Archives for category: inspiration

I’m enjoying a moment. This one. It is a morning moment, served up with a side of pre-dawn quiet, and a cup of hot coffee. I woke just ahead of the alarm, uncertain, in the darkness, if it was worth trying to go back to sleep… wanting to… as I thought it over, though, the alarm caught up with me, and announced the beginning of a new day.

I sip my coffee and appreciate things. I mean, just generally. There’s no doubt life has some challenges to offer, and having experienced a fair few, I maintain awareness that there are likely more ahead; it’s not personal, it’s just living a life. My coffee is hot, well-made, tasty – and in this particular moment, right here, it is enough to enjoy it quietly. Sufficiency. Mindfulness. Gratitude. It is a pleasant start to the day.

I stay with the moment awhile longer. This coffee. This moment. Present. Here. Now. Nothing fancy or expensive to it, and “presence” is not an especially complicated or difficult practice. I let go of ruminations over past challenges. I refrain from launching my consciousness into explorations of potential future challenges. I exist in this present, right now moment, content with my hot coffee. (Maybe you prefer tea? The practice of being present and mindful does not have to change, whatever your preferred beverage! 😉 )

My thoughts drift to recent photographs; representations of recent moments. Lovely urban shots of spring. Pretty pictures of raindrops on rose leaves extended into the afternoon sunshine, sparkling as if edged with glitter. Traffic. Sunrises. Sunsets. My camera has failed me several times recently – great shots that didn’t save – but my memory does not.  It’s a fair exchange, I suppose. I smile, and continue to sip my coffee.

…Another day, another photograph, another moment… another memory. It’s already time to begin again.

Me, too. Well, actually, I found one – a bunch of them, and a great perspective shot down a busy, picturesque street, on a sunny afternoon, between spring rain showers. I snapped a quick shot from my position on the corner, waiting to cross the street. I grinned, satisfied, and hurried on across while the light was still on “walk”.

Later, when I sat down for a moment with my thoughts, and this metaphor about signs just waiting to become words on a page with an apropos perspective shot supporting it… no picture. It didn’t save. The moment… has passed. Unrecorded. Soon to be forgotten.

Well… shit. Moving on, then?

…Or… are you still “looking for a sign”? What’s holding you back from that next step, right now? Fear? Money? Discouragement? Frustration? Disappointment? Ennui? (Have you ever noticed that what holds people back from pursuing something of interest is rarely joy, contentment, or satisfaction in life?) Okay, so, it’s not easy to “live the dream” – if what we want requires more than we have. Doesn’t matter if that’s money, or training, or experience, or skill… there’s an effort implied to any of it, and the suggestion that if we truly want to achieve that achievement, we’ll do the work. Luck only takes us so far. (I say this as someone who has been astonishingly lucky in life, all things considered.)

Wanna be a rock star? Are you making time, and putting in the hours, learning to play an instrument, read music, write songs…?

Wanna be a renowned author? Are you practicing your writing skills, you know, by writing? Are you honing your craft, and seeking feedback that will result in becoming the writer you most want to be, telling a story only you can tell?

Wanna kick butt at roller derby? So… yeah… are you on skates, looking for a team to practice with?

Wanna build custom furniture with amazing space-saving secret compartments and interesting built-in features that are entirely unique to your brand? Okay… are you already learning cabinetry and wood-working?

My point is this; it’s not luck alone that walks us down our path in life. We have to take actual steps. 🙂

…Don’t just stand there! Start walking. 😉

It’s a lovely morning, so far. The sun isn’t yet up, and there’s a bit of mist in the trees beyond the deck. My coffee is hot, and satisfying. I feel pretty good, generally, and aside from some stiffness, and awareness of mild discomfort here and there, even my pain level is pretty low. An excellent start to a Saturday – and brunch a bit later. 🙂

I’m thinking a bit about the funhouse mirror of social media, and the way it turns so many people into emotionally demanding narcissists unable to support themselves through emotionally self-sufficient practices day-to-day. Leaving Facebook is eye-opening. I’ve stopped using it, and expect, today, to finish off the last of the data entry into my contacts list, then move on with deleting my account.

…Hell, I already have the page open to the “delete my account” action, ready for me to click it. (One last click for ya, Facebook. lol)…

One of the nicest things so far, about leaving Facebook I mean, is the increase in authenticity in my affected relationships. Already. I like that. Sure, it’s more effort to “stay in touch” – but if the only “staying in touch” we’re doing is eavesdropping on each other’s lives from a distance, lol’ing at memes, and amplifying each other’s outrage… are we really “in touch” with each other, at all? How much slower is the progress toward any personal goal, or our journey to be our best self, if we’re constantly seeking – or waiting for – likes, clicks, and views along the way. Very distracting. I just… can’t. Too much I’d still like to see, do, achieve, complete, stumble on, enjoy, share in real life, savor without comment, and reflect upon without further input, honestly, and when all that is added to the mish-mash of bullshit, misinformation, racism, sexism, trolling, data-mining, and drama that Facebook has been built upon… omg. So over it.

So. Here I sit. Realizing, in this moment, that I’ve already downloaded the historical content I wanted to save – all the conversations I’ve had with friends over this past 10 years, inclusive of all the contact updates – I’m ready. Ready to end this toxic relationship and move on with my life. 😀 No last good-bye. No final statement as I depart. No dramatic exit. Just a Saturday morning, a cup of coffee, and a couple of mouse clicks. 🙂 Easy.

…And just like that, Facebook has no power over me. 🙂 Nice.

