewing--large stiches running up the latitudinally fromone pole up to where he sits. Bneath the world, a stand with words etched into it
“May Peace Prevail on Earth” Sculpture by Jason Jon Johnston” As I created this sculpture, I thought less about the grand idea of peace throughout the world than about the time, patience and persistence it takes to accomplish such a thing. It is through the individuals of the world; one decision, one action… one stitch at a time, that we may heal our differences and have peace prevail on Earth.”
For any other information I missed about the piece, you can probably read it here with the picture enlarged or google the artist’s info.

Notes (mostly for myself):

In 2012, I decided I’d attempt to consolidate all aspects of my interests into one place. I didn’t know of it was possible; online with zero budget available aside from time, it seemed like I could be multiple people at once.

Having made a food blog, worked with several environmental organizations, created small entrepreneurial ventures, and creating music and written articles scattered across the web certainly made it daunting.

Eventually, it came together–very raw, but in one place nonetheless, you can still view a slightly updated version of it here:

This website’s not “finished”, but all the elements necessary for it to exist are there.

What remains to be done:

>More concise “bios” and personal statements for various artistic endeavors.

>update the front page menu to include blogs
>test & figure out pictures
>update the “portfolio” page with live links & image
>update the “musicking” page with tunes, bio link & statements
>figure out how & embed flickr galleries in wordpress for the photography page

>figure out how to combine all my blogs into one button/link
The “blog” you’re reading from this website is relatively new. I’ve also yet to figure out how to make the page function as an actual blog. See here for the list of existing blogs.

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