walking among zombies: staying present in the time of social media

I admit, it’s been awhile since I last wrote and lately I’ve been feeling like a blogging fraud.  I was waiting for inspiration to strike, the most clever title and perfectly arranged pictures popping up at just the right time, my deep thoughts streaming from my fingers in a rush of wit, ingenuity and creativity. But, it wasn’t happening and the longer I went without posting, the worse I began to feel about it.   How had I already fallen off the proverbial wagon? I had started with such gusto and was just settling in the total fun and funkiness of a blog when this took hold.

What had happened to all the incredible ideas that I thought would flow to me now that I was doing yoga daily? Already five months in, I was feeling…. well, kinda the same. Actually to be fair, I feel leaner and more muscular and continue to follow through on this journey (a small accomplishment on it’s own).  But I’m still me. I goof up on a regular basis, I forget things all the time, my house is still a mess, I lose my temper when I feel overwhelmed or stressed and I often say the wrong thing.  Did yoga “fix” these for me? Nope. I guess I thought I would become enlightened and would suddenly be able to “solve” the universe’s problems, starting with my own.

I thought about this one one morning while my daughter and I colored and chatted. Lately, I’ve really been making an effort to stay in the present and give my friends and family my undivided attention when I’m with them. Too often, the siren song of our smart phones and social media platforms pull us away from what’s important. Some of my friends have started actively avoiding social media and I admit, at first, I thought this idea was a) impossible b) unnecessary c) weird.  But I began noticing that I was feeling anxious after being immersed in my social media. The mindless scrolling, the inundation of news and crisis, the distraction – the noise of it all. So I too began making efforts to reinforce more boundaries around my personal and professional use of social media. I quickly found the less time I spent online, the less time I wanted to be there. I understand that technology is an important tool with lots of neat-o features but all in moderation right?! So when I see kids out for dinner with their parents in front of ipads, it breaks my heart. Or when I overhear young students in my daughter’s class talking about their video games, it unnerves me.  When I see adults out with children, ignoring them while they stare at their phones, it worries me. Or teenagers waiting at the school bus stop, with their heads down, staring at their screens, oblivious to the beauty of the day, it concerns me. Everyone looking so disconnected, addicted, overstimulated and empty. Could this explain our culture’s current obsession with zombies? Is it that so many people can identify with the listless, non-communicative, trapped humans with no free will? It breaks my heart to be honest and worries me for our future generations.

So as I “dragged” my laptop outside on a gorgeous day to write, I wondered: does my new attitude towards the zombie-like effects of these glowing screens have something to do with my recent lack of posts?   The conscious effort to remain present, to be mindful of our precious time, to be curious, aware and engaged in this gift called life- could this be part of the blogging hold up? If I’m not in front of the computer as much and I feel less of a pull to be there, it’s likely to affect the amount of times I post. So problem solved, right? Not really.

Now the challenge will be to find the balance between these two worlds. I run an online global business so completely eliminating social media won’t work for me. I know I’ll need to put boundaries in place, such as where and when I check my social media, reduce the amount of notifications I receive, and set aside specific offline times to work. In essence, I must be smarter about my smart device.  I’ll continue to stay the course, remain present and not allow social media to control my life. And again isn’t that what yoga is really about? Living a life of mindfulness in a world of clutter and distraction. Coming back to my focus even when I am sidetracked or unhinged.  Recognizing that these are life’s lessons through which I learn and transform. Ultimately making me more flexible, less anxious, more aware, more engaged. And way more agile to fight off those zombie motherfuckers.

 

 

 

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I Heart-Chakra You! A Tale of Unconditional Friendship

While out for an impromptu brunch with some of my oldest friends, I looked around the table and saw the faces of three of the most caring and genuine women in my life.  We’ve been causing trouble and bailing each other out through good times and bad, together since our primary grades.  Through all of life’s moments, from surprises, losses, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, families, arguments, advice-giving and ass kicking, we’ve been through it all.  Across countries, road trips, hang overs, rule breaking, tears, laughter: you name it, these girls have been with me every step of the way. We’ve held each other’s hands and raged together through some of life’s most agonizing and mysterious moments.  We’ve been there to build each other up and in all honesty, there for some of the tearing down.  And no matter what, we’ve said: “it’s ok. I’m here- I’ve got you.”  And it’s always been true.

