The first time I heard the phrase "imposter syndrome" was in the health and fitness community. I thought....hmmmm interesting...and then went about my business. I mean, I knew it happened and I could relate to an extent but I just had never pushed myself to the point outside my comfort zone where I really felt it with regard to fitness or health.
Imposter Syndrome seems to me to be the classic thought process that the other shoe will surely drop when everyone finds out how inept you really are....
Now, despite what I said in the opening paragraph, I do have it in relation to just about every other thing in life to one degree or another. It is based in fear, like so many of the things that plague us all in the modern world of increasing demands and open examination of every aspect of our lives.
It seems logical that the underlying beliefs that make up imposter syndrome build on themselves and at various times have been proven to be accurate, or else we would not fear them. There may have been small instances that should not even matter. Take the one time you did not study for a test like your mom told you to and despite doing well on other tests you end up doing poorly. Suddenly you really are "the slower one" amongst your siblings. You should actually attribute the "failure" to not studying and be done with it but you don't. Instead, you attribute it to the belief that you really ARE slow, that the other tests were simply a fluke, that you were lucky for awhile and now your luck has run out.
There is a theory that our minds remember negative if this then that situations more vividly than positive situations. It is part of the survival mechanism. To me this is a very important part of imposter syndrome as it relates to the challenges of the professional environment and even our personal lives. Much of growing up is learning, through trial and a great deal of error. It is hard to not focus on the errors rather than the successes. Again, it is in our make-up and is how we have survived. It is also a little bit of the power of nurture and environment. I am reminded of another theory that talks about the hypothesis that those of us who say we "don't like people" may feel that way because our core, early experiences with people were negative. Perhaps there was family strife or it just was not a supportive environment, or maybe our interactions with our peers were not the best when young. For whatever reason, we learned that people were not to be trusted, that they were mean and you had to "watch out" or they would hurt you. Again, an example of negative experience shaping an underlying belief system.
Now, the good news is that when we become adults it is up to us what we believe. We can make the choice to work on our internal dialogue and our ideas that we are less than deserving of success. I find it is easier said than done, like most things worth doing, but we owe it to ourselves to try.
Imposter syndrome is why I have always been an adorably witty underachiever (not my label someone called me that once - a professor actually). I sat in the back of the class (always), only participated when my grade depended upon it (ie - you join the discussion or points come off), and preferred to take good notes, listen, observe and then get mostly straight A marks. In my mind, the grade was what it was about, right? If you are going to force me to be verbal by saying my grade depends on it fine, but otherwise you want me to answer the questions correctly on paper and be able to write well. OK, I can do those things now can we move on?
The things I deemed myself not good at (social interaction, getting along with others, caring about people AT ALL, being in the spotlight) I would figure out ways around and most of those ways involved observation and doing the work just as well as those around me who were busy sucking up and NOT doing the work. Being an underachiever protected me from imposter syndrome because, well, I was often not living up to my potential in other people's minds but I was doing just fine in my humble opinion.
Now, I must point out that there is something to be said for knowing yourself well and not getting so wrapped up in achievement that you become a stressed out, hopelessly type A individual. That very scenario is something I have always weighed carefully when the questions of added responsibility, career advancement, even personal changes came up. My lifestyle and my approach always put me squarely where I was comfortable being. In the back of the classroom observing quietly, yet working hard and making myself indispensable in the subconscious of others. How? Frankly, by doing "the work" so damn well and without fanfare.
Then the oddest thing happened. Well, two odd things actually. 1. I had to either buy a horse myself or live without horses in my life. 2. I had to decide whether to accept an interim position running my organization while a most complicated and possibly highly controversial merger of systems is undertaken in my community. My community? Uggggghhhh the very sound of it turns my stomach. LOL.
The first odd thing was hard enough to work through and I still, almost daily, feel like someone who possibly should not even be allowed to dream of having a horse. I don't know enough, I'm not good enough at it, I'm gonna screw him up...the list of reasons constantly running through my brain is endless. The second odd thing I could have declined on the very basis that someone who still flies her inner punk Anarchy flag should not use the words "my" and "community" in the same sentence without the knowledge that she has sold out to THE.MAN. Further, both of these oddities (although in different ways) signify that (OMG) my responsibility meter has gone from a manageable I got this to some over the top feeling of holy sh8t there is no turning back now...
