The First 14 Days
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
Two weeks ago I deactivated my Facebook account and closed my other social media accounts. I explain why HERE.
As a magical practitioner with some shamanic understanding, you’d think I would have prepared myself better. You’d be wrong. Because sometimes I’m really dense. Facebook has been a huge part of my life for about six years. I was unplugging for almost purely energetic reasons. Did I prepare my energy body for this major disconnect? No, I did not. Let me be a lesson to you: if you cut something huge out of your life, be smart and prepare yourself.
Within a few minutes of deactivating the account, I felt gutted…actually physically and energetically gutted. In shamanism there is a practice of cording, or actually de-cording, where you remove all the cords that have developed between you and others. It’s not a huge deal, just a part of good energy hygiene. With Facebook, I had about 2,300 friends. I removed that cord, made up of over 2,000 small cords, and it was definitely noticeable.
Luckily, my sister was bringing her 3 month old baby over shortly, so I sat by the window trying to hold my guts in. There is nothing like holding a baby or petting a dog for good, grounding energy healing. At least for me.
The first five days or so were hard. I felt lonely and left out, forgotten. And a bit like an addict. I was pouty and childish and angry. The FOMO (fear of missing out) was so intense that I could hardly bear it.
Another challenge for me was that people kept telling me how brave I was and that made me feel good. Which was part of the problem...I like when people think highly of me. It is probably my deepest flaw and one of the hardest thing about not being on Facebook. With so many sweet and kind friends, I could always count on nice comments. This is very embarrassing and hard to write about because it is like my ego consumed all those lovely words. My friends say nice things to feed my soul and my heart. But my ego gobbles them up and it feels like it demeans the nice messages, which is so unfair and yucky. Luckily, I'm reading a lot of Thomas Moore right now and getting the importance of soul nourishment in perspective.
During the Iowa caucuses, I wanted to be on Twitter like you wouldn’t believe. I hardly ever used Twitter, but every once in a while, it seemed like the best way to “know what was going on.” It seemed so important to know what "everyone else" knew was happening. All I had was news articles and some clunky "live blogging" sites. Finally, I just gave up and waited for the morning to find out what happened. When I did, it was kind of "meh." So what was all that angst about? A desire, a NEED to know NOW and then when I did find out, it was no big deal? It is just so interesting to see how twisted up I was (and to be honest, still am) in social media.
I found myself checking the “News” app on my phone a lot, which I had never done before. It gave me something on my phone to check besides my email. I clicked on some stories and read fewer but longer articles. I was somewhat interested but eventually that faded. Yesterday I only checked the News app once and didn’t click through to a single story.
One thing that surprised me is how much time I must have actually spent on Facebook. Not only blocks of time, when I consciously checked on friends and groups, but those smaller “filling in the gaps” scrolling, like if I had 5 minutes here or there, or when whoever I was with at the bar or restaurant went to the bathroom. What filled those moments before Facebook? Now I have to consciously decide what to do. Zone out. Think about something. Make some notes. Doodle. Read a book or magazine. Play with my dog. Clean out a drawer or cupboard.
Another thing that surprised me is how much I am in the habit of "self-interrupting." Even when I was sitting a reading for pleasure, I'd pick up my phone and stare at it. When I realized what I was doing, I was kind of disgusted. Two weeks in, I still do it but thank goodness it is becoming less frequent each day.
I can feel the need for constant information or stimulus (because, really is most of what is on Facebook “information”?) waning. I’m getting used to my world being defined by my actual physical world. But I still want to touch my phone all the time. Last night I was reading a menu online for a restaurant I will be going to, simply because I wanted to stare at my phone screen.
I trust that will wan, too, as time passes. I am shifting from pouty/angry/lonely to noticing the benefits of this decision. In the past week I’ve created a ‘zine (something I’ve always wanted to do), written a bunch of letters, and overall felt less overwhelmed and emotionally reactive.
This week I also participated in Infomagical (read more about it HERE) because it focused on being conscious of your information consumption, which was one of the energetic aspects affecting my decision. Yesterday’s suggestion was to have a conversation (in person or on the phone) for at least seven minutes. The daily podcast explained why seven (you can listen if you click that link and scroll to Day 4 Magical Connection) minutes. I didn’t know who to call. It didn’t seem in the spirit of the task to talk to Lisa or one of my sisters, so I picked someone who I know from the tarot community and Facebook, who I think I’d really like if we spent more time together, and whose work I admire. I called her and she actually picked up the phone even though her caller id didn’t show my name. The happiness in her voice when she heard it was me touched some part in me that I forgot existed. Magical Connection, indeed. I explained why I called and it wasn’t too weird. And then we had a lovely conversation.
It is interesting how my experience of daily life is changing. I’m no longer thinking about taking pictures solely to post. I am not thinking in short “post length” bursts. Instead, I’m thinking of ideas more deeply. Instead of posting a blurb to “everyone,” I consider who might be interesting to talk to about the idea and then write them a letter. One of the goals mentioned in my initial post (HERE) was to connect with fewer people more deeply. That is indeed happening.
I still miss Facebook and socializing in that way. I don't miss being emotionally freaked out by some terrible memes or hateful posts or becoming obsessed with the latest "who said what about whom" drama.
If you want a letter, send me your snail mail address!
2/5/2016 03:16:32 pm
What a great post: thank you so much for writing about your experience with this.
2/5/2016 05:47:18 pm
Thanks Cindie, I went off facebook for two weeks and it felt so good I can't wait until I get off again. I too realized how much time it took away from my life. And what I loved most was that there was no more drama. I had gotten to the point where I could not take in anymore of the suffering of the world. The emotional rollercoaster I was on every day was awful. Pulling away from that was the best thing I could have done, and I will do it again and again. Love and miss you, Jeanne
2/5/2016 11:49:13 pm
I believe all things happen for a reason, your post came to me for a reason and reading it nade me realize that I have been wanting to do the same but haven't for a long time. For me this will give me the time to be true to myself. I thankyou for that looking for penpals. I think getting dis connected will be the best connection.
2/6/2016 05:30:04 am
Cutting Cords, is always a painful thing....and yes it is good for some to prepare for that. I left all social media behind last Aug. and I am much happier for it. Time heals, and soon you will enjoy the simple things in Life. After all,what did we do before social media sites became 'the thing' to do? ;) Love you all! :)
I went to bed in the wee hours of the morning after reading your posts of your social media withdrawal. We live on a ridge in rural SW Colorado and have big skies views and lots of windows. I laid down with my night view of the stars and constellations, following a trajectory of your thoughts with my own. I am always in awe of the night sky's immensity and found myself thinking that I'm getting my information from limited resources by focusing so heavy on internet news and social media updates. How would my life be different if I got my information from the night sky and early morning bird song? Thank you for the inspiration.
2/12/2016 08:18:21 am
Julia, that is such a beautiful idea. I'm sure the night sky and early morning bird song would herald very different content than Fox News, CNN, or even NPR :-)
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