Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Archive for the ‘balance’ Category

Evolving Vision, Evolving Life

beach front property with gazeboSeveral months ago, I found a piece of property which almost perfectly matched my vision for my future. It happened to be on the coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara, so it was still within reach of the places I know and frequent. At the time, that was important to me. But things change.

Out with the old, in with the new

It’s been a couple of weeks since I went dancing at what was my usual hangout. In part, it’s because I was at my daughters for a few days, but I’ve been back for over a week and have no real desire to visit a place which, for many reasons, is no longer the home I used to feel so comfortable and welcome visiting.

Friends turned out to be acquaintances. Management no longer feels any sense of loyalty to regulars who’ve been there through good times and bad; some for decades. So I’m adrift. I put together a list of dances with the songs I like to dance them to with the idea of pulling up the songs on YouTube and keeping my hand in. But I have yet to put on my dancing shoes and tear up my living room, to the amusement of the cats. Instead, I’m looking for other amusements to occupy my time.

Learning who I’m meant to be

Sure, a couple of people have noticed and might even miss my smiling face, but I’ve come to the realization that, like so many others, I’m expendable. As I struggle to find my purpose and make a go of my passion, it’s a little disconcerting to find I’ve made such little impact. But then, maybe that’s not where I’m meant to make an impact in the first place.

On a conscious level, I know purpose doesn’t come from others. It comes from within. So I turn my attention inward, seeking a germ, a morsel of something which makes me feel that I matter. I ponder my options. Some look viable but don’t really feed my soul. Others feed my soul but I have yet to figure out how to make them viable.

Still, I haven’t come this far or weathered so many storms to stop searching for the rainbow. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt almost entirely alone and directionless. I’ve just found myself in a clearing which has no clear roads leading outwards.

One thing is clear, though. I no longer need to confine my dreams and aspirations to this one, tiny corner of the world. There’s nothing to hold me here aside from my home, and soon, I’ll be in a position to make my home, my living, my way wherever I choose; without borders, without boundaries.

The time has come to shed old people, ways and paradigms

It makes me think this is not a down turn at all, but a new kind of freedom, without the need to stay in a pattern which no longer serves me. When access to people and places is no longer important, my world opens up to possibilities I hadn’t even considered.

Yes, I want to live near the beach, but there are coastlines everywhere. The perfect place for me was hidden behind all of the things I thought I couldn’t leave behind. As they fade from importance, my horizons simply broaden and with that broadening come new opportunities, the magnitude of which I’d never even considered.

Once again, the Universe is forcing me to break free of old patterns and ideas. It’s forcing me to look at other possibilities which couldn’t occur as long as I was hanging onto things which had outlived their usefulness. I face the coming days with a new sense of excitement because I can now consider possibilities beyond the limits of my current geography.

It’s freeing, but a little frightening as well. The butterfly is truly emerging from her cocoon. Time to see how far these new wings will take me.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the freedom of my solitude.
2. I am grateful that I’m learning to recognize the difference between friendship and friendly acquaintances.
3. I am grateful for the new opportunities and possibilities coming into my life.
4. I am grateful for the new people and places I will be experiencing, though I can’t help but be saddened by what’s disappeared with the rose-colored glasses.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, friendship, joy, health, philanthropy, prosperity, family, writing, publishing and expanding horizons.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

October 23, 2014 Time Zone Woes #shericonaway #blogboost

Best laid plans

I had a great idea for tonight’s blog post, but it was, at least initially, predicated on receiving permission to use someone else’s graphic and remarks. What I neglected to consider was that the person in question is in Australia, so the question I posted late this afternoon is experiencing a bit of a delay in receiving a response.

No matter. I shall proceed without the graphic and her lovely comment for the moment. Returning to a topic, minutes, hours or even days later is a trademark of the ADD/ADHD mind.

Alone time is vital to our health, but how many people struggle to find it, or just find being alone too uncomfortable to bear?

We’ve all seen those people. The ones who have to have someone around all the time. The ones who just aren’t comfortable in their own company. I find them difficult to understand as I just can’t relate. I revel in my alone time. I clutch it to my breast like a well used security blanket. I’d happily hibernate in my house, with the cats my only company, for days on end. The trouble is, too much of a good thing isn’t healthy either. Is there a magic formula? A chart into which we can enter pertinent data such as age, gender, living arrangements, location, etc. and receive a slip of paper telling us how much alone time we need to allow? How much time we should spend socializing?