On the drive home from brunch, a scene from Sex and the City, one of my fave shows of all time came to mind.  In it, Charlotte turns to her girl group and suggests that they be soulmates.  And without sounding cheesy, her words settled in my heart.  I mean, not only has this friendship stood the test of time, it really is worthy of a sitcom.  Every dramatic, gory, embarrassing and touching detail, we’ve got it covered. These women have truly become my soulmates. Through thick and thin (sometimes that’s our waist sizes), we’ve held each other up, motivated, encouraged, supported and loved.  I can’t think of a better definition of true friendship.

So what does this have to do with the chakras?  A chakra is an energy centre in the body and can be imagined almost as a swirling wheel. This invisible energy is an important life force that keeps us vibrant, healthy, and feeling alive.  The heart chakra itself, represents love, joy and compassion and is located in the chest at the heart level. In Sanskit, it’s pronounced Anahata which literally means “unhurt”.  Anahata moves love through our lives. It’s our sense of caring, feelings of self-love, empathy, kindness and community.

In essence, this friendship is like a heart chakra to me: a living, breathing, changing force of energy, love and positivity that flows through my life.  With it, bringing nourishment for my soul, healing for my hurt, gratitude for my blessings and an unconditional friendship like none other.

Here’s some pictures of us through the years… It was harder to find pics of us when we were really young, but these ones stretch back at least 20 years.  Pretty incredible when you stop to think about. Pretty incredibly blessed. ♥

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The V word: Talking about Vulnerability

Vulnerable. Just saying the word leaves me feeling exposed. What does it mean and why does it have such a bad rep?  Online, vulnerable is defined as “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Yet Brené Brown, trailblazer and pioneer of the vulnerability movement, says “It is the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for: innovation, creativity and change.” She claims it’s the one thing that can lead to living a wholehearted life of compassion and connection. Yet, in our culture of consuming, photo-editing and ‘busy’ as a status symbol, it seems we’ve forgotten why vulnerability is such an important emotion.

Vulnerability is what makes us human. It’s the core essence of life, the nitty-gritty, the chewy parts, the part of humanity that can bring tears to your eyes because of it’s rawness and truth. Vulnerability is letting the real and authentic you be seen and not giving a damn what other people think (or perhaps giving a damn and still doing it anyway.) It’s the courage to apologize, the chance to right a wrong, the bravery to change your path, to make a craft, to sing a song, the grace to tell the truth, to open your heart, the humility to put yourself out there. Maybe, it’s even starting a new blog like I did.

I’ll be honest, I thought blogging would be a cinch because I’ve always kept a journal . But here’s what I didn’t consider: journaling is something I’ve always kept private, my musings have never been on display before and now they will be.  So I’m faced with a dilemma. How do I release my fear of vulnerability and this perceived need to please everyone, to not piss anyone off or even that old familiar rat, having to be the best: the best blogger, the best writer, the best person?

But then I still my breath and listen to my yogi voice reminding me to take care, to let it be, to be honest with myself and others, and I know that none of those feelings of competition and over-achievement are necessary. I breathe in another glorious, delicious breath (oxygen is the best addiction!) and I let it all go.  I don’t need to have my shit figured out, nor do I need to become an all mighty healer or channel my inner psychiatrist. All I need to be is me. To be vulnerable in my writing, imperfect in my wandering and open to learning and growing everyday, knowing I’m never going to know everything, nor am I expected to.

So with that, I’m putting this blog out to the universe. It’s time.

Together we can sigh, cringe, laugh and cry at this beautiful ride we call life.

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and
powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.”

— Brené Brown

If you want to read more about how you can embrace your vulnerability, I highly suggest you check out some of Brené’s work: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

And of course, her Ted Talk:

 

 

 

Namaste mes amis!