Sunday, August 11, 2013

Switching Gears

HB pier beautiful dayI started another 21-day meditation challenge with the Chopra Meditation Center. I’ve done a couple of these before and really enjoy making them the start of my day. If you’ve wanted to try meditation, I think this is a good way to start. The format is simple: a centering thought is presented (today’s is “I am love. I am eternal. I am spirit.”), Deepak says a few words, we’re given a mantra to use to keep us focused during meditation and then some music plays while we meditate. Very simple.

As part of this 21-day challenge, I’ve also stopped commenting and posting on Facebook. I still read to keep up with friends, but that’s it. I'd found that too much FB was affecting me. I live alone and used FB to connect and share kind words, interesting articles and such, the kinds of things we’d share with spouses or family, neither of which I have with me on a daily basis. People seem to enjoy what I post and some have told me in person that their day has been lifted or they’ve learned something helpful. But I was finding that what I was reading in some posts and comments was disturbing me more and more, Too much bickering, name-calling, profanity. Too much negative energy and low-vibration comments. Too many people being taken advantage of with “Like bait” (posts with cuddly animals or wounded soldiers or “Like if you hate cancer” – posts that are designed to get well-intentioned people to click Like; scammers make money off these). Too many gullible people reposting hoaxes and generating outrage; too any “shocking video of … !!!”. I’ll admit to even being disappointed at the lack of people’s ability to put together simple sentences, use punctuation and spell. I’ve been more disappointed in people’s lack of critical thinking skills, falling for various scams, or commenting without thinking things through. Just a lot of negative energy that I was just really too tired to consume any longer. (Interesting observation: Those who comment on George Takei’s posts tend to be better thinkers and writers, folks who aren’t prone to writing with multiple exclamation marks like a squealing teenage girl.)

Besides all the negative energy, I was just wasting too much time on FB, time that I’d really rather spend riding my bike in the summer sunshine, playing my piano, taking walks, decorating my home. (I have a list of projects, Always do.) I found myself online, reading and refreshing the page multiple times to see if anything new had come in during the last few seconds. I wasn’t getting anything done and I knew I had to stop. 

In this article, UCLA’s Dr, Peter Whybrow says that “The computer is electronic cocaine for many people. Our brains are wired for finding immediate reward.” Novelty is the immediate reward, which is why we have trouble stopping.

The first few days of my FB hiatus, I found myself reflexively moving to comment. Throughout my day, when I’d find something interesting to share, I’d want to go to FB to post, but stopped myself. The world kept revolving without my pithy remarks on FB. I’ve found myself spending a lot more time doing more high-value activities (like finally posting on my blog and working more on a book that I’m editing for a client) and being less consumed with others’ negativity and low-vibration energy. I’ve been reading interesting articles on LinkedIn, reading more books. (I’m consumed with The Storyteller currently.) I actually started my hiatus a few days before the meditation challenge, but I plan to continue until the end of the 21-day challenge. It’s been pretty easy and I’m finding a lot of satisfaction in switching gears. I’m enjoying my summer more. I hope you’re enjoying yours, too.


PS. I saw Trevor’s mom on the 4th of July. She takes things day by day; some days better, some days worse. She gave her son the great gift of knowledge and courage during his fight.


Darla said...

Very helpful and honest post; thank you. I pull back from FB often, too. But I purposely have few "friends" and if any of those post inappropriately, then I take them out of the news feed for a few months. Thankfully, most comments are inspirational and/or personal. I applaud your strength -- any of us -- when we can step back and see what is draining us or creating any kind of non-healthy impression. Good for you.

paintergal said...

So wise. Trying to fill our social needs through fb is so deceptive. It feels like we are connecting and perhaps we are to an extent. But it isn't a true intimacy. I applaud you.

Laura said...

I too am online much less these days, although with a sprain ankle, a little more this week... I miss the contact with friends far away, yet it has been a great summer, lots of travel and joy in nature. I feel blessed.