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Recently I went on somewhat of a sabbatical from all forms of social media. From December 4th 2017- February 22nd 2018. It began as a way for me to reduce the noise of the world, and to quiet my thoughts.

My goal was to minimize distraction so I could foster a little more clarity and peace in my life. I was at a point where I knew I was feeling “unwell”, but I didn’t even know where to start. So I figured I needed to clear the space first and the first place I saw room for change was in eliminating social media for a temporary time.

The decision was made rather impulsively. I was driving to work and realizing how much of my mental space was taken up by what I saw on social media, and what I was thinking about posting. Thinking to myself that I wanted to get the more interaction on my page because I felt that likes, comments, and follows were sure signs that I was doing my job as a strength coach and personal trainer well.

I thought “If I am popular on social media, then people will know I am doing a good job.” This way of thinking was slowly decaying me with thoughts of inadequacy, comparison, and anxiety.

 

Well I got more than I bargained for. What started off as a “Let’s clear the space” became so much more than turning off. It launched me into a deep soul searching journey.

Since I was able to tune out the noise and distraction, I was able to tune into deeper and far more important matters. Asking myself big questions that most of us ignore because they are hard to talk about. I had this same discussion with a client of mine. She was feeling overwhelmed with goals, so I gave her the assignment to find her why. A long story short, she went above and beyond with my assignment. She is thriving and reaping the benefits of her internal work. I wanted to take my “quiet time” and do some similar work.

Existential Crisis

It began with my need for quiet, after I created that space, I was able to tune into my need to find my why in almost every activity I participate in. Why am I doing this job? Is being self employed an egotistical move? Did I really want to dedicate my life to fitness? What are the reasons for eating the way I do and are they good enough? Or think this school of thought? Why do I have these friends and these interests? As I began to answer these questions, I found some things I put a lot of effort into are pointless, and that I had been missing out on some other things that I valued. My final epiphany was rather powerful and yes, I sobbed like a baby. The feelings and realizations I had were indescribable. I am going to do my best to convey to you now.

What you see, hear, feel, taste, touch, think, and experience all make up parts of this crazy beautiful thing we call life.

Every thought and sense goes into creating your reality and literally shaping your life. When you are “plugged in” you are inviting all the noise and distraction to affect you. Social media is an overindulgence of experiences and stimulation. Similar to how nutrition works If you eat a diet low in nutrition, high in calories, and mostly made up of artificial ingredients. You will crave more of it because it does not satisfy you. However, a diet high in nutrition, balanced in calories, and heavy based on whole and wholesome ingredients will satisfy you with less. Are you following me? Overindulging in low quality food is like overindulging in low quality life experiencing. Which is a really long way of me repeating a common and simple message, social media is not real life.

Energy in Motion= Emotion

As I often say in my yoga classes, we are trying to move through a full range of motion, and emotions. I can appreciate a beautiful photo I see on Instagram just as much as anyone else… but when was the last time you immersed yourself in a setting you have enjoyed a photograph of? Let’s take a sunset for example, a photo of a sunset is beautiful and can give you a small deposit in the bank of happiness. Yet it pales in comparison to standing in the foothills, next to someone you love in silence. Slowly gazing across the horizon together and FEELING a sunset. The light on your face, the natural filter it casts all around, the song of it’s silet beauty. A sunset, like anything else we can photograph, is best experienced in FULL IMMERSION. Experiencing a sunset with every sense, is so much more filling and satisfying to our souls than looking at a photo of a sunset.

My Challenge to You

How does one fully enjoy being present in the moment? A beautiful sunset with a loved one might be an easy place to be present. However, our life is not just pretty sunsets and moments of bliss. Life is also the things we do all the time. Life, is all around us waking and sleeping. So how do you start to enjoy life as it is unfolding? Well you have to unplug from you brain chatter, plug into the experience you are having. Where are you right now? My analytics tell me that most of my readers are on their cell phones. Look around you, are you enjoying your present moment? Or taking it for granted? You can enjoy the tiniest things of your existence, I really like the chair I am in right now, looking out  my window at the snow covered pine trees, and sipping on a nutrient boosted beverage. I enjoy writing, and creating pictures with my words. The idea that my words can potentially help others find their way to lasting health and joy gives me a great sense of fulfillment.

Being Alive is Different from Living

I wish I could bottle up my epiphany that life is happening. It is something we always know. You don’t need to tell me I am alive, but I didn’t quite realize that I was ALIVE before all this.  My hope is that you can feel the joy I am feeling, my fear is that if you are plugged into the noise of social media, you won’t even be able to read these words and take them in without noise and distraction of other things grabbing for your attention. So would you be interested in doing something with me? I want you to try a 60 day social media fast for yourself. Experience what I did! Delete the apps from your phone, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at first. I only used Pinterest and Snapchat sparingly.

Now wait right there, I know I am losing some of you. You might already be feeling resistance to this idea I am presenting. Why do you think that is? I had those thoughts too. “I’m self employed and run a business! How dare I go off social media or I will miss out on potential customers!” Was my fearful protest to myself. Well that was a flat out lie. My business grew SO MUCH during this fast. Instead of spinning my wheels on social media, trying to grab everyone’s attention in an oversaturated and overstimulated market, I found alternative ways to communicate my message. Those are my secrets and lessons learned though, if you want to make these discoveries, then you have to experience it yourself.

What are you afraid of? My advice would be, to pay attention to your resistance.

What are you afraid of losing if you log off? This will reveal a deep fear of yours to you. Once you are aware of this fear, then you can start to work on it in a productive way. Social media, or any other abused thing in life, is just a band aid to a symptom. Are you afraid of being lonely? Social media will not cure your loneliness. You must go out and experience life for that. For me, social media was not helping me grow my business. I was afraid that if I didn’t stay on and keep posting, that it would all fall apart. In my time off, I figured out what needed to be done. I was able to take a step back and see clearly.

Less Is More

So from now on, if you see me less, it means I am doing more! My life is not lived on social media, and I recognize that others lives are not shown in full either. I plan on saying goodbye to social media as a social outlet, and hello to real connections and bonding. Social media will still be a tool, but I have such a different relationship with it now. Instead of using it to broadcast my thoughts, I see it for what it truly is. My thoughts are ment to be shared with the individuals I intend to share them with. No more broadcasting, if something is to be said, it is to be said to someone specifically.

Goodbye social media, hello life.

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