Frankly, I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future. There are far too many variables, personal individuality being the trickiest of them all. One person sleeps eight hours a night and wakes feeling refreshed, another person, given the same amount of sleep awakens feeling exhausted from too much sleep. That alone is going to skew the answers! So how do you figure out what your personal optimum levels might be?

Many might hate this answer, but the truth is, we have to do what too many people fail to: listen to your body. “I don’t see how my body is going to tell me how much socialization and how much alone time I need!” you might tell me with your arms crossed over your chest signifying that you’re not about to listen to my prattle.

I would calmly reply, saying that your brain and mind are a part of your body. When they are feeling stressed, the smart person listens and tries to determine what to give the body and brain to lower those stress levels; to stop the stress hormones from injecting themselves into our bodies willy nilly. The obvious questions would concern diet and sleep, but what about time spent alone, even if it is simply to contemplate the lint gathering prowess of one’s navel. What about time spent with other humans which doesn’t involve work or other responsibilities?

Just as exhaustion sets in as a result of sleep deprivation (along with other nasty side effects like hallucinations), so, too, can we experience disruptions as a result of too much outside stimulus or too little fun. Now I’m going to throw the “B” word at you again.

A life well lived depends on balance. Sometimes, we have to step outside of our comfort zone to find that balance, but the truth is, if we don’t step outside of it on our own, sooner or later, we’re going to be kicked out, and at that point, the likelihood of it being an enjoyable experience is pretty low. I relate it to the room cleaning scenario when you’re a kid. Either you can clean it by the second or third time your mom asks, or you can spend the summer grounded and performing far more onerous chores than simply maintaining the cleanliness of your own room. How many teenagers have tested this theory, and suffered the consequences? Let me be the first to tell you that being forcefully ejected from your comfort zone is a great deal more unpleasant than being grounded for the summer.

So give some thought to how happy you feel in your own company. If you’re about to achieve full Hermit status, your objective should be to spend less time alone. But if you break out into a cold sweat just because you are all by yourself for a few minutes, it’s time to learn how to be alone without the requisite panic attack.

Most things are not harmful in moderation, and may even be healthy. But anything taken to excess is bound to be harmful, if not now, eventually.

We all need to clean out our emotional closet now and then. Stepping into what is uncomfortable for you right now is a great way to make that happen.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for a soft bed to lay my over used and abused muscles on.
2. I am grateful that I’m learning to temper my hermit-like tendencies with the company of others. As many of my friends are ADD/ADHD, they understand how difficult it can be for me to open up.
3. I am grateful for the exhaustion which is quickly claiming me as it means that Scrappy Doo will have a tough time keeping me awake with his shenanigans tonight.
4. I am grateful for four days of use and abuse of my body because it means that I can stay home alone tomorrow and indulge my inner Hermit to my heart’s content.
5. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, love, harmony, peace and prosperity.

Namaste

October 21, 2014 Balancing my inner Hermit. #shericonaway #blogboost

Life is all about balance. The better the balance, the easier it is to take the jumps when they arise.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Everything in life requires balance. Like a tennis player balancing on the balls of her feet while she awaits a serve, we have to be ready to move in any direction, and if we’re unbalanced, that just isn’t going to happen.

I am one of those people who is completely comfortable in her own company. I could easily go for days on end without human contact. But I also know that this isn’t a healthy place for me to be, so, in spite of my chosen profession, I know that I need to make sure I get out into the world on a regular basis. I’m finding that joining CSA which forces me to go out every Tuesday to pick up my box, combined with getting back into my regular gym routine was one of those really smart decisions I didn’t even realize I was making. At this point, I’m getting out of the house at least three times during the week and another two evenings to dance. But the benefits don’t stop at even healthier meals and a body in motion.

And speaking of healthy meals, here is today’s Harvest Box full of some old tried andHarvest box 10-21-14 trues and a couple of new things to try. (the Kabocha squash was yummy, by the way!) I supplemented this week’s goodies with some fresh green beans, bok choy and bell peppers so I can make a colorful and tasty stir fry. I’ll pick up some seafood blend at Trader Joe’s tomorrow for the protein. I’ll also be enjoying more of my wonderful salads thanks to another head of lettuce this week. (Each week it’s a different kind, so I’m not likely to get bored any time soon!

