I started (and finished, more or less) this blog on day 4 (/27 days today) of my Facebook divorce. It was an internal struggle for a few months, as I came to realize that all the connection and the camaraderie that I was receiving from cyber space wasn’t that real, and that perhaps the camaraderie that I truly needed was to find my own best friend deep within me.
That’s a tough one, right? We –well, at least, me – is always flitting from one thing to the next, immersed in the doing, but not really immersed in the mindfulness. And the mindfulness can be a variety of things to a variety of people, but for me, mindfulness means being present, being engaged with all that is around us. It is not merely a distraction, an escape, a way of NOT looking for the better you inside of you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love(d) Facebook on many levels. I think that the biggest positive thing that it added to my life was a feeling of giving, of sharing, of posting something JUST for my Yoga friends, or a little bit of extra inspiration for a shitty Monday. I loved offering up research, and new poses, and new ways of looking at things. New perspectives. For this, it is a great tool.
My positivity ran through my pages like tiny rays of sunshine coming in to brighten even the darkest hour, but what about my own light. Were those rays of sunshine simply reflections off of other shiny objects that had distracted my attention?
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) has a great quote that has always resonated with me:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
The question is, does social media contribute to that happiness? Or is it merely a distraction to avert our attention from ourselves?
The world can be a lonely place, even when we are surrounded by those we love. We look for answers, we search, we look for love, and we try to find meaning to our existence. More and more, in an effort to feel important, to feel love, to find some sort of meaning, we find ourselves distracted from who we really are, and instead, find our noses buried in our phones or our computers looking for some sort of validation.
Nowhere is this clearer than on the busy streets of Vancouver at lunch hour as people rush to and fro, head down, texting, facebooking, or whatever, completely oblivious to all of the wonderful world around them, as though this imaginary cyber-world between their index finger and thumb was all that they needed.
Well, it is not. We need people. Face to face. Connections. Love. Laughter. Real OUT LOUD laughter that other people hear. Arms wrapped around a friend or lover, giggling, feeling the abdomen shake, hearing the sweet sounds, all 5 senses, sensing, in all of their glorious forms. Real sensing. So next time you feel like dropping in on a friend by way of a texting ‘hug’, invite them out for coffee instead and watch out for that belly laugh….it is infectious!
Go ahead, give out your ‘presence’ this Holiday Season. It is the best gift you can give anybody….including yourself.
** I started my FB Divorce with the notion that I would just detox for 28 days, which will be Christmas Eve, 2013 (tomorrow), and would reactivate then. I don’t think it’s going to happen.
***Two of the more non-invasive medias that I like are Twitter (@BendyGal) or Instagram (@kerryo12). As well as Hotmail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Yeah, there are lots of way to keep a finger on the pulse without becoming lost in the fray.