A few weeks into my social media detox, I pulled into my assigned parking space next to my townhouse after an early morning run by the coast. The neighborhood was still quiet, it was a few minutes before 8AM. As I was taking my keys from the ignition, I looked over my left shoulder and I saw the silhouette of a man - he was seated in the townhome across the street, putting his shoes on.
I realized, at that moment, I have no idea who that man is or what he looked like. I briefly interacted with the woman that lived there before he did, but I could not have identify that man if I tried.
I paused and pondered. Would it be safe for me to go knock on all my neighbors’ doors and introduce myself? Would people think I was friendly or intrusive or weird? And, when in our history did our neighbors become strangers? I do have a couple of neighbors that are intimately involved in our lives. Yet, that’s the exception, not the norm for Alex and me.
Throughout the day, I returned to my early morning ponderance and placed it in the context of my social media detox. I thought, “it is so strange that for so many years, I knew what someone was eating for breakfast 3000 miles away from my kitchen table, but I don’t know 95% of my neighbors.”
These thoughts fortified my decision to take a break from my digital social life. Aside, from that, it’s hard to outwardly articulate why I wanted to embark on a social media detox mid-April.
To keep it simple, deep in my bones, I craved real life experiences unobstructed by technology. My life has always moved fast - I move fast. And, in my experience, the more time I spend online, the faster things seem to go offline.
A couple of weeks before I got married, my art therapist invited me to see what it would be like to slow down and savor the small moments I love the most: sunrises, sunsets, cups of coffee and tea, the way Alex and I link our bodies together in bed right before I fall asleep, wind moving through leaves, walking barefoot in the sand, the smell of Mowgli’s head, laughing with my friends, deep breaths…
To embrace slowness and to fully embody the practice of savoring moments and experiences, I realized I needed to minimize my distractions - taking a break from social media has been profoundly helpful and refreshing.
Through this pause, I’ve noticed that social media is just as toxic as I thought it was... However, it’s also a beautiful place to share, learn, and connect - and that’s what I have missed the most about @instagram. I miss learning about new people and ideas and connecting with my friends, near and far. And, I do miss sharing little updates about myself. As much as I love my sacred alone time, I also love outward expression. So, I wrote a post about the things I’ve done and learned to catch up on what I’ve missed sharing out loud throughout my social detox:
Here are Some of the Best Things I’ve Done During My Social Media Detox
Deliberately Focused My Attention
I’ve spent a lot of time devouring the content of one of my expanders - a concept I was introduced to by Lacy Phillips of Free + Native.
Elena Brower is at the top of my expanders list - I am wildly inspired by her grace, her intelligence, the way she speaks, her artistic talents, the presence she carries as a yoga and meditation teacher, and her writing. Most importantly, I am inspired by her humanness - the humility and strength in which she expresses her talents, her blessings, her faults, and her shortcomings.
As I have immersed myself in her work and teachings, I find myself wholeheartedly striving to be the highest version of myself - soft and strong, poised and fun.
Thank you, Elena.
Re-Connected to The Moon
On April 15th, my friend Kate and I went to a group reading offered by a local astrologer. There were approximately 20 people there and she went around and individually read each person’s chart aloud. At the reading, I was reminded that we all have unique gifts in this world (thanks to our planetary alignments) and I need to tap into the strengths of my Sun in Virgo and my Moon in Aquarius.
Then, on April 29th, Kate and I spent the evening outdoors as the Full Moon rose in Scorpio. We hiked to the top of a hill during dusk and walked back (with our phone flashlights) after dark. It was great to journal and reflect, but the best part was the nighttime adventure outdoors!
And before I move on, Happy New Moon in Taurus!
Teaching in Moderation
I am a teacher.
In 2017, I barely taught yoga or mindfulness or movement practices. After teaching (almost) full-time for two straight years, I had nothing left to give at the end of 2016. These past few weeks have been a wonderful reminder of how important teaching is to me, my heart, and my soul.
I’ve taught public classes, a corporate mindfulness meditation, a private bachelorette party in the hills, and a private birthday party literally less than two feet from the waves on the beach in La Jolla.
Teaching feels a lot different today.