So the imposter syndrome is rampant in me right now is what I'm saying. I'm reeling with it. I wake up every day, look in the mirror and expect my face to slide off, revealing some awful, sniveling wretch who can't tie her shoes and talks to cats who aren't even there. What do I think I'm doing anyway? This can't turn out well. How dare I? I'm not supposed to get to this point. I don't deserve to have a horse or manage things, I'm just a girl from some Podunk little town hell it is a miracle I even made it to college... And on and on it goes.
So, I have been trying to engage in more logical inner dialog and am finding it very hard work. I guess that is the only way to work through illogical systems of belief. At work I can pull from actual objectives met, things accomplished, processes moved forward. With Takoda I am keeping a detailed journal that includes things we are working on, progress, set backs, possible related factors. In trying to take the emotion out of the entries I am hoping the inner voices will change.
I'm thinking this might not be the time to pick my guitar back up (you know, the one I haven't played in six months). Then again...
The uniforms of our existence. Everyday, we get up and go out into the world and we, hopefully, are making an effort to be as authentic as we can be.
But how successful are we? We ALL have masks. We all have a persona to some extent that we are forced into or even choose to don on a daily basis in order to somehow fit in, maintain order, get ahead, or even just cope with daily life amongst the mass of personalities and other drama that pulls us in one direction or the other.
I am thinking about this a lot lately due mostly to some inevitable changes and ensuing upheaval at work. But it is worth it to ask ourselves in most portions of our lives what our masks allow us to contemplate and achieve as well as what they hold us back from and whether they interfere to some unacceptable extent with who we are. Who we really are.
I contemplate this stuff because I am afraid. I'm afraid of losing myself within a role that I must play. I'm afraid that the miniscule amount of empathy I have left in me for the human race is going to fall away as I struggle through uncharted territory and dealings with said mammals on more numerous occasions. I only have so much room on my stupid meter and most days I already find it close to maxed out so what will it mean to add to it to the point of overflow? I don't know and I'm afraid.
I'm afraid of how it might overflow into my personal business and my mental health. Anger management is sometimes an almost impossible task in my line of work. Separating life into boxes is not something I'm good at. I'm a global kind of "feeler" and as such, my moods tend to lend themselves to a universal language.
The simple answer would be to be authentic and be done with it. And it is true that being authentic is not difficult for me. What is difficult is the world's reaction to my authentic nature. I am, for instance, not exactly hiding in a closet as far as spiritual matters go but by the same token I do not advertise my beliefs. I have found in life that most people are just as clueless about spirituality and religion as they are everything else so few even notice that I wear a small pentacle or that I mention a solstice in relation to the calendar, etc. But, those subtle parts of my day to day dealings with people are masks within themselves. I WANT to be open about who I am spiritually. I WANT it to not matter. But, reality is that it would be used against me at work. Don't kid yourselves my friends, there IS no separation of church and state in terms of employment in the public sector. The reality is that it matters.
And on the subject of being authentic, what would most people's reaction be to the true nature of Gillian on other philosophical matters? I can't even type them HERE for fear that someone, somehow, will stumble upon this world of mine, this haven that I have created with dear friends miles apart through blogging and podcasting... They'll stumble upon it and rat me out, manipulate my beliefs (not only spiritual) and opinions as something not becoming of the role I hold or may hold.
Am I being paranoid? Am I being a coward? Am I just still being a scared little girl laughed at and bullied because she believed that animals went to heaven?
When we sell our souls it is often times not a grand affair like it is in the movies. It isn't like Al Pacino offers us the sweet life in a high rise penthouse complete with every manner of every favorite sin. It usually happens in a much more subtle way, little by little, until in our times of quiet contemplation we are faced with the truth. And that truth is that we have somehow lost ours along the way. We compromise in the name of "cooperation" in relationships, parenting, friendships, working. We give here and there and little by little we sometimes find ourselves living the reality that someone else would have us live rather than our own by nature.
