Why I Left Social Media For Four Years And What I’ve Learned

Ok, so why did I leave social media?

It all started with the end of a relationship and the death of my father. I left social media (and pretty much the internet altogether) to take time to process these major life events in a sacred way, without a lot of onlookers. But then my sabbatical from the internet turned into something much more. My intentional hermit time became a concentrated dose of awareness and creativity. I found myself not only relishing in time away from digital interaction, but having full on resistance to ever returning.

Here’s what happened to me while I was away and the story of why I came back…

A lot has changed during the four years I haven’t been online. New podcast, new name, new online courses, but same me. I’m still focused on healing myself while supporting others to make their own lives better. The only difference is now I’m bringing all the good stuff that happens in my healing room straight to you.

The year 2014 brought huge personal changes that made me re-evaluate how I want to live my life and use my energy. By taking time to get clear, I developed a deeper certainty of what I want to accomplish while I’m here on this planet. I want to have a voice for positive change and support others who are doing the same. This is why I’ve decided to communicate, connect and share online again.

While I did miss connecting with interesting people that inspire me, I didn’t miss the time wasting aspect of social media in the least. I’ve become much more aware of where my time goes. Becoming more effective with the precious time I have has made my life better. The benefits from being away from social media outweighed my desire to see what was going on.

I’ll be honest..it’s not been easy for me to step back out on the internet. I’m a hermit by nature and I’ve really liked the quiet life my husband and I have created over the past few years. If my heart didn’t feel such a pull for positive change, I would just stay happily in my own little bubble.

“Buddhism has always taught there is a time and place for taking on the life of a secluded monk, for living apart from the world in order to serve the world. But serve the world we must and to do so, we must be in the world.”-The Diamond Cutter-The Buddha On Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach & Lama Christie McNally

I didn’t even realize how far off the grid I’d gone until one of my clients found my new office after three or four months of attempting to contact me. She’d moved back to my area in North Carolina after relocating to Florida. Since she moved away, my partner and I had built our own office and moved our business while she’d lost all her contact info in her phone. When she finally found me months later, she told me how hard she’d been searching since I’d literally vanished from the internet. She said it was like I had fallen off the face of the earth and I realized she was right. Anyone who wanted to see me over the last four years had to come into this little healing room and connect with me face to face, heart to heart. I really enjoy those kind of meaningful interactions. Even though I’m excited to offer the online courses and books I’ve created, I don’t want to lose that sense of real connection and authentic communication I’ve worked so hard to cultivate in my relationships.

I wasn’t going to jump back online until I was crystal clear that I could maintain healthy boundaries when it comes to navigating relationships and time spent online. That’s why I’m starting out with just a weekly email to my subscribers. My goal is to help others while still keeping the quality of life I enjoy. This requires maintaining a lot of healthy boundaries.

Am I against social media?

No, I am not against social media and I don’t consider the world wide web and artificial intelligence to be positive or negative. Just like money or any other tool, the internet is a form of energy and power that must be used with consciousness and intention. On this plane of duality, everything has a light upside and dark shadow side. What’s important is how we use the energy and tools at our disposal to accomplish want we want to do. Some of the benefits of social media include: building community, creating awareness on social and environmental issues and supporting those who are actively creating positive change.

What did I do while I was away from the internet?

-1) I became much more CLEAR.

I did this by spending time alone and a lot of time outside, in nature.

The #1 most important thing you need to do in order to get clear is to spend time ALONE and preferably be in nature. By spending time alone in nature, I was able to clearly define what’s important to me and what my motives where (the why) behind all the things I was doing.

Being alone and outside are two simple actions with great therapeutic benefits when it comes to increasing clarity and self awareness.

-2) I learned how to say NO with love.

It was time to pull my energy in and simplify my life so I could direct my power in more concentrated, effective ways. I discovered that while all of us have the power to do anything we want, none of us are as effective if we spread our energy in too many directions. For many years, I had grown and learned from saying YES to opportunities as they arose. Now, it was my time to bring life into balance by learning how say NO in a healthy way, even if the opportunities were good ones. I chose to restructure my busy schedule and prioritize two areas of my life. I took a break from teaching and public speaking in order to devote my full focus to my relationships and my private healing practice. I committed myself to cultivating and strengthening these areas, giving 100 percent of my focus. This commitment has taken a lot of time, dedication and observation. Refining my strategies for how I spend my time, what I pour my energy into and how I live my life helped me focus on what’s most important to me. This process became a life upgrade in many ways.

