Thursday, July 25, 2013
Week of Silence
My writing class is participating in a "Week of Silence" social media fast to help us quiet our minds, listen for our own voice and God's voice... all that writerly stuff. We're supposed to be sort of meditative in general. Although I'm still using the internet (and Instagram occasionally), I'm logged out of Facebook and Twitter until Sunday. I quickly determined that I have a permanently open Twitter window in the back of my mind. For the first two days I felt like Harriet the Spy without her notebook. I'd have a fleeting thought to share, then the needle would scratch across the record. (Not to mention that I missed the royal-baby tweet fest!) But then I started to feel calm and relaxed.
Here are some startling realizations I've had so far:
- Twitter is my main information source. Especially now that I've gotten rid of cable. (Yes, I cut the cord last week and feel good about it so far.)
- Avoiding social media relieves a constant, invisible pressure. I don't have to come up with anything witty to say. I don't have to catch up on updates. I am not always behind. No one expects anything from me. My brain already feels less cluttery.
- I feel pressure to say something interesting (and to BE interesting) all the time, in every situation, not just online.
- I am way too reliant on social media to validate me as a human being. I'd like to blame this on living alone and perpetual singleness, but I'm pretty sure it would be something of an issue no matter what. I'm not the only one. Underneath so much of what we say, we're really shouting, "SOMEBODY NOTICE ME!"
- Most people need to actively pursue silence, but my everyday life is naturally full of silences (though there's always room to be more mindful about it). As it happens, my sister and niece are visiting this week (yay!), and I've felt slightly guilty about not having time for contemplation and art journaling and stuff. But really, I contemplate all the time. Probably too much. So it's okay that my experience of this is a little backwards. Actually, I'm glad to have them here at this time, because the isolation might depress me otherwise, and now I don't have distractions while we're together. Being fully present in your relationships is a kind of listening too. I'm okay at it, but I'd like to be better.
In a way this week is a nice vacation, and I think I'll be a little sad when it's up!