Suddenly, I’m getting more done every day!

Who would have thought that adding at least three hours of workouts plus additional trips to buy food, not to mention the extra hours of food preparation would make me more efficient. But one look at my To Do list shows that is exactly the case. I’m getting more work done on my clients, spending more time getting ready for NaNoWriMo, more time on chores around the house and more work on self-improvement and copywriting efforts.

I’m definitely not caught up to where I should be after all of these months of being home and not having a heavy workload, but I’m making progress, and that’s what counts.

The changes and improvements are a direct result of finding balance between being alone and getting out into the world. Sure, I need a reason to go out, but out is out, right?

Where do you find balance in your life? Or, where do you need to find balance? What improvements can you see happening once you find that point where you’re ready for whatever life tosses your way? I would love to hear your thoughts.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful to be setting new habits.
2. I am grateful for the added balance in my life.
3. I am grateful that I seem to have forgotten how to rationalize missing a gym day.
4. I am grateful for increased energy, a decrease in the amount of sleep I need and an increased feeling of accomplishment.
5. I am grateful for abundance: happiness, healthiness, balance, self-confidence, motivation, accomplishments, harmony, love, peace, joy and prosperity.

Namaste

September 16, 2014 How much structure?

Though a simple, unstructured lifestyle may seem ideal, there is something to be said for a little definition to help make things happen.

Once upon a time, my life had a very specific structure. Five days a week, I got up at the same time, showered, dressed, did the usual morning things and went to work for eight hours. On Sunday nights, I made my breakfasts and lunches for three days, and on Wednesday nights, I made meals for the other two days. Laundry was done on the same day every week as was grocery shopping and other errands and chores. When November came along, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge, and sat down to write at the same time every night, until the task was complete.

In the months since I left my job as a Corporate Controller (fancy name for Manager of Accounting and Finance), I’ve seen that structure weaken until, in the last three or four months, it has really been non-existent. All of the day-driven tasks I’d settled into in the first few months had fallen by the wayside. Unless I had an appointment or it was a dance night, my days were one, big, loose, barren wasteland of laziness and sloth; but worse, little to show that I’d spent my day in worthwhile pursuits. It became what so many people teased me about; a full-time vacation.

Taking frequent trips to my daughter’s house didn’t help matters, though I did keep up with my daily writing tasks while there. It took me far longer than it should have to complete the first revision of my novel because I allowed myself to slip when I just didn’t feel motivated.

There comes a time when you have to take a good hard look at what you’re doing and realize that it just ain’t working!

I think my turning point was when I actually finished that revision and had copies made so other people could read it and give me their thoughts on what worked and what didn’t. Though delayed by a couple of weeks due to my visit to my daughter, and hers to me, I finally took stock and made some changes. The first was to revamp my To Do list so I can track my progress in completing weekly tasks. (Old bean counter tricks can actually be handy!)  The second was to commit to a Read and Critique with a local writer’s group. Though initially I only committed to one meeting, I felt so good about it afterwards that I made it a permanent addition to my calendar.

Though I’m refraining from working on the novel for now, I made the decision today to pull out the children’s story I wrote <gasp!> over twenty-two years ago, and start reviewing and revising it in preparation for next week’s meeting.

It hasn’t hurt my recent attack of motivation to re-acquire an accounting client and have the possibility of acquiring another. I now have tasks which need to be completed on a tighter schedule than I’ve enjoyed thus far, further necessitating a more definitized structure for my days. I have some reading I need to do, which I’m told will give me ideas on how to grab the reader’s attention. I have people I need to respond to with regard to improving my novel. And in order to facilitate the increased claims on my time, I’m reinstating my pre-made lunch program. Dinners will continue to be managed by making a large batch of something to be consumed throughout the week. This actually solves two problems for me: what to eat and how to eat more healthy meals. Grab and go, if I’m dependent on whatever is easy right now means a sandwich or something frozen, and I don’t really need either.

So what have I learned by going from one extreme to the other?

Always one to find the lesson in the ups and downs life brings me, I realize that, even if life becomes less structured, there are some things we do when we’re busy to make life easier that are just as useful when the structure in our life is self-created and self-motivated. Although I have the freedom to sleep a little later and do my chores and errands when I decide to do them, things still need to be done every week, every day, every month. I still need to follow a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise. (My knees are happiest when I move around frequently in some fashion, be it choreographed or freestyle). I still need to move forward on the things which will help me become a published author, sooner rather than later. There’s a website to create, a copywriting course to complete, a Facebook page to maintain, and a plethora of other tasks I don’t even know about yet, which will ensure that the world is ready for me to join the literary world with a reasonable amount of success.

