I think the world is too noisy. Always clamoring for our attention with solutions, suggestions, entertainment, distraction….
I have this feeling a lot. Most of the time, honestly. Usually I try to turn down what I can and keep plugging, feeling that if I drop out of the sea of voices online I won’t be able to claw my way back in. But it goes against my intuition and my preference for space, for quiet to keep up with the chatter all the time. Against my knowing that everything we have to say isn’t worth shouting, saving, or re-sharing.
I love introspective practices like yoga and meditation. Maybe it’s because I’m an only child, or a mildly extroverted introvert.
It is not always easy to find, but one of the things I value most in life is the space to think and just be. It gets harder and harder to carve out as we get older, and in a culture of constant connection and sharing, so I do my best to intentionally make time to keep knowing how to be with myself. Even if we don’t enjoy it, it’s good for all of us to practice this.
Sometimes, though, even with a regular practice of just being, we still get swept up and swept away in the noise, and the events, and the ideas and images of other people’s lives.
Over the last month, I’ve really thrown myself into my reading habit. I always read a lot, but I know that when I go full bore with reading it’s often because I need to disconnect, to stop letting my attention be drawn to so many exterior places each day.
It’s not monumental to take time off from your phone or social media or the news, but did you every notice how often people do it and then follow up more noise? Maybe a list of things they’ve learned or ways they became a better, more balanced, more intentional person.
This weekend I made a point to stay off my phone as much as possible. I still answered messages from friends, emails, and I did open up social media apps once or twice.
None of that is monumental. It felt good - it felt like what should be closer to our baseline behavior around media. It feels silly to me to even write about doing something so simple, and annoying that it took so much intention to do it at first. After a day or so though, and as I always do, I realized how boring social media and the media is.
Don’t get me wrong, I love knowing what my friends are up to and it’s important to understand current events, but I would argue that most of our media consumption is neither of those things.
I love the accounts of creatives I admire who their writing, art, and inspiration, but you have to weed through a lot of stuff to get to them. It seems to me that the internet is a lot of people pitching side hustles, sharing their "wild successes”, and their brilliant, usually unoriginal ideas.
Of course I know I’m guilty of sharing revelations that are not necessarily new (like this one!). I love a good quote or a moment of self-realization. I enjoy sharing things that I find helpful in the hopes that someone else might also benefit from seeing a helpful tidbit at just the right, fortuitous moment.
But, if you take a step back for a little while and then re-enter the cacophony that is our day to day life, it is suddenly a giant echo chamber of people repeating ideas that sold for someone else, or mimicking videos and posts that went viral or gained a lot of attention. With a broader perspective, it becomes easier to see the redundancy of what is said in our news and social media feeds.
Sometimes it’s fun to participate, and a healthy dose of reality can make social media into a manageable, even enjoyable, part of life rather than a monster that looms over everything we do. It’s certainly harder to hold that healthy perspective when social media can help your work or business.
I find it hard to write on this topic without rambling. What I know is that it’s easy to feel drained by the internet when you love to be alone, and that I feel nostalgia for a time when all my hopes, dreams, and shortcomings weren’t presented in the pretty package of an app on my phone.
I also know that we always have more say in how outside voices influence us than we think. That it takes the same willpower muscles as practicing to exercise protection of our own emotions and of what is most important to us in our lives.
There isn’t going to be a list here of what I learned in my weekend (and hopefully longer) off from social media. I have no suggestions for cleaning up your habits or improving your relationship with your phone because we’re each different, and we’re not all prepared to face the habits that we know need changing that we have been avoiding (myself included).
I just know that we all need a little peace and quiet, and we need it a lot more often than the world leads us to believe. Our participation in the noise of the moment is not mandatory.
When was the last time you enjoyed a little silence?
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Hi, I'm Morgann! A flutist, teacher, meditator, aspiring yogini, and life long learner figuring out how to create my way through life one crazy idea at a time.