I have, in my life, tried very, very hard to ensure this does not happen. I've walked a tightrope and mostly saved myself from waking up in a panic one morning and not even knowing who the fuck I am and how I got to a place I did not want to be. Mostly. There have been slip-ups along the way. Deviations from my true nature that cost me dearly in terms of time (which none of us have enough of) and the opportunity for true, genuine experience (which none of us have enough of either). I am now at the point in my life where I am too old for any further deviations. Even small ones. My time is limited and I must live it accordingly.
So, I have not answered any of my own fears or questions with this Sunday morning rambling. I'm just still thinking...
THIS is how I feel about 2014. I have to because 2013 has been deemed one of the worst.in.recent.memory. It isn't just me I have heard this from several people so the trend ends officially today.
Briefly, what made 2013 so lackluster? For me it was simple. I had the realization and consistent reminders, over and over again, that despite my best life's efforts and people seeing me on the surface as someone who takes no lip, I was in the habit of eating shit. LOL. Whether it was believing in things that were too good to be true/real, trying to be someone I am not to meet expectations set by others or myself due to believing said things, making excuses and concessions for others because I felt I had to (either because I deemed it not worth the energy, because they controlled something I needed/loved, because I was afraid of the long term consequences), or hiding from my own personal truth I have done myself a disservice of the soul in the past year.
I have been on autopilot and trudging through the mud like a zombie too lazy to even search for brains. As a lazy zombie, I know I need brains, I just don't have the gumption to find them so I just trudge along, one zombie foot in front of the other, on and on... LOL.
I talked in my last blog entry about ending the year and placing a word of focus for the new one. I had not yet settled on a word. I have now and the word is
That's right. TRUTH. As in what is mine? What is yours? With every breath and every decision and every action I will consider my truth and whether that decision, action, choice is reflective of it. There will be times when it is very clear. There will be others in which finding truth might take some digging. And there will be instances when I will have to concede in order to get to truth eventually. But, those will never again outweigh the former.
So, no matter what your resolution is or whether you even make them, I would invite you in the coming year to search for your own truth and live it. I think it is the most important gift we can offer ourselves.
Part of my core belief system is that we are all a part of something bigger, something expansive, something that we cannot even imagine. And as part of that Whole, it is also a part of us. We come from it. We will return to it. The earth, the stars, the universe itself.
To us, since we can see far off into space and we know what our earth is made up of and can comprehend the oceans, the land, the mountains and beyond, our world might seem big but easy to keep track of due to our technological nature. To a butterfly, home is the flower and the leaf. The universe is however far it can fly. To a wolf or a bear the earth is the forest that makes up her habitat. To a spider my basement is an entire galaxy.
It is the season of thankfulness and giving so they say. Yet, today the internet is filled with stories of shootings at Walmart, people getting trampled by others looking for the best deal on mass produced junk to stuff under their tree and those working are actually getting "fuck you" as a greeting from those shopping. I wonder at these times what the spider in my basement would think if it could comprehend all this? Hell, I can't even comprehend it. I feel like I have to withdraw from it. I have to be aware enough to know that it isn't what I want in my life and then walk away. I have to do that with several things in order to get back to myself and to have hope.
Hope. Always a good place to start when you are trying to reconnect with yourself and your own world. I have heard that gratitude can be a tool in reconnection and grounding. It seems logical and as the universe is so vast - gratitude can help you concentrate on individual concepts, help you zero in, calm you and therefore ground you.
So, what am I thankful for and what do I want to become during this dark season of hope? Smaller. Yes, that is how I am thinking of it. I want my world to become more focused, more sharp, more authentic. I sometimes feel like in the world of over-connectivity my key to not getting so overwhelmed (and therefore paralyzed) is to isolate some of the noise. So that is what I mean by smaller. I want to go inside, to find that person that I have been losing. I want her to speak softly and be heard. I want her to live bravely, by her beliefs and her truth.
I'm thankful to be able to contemplate all this, to work through it, to know there are still people in the world that feel the same about the planet and the creatures we share it with. I'm thankful for hope.