This one is a new beginning (and then some), but also an allegory and a metaphor; do what matters most for you. Make your choices wisely, using wisdom you have acquired in years of living. Consult when you must – but living ones life is not a matter of consensus, likes, clicks, or trending views. Being present in the moment may not be the instantly gratifying shot in the brain chemistry that having all your friends (and a bunch of strangers) comment favorably on a post on social media may be… but it’s tangible, and authentic. It’s real. It’s also a choice, and I’m making mine. Doesn’t have to be yours; we each walk our own path. Mine diverges from Facebook, right here. 🙂 There are a lot of reasons why, really, the largest of which is that although my friends add to my experience, Facebook twists that, and then adds a layer of toxic cognitive goo, and then a shitload of advertising. lol I am all about saying “no” to that.

I’ve got a hearty and well-filled contact list full of friends of many years, some old, and some new. I’ve got addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, a calendar… and the time with which to begin again. 🙂

Groggy and fussy, this morning, sipping my obviously too hot coffee with considerable care, and still burning my tongue, and letting my mind scroll through the recollection of the week, so far, and yesterday, specifically. I’m feeling irritable in those places where life or work shove me outside my “comfort zone”, forcing me to reconsider my expectations, assumptions, and knowledge. What works? What doesn’t work? Is this thing that once worked well no longer going to work at all? Is this new way of being or doing or thinking going to last? Does it fit? Does it work?

…I find non-attachment most difficult when it requires me to let go of a long-standing practice that once was the clear choice on my path to success.

…No, that isn’t some hint that I’m thinking about not writing. lol Stay with me. Here. In this moment. This is a safe space, here with the words, and the coffee. 😉 (Well, I mean… safe for me; I may occasionally be less than ideally comfortable for someone else.) I’m just saying – it’s hard to let go of things I think I know well.

Sometimes we have to let go of something we think we really know, something we accept as “fact”.  It’s to do with so much of our “knowledge” being built on internal narrative, bits of memories, things we think we heard, and our runaway need to be certain about things that are not easily defined with certainty, at all, perhaps. I do know that I occasionally notice I’m “knowing” something with a firmness of conviction that is, all by itself, a warning klaxon of belief. Gotta let that go. Sometimes it’s hard.

I’m chuckling because I have not made it clear that in this particular instance, I’ve gone all meta on a practical fucking bit from work, of all things, because it became very clear yesterday that I need to let some assumptions go, and either re-test their validity in my (forecasting) model, or allow myself to explore new ways of thinking about it, entirely. It managed to become a life lesson, over a night’s sleep, and my morning coffee, and here I sit, thinking about queuing theory and forecasting. Some other part of my less-than-ideally-awake consciousness mews pitifully about not having finished my coffee… lol

I take some time to continue the data entry of updated details from friends, from Facebook, into my Contacts. This process is tedious, and also heart-warming. I absolutely admit I expected maybe 5 or 6 people would actually act on my advisement that I’d be leaving the realm of Facebook… instead, I’m facing a couple hours of actual work. LOL S’ok. They are, and I am, quite worth the time. 🙂

So is this. So are you.

I smile into my coffee, and take a deep, cleansing breath. I hear the soft breathing of my Traveling Partner in the other room. I feel content. Wrapped in love. I sit with this lovely moment as I finish my coffee… as moments go, it is quite perfect precisely as it is. I’ll sit with it awhile longer, before I begin again. 🙂

I’m quitting Facebook. I use the active verb form because it is, like so many things, a process. You see, I’m not walking away angry, or reacting to outrage, or taking a revolutionary stand against Big Data… I’m just done with the negative changes to my cognition, to my brain chemistry, and, frankly, to my relationships. Social media hasn’t improved our relationships so much as given us a perception of connection, a veneer of the superficial imposed over the framework of real connection. The depth and authenticity are being lost. More memes, less original content. More shared articles I’ve already read elsewhere, fewer shared actual individual observations, opinions, or commentary. More advertising – a lot more advertising – and I’m no longer comfortable with the trade-off for what is, at its heart, nothing more than a hyperlinked address book of sorts, with pictures. So… I’m quitting Facebook. We’re breaking up.

It’s weird, but then, so am I, I suppose. 🙂 I’ve put a lot of thought and consideration into this, and it’s been a long time coming, supported by rather a lot of content and reading that touches on the subject of “what is social media really doing to/for us?

I don’t actually want to lose touch with friends – old or new – or close family members. That’s not the point at all. So, I have been contacting friends in batches, letting them know I am breaking up with Facebook, and updating my contacts to enjoy a future of actual conversations (I know, right? So weird.), and email, and pictures on Instagram, which I’ve decided to keep (at least for now). It’s taking some days just to do the data entry involved with this break up – like other break ups, there’s paperwork involved. lol

I remind friends of where my blog lives, mindful that sharing it on Facebook won’t be a thing anymore. I redirect fans of my artwork from my Facebook page, to my WordPress art blog. I update my contacts as friends reach out to share their current details.

…I scroll through my Facebook feed a few more times, aware that this is symptomatic of one of the reasons I’m breaking up with Facebook; it is a huge drain on my bandwidth, without any legitimate reward. Rarely any new information gained. Too many opportunities to be immersed in drama, and negativity. Relationships colored by propaganda, trolling, and mutual outrage. Spelling errors. Russian troll bots.

…I’ll miss the pictures. Pictures of moments I did not share with my friends… possibly because it didn’t feel necessary to participate; I knew I’d see the pictures. :-\ Yikes. Yeah. Time to move on from this bad long-term relationship, Facebook, you’re no good for me. lol

Looks like I’ll be getting back more time to write… 😉 Definitely a new beginning, right here. 😀