jon katz

Taking Back My Power. No More Facebook Brain Drain.

Taking Back My Power. No More Facebook Brain Drain.

You will be with you longer than anyone else on this planet – why not make it a good relationship? ~Louise Hay

In having a heart-to-heart with my inner self of late, I’m being honest in looking at what in my life drains my energy.

I’ve been feeling for quite some time now that Facebook oftentimes takes away from my precious and valuable energy. While I’ve met some wonderful people via this social media avenue and it has been valuable in helping me spread the word about my work, I’m giving thought to how I will best use it going forward.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, here on my blog and in my newsletter, I’ve been pondering writing another book – one that feels the most challenging of the six books I’ve written to date. It will require much focus and it’s a book I feel more and more everyday I want to write.

This means being serious about looking at what feeds my mind which is fuel for my inspiration and energy. This has me facing the fact that when I find myself aimlessly scrolling Facebook it actually is more often than not, a brain drain for me.

In being honest and paying attention to my habits, when I feel stuck in my writing, working on a creative project, or working through the course I’m currently in at Oracle School, I’ve come to realize how easy it is to distract myself instead of sitting through something that feels challenging at the moment.

Oftentimes without even knowing it, when I feel stuck in my work or in school, I’ll realize I’m mindlessly scrolling through Facebook. I don’t even remember clicking over to Facebook! This can then take me down a bunch of different avenues. I have many interests, which is a lovely thing in ways to have, but also can leave me feeling drained when I lose focus (Hey look! A chicken!).  🙂

I don’t like how this feels anymore. And why I love the quote by Louise Hay in that I’m the only one who can be accountable to myself. I get to decide how my life will be meaningful and how I wish to feel on a daily basis. I want to spend more of my time feeling energized, not drained.

I’m also giving thought to if I will continue to share links of my blog posts to my Facebook page or not. Though this one feels scarier to me as I think about how I will share my writing and future books I publish. And this quote speaks to me and what I’m working on:

But I’ve been frustrated with how Facebook has changed their algorithms and how it has come down to money for ads and how many likes (or not) you receive which then determines if your posts are seen (or not).

At the beginning of the whole social media advent, it was for me, in that having a social media presence meant I could fulfill a purpose of mine in making a difference and being a positive voice in a world that can too often be filled with negativity.

While I’ve not made a definitive decision whether or not I’ll continue to share my posts via Facebook, it’s made me think about this home I call my digital home – my blog and website, Joyful Paws. I’ve been reading with great interest how blogging is making a return and how other creatives, such as Jon Katz of Bedlam Farm and Tammy Strobel of RowdyKittens.com, are thinking about Facebook and embracing taking back of their time and how they spend it. I agree with Tammy, who is also is a one woman operation as I am, that I only have so much energy to go around.

Thanks to Tammy I’ve also been reading with interest thought-provoking articles from Cal Newport, a Computer Science Professor, and the affects using social media has had on many, myself included. All of this has been confirmation for the many feelings I’ve been experiencing.

My digital home, when I think about when I first began and evolved in my blogging platform, is much the same way I see my home in which I live. It’s at the heart of who I am. A friend recently said to me when visiting me at home, sitting in my living room, how cozy it was, and how she could feel the beautiful energy and love within it. I can’t tell you how that warms my heart!

Home is so important to me – it’s always been one of my values. And so is my home on the internet, my blog. It means so much to me when you stop by and leave a comment. Even if you may not always agree with something I’ve written, it’s about being able to have a constructive and meaningful dialogue. You don’t always get that on Facebook.

For now, until I decide how I will move forward, I will continue to share links to my blog posts on my Facebook page, but won’t be interacting as much there anymore. In large part due to how I wish to conserve my energy because trying to be so many different places can leave me feeling drained…and then frustrated with myself for not having the energy to do what I really want to be doing.

What I’d welcome is when you feel called to share in conversation or simply leave a comment about something I’ve written, that you feel comfortable in doing so on my blog. Consider it your personal invitation to get comfy in my big red chair in my living room and imagine me pouring you a cup of tea or glass of wine. 🙂 

As I’ve been doing with blogs I enjoy, I’ve gone back to subscribing to them (and commenting directly on their blog) or adding them to my Feedly reader. I’ve always enjoyed supporting artists, and this means writers, too!  Two great options to choose from if you wish to do the same with my blog and subscribe if you don’t want to miss when I post. 