If it means I have to start setting my alarm and pre-making lunches, so be it. It is all just a means to the same end.

And so ends the days of wine and roses (or coffee and long naps).

Nobody ever said that being self-employed meant shorter hours and an easier lifestyle. As a writer, I find that I am a whole lot more than just the chief cook and bottle washer. I’m the “talent” and the personal assistant and any other job title which comes along in my quest for that golden ring; my name on the cover of a book that people actually buy and read! It took awhile, but I think I’m finally on the right track towards balancing my desire for a life which is lived on my terms and actually achieving the lofty goals I set over nine months ago. Tally ho and away we go!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for extremes as they help to find that middle ground which is what works best in the long run.
2. I am grateful for new lessons as they keep me growing and moving forward.
3. I am grateful for other people with fresh viewpoints who can help me clear the clouds away and get a clearer picture of what I need to do to achieve my goals.
4. I am grateful for days when I get a lot accomplished and feel proud of myself once more.
5. I am grateful for abundance: assistance, guidance, friendship, hope, love, beauty, happiness, health, motivation, inspiration, and prosperity.

Namaste

September 3, 2014 Time flies when you’re having fun.

Are you kidding me? It’s September already???

As I sit down to write tonight, I am stunned to find that we’re nearly 3/4 of the way through this year! Where did the time go? What do I even have to show for it? Now, I could go on one of those negative rampages and elaborate on what I have NOT done this year, but what good would that do? It might show me how much I have to do to catch up, but other than that, it would only bring me down. Instead, I really have to do what I always do, and focus on what I have accomplished so far this year. (and yes, my friends, it is list time!)

1. I have created, maintained and followed a To Do list all year.
2. I have completed the first draft of my book.
3. I have completed the first edit of my book.
4. I have cleared an amazing amount of clutter, including old records dating back as far as 1992!
5. I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on many occasions.
6. I have started developing a social life which does not involve my daughter.
7. I have succeeded in conquering the bureaucratic nightmare some would pin on the Affordable Care Act, but which is really perpetuated by the insurance companies who don’t want to get on board (in my case, Blue Shield) and have worked with the Department of Health Insurance to help make the system better.
8. I have ensured that my main man, Dylan, will not succumb to hyperthyroidism related maladies by taking him for treatment. As of the three month blood tests, he is completely cured!
9. I continue to build my virtual tool box by learning new lessons and reinforcing old ones.
10. I have moved my blog to WordPress in preparation for launching my website.
11. I have become much more consistent with my blog postings.
12. I have started a copywriting course.
13. I have maintained my accounting business, albeit on a smaller scale than I’d originally planned, though I trust that this has been for a very good reason.
14. I have adopted two new kittens after losing one cat who we knew was very ill, and one who surprised us.
15. I continue to exercise my right to set boundaries and have them respected.

This is hardly a complete list, but for me, it represents a lot of progress in a few, short months. That is not to say that I don’t have periods where I’m a complete hermit, sit around and read all day, and let some of the good habits I’ve formed slide for a bit. But by the time I reach the place where I need to be a hermit, believe me, I’ve earned it!

Everyone needs time to recharge their batteries now and then.

We all get worn down, and if we’re smart, we recognize it and do something about it. It really doesn’t matter what works for you; whether it’s just being alone to read and veg, like me, or it’s working in the garden, or doing volunteer work…it just has to be what recharges you! Too often, we run ourselves into the ground, at which point, it is a much longer way back to our normal, energetic selves. Learning to recognize when we need to check out for a bit of recharging is, I realize, a tough lesson when you’re trying to hold down a job, raise kids, pay the bills and do all of the things these endeavors require. But even taking an evening when you put the kids to bed and settle down for a bubble bath, a read and a glass of wine instead of your usual laundry, dishes and paperwork is enough to give you the recharge you need. Maybe it won’t fill you all the way back up, but it will sure prevent you from draining yourself completely.