The right no at the right time can change the course of history.-Greg McKeown

-3) I worked with my own fear of missing out (FOMO).

The clarity I found through these life changes made me realize that even though I’d been doing a LOT of service to humanity, I was diluting my energy and this made me less effective overall.

Many of you who knew me prior to 2014 can remember when I was very busy doing lots of things that I enjoy. I was facilitating tons of workshops and retreats, running the esoteric healing school, seeing a full schedule of clients in my private practice AND doing a lot of speaking engagements and ceremonies. Life was in high gear back then and I was having lots of fun  helping people heal their lives. But having lots of fun manifesting opportunities doesn’t necessarily mean I was being that effective for myself or anyone else. It’s funny because now I realize I was practicing manifesting and getting pretty good at creating opportunities, but I didn’t know how to manage all of that yet. Because of my lack of skill in dealing with my manifestations, I spent a lot of time going in too many different fun directions back then. I don’t regret any of that, it was just part of my learning process and growth.

-4) I took care of myself.

Taking care of yourself requires a lot of time and there’s no way around that. This is why most people don’t do it. Self care takes time to address our bodies, minds, emotions and energy.

We all know that any electronic device has to shut down occasionally to receive an upgrade. Well, guess what? We are highly sophisticated devices, too! I feel like my time away from all social media and most media in general was part of an upgrade or recharge for myself. I call it my “healer’s upgrade” because the break allowed me to get clear and take my professional work to another level. I turned off all the distractions and chatter by cleaning up the loose ends of my life where my time and energy spilled out in useless ways. I became more intentional and meaningful with every interaction. I cleared out the mental clutter of my life and it paid off in a huge way.

The rewards I received from clearing out the clutter included mental clarity, calmness and an enhanced ability to be present. I let go of a lot of “shoulds” “have tos” and “to do lists”, but I kept what was most important to me: my time, my health, my closest relationships and my clients.

Freeing myself up from the time it took to answer emails, comment on posts and respond to messages and requests made me realize how much energy had been going out on the web in a way that was not productive or nurturing for me. I realized that even healers and lightworkers who are making a difference in this world can still get caught up in distractions that drain our energy.

When you take time to up-level your self care game and to reflect on how effective you currently are, not everyone will respond well or understand what you’re doing. My social circle had gotten so big that I was not able to explain to everyone on the internet that my change was nothing to be taken personally, I just needed to refine and strategize how I spent my energy. After this long refreshing break, I feel like I can communicate more clearly and connect more effectively whether in person or on the internet because of the time I spent on nurturing my communication skills.

-5 I gave myself a gift. I granted myself enough time to grow a strong foundation for how I want to strategically communicate with the world. I plan on staying very intentional about how I use technology and I encourage you to do the same.

-6) I practiced awareness. What I mean by that is I paid more attention to where my time, attention, energy and dollars were going. Back when my energy was scattered all over the place, my efforts to be effective didn’t have as much oomph behind them as they do now.I became skilled at paying attention to what I was doing and where I was putting my time and attention. Anyone can do this, all it takes is practicing awareness. It’s totally free to evaluate where your hours and dollars are going. Your efforts will pay off by revealing to you how to get more of what you want and less of what you don’t.

What I learned from my time away…

I’ve learned that practicing awareness and paying attention to how I’m responding to the world around me is a lot of work. Just like anything, the more you practice awareness, the more skilled you become.

We can utilize technology, own it and manage it to be a force for good. We don’t have to let technology manage and use us.

An energetic perspective on the internet

You might not realize this, but every interaction you have online affects your energetic field as well as your body, mind and emotions. This was easy for me to notice after having removed myself completely from social media for so long. I paid such close attention to how my energy field interacts with others that it was easy to notice how quickly energetic connections form with those you engage with online. Only now do I understand why social media can be so energetcially depleting and emotionally taxing. You are literally sharing energy with each person you communicate with online.

Millennials, Indigo and Crystalline Children respond differently to the digital age.

I never thought I’d be old enough to say, “back in my day, before the digital age…” But I’m a child of the seventies and my energy field and body did not form inside the matrix of the world wide web. I didn’t come in this world well equipped to deal with artificial intelligence like our  children are today. This is one of the reasons that time spent on electronic devices is taxing to me on all levels.