I’ve learned, I first need to fill my cup before I fill everyone else's and I’ve learned the importance of saying “no” to teaching opportunities. Not every opportunity is the right opportunity for me and when I say “no” to things that are not a good fit, it allows that opportunity to be passed to the right person and it keeps my calendar open for divine destiny.
In short, I love to teach, but as with all good things, in moderation.
I Got a New Tattoo!!!
The Arabic word Inshallah has meant a lot to me for years. It translates to ‘God Willing’:
I’ve Taken A LOT of Photos of Mowgli (and not much else):
Here are Some of the Best Things I’ve Learned During My Social Media Detox
Less is More
Whoa, I tremendously overscheduled myself the first 7 days of my social media detox. I’m talking an abundance of day-time commitments and 6 nights straight of evening engagements.
No joke, on the Monday AM of that week, looking at my calendar gave me anxiety.
Through that whirlwind - a maxed work schedule, back-to-back social engagements at night, and a two-day training on the weekend - I realized (again) that I need to holistically look at my calendar before I say ‘yes’ and instead say “I’ll get back to you” prior to making commitments (and let go of FOMO because FOMO is better than exhaustion).
Even though all of the social engagements I scheduled were things I wanted to do, I need to say ‘no’ in order to prioritize my priorities and my sacred alone time.
Podcasting is Equal Parts Fun + Hard
My friend Nina Petruzzo and I are starting a podcast together!!! This has been a little dream of mine for about one year now and at the end of 2017, I asked Nina if she wanted to be my co-host and she said yes!
I equate trying to start this podcast to the first time I ever tried to take off a brand new wetsuit after surfing. If you’ve never taken off a brand new wetsuit before - it’s really hard.
...that’s what she said. Sorry, I had to, and it’s my website, so I can that’s what she said myself.
In all seriousness though, we’ve struggled to align our schedules (she lives on the East Coast, I live on the West Coast). Also, trying to figure out how to record (and make it sound good) has been tough.
Nevertheless, trying to start this podcast with Nina has been SO much fun. I love collaborating with her - we are both so deep and creative, in our own ways. And, most importantly, I am enjoying the challenge!
We cannot wait to share our first season with you in late June!!!
My Body and Skin are a Canvas for What I Eat, Think, and Feel
At the same time I went off of social media, I got all sorts of crazy (in a good way) and I decided to stop eating desserts for awhile and to focus on eating ‘healthier’.
For quite some time, I ate ice cream every day and I ate multiple burritos a week and I used cheese pizza as a spoon for ranch dressing. So, even though I was eating relatively healthy for the most part during the day - everyday, I’d eat a lot of cheese and cold dairy... and for my body, that feels shitty.
The first few days of my clean eating quest were A STRUGGLE. Thankfully, it got a lot easier over time. About 10 days in, I noticed a difference in my skin, my sleep improved, and my body felt good - I felt nourished. Then, I ate french fries two days in a row and I immediately broke out in my ‘problem’ area.
One night while I was journaling, I wrote: ‘my body and skin are a canvas for what I eat’... I paused, and scribbled: ‘and think and feel’. In my notebook, I wrote: ‘my body and skin are a canvas for what I eat, think, and feel.’
In my opinion, that has been one of my most profound thoughts of 2018.
When my mind is calm and focused, my body is relaxed and my energy is sharp. When I reach for my practices (prayer, meditation, phoning a friend, yoga, journaling, breath work) instead of allowing my anxious thoughts to loop, I feel stronger and more flexible - physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
More and more, I’m realizing how interconnected I am. It’s something I’ve always theoretically known and I’m finally experiencing it, for myself. What I eat impacts the way I feel, the way I feel is a catalyst for what I eat, and what I think shifts how I feel and eat.
Even though I am all about owning and loving my shadows...right now, I’m focused on creating my highest vibrations and that means healthy food, being aware of my thoughts, and staying committed to my practices to avoid feeling unnecessary stress, anxiety, fear, or worry.
In short, to summarize this past month, I have learned that the little choices I make everyday are the ones that determine how I experience myself and my interactions with others. And, I want to be more mindful of those little choices because those collective experiences amount to my big picture.