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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