Years ago, many indigenous people foretold that children coming to the planet at this time would be different than those of us who came before. Now that I have a child of my own, I’m able to observe the differences in our energetic fields in a direct way instead of just speculating how these kids are different from me. Kids who are living now are natives to the digital age. Remember how we heard about the Crystalline children that would be coming in, many years ago? Now I understand! Their crystalline energy fields were formed in this new world and they are better equipped to deal with new ways of communicating.

I’m not saying that children who are young now don’t need to unplug and spend time away from their devices. I’m only telling you how differently their energetic fields respond to digital stimulation than those of us who are older. Awareness of these differences can foster compassion and patience.

Here’s some tips for dealing with overstimulation in our digital world…

*Go outside 
If you feel overwhelmed from too much technology, go outside and leave all devices indoors. If possible, put your bare feet on the ground and let Mother Earth recharge YOUR battery and clear out the static. This exercise supports calmness and mental clarity. If you feel drained by too much interaction or stimulation on social media, imagine clearing everyone else’s energy out of the space inside you and within three feet around you. Do some deep breathing as you imagine your energy field, mind, emotions and body becoming completely clean. Set an intention to feel only your energy field, no one else’s, at least once a day. An easy way to do this is to focus on the Earth below you as you breathe and then focus on the Sun above you. This is an easy to way to get centered and release excess energy.

*Spend time alone. Save time in your busy day by combining being outside and being alone. Alone time in nature provides double benefits. You can’t get clear on how you actually feel while your energy field is linking and merging with the thoughts, emotions and energy patterns of others. We all need some time every day when no other human is within three feet of our body. Even if it’s only five minutes a day, spend time in your own energy field with no distractions. This practice will make a difference in your level of clarity and well being.

*Engage in self care activities that require you to be unplugged.                 If you find it difficult to regulate how often you open certain applications on your phone, engage in regular self care activities where you have to be free from your device. This will slowly direct your brain toward different kinds of pleasure. Enjoy massage therapy sessions, energy work, tai chi, yoga, himalayan salt caves, sports…anything that requires unplugging from your devices.

Where else can you find activities that don’t allow electronics? If you find it difficult to be without your device for the duration of a healing session or massage, this is an indication that you need more time away from electronics.

Take an hour before bed to be away from all electronics.

Turn your wifi off while you sleep.

Give yourself parameters for how much time you engage with social media. Experiment with different times of the day to be online, limit your exposure and see if you are less affected by interacting in the morning, afternoon or night.

*Cultivate healthy relationships 
Don’t spend your precious time online with anyone you wouldn’t associate with in person. Be very careful with who you give your attention to because your energy is a gift. Are you giving your time to those who are worthy of it? Healthy relationships are the main ingredient to a happy life. Fulfillment in marriage, business, friendship or family life comes when our relationships and communication take priority.

*Take control of your mind Many things in life are beyond our control. But what we expose our minds to is completely our choice and we hold the power. Remember: you are in control of what you read, view, listen to and think. The landscape of your mind is 100 percent your domain. Make sure that the people and ideas you allow into your mind are of the highest level and deserve your attention.

Why I want to teach and connect online
I want to provide a sacred space of learning and support for a) everyone interested in self care and healthy living and b) healing professionals who help and serve others.

I deeply desire a strong community of healers who are changing themselves and the world in a profound way.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and I’d like to hear from YOU in the comment section below on how you navigate social media along with what challenges and benefits you encounter. I can’t wait to hear if you’re thriving from online interaction or you have some self care strategies of your own that are keeping you well. And I’ve also included some great resources below. Enjoy!

 

Show Notes From Podcast Episode #4: Why I Took A Four Year Break From Social Media

I highly recommend reading or listening to this book:
Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success in a Distracted World
by, Cal Newport

My favorite podcast series ever: Rewild Yourself with Daniel Vitalis
The first few seasons are my favorites. Daniel shares so much helpful info on topics such as self dental care, natural skin care, nutrition, etc. Here’s one of my faves on the importance of sleep:
http://www.danielvitalis.com/rewild-yourself-podcast/sleep-is-a-nutrient-arthur-haines-75

Another podcast that I love: The Tim Ferris Show
https://player.fm/series/the-tim-ferriss-show-1578275/ep-328-how-to-say-no-gracefully-and-uncommit
In this episode, Tim showcases two chapters from Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by, Greg McKeown. This book helped me become more effective with my time and energy.