I'm Stepping Away
It was November 2009 when I finally woke up to the fact that I had a debilitating addiction to the internet. I had lost all sense of Self as I prioritized my online activity and the so-called relationships to be of upmost importance. Lost, terrified, and uncertain, I purchased my first journal and took the first steps into uncertainty, willing to change my habits and change myself. I began my journey of awakened consciousness and self-discovery.
I quit. Cold turkey. I left all the news sites, message boards, groups, communities, and whatever social media platforms that were active at the time. (Sodahead and MySpace) I changed passwords to characters I would never remember and deleted accounts, removing everything I knew as an active part of my life. I began the practices of introspection and journaling. I began to heal my life.
With the introduction of Facebook and feeling as if I had overcome my addiction, I crept back in, slowly. One website or platform at a time, I was back in it. Thinking I could handle it and that I’d be different this time around, I once again fell victim to the value system of my Inner Child, believing I had to belong somewhere, and fit in, and be liked and accepted and loved. I have this awareness of my Inner Child today and can see clearly what happened but was unable at the time to define my experience in this way. The patterns of thought and behavior surfaced again and again as I took things personally, compared myself to others and habitually checked in (with hope and fear) more times than I could count.
Over the past thirteen years I continued to struggle and be challenged with the idea of being online. From time to time, I did some detoxing and decluttering, my most recent was back in 2020 when I was off social media platforms for about 4 months. I deleted the FB and IG apps from my phone, the only two social media platforms I used. I took some time out for introspection so I could get clear about my beliefs about social media.
At the four-month mark, I brought the Instagram app back to my phone. I preferred it over Facebook. I began to see and approach the IG app as a bulletin board of sorts. A place where I could post my offerings and share words that might inspire others. The only time I would visit FB was through my computer. I made a promise to myself that the app would never have a place on my phone again.
Everything seemed to be going well, until I felt the struggle, until I began to question once again. When I became curious and got really honest with myself, I understood I was using the IG app as a means to distract myself from what I really and truly wanted to be doing. So, I got curious and honest about that. The truth was, I had a fear of success. I feared my own power and the responsibility that comes with that. If I kept myself distracted, I wouldn’t focus on my excitements because I wouldn’t have time because I needed to post something every day to keep up my online presence. This pattern of behavior kept me small and safe in my comfort zone even though I wasn’t truly comfortable there because I am growing and evolving. Like the nautilus, I have outgrown one chamber and I need to build another. I will no longer try to fit back into the old, smaller chamber of my physical reality.
About three weeks ago I sat here in front of my computer, and I asked out loud, “What do I want to do about social media????” I opened my email and saw a newsletter from friend and fellow Coach, Audrey Holst. In her share she mentioned a book titled Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. With my curiosity peaked, trusting in synchronicity and Divine timing, I researched the book and ordered it. This morning I read half of it.
What I’ve read so far validates everything I’ve been thinking and feeling and sensing about my relationship with the internet and social media platforms. With technology in general. Additionally, Cal’s approach to being a digital minimalist offers me fresh eyes and new tools to use when I feel I want to begin reintroducing technology into my life. Yes. I have stepped away from the noise, clutter, and distractions of many apps and the internet and notifications. I have let go of the minor diversions, distractions, and trivial conveniences. I am intent on rebuilding my relationship with technology from scratch, using my deeply held truths and values as a foundation.
Some of you have reached out to me asking me about my social media presence. Thank you for your inquiry and for noticing I haven’t been there. I don’t know if I’m ever going back on Facebook or Instagram. Right now it’s a, hell no. What I can tell you is that I will continue to send my weekly newsletters because that is the most authentical and exciting way for me to stay connected with you. I am taking every present moment as it comes, breathing in the experience of my passions, values, and truths.
If you have some interest in decluttering your technology and quieting the noise, I am open to having a conversation with you. Please reach out.
I leave you now with a quote from author Cal Newport ….
“The most important resource we posses is the minutes of our life.”
With love and gratitude,
Last week we had the first full moon of the calendar year 2022. I didn’t celebrate it in any way, I didn’t perform any ritual, I wasn’t in ceremony, but I did put out filtered water to be charged by lunar energy.
I was however, in thought and in feeling. I was in my Shadow and in my Light, curious about what I was ready to release not only during the full moon, but over the course of the next few months leading up to my 55th birthday. Well, I guess one could say I was in a ritual of sorts.
Do you work with the cycles of the moon? Are you the kind of person who sets intentions during the darkness of the new moon and finds release during the brilliance of the full moon? Yeah, me too.
In my practices of curiosity and introspection, it became abundantly clear what I am truly ready to let go of. Finally, and fully prepared for the release of a few core-related, limiting beliefs that I am sick and tired of carrying around. Stories that belong to someone else that I’ve used to keep me playing small and in a loop of distraction and self-sabotage.
But that’s not why I write to you today.
The cycles of the moon give us the opportunity to know ourselves more deeply, more truly, more authentically. The cycles of the moon give us the opportunity to be more of who we really are. Through the cycle of the new moon, we set intentions. In the process of intention setting, we recognize and acknowledge those things we want to put in motion. Intentions help us shift in the direction of what we prefer in our lives. They guide us in creating new habits and spiritual practices that are in alignment with who we prefer to be. In turn, helping us to know ourselves more deeply, my truly, more authentically. Intentions help us to be more of who we truly are and who we prefer to be.