When my girls were young, my recharging system was a night of dancing, and I took a lot of doses of that particular tonic until they got to high school. At that point, I had to drive them to practices and meetings and a multitude of other activities, and allowed myself to be shortchanged. What a huge mistake that was, as I got more cranky and more depressed as the days went on! It took long term administration of Vitamin Dance before I started resembling my former self. But in the process, I made some new friends, learned a lot of new dances, went on a couple of cruises, and even started doing things outside of dancing.

These days, my life is a lot simpler, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get overwhelmed and drained. Instead of running kids to activities, I’ve added 2 1/2 hour drives to see my daughter. Of course, I spend three or four days with her when I go, but it’s still shlepping. (and of course, I love our visits and getting to see all of my grand furries!). But in addition to a couple of nights a week of dancing, I get out for afternoons at the beach, concerts and Shakespeare in the park, and am becoming more open to trying new and different things.

The end result is exactly what I’d hoped for, and that is to be energized by all of the new, while making the old seem less old hat and more just a comfortable resting place before dashing off to something new again.

Life is all about balance.

The more balance we achieve in our lives, the easier it is to recover when we get one of the inevitable curve balls; the easier it is to take the lesson and leave the pain behind. But better still, the easier it is to expect good things, and to get them, more and more!

Every day, I get more proof that Joy and Happiness brings Joy and Happiness, while worry, fear, gloom, sadness…bring more of the same. This, in particular, took awhile for me to figure out because, as my kids will tell you, I’m the original Worry Wart. I had to work hard to train myself to believe that everything would work out perfectly…if only I’d get out of the way and let it!

It’s sort of like the nights like tonight when I sit down to write a post, thinking I have nothing in my head to say, and suddenly, I find myself where I am right now, with a post of over 1,000 words, and realize that I need to find an end point, before I put my readers to sleep!

Let me just urge you to allow yourself time to recharge your batteries, and to say to yourself, whenever you feel fear or worry taking over “Everything is going to work out perfectly. I just need to get out of the way and allow the perfect to happen!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for how everything in my life works out perfectly.
2. I am grateful for all I have accomplished this year.
3. I am grateful that my daughter got us tickets for Blake Shelton, The Band Perry and Neal McCoy for this weekend!
4. I am grateful for the friendships I have been blessed with this year, and look forward to seeing them grow stronger.
5. I am grateful for the health of my cats, and for learning to recognize things before they become serious issues.
6. I am grateful for abundance: health, happiness, joy, friendship, success, harmony, peace, kindness, love and prosperity.

Namaste

August 28, 2014 Social media…do you want fries with that?

When it comes to social media, it really is to each her own, these days!

As time has gone on, the different ways people perceive and use social media has created an ever-widening gap between me and those who are on my friends list; but I’m not alone in this. The discussions about de-friending or unfollowing someone because of the content they share on our news feed has been escalating, at least among the people I know. Here is what I’ve observed people sharing of late (in no particular order):

  • Family pictures
  • Health status
  • Relationship status/changes
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion
  • Positive affirmations
  • Games, both, ostensibly in promotion of a cause, or just for fun
  • Observations of the world in general
  • Doom and gloom prophecies
  • Music appreciation
  • Selfies

We all have our own ideas of what is “allowed” on our news feed and what’s not, and the reasons for our choices don’t need to be explained. I’ve learned that if I unfollow someone, it doesn’t raise a glaring red flag, nor is it telling someone (erroneously) that I don’t like them as a person. It simply says “I appreciate your opinion, but I prefer that I don’t see it all the time on a place I go for fun and, sometimes, inspiration.” That being said, I’ve unfollowed people when posts become excessive in the following areas:

  • Health status, when there is an excess of posts complaining about conditions, yet failing to actually do something about it.
  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Business promotion (this one only when the posts become really excessive, so it doesn’t happen often)
  • Doom and gloom prophecies. I don’t really care whether these prophecies are based in fact or not. I simply don’t want to see anything which complains or blames without offering feasible solutions.

Again, if someone posts on any of these subjects now and again, I really don’t have a problem with seeing the occasional post on my news feed. It’s like anything else. Everything is fine in moderation (except maybe abusiveness or pure evil).

Most of my friends are pretty open and honest about what they do and do not like to see, and I try to respect that, at least insofar as anything I might post to their wall. I like to think that, with the exception of positive affirmations, I don’t post any topic in excess, but I am sure there are some who might see differently. (OK, so I may post more than my share of adorable cat pictures, but in my defense, I’m not posting a bunch of pictures of adorable grandchildren!).