We all lose it occasionally. We don't know how or why sometimes and other times it is quite clear. We may get tired of trying or we may just stray off track a bit or we may even look around ourselves on a cold morning and realize it is gone. Life passion. Self awareness. The complete inability to feel anything more than meeeehhhhhhh about pretty much everything. Some people would call it the "blues" or even depression. I suppose you could define it in those ways. It seems odd that being depressed would not include being sad but I guess it could happen. "Experts" say it does happen.
In relation to this, life, the new year (witch style), and in hopes of dragging my butt out of this lackluster ditch, I am looking at the whole from several different angles and breaking it down into manageable (hopefully) parts - see last weekend's blog entry for the beginnings of this concept in my brain...
So, SELF. WHO AM I? Many times for me it is much easier to describe who I am not than who I am. It is like, I know me when I "see" me but I can't put words to myself. I spent some time with my mom over the last couple of weeks and had forgotten SO many of the things that I was made up of long ago. She told stories about my childhood. They made me laugh. They made me sad. They made me want to walk into the woods and pick flowers with my dog. To pack a lunch and sit on the ledge overlooking the forbidden pond in which no one was supposed to swim but everyone did, sharing my sandwich with that same dog and kicking my feet leisurely back and forth while plucking rocks toward the pond in between bites. To build snowmen with funny hats and be scared to the point of screaming (pointlessly) by my big brother (who can still scare the shit out of me anytime he sets his mind to it) and then break down in a severe gaggle of giggles over the whole incident.
I am THAT person, somewhere, deep inside she is still there. I have to find her. I have to spend time with her daily. Losing her somewhere along the way is an inevitable part of adulthood to some extent but the spark that is her must still be in all of us or, really, a portion of our very soul is already gone.
So, over the season I am going to break the search for her down into manageable parts, just like I would break down a problem at work or a home project or any other thing that seems overwhelming when looked at in a global manner. I will find her. I MUST find her. Everyone else I have been is so boring.
So the pendulum sways.... While in New Orleans recently we happened upon a lovely rock shop. I was fiddling around touching various gemstones and I lost myself in thought and being mesmerized by all the shiny things (captain) ;)....
And a glittery little pendulum caught my eye. I normally am drawn to stones of watery color. You know, greens, blues, even purples... But this was a beautiful, earthy orange colored stone, almost the shade of say, Georgia clay or the Grand Canyon. And in it were flecks and sparkles that glistened and glinted off the shop lights. I picked it up and let it rest in the palm of my hand. It felt good and solid. The shape of it fit my palm nicely. I had thought that on this trip I might find a new pendulum. I have one that was a gift to me from my Reiki Master. I keep it in a sachet in my truck so that it will always be with me during the day and use it with the horse that I lease or when away from my alter/home. I have another that I am making myself to keep downstairs in our basement for when I do my morning ritual and I have been wanting a third to keep on my main alter upstairs. It would seem that I had found my new pendulum. I considered this. I don't like to make hasty decisions on things like magical tools and most of my stuff is handmade by me or I have received as a gift at one time or another.
So, I spoke to it. I introduced myself and explained that I had some questions for it. Sam thinks I'm nuts so I don't suppose any of this embarrassed him any more than normal. I asked it to show me various things. Things like how it would tell me yes, no, or even let me know that it either could not or would not answer me. It told me these things readily. Hmmmmmmm.....
It was only then that I even looked at the label where it had rested. Goldstone. Hmmmmmm again.... Attributes? No clue. So, I trusted the stone and my answers and thought about the adventure of getting to know it as I made a beeline to the counter to purchase my new pendulum.
I have since found some very cool information on Goldstone, also known as Aventurine Glass, including an awesome blog entry by C.L. Matthews:
House of Daedalus Blog
It is a lovely, lively little pendulum. By far the most outgoing one I have. I think my Goldstone must be like Christmas lights, always twinkling and lifting my spirits. Right now it is resting on my main alter, beside my handmade counting beads and on top of my wooden box that holds my tarot decks. Can a stone be happy to see you? Everytime I get it out it seems happy, like if it could speak it would say hey howya doin' today Gilly? LOL. By contrast my traveling pendulum is more....about the flow. I feel like it says peace be with you and like that peace radiates from it.
