Saturday, February 13, 2016

the sacred and the social

I have ended my FB fast, and I’ve been wanting to write down some of the some thoughts I have that have really helped me pertaining to the social media world. For a while now there have been things about facebook, and other avenues of cyber communities, that have bothered me. But if you asked why, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you. I was still sorting through so much of my own tension between my own involvement and why certain things unsettled me so much. The truth is, I also found great delight in some of the things the social media world offers, such as: staying in contact with long distance family and friends, keeping record of all my cell phone pictures, and seeing friends blossoming in their own growing families. I also found it a great starting point to meeting other moms when I first moved to the area we live in. I joined groups of like-minded people, and found it uplifting, catalyzing my own spiritual and emotional growth to those particular groups and the things that were said. With that in mind, I never thought the cyber community was lost. I never thought I would throw in the towel all together. I merely began to see certain flaws, that in my opinion, lead to big obstacles, in our real world lives.

The first is simply the flaw of intimate connection. Intimate connection comes by means of touch, expression, and heart to heart honest conversation. Heart to heart conversations are actually very hard in the social media world. Ever had a text misunderstood? How about a story misinterpreted? We all have filters in which we perceive our world, and communicating how we see things (being that we all see through that lens very differently) becomes more challenging in having effective communication. Take into consideration that 75% of communication is non-verbal, we miss so much when we are not given the ability to see one another face to face. BUT even if we are able to have a heart to heart honest conversation on the internet (because it does happen….I’ve done so), we miss the ability to convey with our expression. There is only so much an emoji can express before we actually need a real person seeing in front of us to see and feel the language which we speak. And forget touch – a kiss, a hug, an embrace, crying, laughing, free expression, feeling the energy of the person sitting beside you – none of which can be produced with the person in front of their smart device. There is nothing that can replace intimate connection without being with one another face to face. But that’s not even its greatest flaw. It’s greatest flaw is as a society we are beginning to believe that social media can replace what it can not give- intimate connection. We are forgetting how to connect with one another outide the social media world. You may not believe me. You may not agree with me. But take a moment, where you remove yourself completely from it, and you quickly find how true this is. Ever been in a room full of people, but everyone is starring at their phone? Ever gone to a restaurant where a couple are looking at their phones rather into the eyes of the one they love? Ever had a photo snapped of yourself and dreaded the thought of someone posting it before you have a chance to approve it? Have you caught yourself thinking of the next thing you want to say or post on FB, only to check it an hour later to see how many likes you have? Caught yourself retaking selfie after selfie because its not looking the way you want it to? Because before FB we're we really even snapping selfies? Listen, this is not to point any fingers. I am seeing it everywhere. The time I was off FB I found myself completely removed from a sub-culture that I had some how given a piece of my life too. It may seem extreme. It may seem like irrational thinking. But I haven’t thought more clearly than I do now.
You see, life is sacred. Every part of it. From the moment I get up I am serving – I am mothering. I’m and optimist and I’m an opportunist – this is a big part of who I am. But FB took that from me. Actually I gave it indirectly, yet willfully. There are many things FB can not convey about my life, yet we would like to believe it can. The cyber world doesn’t see the time taken teaching my children life skills. It doesn’t see the tension of breastfeeding my baby, while homeschooling my 7 year old, while trying to wipe the runny nose of my 22 month old. It doesn’t take the time to get to know why I believe my children are a big part of what makes the world great. It can’t convey that though I am a person of faith, I would prefer to listen, rather than speak. In the FB world we all look like opinionated motivational speakers, anticipating an applause with every like we receive. The social interrupts the sacred. It’s not suppose to be that way.
Here’s a little story about my 4 year old. One night I was spending alone time with her and I told her we could do anything she wanted to do since she had me all to herself. She chose to do building blocks. So we were building blocks together and having a grand time. I was mesmerized by her. She was building these elaborate buildings and was so proud of how high she could get them. I was amazed too. Then a great thought hit me. I’m gonna take a picture of this and post this to FB – so everyone can see how amazing this little girls is! And that’s exactly what I did. But as I was doing so my 4 year old turns to me and says,

“Yes???” I responded.
“You’re suppose to be playing blocks with me! You said!”
“I am honey. Just give me one moment”,  as I continued to write a caption under my post.
She was so understanding, but afterward I was so broken. What dawned on me next was really heart quenching for me. I had come to realize that I completely interrupted a beautiful moment, a sacred moment, a memorable moment, with my daughter. Those moments are few, and though it only took a second to do it, she took notice. And I noticed I did this through out my day often. It only took a couple seconds, but it interrupted the flow. There was a frequency on which our day would flow, and when I allowed the social media world to interrupt that, it took away from the present moment. What I realize is that I want to be fully aware, fully alive, fully engaged in whatever moment I am in – because that’s reality. Facebook is not reality. Have you ever watched a reality TV show? It’s suppose to be us watching people live their real lives on tv, but how much of that is actually real? How much of that is performance, or only for the one who is watching? Most people posting are doing the same. They’re posting for their audience.
I am not saying we should all end social media as we know it. I’m not even permenantly removing my own carbon print to this world, but what I am becoming is more present in what is real, and less present in what is not. What I have found, though FB, Instagram, snapchat, twitter has its perks, nothing can replace what is sacred….life itself. We must never forget how to connect with one another face to face. We should go into the social media world with a bit of conviction – with some sort of vision, so we don’t full prey into meeting some need that should be met by a real person in front of you. And we should never look for affirmation or validation from a world that is not based in authentic heart to heart connection. FB can be a great place to connect, but intimate connection happens outside of FB. For some, FB has become an outlet of digression, a personal diary of thoughts, a voice where you have not been able to speak….and that is not wrong. But I do think we may all need to address our hearts and find where our banks meet our boundaries. For me, I can not share with the world all that I find sacred – it means too much to me. You will not hear every detail of my life. You will not always see where I’m going, or what I’m doing. I will be absent some days, while others there is more opportunity to connect. I will not share my thoughts relentlessly. There will be much thought into every post, because I don’t find value in allowing FB represent the person of who I am to the audience I am connected to. Whether we like it or not, some of us have no other connection with one another outside that world, so we form our own ideas about a person simply by what they say or post on FB. Is that what you want soley representing who you are? This changes things a bit for me. We should not be naïve about this sub-reality that this next generation (my children and so on) will never know a world without. My children were born into the world where FB always existed. We should be thinking about how we want to rightly represent this as well for the next generation.
Life is precious. Life is sacred. Dates with my husband, loving words exchanged, beautiful moments that will forever take memory in my heart, are meant to be kept close. And how nice it is to share with someone, at the opportune time, a story that they have never heard, face to face.

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