Category Archives: declutter

facebook free february

For the month of February, an Irish NGO issued a challenge to quit Facebook. Just for the month (though you can go longer if you’d like). The idea behind it is to examine your connection with social media (vs the real world). The hope is that, for the month, a person can reframe their relationship with online and outside, and maybe fill those now-vacant hours with other activities (going for a walk, a show, dinner; learning a new hobby; writing?).

I’m not one of the people who think Facebook (and other forms of social media) is a menace, though I can certainly see how it can be addictive for some, or a replacement for “in person” interaction for others. I can also see how it can create a skewed perspective of the world (a la internet trolldom). Of course, the things we see in others are often the last things we see in ourselves, so I could be fooling myself when I say I think my relationship with social media, although very deep, is healthy. Nevertheless, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, are useful tools for me to stay in touch with friends from around the world. They are also great sources of information – either through links posted, or through status updates/tweets/photos from people “on the ground”, as it were.

Of course, social media’s big drawback in all of this is that you curate your feeds. You only see what you wish to see, and if you don’t wish to see it, you can unfriend, unfollow, block, mute, etc. In some ways, I can see how this can polarize further our societies, and also how it can translate to “real life” in the sense that people can find it so easy to turn away from things they find unpleasant or distasteful. Of course, we do this all the time, turning off the TV or not reading the newspaper, but the difference with social media is the social aspect – it is a conversation with others that is being turned off, not a one-way push of news.

I do think social media can be a means by which “offline” life could be bettered. For example, social media could be a place to learn to skillfully manage conflict such that could be applicable in real life, but unfortunately, it becomes a way to tune out. It also becomes a way to hide behind anonymity or firewalls and not have to take responsibility for, or face the consequences of, hateful or offensive speech. People say things on the internet that they would be unlikely to say to another person’s face. The internet free-for-all, while a great equalizer for free speech, also becomes a breeding ground for hate. I suspect that in coming decades, we will learn to harness the strengths of social media for better in-person interaction, but for now we’re just children with new toys and we’re still trying to figure out the rules.

So, I’m 8 days in now on my own social media experiment. I’ve stayed off Facebook this time, though I’ve been tempted to log on and see what my friends are up to. One thing I realized is that I can use this time away to have some more personal interactions with people, so I’ve started reaching out to people to set up skype calls. Another thing I’ve noticed is that I seem to have a lot more time to watch Netflix and read. For the former, I’ve made a queue of interesting documentaries that I hope to check out in the coming weeks. But on the reading front, I managed to read 2 books since late Jan to now, and I’ve got a whole list in my Nook app to still check out. I also bought a book recently (actual tangible pages to touch!) and I’m excited to read it too.

I do miss talking to friends, and there are a few who I know are going through difficult times and I regret not being there to see how they are doing. I could do it on email, but sometimes the collective approach of the group is more comforting. Of course, this “ban” on Facebook is not absolute, and I could always go back if I wanted to. But for now, I’m exploring the possibility of taking this time for myself, and seeing to some personal needs.

One thing I thought would happen though – I thought I would have more time for writing. I do seem to be getting more work done, so maybe I’ve filled some hours with that, and I am spending more time on Twitter (something that should be addressed too, though Twitter fills a different niche for me). But I haven’t been blogging more, so I think it’s time I turned my attention to that.

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Turning 35

I’ve come to terms with not being a blogger. But I’ve also realized that I have a lot to say. While the posting might not be too frequent, but it’s still important to get the words out when I can. So, reboot. Again.

I turn 35 in 5 weeks. 5 is a nice number – one that resonates well with me. 35 is something of a turning point too. So, in anticipation of the auspicious occasion, I’m hoping to bring 35 with a full embodiment of my dreams, values, and goals, and spending the next 5 weeks in doing so.

Step One: Resurrect the daily sadhana. In the past, this was waking up at a decent hour, taking a few moments to tidy up my space, brew coffee, and then meditate or yoga (or both). In the evenings, usually I sit and sometimes incorporate some mindful movement (or all out dance). Lately, this has been less than daily. And lack of routine has found its way into other parts of my life. Bringing this back, even in the smallest form, will help re-center and re-focus.

Step Two: Get serious about health. I’m working to make boxing 2-3 times a week, and personal training 2 times a week. I’ve also gotten a pedometer, and trying to reach 10,000 steps a day. Next up will be to clean up the diet. In mid-late October, I’ll undertake a 2 week detox to jumpstart that process.

Step Three: Declutter. I’ve been accumulating a lot of papers, and other stuff lately. Time to start cleaning house.

More steps to follow, but I’ll allow them to arrive organically.

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downtime

So after a few hectic weeks of travel, I’m on the beach in Southern Kerala – Kovalam to be exact.  I’ll be here for 2 weeks, doing yoga twice a day and generally just relaxing.  It will be a welcome break before I head to Malaysia for more hectic travel.

Kovalam is pretty touristy, but I’m sure it is nowhere near the scale of Goa.  Still, it’s pretty hard to avoid sellers, tour operators, money exchangers, restaurant hosts, etc, haranguing you to come and “have a look” in their shops.  I’ve already succumbed and had chappals made, and a couple pairs of pants.  Tomorrow’s errand might have to be the post office….

The ocean is gorgeous, though I haven’t brought myself to go in it yet.  Maybe tomorrow. 🙂

In the meantime, lots of fruit (even mangoes!), fish, coconut, lassi, and fresh lime soda!

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