Through the cycle of the full moon, we are offered a chance to release aspects of ourselves and our lives we no longer need, those things that are no longer in alignment with the current version of ourselves. In the process of release, we more easily recognize and acknowledge those things that are worn out, outdated, those things that no longer serve us. The act of releasing guides us inletting go of those things that are no longer in alignment with who we prefer to be. In turn, helping us know ourselves more deeply, more truly, more authentically. The act of releasing helps us to be more of who we really are by letting go of who we are not.
Yes, the moon influences us but in truth, we use the moon as a permission slip.
A permission slip is ANY technique, tool, ritual, object, discipline, practice, ANYTHING in physical reality that you believe will help you become more of who you are, to be more of who you truly are, to know yourself more deeply, more authentically. It is anything that you give yourself, to give yourself permission to change because you believe it will help you do the things you do and make changes you need to make. You understand that “With this assisting me, I believe I can change.” Permission slips give you a broader sense of what is possible for you.
Mediation, tarot, mirror work, affirmations, statues of deities, rituals, introspection, relationships, journaling, nature, enrollment in a course of study, coaching, booking a session with a spiritual teacher, yoga, and the moon, are all examples of permissions slips. Ultimately you realize you are the permission slip, and you can change in any way, shape, or form that you prefer, at any time, without necessarily needing a ritual or object to make it easier for you to do so.
What would you have to believe to be true that causes you to modify or adjust your thoughts, words, or behavior? What would you have to believe to be true that would cause you to abandon yourself and your authenticity so you could fit in, be loved, or accepted?
We tell ourselves stories all the time. Sometimes these stories are based in positivity and love, but often our stories are based in limitation, negativity, and fear. For so many of us, we live within the paradox or the struggle of belonging vs. authenticity.
When you were a baby, you needed your parents for your survival. Many of us … most of us … were raised by wounded adult children who had little-to-no capacity to deal with their emotions and their own neediness. So, when attempts by you, as a baby, to express yourself and your needs were met with disapproval, when mom and dad couldn’t respond to you sufficiently, you abandoned your authenticity in order to preserve the attachment to your parents. You became compliant to their wishes and demands, and you began to adjust your behavior in an attempt to satisfy your parents.
For so many of us, this behavior is carried throughout our lifetime and applied to countless experiences and relationships. You are not responsible for the type of childhood programming or conditioning you received, but you are responsible for what you do with it as an adult. Your parents were doing the best they could with the knowledge and understanding they had at the time, so do yourself a favor and let yourself be in the process of forgiveness. The spiritual practices of healing one’s life is never about blame, but is always about a sense of understanding, overcoming, transforming, and moving closer to your True Authentic Self.
Before I go on, I want to share that I’m just touching the surface of our experience here in physical reality. In no way am I trying to make light of childhood abuses, neglect, or trauma. I would always suggest professional help in healing yourself through whatever means work for you. My personal belief is that we choose our parents and our conditioning in order to overcome and transform our challenges as adults, and to move closer to remembering our Essential Self. With anything anyone writes or teaches or shares, it’s important for you to take what feels right, and leave the rest.
For the sake of understanding, the words “stories” and “beliefs” are interchangeable.
Humans are social creatures. We want to feel as if we belong, somewhere. Within our family unit, our tribe, out community, and in the world. The important piece here, is belonging, while being authentic instead of trying to fit in. You are here to be your own unique shape, like a piece of a puzzle. You, along with all the other shapes and sizes “fit in” together to form one large, magnificent tapestry of existence. Yet all too often, we are still in a place of modifying and adjusting our thoughts, words, and behaviors because at a very deep level we still believe the attachment or sense of belonging is more important than being our True Self.
We end of sacrificing so much and continuously abandon our truth. We play small so that others will feel better about themselves. We end up spending so much of our lives, living them for other people! We often think, speak, and behave in a way we think other people want us to. All of this is rooted in the first relationships and experience of ourselves, with our parents, when we’re babies.
How many times have you wanted to really say what’s on your mind and speak your truth, but didn’t?
How often have you wanted to take a risk, but didn’t?
How many times have you wanted to end the relationship, but haven’t?
How often have you wanted to shine as bright as the sun, but didn’t?
How many times have you wanted to express yourself through your passions, but didn’t?
How often do you feel the pull to live a life bigger than that of others, but haven’t?
Why not? Why haven’t you set a boundary, spoken your truth, taken a risk, shined bright, expressed your uniqueness, or lived your life on your terms? Because again, at a deep level you believe it’s more important to fit in, belong and be someone you think other people want you to be. Because you are telling yourself stories based in limitation, fear, and negativity. Somewhere within you, that little girl or that little boy believes it’s not safe to be herself or himself, that you can’t trust your uniqueness and your authenticity will be met with loving arms of acceptance for who you truly are.
Every time you abandon your True personality, you lower your vibration to match another’s. In doing so, you create a struggle within yourself. Can you feel that? Of course you can, you know it’s there. You’ve felt it many times, haven’t you?
What you believe about yourself, and your life becomes true for you. It’s that simple. Your physical reality is rooted in your belief systems, in the stories you tell yourself about who you are. How are those stories working for you currently? How ready are you to fully let go of the stories that keep you in patterns of inauthenticity and abandonment? Then I suggest you start to pay attention to the moments when you adjust your thoughts, your words, or your behaviors and ask yourself …. What would I have to believe to be true in order to behave this way, in order to speak the way I’m speaking, in order for me to feel the way I’m feeling? What stories am I telling myself in regard to fitting in and belonging?
Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.