Week 2 has been quiet. I enjoyed it.

It was fun being a novice again at a few things.

I started a daily practice of meditative mindfulness exercises. An app named Headspace helps me do this. I first downloaded it last fall and tried its 10-minute introductory sessions a few times, but it didn’t stick. I decided to make it a part of my daily routine, doing the now 15-minute sessions first thing in the morning.

It is hard to do for me but I am enjoying it greatly. I am noticing a great deal of variance in the amount of wandering my mind wants to do during the sessions. Not resisting that wandering is hard but I am learning. Mindfulness is starting to infuse my mind outside of the sessions as well, which is a good feeling.

I also started yoga. I see this as a physical extension of the mindfulness sessions. I only had one session so far so I can not say too much about it, other than that it is more physically demanding than I thought it would be.

Finally, I started a course on machine learning from Stanford. You can choose to follow it classroom style through their own web site or MOOC style through Coursera. (What a time to be alive - the amount of free education offered online is incredible. The value of formal college degrees will go the way of NYC taxi medallions soon.)

I finished the first week of the course. It re-introduced me to some basic elements of probability theory and linear algebra. I had not thought about these things since college and it is invigorating to do so again.

I started gathering some data on my habits. I use a Google form for this that I complete at the end of each day. It looks like this right now:

Today I...

There are two criteria for a habit or daily practice to be on there. 1) It will help me be a happier person. 2) It takes effort / reminding.

I didn’t read hardly at all this week. I started reading Choose Yourself last week but decided to put it down a little over halfway in. James Altucher is a very smart guy and the book contains very useful advice that I am already taking to heart, but he did not need 200+ pages to give it to me. It feels like an edited collection of blog posts that have a fair amount of overlap. Read his blog post on the daily practice and you have the gist of what the book tries to tell you.

I spent some time walking around and taking pictures of Salt Lake City, capturing one of its lifeless winter Sundays. The title photo is from that session, as is the photo below.