I spent yesterday mostly offline. I checked out a few things online but stayed away from email and Facebook. The contrast between yesterday and today is amazing to me. Yesterday, i felt peaceful. I felt like i got a lot done. Today, i feel stressed, frazzled, and overwhelmed. Being online seems to complicate things. My desire to make everyone happy seems to take on new dimensions as i try to please total strangers. I cannot just let go of an email. I have to respond. Even joining an online support community feels overwhelming and stressful! And under all of it, there is a sense that i must be doing something wrong. It must be me who is not managing my online time well. But the little voice of reason in my head reminds me that i’ve read many, many a blog post and article about the perils of online life. We become scattered. A society of people with attention deficit because we spread ourselves too thin. The temptation of doing it all is far greater online than offline because it is so easy to send an email, to sign up to contribute to wikipedia, to offer a walk. Yet, just like the pot of the sorcerer’s apprentice things easily get out of hand. A fun walk turns into a political discussion. The wikipedia contribution into half a dissertation.
It’s important to remember to breathe in all this! This is a great way to learn again to let go. I don’t have to do it all. Life happens in the real world. That is where i want to spend most of my energy. Time to unplug!
To help us find our center again, I would like to share a little self-empathy exercise i discovered yesterday. It is a combination of a mini-meditation Sharon Salzberg describes and a self-empathy homework from my NVC practice group:
Take three deep breaths. Notice how you are feeling, what you are feeling. What needs are met or not met that contribute to this feeling? Is there anything you can do to meet that need? If you would do that, how do you feel?
If you are not familiar with Nonviolent Communication (or Connecting Communication, as i prefer to call it), there’s a little bit more about it here with links to even more info. Also a note about how/what: Some people sense that asking “how am i feeling” brings them closer to their actual feeling. Some prefer “what am i feeling.” Try it both ways. The idea is simply to get a sense of what’s going on inside of you. Use the question you find most helpful.