Life

One of the laws of the universe is that all library holds come at the same time. This is what arrived for me today at my own library. I am also working slowly through four books. I am also feeling a need to do some creative writing and just general de-cluttering of the brain.

When I was writing the “Choose Love” post I took the opportunity to read though some of the post that I wrote when I was doing my media fast last year. It’s kind of interesting to revisit that experiment. It was great experience and I want to do it again. So I am. Starting tomorrow.

I’ll see you in a week!

Media Fast: Day 7

Life

My media fast has been mind-blowingly enlightening. As I mentioned the other day, after a couple of days I felt 100 percent better. No depression. More focus. My brain feels sharper. I think eliminating everything is a very important part of this exercise. By doing this I have realized what I miss and what I don’t miss. I have also been able to see what I am addicted to since I don’t have anything distracting me from my reactions to things.

I miss reading for entertainment. However, it has been good to take a break from it this week because I have been able to get the reading that I need to do for work done. I am taking a management class and I tend to choose other things to read, given the chance. This exercise has really caused me to focus on the reading for my class.

I miss listening to music. However, I have really enjoyed running without music and Runkeeper. I may not go back to running with music. I like the freedom of being gadget-free.

I don’t miss television at all. I never really watched it anyway.

I have mixed feelings about the internet and social media. On the one hand, I miss interacting with my friends. But I really don’t miss, at all, the clutter that these sites push. I don’t miss the inane news stories. I don’t miss the memes.

I have also noticed the way these social media sites make me feel, and the way not logging on everyday makes me feel. There is this pull to check. I noticed something bothersome yesterday. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone but kept the Facebook Messenger app. I used it yesterday to send a message to my brother. When I was on the “compose” screen a list of my FB friends was there and next to their names it told me when they were last active on Facebook. Why do I need to know this? And there is something about this knowledge that triggered this addictive need to “check Facebook.” I have developed this habit of needing to know what my friends are doing. It is unhealthy and weird, frankly. The FB developers have tapped into a social, voyeuristic instinct that humans have. I have never liked it. I don’t need to know that my friend has liked her other friend’s picture (a stranger that I have never met) from their trip to the Bahamas. I feel like this is an invasion of the privacy of both my friend and their friend. And I have never been able to figure out a way to turn this off. It is just pushed to me when I log on, whether I want this information or not.

So, needless to say, I think I am going to extend my social media fast. I will log in this week for a moment to upload photos from my brother’s wedding and to check in. I may also check in from Paris (probably not though. I want to experience Paris with no distractions). But otherwise, I think an extended Facebook/Twitter/social media break is in order.

Media Fast: Day Two

Thoughts and Opinions

This exercise, so far, has been amazing. One day of no media clutter  and already I feel healthier psychologically. My mind feel sharper and clearer. I feel happier and less depressed. I haven’t had any thoughts of self-loathing in 24 hours. It’s really kind of awesome.

There are moments when my ego wants to throw a tantrum because it doesn’t have anything to do. But the interesting thing about it is that it is easy to find things to do. Not having the distractions of media makes things so much simpler. I do what is in front of me. What needs to be done? The dishes? Ok. I’ll do the dishes. Now, is it boring to do the dishes? Yes it is. But it’s ok. It is only boring for that moment when I perceive it is boring. As soon as I start doing it I’m fine. And since I don’t have anything entertainment-wise to look forward to I am left with what is in front of me.

Fascinating.

Running without music this morning was interesting as well. I was worried that It would be difficult but it wasn’t at all. In fact, nothing was different aside from not having the distractions of music and Runkeeper in the background.

This is something I am noticing too:  that maybe I shouldn’t have so many things going at one time. And I’m not even talking things that I am doing. I am talking about things going in the background. For example this morning I thought I would work on a scanning project for a friend of mine. While the slides were scanning I decided to knit and work on my French lesson. But as I was doing all of this I felt the heaviness of stress on me and realized that I am probably doing too much at one time. I decided to save the scanning project for later and concentrate on two things instead of three. In fact, it’s probably even better to deal with only one thing at a time but that is something that I will have to work on since I am the queen of multitasking.

Media Fast: Day One

Health and Fitness

In my sangha we are going through the book, “How To Train A Wild Elephant & Other Adventures In Mindfulness” by Jan Chozen. This week’s excercise is a media fast:

For one week, do no take in any media. This includes news media, social media, and entertainment. Do not listen to radio, iPod, or CDs, don’t watch TV, film, or videos; don’t read newspapers, books or magazines; don’t surf the internet; and don’t check social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

I was all, “Hell, no.”  But the fact that I was, and am, resisting it makes me realize that I should try it. It is only a week after all and who knows? Maybe it will be good for me. I am still going to blog because blogging is creating;  it is writing. So I feel like it is o.k. And I thought it would be interesting (mostly for myself) to blog about this experience. I thought it would be interesting to observe how this experience makes me feel. So here it goes!

4:00 am: I woke up from a dream in which one of my friends died. I found out on Facebook (because that is how things are learned these days). I woke up in a slight panic thinking, “what if this really happens?” Eventually I went back to sleep.

5:00 am: My alarm wakes me up and I decide to hit snooze because I think, “I have nothing to do when I get up so what’s the point.”

5:20: I get up and meditate

8:00 am: After getting ready for work I actually have time to practice my ukulele.

11:00 am: I get an email notification that somebody posted a link on my Facebook wall. I go to Facebook so I can turn off e-mail notifications. (I also take a quick peek to what’s up with everyone. Damn it!). I have decided that I can check e-mail because that is how many people communicate with me. I can easily delete the messages that look like cluttery crap. I think that I will not check it very often though. Maybe a couple of times a day.

11:30 am: Busy all morning with training at work. I am wondering what I am going to do at lunch because I am not supposed to read anything. The books says that reading for work is ok so I am tempted to take a Library Journal with me so I can at least read that.

5:14 pm: I just realized that I cheated on this big time today. In researching my blog post about Rajneesh I realized that I surfed around the internet. Actually quite a lot. Hmm. Didn’t even realize it. I suppose it is a job hazard. I will be more careful tomorrow.

7:17 PM: I am home alone with nothing to entertain me but my thoughts (my husband is still at work.) I had a conversation with my friend after work about this Rajneesh post from yesterday so I’ve been thinking about that. She mentioned the Buddhist idea of non-attachment and that really resonated. I think that is the lesson here. When you attach to an idea, person, anything, you never know where you will end up (her words). This is so true. It is very freeing to practice non-attachment. That is what this mindfulness practice is about too. I really felt it when I decided to stop reading the really awesome book I am into right now, “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter. It is very hard for me to give up a really good story but I felt like I should for this exercise. In fact, I really feel like I should return the book to the library so that someone else should read it. I haven’t done that. I am not sure I will. But I feel like I need to let go of my attachment to reading this really wonderful story. I know it will be there in a week when I am done with this exercise.

Other than the few minutes I logged onto Facebook today I haven’t logged onto any other social media sites. I don’t miss the cluttery data smog. At all. I actually feel really good right now. I miss my friends from those sites. But I don’t miss all of the cluttery crap.

I am going to sign off and schedule this to publish very early tomorrow morning. The rest of the evening will be spent getting projects  done.