Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Normal Life


In the past month something kind of weird happened without my intent. I took a break from social media. I didn't check out, or delete accounts, I just got busy and stopped being glued to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flipboard, Zite.....all the usual icons that I tapped every single time I had more than 45 seconds of quiet or uninterrupted time.

My life just had more tasks than usual and, as my one of my very best friends put it, "I noticed you're sparse."

That's what happened. I didn't stop looking at these media spaces, I just stopped ENGAGING in them and in the long space that is one whole month of human existence (30 DAYS!!!) I actually stopped being invested in them without even trying.  Of course I clicked through to links of articles and blogs that I found interesting; I've continued to be informed of the workings of the world.

But the best part is this: in the small spaces where my phone wasn't in my hand, or pocket, or directly in front of my blank, numbed face, I started tapping back into my inner voice. I started NOTICING things around me, and noticing my feelings. My physical being took shape again and so did my awareness of self. For the longest time (a whole year - which is like an EON compared to 30 days!!) I have been sad. And it didn't make sense. I spent all this time over the past several years waking up to myself and spending time going through all the awful and wonderful and exhilarating moments that were showing me to me.

But then I left a job which fulfilled every single idealistic dream I ever had for myself and chose corporate, creature, financial comfort for myself and my family. I have sons who will someday want cars, and college educations and I want to be able to help them. I also want to not die at my desk and be able to retire someday and NOT eat cat food. Money wins. I live in America.

So in the past year, I have gained back every shred of weight I ever lost - and in a fit of divine and cosmic comedy, I regained it in the most horrific and awful physical places. My tummy which carried two lovely and gigantic boys now announces itself before I do. My face is like...well, it's like 3 or 4 faces depending on where the camera is. And I've been really, really NOT me.

A work friend reminded me that in this life we are given lessons. And we are given these lessons as many times as we need them to learn them. I have noticed, when I am open to self-reflection, that I care DEEPLY about what other people think about me. I base many of my decisions on how other people will perceive them and I try to insure that people can never question my integrity or intent. Even when I'm doing a good job I tend to feel stress when those around me might not understand that I'm doing a good job because I don't do it their way. And that's problematic...because eventually I stop caring about the performance and more about the perception. And then, under the weight of "not living up" to people's standards, I run away.

So this time I've decided to stick it out. I have so much gratitude for financial security, job security, and stability. And spiritual paths are opening up to me like never before. Hard lessons are being taught in the gentlest of classrooms. And I am committed to learning them this time.

And somehow....along the way...social media fell off my hippy dippy radar. (Do hippy dippy people even believe in radar?!? Probably, and that's why they wear tin foil hats.) I have spent time reading articles written by learned people on Gaza, and Syria, and Isis, Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri. I've learned more about our economy and what people who approach it from a humanistic standpoint think than ever before. I've added new words to my vocabulary and learned about spiritual practices and beliefs that have endured for over 5,000 years.

All of this has happened without knowing what some fucktard troll in Schenectady thinks about it. No one from the great state of Alabama has questioned my patriotism or intellect as I've formed opinions, read things to challenge them and decide what I feel and believe. No one has made me feel enraged about humanity at large and I've spent the last bit of time in peace. Actual peace.

I've settled in to a life that should be right. And instead of buying into the notion that it's never enough (because not once have I been to Napa or the Turks and Caicos in this time...and I haven't bought a luxury car or new mansion....) I find that IS enough. Ironically, I've found that the whole time that I've been plugged in AND trying to find a simple life, I've been working against myself.

How can I find quiet and peace, or gratitude and appreciation, for simplicity when I surround myself with the constant and overwhelming din of social media?!? It's like complaining you can't get any sleep when you won't leave the nightclub.

Without meaning to....I left the nightclub.

And the quiet walk home has been wonderful.



Photo Credit: Alex Akopyan via Compfight cc