Interesting these different personalities. Once I finish making my morning ritual pendulum I will be interested to see what personality it has.
Tonight is a Full Moon. I hardly ever pay attention to moon phases now. My life has just sort of been floating along in the state of indifference I described yesterday. I'll look up at the sky and say "hello" to her on occasion but...
Anyway, you get my drift.
After blogging yesterday I got to thinking about a conversation that I was having with someone last week. The conversation was about problems, basically. It was related to work and assignments but the gist was that things seem overwhelming because when you look at Godzilla he is really, really huge. If you stab his toe though, that is a start.
So, I have this problem with feeling listless and not particularly excited about anything in life and this problem has now had me in its grip for over a year. It extends to ALL aspects of my life. I live in a shade of muted blah right now. It isn't grey, hell it isn't a color at all it is just...muck.
I wouldn't call it depression. It is just a long, ongoing case of what we call "the fuck-its".
I started thinking about it further yesterday because we had some Godzilla sized issues at home.
Basically, it is the season of The Leaf and we live in the middle of a Forest. Clearing leaves is a daunting job. There is NO WAY we can just rake. We used to use two leaf blowers in tangent and then Sam would out the plow blade on the ATV and push the leaves to the edge of the woods. It took approximately 30 total work hours spread over several weekends and we never would get to the flower beds, herb garden, etc so there would still be a mess in the spring. A couple of years ago Sam bought a piece of equipment that actually sucks the leaves up and grinds them so now we are looking at around 12 hours total AND get to the gardens as well.
But, I digress...
We had leaves to clear and a tree came down on our fence that surrounds our garden shed/my magic shop. It bent a good portion of the fence to the ground, creating a huge mess.
So, problem: the yard is a mess, our fence is broken, there are limbs and leaves everywhere, it is an overwhelming friggin onslaught of the nature army LOL.
I could not afford to fall into my present state of being with this. I had to break the problem down into steps.
1. Don't even look at the whole picture. That will surely overwhelm you.
2. We took the tree first. Sam used the chainsaw, I worked on dragging brush and limbs. Then he cut usable stuff into firewood. I stacked the same. Then we bent the fence poles back to upright and assessed true damage. A supply list was made. A trip to Lowes was scheduled.
3. Yard. I raked leaves out from under all bushes and from beds. Sam ran the Leaf Terminator ;) and within three hours we had cleared the space.
Now, we probably have another partial day of work to finish the leaves that does include blowing where the machine can't get and I have to do some hand work in the pond garden but - for the most part, Godzilla defeated by breaking things down into manageable parts.
How does this relate to my state of being? Well, I am formulating that...
And legs, and well, all those other parts we complain about.
I have to give credit to my beautiful friend Saturn Darkhope because it was her Facebook status I copied this from. And to Wild Woman Sisterhood, which is where she shared it from originally.
Because it got me thinking once again about the same old subject so many of us get our minds and souls wrapped up in. That conversation with ourselves ~ you know the one. The one in which we are not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough - oh shit wait it isn't just thin anymore it is STRONG enough (meaning it isn't enough to just be thin, as one blogger said not long ago, now we have to be ripped too), tall enough, sexy enough, smooth enough, perky enough (I speak of breasts not personality), hot enough, blah blah blah blah blah....
As a side note does anyone ever notice that the list of what is not "enough" about us usually doesn't include smart enough? Well, why would it? As a whole if we were smart enough we wouldn't be worried about any of the other "enough" that we worry about.
But alas, I digress....
I think that people mistake quotes like the one above as saying that we should all rebel against weight loss or exercise, being aware of how our bodies look, or the desire to make life changes for weight loss or exercise purposes. It is like some odd backlash - you know, like slut shaming only it is shaming women into the belief that if they are interested in their physical appearance they are just superficial nitwits.
I don't take it like that at all. I think it refers to the excesses we go to in pursuit of perfection, whatever perfection is at the moment. It also refers to the idea in our minds that we are not "enough" right now at our very core. That the essence of us is not worthy so we need to pursue this momentary preference for being ripped yet boob enhanced with lips like Angelina and able to run in four inch heels without breaking a sweat or an ankle.
