Hello everybody! I am writing this to you from a social media-free weekend! Settling inside my own stillness, away from screens and technology often holds revelations about my personal growth journey, and I wanted to share this one with you
Over the past few years, I’ve been on a long and winding journey to discover and refine what living a mindful life looks and feels like in my particular mind and body. I have read books, listened to podcasts, followed influential leaders on social media, taken webinars, used different apps, written in guided journals… you name it…I’ve likely done some variation of it! Each one of these experiences has helped me craft my own concept of what living well means in my life.
There have been seasons during my chronic illness journey, where social media has been an absolute lifeline, keeping me afloat in stormy seas. Many days I have clung to it for distraction, support, and encouragement while I’ve felt like my world crumble all around me. It has been a lifeboat of safety and provided a community I can turn to when I’m utterly lost, adrift and desperate inside debilitating pain.
In my early years managing chronic illness, I hadn’t yet developed the resources I use today to cope with moments of overwhelming pain. The support of online communities and social media felt essential to keep me tethered to my life and the world.
For a long time, I carried a burden of heavy guilt and embarrassment about just how much I needed social media and online groups on a daily basis.
When I saw other voices in the wellness community who I deeply looked up to taking entire weekends (or longer) “off” of social media, I felt ashamed that I wasn’t able to do the same. In the same way, when I slipped into comparing my own wellness practices with others’ daily meditation practices, long journaling sessions, intuitively guided yoga flows, and peaceful meditations; I often felt frustrated or somehow “inadequate” that I couldn’t “achieve” the same results.
I have accepted the truth that transformation and mindful living do not happen overnight. Rather, both are gradual, non-linear, and cumulative processes, unique to every individual.
I’ve learned that introducing grace and kindness into my days as essential as any of the more visible wellness practices in my routine.
Today, when I take a weekend away from social media, it’s because it is nurturing and feeds my soul — not because I feel pressured or guilted into it.
Stepping away from social media is something I do because I am in a place in my growth where time, space, and quiet is productive and restorative.
There was definitely a season of my life where extended time without the camaraderie of social media and online communities was not supportive. I simply didn’t have the tools to cocoon myself in self-compassion nor the awareness to witness my emotions with sufficient clarity and forgiveness.
Currently, I’m in my longest “streak” yet of daily meditation on the Headspace app and it has become a bedrock of my daily routine. This consistency has occurred naturally, matching my motivation. I look back at the years where a “long meditation streak” was something that I used to strive for so intensely with a new perspective of compassion. All of the frustration and disappointment each time I “broke” a streak and missed a day was unnecessary and ultimately, unhelpful. Pulling my attention away from the inner quiet I was trying to cultivate and spinning me into a spiral of pressure to “keep a daily streak” going.
I wish I could go back to the version of myself who first began planting seeds in her mindfulness garden and tell her that not only is she allowed to be patient with herself, but that in fact, it is preferable. I would tell her, lovingly, how unfair it is to expect a 100-day meditation streak right out of the gate (especially for her particular body and mind). I would tell her that consistency develops with time; after being nurtured and tended to with patience and love.
When you follow people on Instagram or read a book about personal development, keep in mind that you’re not necessarily meant to achieve the same state of being you see in others — and you are especially not meant to be able to do it immediately.
The stage you are in right now is important. I like to think of it as being similar to marinating something that you’re planning to cook. The ideas that you are feeding your brain and the concepts you are introducing into your routines will take root and seep into your daily life, slowly and over time. Like a good marinade, which sometimes needs many hours or days to be absorbed, so too, the ideas and routines that we are adopting take time to become a part of our lives.
Practice allowing your motivation to match your moment.
By meeting yourself inside your “now” with loving-kindness, forward progress is much less likely to be shame-based or overly critical. You will find yourself in flow, as opposed to feeling yourself forcing things to happen.
I am fully aware that as you read this, you might be in a place in your journey where you’re not ready to hear these ideas. The voice of your inner critic might be so loud, that it makes it challenging to look at other people embodying the type of mindful habits you want in your own life, without being hard on yourself.
I want you to know that if that’s the case, it’s okay.
I want you to know that I used to feel that way too.
I want you to know that your journey to cultivating compassion towards your inner critic is not an overnight process.
I want you to know that it is normal and okay to read things and think, “gosh I wouldn’t be able to do that”, and then be surprised to find yourself, in three months or three years, doing that exact thing with ease and grace.
I want you to know that your own unconditional love and gentleness can, and will, lead you to exactly what you need to live a life that feels good to you. Trust that you are making, and will continue to make, the wise choices that will ensure that you take exquisite care of yourself.
All my love,
I share each step along my road to wellness and healing and hope that in doing so I can inspire you along your own path. Thank you so much for being here.