“Oh honey, if it disrupts your serenity get rid of it.”
These are wise words from my I-can’t-tell-you-what-anonymous group sponsor. It really can be that simple. But how long does it take to truly learn and act upon these wise words?
The struggle of getting pot out of my life was definitely disrupting my serenity. I had to get rid of it. The social isolation, the constant fogginess, even poorer memory, and constantly making plans with no follow through was only making me unhappy.
For years also, social media has been ruling my life. It was and continues to be an important aspect of promoting and networking on my last project.
Over time though, I became very ADD. Today it is very hard for me to watch a movie without diverting my attention somewhere else. I’ll check for messages, what’s on twitter or check out websites.
I’d find Facebook in particular an annoyance - or even a rage trigger. This platform is like constantly spending your life in the town square with many people I like and with others I don’t. Often it just takes one to spoil a party.
Moreover, is my opinion on everything that important? Social media is a place where the ego plays out. Suddenly everything we think and express feel likes it has so much weight and consequence. At least it does for me and many others. It’s a place where the ego reaches out feeling safe behind a screen and presents itself in ways that often would not manifest in person.
Case in point Last night while watching a debate on local municipal politics, I realized one of the candidates was, at least online, responsible for obnoxious ego-based discussions that often lead to insulting other people.
Character judgements are based on a few words of text, though. My thought was, “This can’t be the same person?”” Watching this fellow live on TV, he was not at all what I expected from his online persona. I’m sure the very same could be said of me.
For me, with Facebook especially, constantly being surrounded by everyone’s opinion can become a constant irritant, a disruption of my serenity. What is it exactly that is happening to me in the age of hyper connectivity?
I started to look around and saw that I was not the only one. Natin Lustig has a great blog post “My relationship with Facebook” I understood many of his points. Why is it that now when I see something I immediately want to share it? It is the first instinct. Why is it that I check this site so many times a day and spend so many unproductive hours looking at the endless newsfeed?
The other day I got anger-triggered by one person, which was more about a past resentment than what was presently happening. Then I thought about it all day, almost obsessively. This is not healthy, and again is disrupting my serenity.
“When you complain you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” Erkhart Tolle.
I cannot leave this situation. Facebook is an important tool for work, namely producing shows. Therefore I have to change it. It is now a work tool. I’m slowly getting people to email me instead of messaging me on Facebook. I’ll update posts that are work-performance related.
The first day leaving Facebook on these terms, I felt anxiety, even lonely. I have to tell myself Facebook gives an illusion of being connected. I want old fashioned face to face time. Indeed, after a day the impulse to share all the time started to leave. There was, after all, a time in life when we didn’t have this and we managed quite fine.
As I’m getting older and changing, I need to change many of the things around me. Right now I just want serenity, and whatever that takes to achieve it.
Last week I read this column about Top Five Regrets of People Dying. I know it sounds morose. They are simple truths. The last two hit home for me.
- I wish I spent more time with friends.
- I wish that I let myself be happier
Not having the illusion of connectedness forces me to reach out and be with or talk to people. These interactions are enriching instead of energy sucking. Serenity is happiness, and if something is disrupting it, get rid of it.
Such wise words. The less virtually connected I am, the more serenity I have.