I feel like there isn't anything wrong with wanting to lose weight or build muscle or, hell, even wanting to look great in a bikini. But you DO have to be able to separate your reality from what your are being sold as universal reality and whatever things you want to make happen once you have separated those "realities" cannot interfere with your choice to like your body NOW. To love your soul NOW. To celebrate your spirit NOW.
I'm not saying that getting exercise and eating good, wholesome food is not necessary. I tend to believe both are an important part of the puzzle of what makes us whole. But you don't need "industries" to do either of those things. Now, you might join a gym because it is easier to utilize than any other option - but, the gym itself doesn't have to make you question whether your like your body in the present. Unless you let your experience there and all the other static that chicks face on a daily basis related to our physical selves find a way in.
So, I think, related to the quote, which I LOVE btw, that we need to pay particular attention to the word "decided" when we read it. Because stuff like this doesn't just happen. Ironically enough, mind shifts are like exercise and diet themselves. They take practice. They take commitment. They take deciding each and every day and sometimes each and every minute to make a choice. So, that would mean that when it occurs to us to dislike any part of ourselves we must not only redirect those thoughts we must work consistently to make sure that it doesn't even occur to us.
Huge mind shift isn't it? A revolution inside our own heads. A quiet revolt against deep rooted negative talk and beliefs. Where can we even begin?
I think that first we have to be aware of the whole reality vs "sold" reality. We have to call it when we see it. We have to tell ourselves what it is whenever it finds a way into our own mind. We have to remind ourselves of our own personal reality often. However you decide to do these things is up to you but it is part of retraining your mind.
Then we have to celebrate ourselves daily. Just as we are. And know that we are part of something bigger and acknowledge that. For instance, I have come up with a morning ritual involving the use of my body and connecting it with the earth and the sky. I learned it in a recent workshop and have put my own spiritual twist on it. It involves thanking the spirit of each direction for their daily gifts and acknowledging the universe within my body (we ARE stardust ya know) and the earth on which we stand. It can be done in a short span of time or a longer one depending on what the morning holds. The point is to ground oneself through gratitude and to use the body to do so. So, basically you are shifting the focus from outside influences to one of thankfulness and the acknowledgment of the truth we are all part of.
And we have to keep doing these things. And keep ignoring "sold" reality. We need to hide it on our Facebook feed and not purchase it in the check-out lane. We need to change the channel. Literally and in our minds because this particular revolution HAS to start from within each of us.
Sometimes things are so unclear to me. Last night I had the weirdest dreams about being forced to marry our football coach. LOL. I was sort of irritated by the whole prospect. Probably because we suck and I don't like to hang out with losers.
But, after that nonsense I had another dream in which a woman came to our house and she wanted to do a study on trees, faeries and also take the dog out for me on a daily basis. If someone showed up at your place with this list of tasks would you be a little suspicious? Well, I was not and we went about going over all the places that the faeries live on our property, other animals I talk to on a daily basis and whether they would be helpful to her, etc...
At some point I woke up a little earlier than I intended but couldn't get back to sleep and started thinking about my love of dreams and keeping track of them, interpreting them and whether they sometimes have or don't have a damn thing to do with deep inner travel so much as they have to do with what you had for dinner that evening.
For instance, I watched football on and off all afternoon and into the night. Why wouldn't I dream about football, (although marriage is a bit much). I dream about zombies a lot. I mean, A LOT. But, I watch zombies A LOT. So, that stuff makes sense. I almost think that sometimes your first dreams of the night are leftover static from the day while your brain works through and works out those sorts of things and then as the night gets deeper so do your dreams.
So, as to last night's journey, as we enter the dark season, I am thinking was to remind me of the daily magic in my life. Because having had a severely long "dry spell" things seem to be following me around at night and knocking on the doors of my memory, tugging on my shirt sleeve so to speak, and whispering to me to not forget...
And also, reminding me to not forget to let the dog out?
I talk a lot here about going to camp and other far away from the modern
world places and how it is cleansing to the mind and the soul. I think it
cuts the chatter. I know it cuts out the negativity that can slip into our
lives under cover of darkness like those little things we used to be afraid of
at night. When we were young we knew to fear the stuff in the back of our
closet and under our bed. But now, as adults we simply don't recognize
them sometimes behind their fake smiles and general conversation. They are
people and situations and mindsets that do very little for us but we are used to them, or maybe we feel loyal to them or maybe even we are afraid to let go of them because we have come to depend on them in some manner.
