For many years, Facebook was a part of my everyday life. It was invaluable when my husband was in Afghanistan. It became valuable in other ways when I started teaching yoga as an independent contractor. Over time, as life changed, the way I used Facebook and the feelings it brought about changed significantly. I was never one of those people that posted every. single. thing. I was doing in my day. I also never posted things like, “My hubby is being such an a**hole today!”. Facebook was just a fun way to share photos and keep up with people I was no longer able to see in person.
With that being said, somewhere along the line, Facebook became something that made me feel anxious. That anxiety quickly turned into dread. I’d click on the bookmark and I would be filled with dread every time I saw that little red notification bubble. I’m not sure exactly when it started (sometime between 2-4 weeks before I actually deactivated), but I can tell you I didn’t like it. I deactivated on January 1, 2014. I didn’t do this as part of a New Years Resolution (which I happen to think are BS, but that’s for another post), the day I chose to do this just happened to fall on January 1. It started initially as just a way for me to reclaim a bit of time. Do some craft projects I’d started and never finished, have more time to read, etc., but as more time passed I felt more and more at peace with my decision.
When I told people about deactivating I got different reactions: “Good for you!” or “Wow, that’s a big step” or “Why?” with an underlying tone of rudeness that never made sense to me. At the time I didn’t think it was a big step or a big deal. It has certainly come up over the past few months. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 people in a week asking me when I’m coming back to Facebook. I simply say I don’t know and that I’m quite happy without it, which is true. As more time passes without status updates, likes, and judgments from family and friends, the happier I become. What started as a simple experiment, to see how much more I could accomplish without Facebook as a distraction, has turned into an amazing journey.
The journey has been one deep into my Self that has opened up many internal doors and allowed me to feel more peace and acceptance. Of course, this journey has been facilitated by my asana and meditation practice, but I truly believe I would not be at the same point I am now had I continued on Facebook, stuffing the feelings it was producing and going on as before. I would never have been able to explain what Facebook made me feel like unless I’d had this time away from it.
I now know it was making me feel scattered, strained, dis-integrated. We are exposed to so many different types of energy via Facebook and normally we’d never think of it that way. It was scattering my thoughts, making them and my emotions turbulent and disconnected. Not only that, but I found myself being so misunderstood. I would make comments that I meant as uplifting and encouraging, trying to get people to wake up and see their potential, not having to wait on some arbitrary time, date, or anything else for that matter, and I was rudely judged. There is such a difference between having a meaningful and kind discussion of differing views and just straight up being rude or inconsiderate.
On Tuesday (May 6th) I logged back on. I only did this to make some connections for an upcoming YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) that will be in Vancouver, BC, and I am planning to deactivate again as soon as possible. I had people posting, “Yay, your back” or “Look who’s back”, etc. to which I kindly (I felt at least) replied that life is more full without Facebook and I can be reached via phone, text, email, or Instagram. And honestly, after I posted that comment, I didn’t go back to read what has been written back. If you are one of those people that commented, I don’t mean to be rude, truly I don’t. I have no plans to go back and read those comments either. If you have something to say or to share, please contact me personally. Even an email is more personal than Facebook since you have to sit down with an intention to contact that specific person and will hopefully have prepared something to say with some substance instead of just a snide one-liner.
Lastly, I wanted to share one more thing….as soon as I logged on I went through my friends list and deleted many of them. I did feel some guilt about it at the time, but at the same time I doubt any one of them will notice. Facebook has become so personally impersonal. Everyone is sharing all these details of their lives, but there’s no substance to it. Rarely do we share the real, meaningful, deep things about our lives or ourselves that really make life worth living. I find that to be such a shame. Following my feelings on that matter, I will be sharing my deep and transformative experiences here instead of on Facebook. I would love it if you would continue on this journey with me and I’ve love to read about what you are experiencing too. And not just the good stuff. We fool others and we try to fool ourselves by posting the highlight reel, but when you are going through the shit is when the real growth happens.
“Most people are afraid of suffering. But suffering is a kind of mud to help the lotus flower grow. There cannot be a lotus flower without the mud.” –Thich Nhat Hanh