Among the many insightful comments on my last post came one that I’m making the focus this time. It’s from Angel Pricer, a young writer who’d been longing to share herself and her “word soup” with a wider world. I am happy to oblige! HEEEEERE’s Angel:
Thank you, Suzanne, for your invitation to expand on my last blog comment about how totally liberating it was to disengage from social media. Turns out you were complicit in a universal conspiracy designed to get me to read my journal for what yearned to be plucked out, added to what I call my word soup, and shared. Here’s my social media withdrawal story.
About a week before I took action to step away from Facebook, I felt a burgeoning sense of freedom within, which seemed altogether at odds with the emotionally empty expressions I was too often finding in the social media realm. I felt full of spirit, on the cusp, I sensed, of a great erasure of the day-to-day me and a merging with the eternally present observer me.
Facebook was the primary way in which I engaged with the world-at-large. But even there, I was mostly observing, only inserting a few words here or sharing a song or post there. My interactions were not providing the deep connection of being-to-being that I long for—as an evolving woman and as a writer—and deep down I knew they never would.
I realized that this essence, this freedom that I Am, cannot be portrayed, packaged, sold, bought, consumed or dissected. And it was dawning on me that such portrayal and packaging is exactly what I had been trying to do with it—with myself!—within the social media realm and beyond.
Something else I realized—and a good example of this is your invitation spurring me to read my work and push through my resistance to sharing it: whatever we need to know and do is most freely given, and received by us, when our awareness is unfettered by the noise of the outer world.
From my emerging feet-planted-on-the-ground perspective, I began sensing how much more there is to life (and especially to the life of the spiritual writer I fancied myself to be) than watching others recycle sage words online just because they resonate, while neglecting to take their essence deeper—as if resonance with a grain of truth were equal to BEING that truth.
Those critical wakeup moments of mine came at the start of the crazy-making holiday season, in all its material glory. I’ve been at odds with the Christmas season from my earliest childhood. But last year I was made even more uncomfortable thanks to Facebook, where I saw too many people announcing their spiritual good works, at the same time as they feigned humble acceptance of the very praise their action were meant to elicit.
All that pre-holiday hawking and squawking was the final push I needed to pull the plug. And so I did. Following a meditation one day, I heard the words “Facebook Fast,” and off I went.
For the first few days, I felt like an addict in withdrawal, recognizing the compulsion to check my feed about four to five times an hour. Slowly the urge subsided, creating more space within. Only then was I able to fully feel the pangs of discomfort that I soon recognized as remorse. I was every bit as guilty of not having lived up to my spiritual ideals as the would-be sages and do-gooders I’d taken to task on the other side of the computer screen.
Free of Facebook’s attractions and distractions, I’d caught myself in the act of a “holier-than-thou” hypocrisy. So I made the (for me) big decision to step away from the so-called “spiritual,” both online and off, and to explore instead what it might mean to embrace all of life—as a whole, not-holier-than-thou human being.
As I found myself opening up to a larger, more inclusive world within and without, I was also moved to focus more seriously on sharpening the skills of my craft. I even entertained the idea of doing writing that is not overtly “spiritual” or “self-help” related, a novel and exciting possibility for me.
It wasn’t a pretty time and I felt very alone. But boy was I growing! When my 30-day fast was over, I was in no hurry to re-engage with Facebook. By then I was deeply involved in the exploration of a fictional character and proposed book series I’d long hoped to embark on. But best of all thanks to my time-out, I felt more comfortable than ever BEING myself, and noticeably less in need of defining, promoting or validating this “being.” A huge development.
Suzanne, based on your vulnerable last blog post, I understand you are on the cusp of an “erasure” of your own. I hope you’ll keep sharing your experience with us. And thank you so much for encouraging me to share mine.
Thank you, Angel, for jumping in with both feet to inspire us. I for one can use all the support I can get to step back from what I, too, find to be an ever more vapid, often unsavory virtual world. (And hey, don’t even get me started on the the “real” one!)
So, dear readers, have you taken a break from information overload or the world at large? If so, what happened? If not, are you tempted to? Or do you have a different perspective altogether here? Please keep your valuable comments coming—about that or anything that stirs you. And if you enjoy our blog and haven’t already, why not join the tribe and subscribe, and kindly share this link with your friends.