When I was a little girl I was very sensitive. Hard to believe now I realize but it is true. LOL. When things would close in on me or I was unsure or just felt "ikky" I would always turn to nature. And I do the same now with camp or outdoor projects. There is nothing like dirt to cure the world's negative tendencies.
I think to cope with daily life you sometimes have to ask yourself - what am I getting from this? It isn't a
selfish question. You think it is because you have been trained to think that way. You were a good girl and put your napkin in your lap when you were told to do so. I bet you did! ;) It is OK, so did I. But, we must learn this: ME FIRST. And in the land of ME FIRST you ask yourself - what am I getting from this? Whether it be job, friendship, relationship, membership, community, family, etc. Ask it. Then listen clearly for the answer because it is there. You just have to let it in.
If the answer is that you are getting love, respect, caring, growing...well, carry on then! But it is likely that if you have to ask the question these aren't the things you are getting. So then comes decision time.
Obviously there are some things one can't just move on from in a split second. Others we can quite easily though and we should.
The Internet is a glorious thing. A wealth of information right at your fingertips and so many wonderful people to meet and get to know. But, like any school, community, city, planet, there are things that will drain you and take rather than give, pick away rather than put back and generally suck the life out of you while you keep coming back for more. It isn't even the fault of anyone sometimes. It is just the nature of people
and the oh so very vast yet very, very small world we live in.
I grew up in a rather small town. The population was around 700 to 800 I think. Of course I am of that generation that remembers when we didn't have no Internet but man I never will forget.... So, yeah, OK I am older. There WAS NO jumping on-line to meet, learn, veg, talk, hide. My outlets were nature, fantasy, books and music. I would walk two miles to the library just to immerse myself in something other than reality. I would hike all day with my dog. I would pretend to be someone else, somewhere else and most of the time I actually believed it. And if the night was clear and I could place the radio in exactly the perfect spot, I could actually tune in a program called Rock Over London that was a broadcast on the major rock station out of Pittsburgh. That was where I discovered punk music. Books were where I learned about elves and faeries. Fantasy was how I dealt with mundane life.
And I knew....well I knew what I KNEW from my own experience and I trusted that experience AND my instincts. I think we don't do that very well anymore. I think we start to question ourselves too readily when there is so much information, opinion and chatter available to us at the click of a key. I think we forget what we even like or are capable of and/or what is relevant. Instead of doing what is best for us we listen to the next expert in whatever it is we think we give a shit about and we do this because we should, right? Because it is the "in" thing to care about, be, look like... We forget what we knew or thought or believed because the person "talking" to us has a certificate or won a contest or wrote an eBook or says that he/she knows better than we do about whatever subject it is we are obsessed with and of course we are obsessed with it because we have ALL.THIS.INFORMATION readily available and if we can just piece it together perfectly then it will all make sense, right?
Do you see why we all feel nuts? And alone? And less than we are?
And this is what I have been dealing with on some level for almost a year now. So, in the last few months I have really cut back on my web time and even my time on things related to this person I am on-line and really really asked myself that question. Remember the question? Yes - what am I getting from this?
That question led me to contemplating a shift in my practice. It will likely result in a change in my podcast work, my writing, my genetic spiritual make-up if I can go so far.... That question is what led me to stop frequenting "fitness and health" sites and try to listen to my own mind and experience instead, not to mention my own body that I have lived in for almost 50 years. That question led me to physically purge a great deal of junk I had accumulated over time recently. It led me to explore a deeper relationship with my horse whether others agreed with my methods or not. It let me rest. Then it got me off my ass and pulled me back into the world. So, that question is allowing me to OMG can you dig it? ~ ride, read, run, fantasize, listen to and play music, laugh, dance, cook, dream, rest and even get some damn work done.
That question brought me back to...me. And it brought me back to the earth and the fact that in the end I have to trust and be OK with myself. We all do. That is ALL we need to do...