Building This Website: Meditation Through Code
Art Rosnovsky / December 19, 2021
4 min read
It's funny how I spend a lot of my free time on tweaking this website, improving this or that, adding a random feature, or falling down a rabbit hole of some technology I may eventually want to use here. Yet its main purpose - it's a blog, damn it! - happens to be mostly neglected.
This fact ("I don't use my blog for, well, blogging") made me think about why do I even have this site. I mean, sure, it's been around forever, in different shapes, forms, and even domains; I used to host my podcasts here, post hot political takes, and other stuff. I don't do this anymore, so the question is: what is this website? What's its purpose?
No matter how rare the blog posts are, I still write them. I write them for a couple of reasons: to capture a thought or something I learned or something helpful that I use, to record an experience I had,or to practice my writing skills. It happens roughly once a month, but it's ok, nobody really expects meto post anything anyway :)
So while this is a blog, blogging is really a side effect of... what? I struggled to put it into words until I saw Michelle Bakels' talk at CascadiaJS earlier this year. (my takeaways from the conference itself are here).
The idea of meditation through code is fascinating to me. I've been doing it for so long without realizing what it was. I very much do most of the work on this website as a form of meditation.
I set on a feature I want to add (take Last Played song, for example). Nobody needs this feature, not even me. But it's not about the feature, you see. It's about the process.
I research it without any time pressure, just for fun. I could get on a week-long detour because there's something interesting that came out of the reaserch and I want to follow that before getting back to the task at hand. It's about the process.
I don't care if I make it right, or if I make it at all. It's the process that captivates me, keeps me in my head, calms me down. It's more about the process than the result.
I don't feel guilty if I abandon an idea or a feature. It was about the process, and it served its purpose.
I do feel extra gratification when I'm pushing something I've done in the process, and the feature or improvement I've been meditating on becomes public (take comments below, for example).
It's all about the process!
All of it. The main reason I have this site, the main reason I post here occasionally, the only reason I'm working on obscure features and improvements is the process itself. It's all about the journey, not the destination.
This realization was extremely liberating. It removed whatever pressure I felt I had on myself to do something, to write something, to post, commit, push and merge. None of it matters, not really. What matters is that I get time and headspace for myself, and coding this website is how I do it.
It's not art per se (altough sometimes I look at it and feel genuine aesthetic joy), it's not really helping others (although, again, some posts and code did help folks). This is about me, doing my thing, using code to get in the flow, to express myself creatively, and to be kind to myself.
So here goes: the purpose of this website is to be a place where I can write and meditate through code. That's it.
As a bonus, here's a sketchnote of Michelle's talk. Prior to this, I didn't even know sketchnoting was a thing. Now I do, and I find it fascinating. TO learn more, check out Mind's Eye Creative website. Ashton also offers a great course on sketchnoting! I've been enjoying it so far, and you will too!
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