In regards to my interaction on Facebook, for now and the foreseeable future, it will be much more limited as I take back my power and focus on what feeds my soul…. in turn, it’s my hope that by my focusing more on what matters to me, it will encourage you do the same, and with your new found energy you will come sit a spell now and then here at my digital home, and engage in conversation when you feel called to.

Last but not least, thank you from the bottom of my heart to those of you who have been with me here on my blog since the beginning. Please know it means so much.

XO,

Barbara

P.S. I’ve reinstalled a helpful app on my computer that you might find useful also if you are feeling called to limit your social media exposure. It’s called Freedom where you can block your social media sites for a period of time. Because after all, we are all a work in progress, and it can be easy to fall back into old patterning. 😉

Additional Reading

A Deep Stirring of the Heart

A Deep Stirring of the Heart
Just days before Frankie moved on…

I was deeply moved by a post  on author Jon Katz’ blog this morning. So much so, I’m still having tearful moments as I write this.

They aren’t tears of sadness, though some bittersweet. But tears of recognition – of understanding – of having been in this space – and have come away from it profoundly changed.

Jon’s border collie, Red, who so many have come to love, is dealing with an unknown illness right now. A therapy dog who has touched so many lives he is also the spirit dog here at this time marking a passage in Jon’s life.

Having talked with a healer and animal communicator this morning, Jon wrote this:

Kimberly was direct, she told me that my challenge now was to recognize Red’s exhaustion and discomfort, and to give  him the time he needs to rest and to heal.

There was a time in my life when I would not have been able to hear this, I was too broken myself,  but I know Kimberly and trust her, and she simply went to the heart of it with me and with Red.

This stirred my heart with much emotion remembering my work with my paralyzed dachshund, Frankie, who was in a wheelchair, and touched so many lives herself. And without a doubt in every fiber of my being, she came here to help me heal – though I didn’t recognize it at first – and that gift would continue to unfold as we had a shared purpose and mission.

The recognition in realizing I was sensing she was slowing down in 2011 – she was ready to retire. Her time was coming to an end and my life, and our life as I’d come to love it, was about to change. And I didn’t know how I’d go on without her.

But in those last six months, and for months afterwards, the whisper in my heart that didn’t want to surface or admit to was that I too, was ready to slow down and move on. And it was also in learning to let go of what was, and to accept that Frankie wouldn’t live forever, and that I’d be okay.

It opened my heart to understanding more than before that with the gut-wrenching pain of loss, finding our way back to gratefulness of what was, was the whole point of our journey. How blessed I was to have had the opportunities I did with her.

How blessed I was to have this spirit dog, who forever changed my life for the better. It was imperative that I recognize and honor her wish to now retire and live out her days next to my side as I wrote the memoir of our journey.

This too, an enriching gift, of days with her all to myself. To give thanks for all the compassion she not only showed me, but others.

And getting to this place of not wallowing in her passing, but in the bliss that she brought to my life, that her gift lives on… and her spirit fills me each and every time I think of her.

And I’m grateful when my heart gets stirred from a post like Jon’s – a reminder of a time that was excruciatingly difficult, but with time I can now look back and my heart smiles with such joy from the love of Frankie.

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It’s a Red Letter Day!

It's a Red Letter Day!

Perhaps you’ve heard of a red letter day?  I’d not heard of it until I started reading author Susan Branch’s books.

A red letter day is… a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable.

I don’t know what makes for a red letter day for you, but this is what has made it a red letter day for me so far  today:

  • The sun is shining after about six days of cloudy and rainy weather. Yay!
  • Going for a walk on my lunch hour with Gidget we saw a mama and papa duck crossing the road with five yellow little ones waddling behind. Yay!
  • Passing the veterinarian in town a black lab and border collie were playing ball on their lunch hour. Yay!
  • The church bells were ringing. Yay!
  • Arriving home I found in my mailbox Jon Katz’ new book, Talking to Animals – How we can understand animals and they can understand you. Yay!
  • It was warm enough to eat my lunch outside on my deck. Yay!
  • Tonight date night at a restaurant on a lake that was closed for a little over a year, which we were so disappointed about – but it is now open again. Yay!

It really is the simple pleasures of life that make it a red letter day for me. And I hope wherever you are you are having a red letter day, too!

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