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

The main thing is that we respect each others’ right to post what is important for them to share, knowing that there are polite and impolite ways to shield ourselves from the ones which might annoy or offend us. Heck, if we were all interested in exactly the same things, it wouldn’t be long before we’d just see the same posts over and over and over again, and, like a soap opera, we’d only need to check in every week or two to know everything that was going on! How boring would that be? As it is, some posts already go around for awhile, then, just as we think we’ve seen the last, someone starts re-posting them all over again! I can’t tell you how many times I’ll start reading something, only to realize that I saw it a month or so ago. It just goes to show that things travel more quickly in some circles than others.

For the people out there who are tired of my content, feel free to unfollow me; I completely understand. But if you unfriend me just because we have different viewpoints, we’ll both be the poorer as our world will become less diverse. Whether it’s meant that way or not, removing someone as a friend translates into an act of anger, whether  intended or not, and it’s often difficult to bridge the gap once it’s in place.

So to those who’ve let me know that they don’t appreciate or participate in some of the shenanigans, rest assured that I’ll try to remember to exclude you next time one goes around. But if, for some reason, I forget, please feel free to remind me before you just block me out of your life. I don’t set out to annoy or offend (though I will, on occasion post a rant with clear warnings!), but as a human, I do, on occasion, err, and once I either figure it out for myself or have it brought to my attention, I’ll always take ownership and do my best to make it right. (admittedly, I won’t always agree that I have been offensive or unkind. Like everyone else, I’m a work in progress, and my experiences have colored my perspective.)

Fortunately, I know that a lot of my friends are like me and appreciate the diversity as it allows us to bring each other lessons we might otherwise have missed, or at least, would have taken much longer to learn. But I think, over the last couple of years, we’ve all learned what social media can and cannot do for us, and have, for the most part, used it to connect, but after connecting, we all get out into the world rather than hiding behind our computers as the stereotypical user might do. It makes me wonder what the numbers are as far as users who think talking to people on the computer all day is real connecting vs. those who use the medium to reach out, but save the true connecting for social gatherings which actually require you to shower, dress and leave the comparative comfort of the four walls they call home…something to ponder.

My Gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for my friends in all of their wonderful, unique, sometimes quirky, but never boring, diversity.
2. I am grateful that I’ve reached the end of my current hermit stage, and that my friends care enough to be concerned when I’m not present, but understand when I explain why.
3. I am grateful that I have the ability to check out from society whenever I want or need to, but can just as easily check back in.
4. I am grateful for the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, and how much we continue to share, despite the distance in miles.
5. I am grateful for all of the abundance in my life; love, friendship, health, happiness, peace, harmony, prosperity and charity.

Namaste

August 20, 2014 Ode to Decluttering

The first thing to realize is that clutter comes in many forms: Energetic, mental, emotional, physical; and many variations on these themes.

Once again, I’m guided to declutter, but this time, it’s not so much my physical environment, but my mental and emotional ones. As a result, I find myself less inclined to allow Facebook to suck up my time and have been taking steps to, in essence, clear more space. To begin with, I’m no longer posting what I’m doing or where I’ve visited, and, in fact, didn’t even post comments or pictures from the Rascal Flatts concert the other night. This morning, I was guided to go through my friends list and unfollow many on it, which will, ultimately, result in considerably less activity on my wall to distract me and keep me away from what’s truly important. Even better has been the ease with which I have been able to close the Facebook page for hours on end, not even missing knowing what my friends are up to. Clearly, the time and energy sucking I was succumbing to has lost a lot of its glitter over the last week or so.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Making this small but significant change has had immediate, positive results. Not only did I get some editing done yesterday, but I wrote my blog post much earlier in the day, got laundry done and a few other chores I might have continued to put off. But the very best part of my latest decluttering effort has clearly been on the energetic plane. I found myself going to bed a little earlier last night, and awoke refreshed and ready to start my day hours early than has been my wont for the last couple of weeks! I also feel much more relaxed and focused.

This is not to say that social media sites don’t have their place. I, myself, tend to follow pages and people who post a lot of positive affirmations and empowering quotes. In fact, I have a habit of unfollowing anyone who posts a lot of political and world shattering images and comments. As always, we choose the energetic vibration of our environment, and in so choosing, we draw to us those things which maintain our selected balance. Thus, the people and places I choose to follow tend to be spiritually enlightened, oriented towards kindness, animal friendly and, in many cases offer educational opportunities in non-traditional subjects. In fact, I think part of my disenchantment with much of it lately has been the endless posts which do not feed my need for mental and spiritual expansion.

