“We’re drowning in information while starving for wisdom.” – EO Wilson.
Even before I started blogging, I felt very conflicted with it. Today, that conflict has not gone away, and if anything it has intensified.
Here’s the thing: I think there is just way way too much information out there. It’s overwhelming and it’s anxiety provoking and it’s making us feel like we will always be one step behind (or ten).
A lot of it isn’t bad information; a lot of it is really great! My instagram and twitter feeds are overflowing with inspirational quotes, healthy recipes, and beneficial how-tos. But at the end of the day, it’s still information overwhelm, and sometimes I’ll finish looking at my Instagram and just feel exhausted and defeated. Am I seizing the day? Am I following my passion? Why aren’t I doing crazy yoga hand stand splits like that girl? Why doesn’t my hair look like Gisele Bundchen’s??
I actually hardly read blogs because I just find it’s too much, so my conflict is two fold.
1. If I believe there is too much information out there, and I personally feel the effects of this overload, why am I contributing to it?
2. Why should I expect people to read my blog if I’m unlikely to read theirs?
I don’t have an answer to either of these questions. Honestly, I don’t think my mind can handle another “10 Steps to Happiness,” or “How to Supercharge Your Diet,” article, and yet here I am writing them.
I find this especially tricky when it comes to promoting my blog. Its one thing for people to come across it organically, but the thing is I do want to spread and share my blog, so I promote it on all of my social media accounts, and part of me hates that I contribute to the constant barrage of information.
At the moment, what I’ve decided is this: I love writing, and writing for this blog makes me really happy. I do have a lot of knowledge on the subjects that I write about (health, personal development, spirituality), and my family and friends seem to enjoy and benefit from this knowledge, so it seems safe to assume that others can benefit as well.
I make a conscious effort to write with quality, so while many blog post ideas come to mind, I only write about the things that feel good. Here’s what I mean by that. Sometimes I’ll sit down to write something and it feels forced- this is my sign to stop writing and shelve that idea for awhile. Other times, it’s so natural that it feels like the posts are writing themselves. These are the posts that light me up and that get the best responses from others. My friend suggested that instead of thinking of it as blogging, I think of it as journaling online. I like that because then I’m just sharing my truth and my experiences.
Also, I need to give credit, to you, the readers. While there is a ton of information, you are capable of deciding what is best for you. I’m not making you read this, you are choosing to (and I sincerely appreciate that!).
I want this blog to bring only good things to you. That doesn’t mean I need you to agree with everything I write (though I am living in fear of receiving my first critical comment), but what I do hope is that it never makes you feel overwhelmed or like you’re not doing enough (ex. “Omg maybe I should be oil pulling or making more green smoothies!”). If you ever feel that way, please stop reading! Click exit, shut down your computer, forget VB even exits, and go do something you want to do (and no that doesn’t have to be walking in nature or meditating, like the articles you’ve read have told you to do).
When we can remember that the internet is a just a tool, we can start to redefine its place in our lives; we often treat it as something we revolve around rather than as something that can assist us when we choose to use it.
My Break from Social Media
The last few weeks, since my job with the government ended, have been crazy for me. They’ve been simultaneously amazing and very stressful. I’ve been putting a ton of pressure on myself to get my blog and EFT practice going, and it all has the potential of making that shift from something I love to something I loathe.
Red flag!! I did not turn down a well paying 9-5 to sit at home and stress and start hating what I initially loved! So I’m taking it all down a notch, relaxing a little more, and shifting my perspective. Part of that is taking a break from social media. For the next week I’m doing no Twitter, no Instagram (except to post the pic for this post), and Facebook only once a day to quickly check messages (not to creep random people’s wedding and vacation photos- a favourite past time of mine). I’m also checking my emails at set times rather than constantly checking them (making my way to the Four Hour Work Week :p ).
I’m on Day 2, and I seriously already feel more relaxed. It is amazing to notice how many times a day I absentmindedly grab my phone to scroll through Insta. It’s also surprising how often I’ve gone to post something and had to stop myself. How did I get to the point where it actually takes effort to not tweet about how much I love Modern Family or to not share a picture of my chocolate smoothie?
I think we’re truly starved for connection and we’re hoping to find it through our phones. We’re so scared of being lonely- do you notice what happens when there are two people at a restaurant and one gets up to use the washroom? What’s the first thing the person still at the table does? They grab for their phone- desperate to avoid looking or feeling alone.
We want love and health and peace and friendship, and we believe it’s going to come from the text from that guy or the Facebook invite to a party, or the podcast about manifesting your dreams. But this is not how joy and connection come to us- we cultivate these feelings in ourselves when we fully engage in life. Seriously, we need to start believing that we are better than needing to bury ourselves into our phones the second we are alone. We’re better than spending hours pouring over other people’s lives.
I know there’s a balance, a way to use social media without it using us, but before I can find that balance, I need a complete break.
I saw Gregg Braden speak in Halifax last weekend, and he opened his presentation with the quote I began this post with (and it’s worth repeating):
“We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.” – EO Wilson.
We are never going to feel fulfilled by what’s found on our phones or computers. All of the blog posts and twitter feeds in the world don’t hold a candle to the wisdom within you and the joy you’ll find in fully living.
(Wow, can I just say, this is not where I thought this post was going to go! But I’m on a bit of a roll/tangent, so I’m going to let it happen).
What’s Gregg’s answer to all of this? He says we need to learn to be Synthesizers, and I think that’s key. To me, that means taking all of the information we come across, forgetting what doesn’t feed us, and keeping what does. From there, we can take the beneficial information and use it to enhance our lives rather than run them.
If you have a moment and are interested, I highly recommend this video called Put Down Your Phones. The whole thing is amazing (it’s less than 5 mins), but two lines that really stand out to me are “…we all share our best bits but leave out the emotion,” and “give people you’re love, don’t give them your ‘Like’.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this, and I’ll be following up with my experience of a social media free week!