As a further expansion of this thought, and my desire to improve my kindness rating, I am grateful that Facebook has the “unfollow” function rather than limiting its users to either seeing everything someone posts or not having them on their friends list. Unfollowing someone doesn’t send them any kind of message, as far as I know. But unfriending them, once they realize it has occurred, can, at the very least, cause hurt feelings, but can also result in anger or, in people who might already be mentally unstable or depressed, actually increase those feelings of unworthiness they might already be feeling. I, for one, do not want to make anyone feel unworthy or uncared for (though, admittedly, I have made comments and remarks which may have done so). In fact, social media gives us too easy a path towards unkindness by allowing us to vent our frustration in real time, instead of taking a time out to think it through, and realize that our words can be hurtful if not edited and put forth after we’ve worked through negative emotions.

Over sharing runs rampant.

People joke about how we post pictures of our meals, our animals and other strange things for the reading enjoyment of our “followers”. I’d estimate that most of us do so at least once in awhile, while others are guilty of posting such things almost daily. We are also addicted to the “selfie”, and again, some people post them occasionally, when they’re on vacation or at Disneyland or celebrating a special event, while others post daily, or even hourly! This propensity towards posting selfies is just another indication of how closely many people tie themselves to social media every day.

Again, I find myself grateful to have not succumbed to the need to allow Facebook to ping me on my smart phone every time my friends post something or comment on my posts. The lack of constant reminders makes it even easier for me to disconnect for long periods of time. The fact is, a phone that is constantly pinging and booping and making other assorted sounds would just annoy the ever-loving crap out of me! Bad enough, being on the “do not call” list has not prevented salesmen and other unwanted calls to break through my personal barrier of people I do and do not want to talk to. (driving home from my daughter’s house on Monday, a call came in which I thought might be my daughter, and, had I listened for the ring tone would have known it wasn’t. A saleswoman launched into her pitch with such verve, I was forced to just disconnect as she didn’t even take a breath long enough for me to politely tell her I wasn’t interested!)

What’s happy for you, might make someone else sad.

Many of my friends post pictures of their vacations, their homes, their family gatherings and their grandchildren. While sharing their happiness might be uplifting to some, consider a person who can’t afford vacations, but spends a lot of time working just to make ends meet. Or perhaps, a person who has to share a small apartment in the city. Consider how the happy, family gathering might affect someone who either has no family left, or has nobody they’re close to. What about those who either have no children or are estranged from them and, as such, will never have or see their grandchildren? In cases like these, what seems like a sharing of joy to some could trigger, once again, those thoughts of unworthiness in others. I can see someone wallowing in self-pity because they are unable to post similar pictures. Even I, find myself, on occasion, feeling a little sorry for myself…at least until I remember to be grateful for all that I have, and realize that I’m only seeing a small piece of their lives. The reality might be that, overall, I have far more to be grateful for than they do. Those happy family vacation pictures might hide a child who was lost too young, or a parent who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or ALS. We don’t often post the things in life which cause us pain, or with which we must struggle constantly to accept. There are a lot of cliches running through my head right now, but the bottom line is that it is dangerous to compare your own life to one in which you’re only given a glimpse of the good times.

Tuning out and turning off to increase focus on what I can control.

To summarize this rather lengthy post (and longer posts is another benefit/result of reducing my social media exposure), though there are mixed thoughts on whether social media enhances or detracts from our overall well-being, I believe you have to take it on a case by case basis, and simply decide how it’s affecting your life. After doing my own analysis, I’ve decided that it is OK in small doses, but that, for awhile now, the doses I’ve been consuming have been excessive, and, as a result, causing me damage which reducing the dosage will quickly reverse. All I can say is: Choose wisely, my friends!

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful for my recent inspiration to declutter energetically and mentally as it will positively impact me emotionally as well.
2. I am grateful that we all have choices.
3. I am grateful for visions of myself which show me areas which need improvement.
4. I am grateful for new horizons.
5. I am grateful for abundance which is available to everyone: Harmony, peace, health, happiness, joy, love and prosperity.

Namaste

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