Inspired by my kick-ass seventeen year old daughter's example, last Saturday I deleted Instagram from my phone.
I realised I was a walking, talking, thinking social media content creating machine. My brain was wired for writing captions for images I was seeing. ‘I could take a photo of the sunrise and write something about beauty or presence. I could snap a photo or take a video of my painting process and write something about play or the inner critic.’ I was conditioned to be constantly thinking in Instagram post captions and looking for opportunities to share my experiences as teachable, share-able snippets in the hope of connection building.
I was living my life for the purpose of sharing it!!
After I deleted it, it took a few days for me to stop reaching for my phone each time I sat down on the couch; to realise there was nothing to check, no dopamine hit awaiting me (there's a lot of research and information out there about the insidious addictive nature of these apps). I started looking through the art books I own, reading and actually going and creating instead of numbing out mindlessly scrolling on my phone looking at other people’s creations. I put on music and danced, I went out walking.
The relief I feel about not having the pressure to create content and model creative eutopia 24/7 is massive. The other HUGE relief for me, is not engaging in the toxicity of comparing myself to other artists and business owners. Each time I scrolled on Instagram, I noticed how hollow, defeated and dark I felt about myself after a few minutes of consuming other people’s shiny content. I felt scattered, numb and overwhelmed with the constant stream of different bites of information whizzing past. I realised I didn’t have the capacity to attend enough to actually read the posts, even if I wanted to.
I felt all the shoulds and musts, but was frozen in inactivity.
My brain was fried, I was fried.
I stayed on Instagram for my business (I gave up Facebook a while ago) but really the amount of time, effort and attention I was giving to it, wasn’t yielding the results I was seeking, so I figured I had nothing to lose.
I’m curious to see where this brings me and my business. I’m interested in following the energy and taking steps towards what lights me up and feels edgy and a little bit scary. Stepping away from the familiar numbness of Instagram was one huge step towards the life I want to be living. I’ll keep you posted on how this unfolds.
What about you?
Do you use social media?
How do you feel when you're on it?
Are you curious what could open up for you if you let it go?
With my new found time, energy and focus, I’ve been painting more. I showed a photo of one of my recent little paintings to my friend and she said,
Mate, just keep creating! It’s all you need to do.’
Tears sprang and rolled down my face.
I told her,‘I think it’s the truth’.
‘Yes Love, it’s the truth.’
Tears streamed with relief at her words. ‘It’s all you need to do.’ I felt the truth in it and the permission to lay down all the striving, trying to work it out, be productive, successful, purposeful and of service.
‘It’s all you need to do.’
It really landed in my body and the instant tears were confirmation it struck a chord. It reminded me of the Shelley Klammer life purpose exercise where you write, ‘My life purpose is…[fill in the blank]’, over and over and over again, until you write the version that makes you cry. That’s the one. That’s your truth. It may not be what you think it is. (If you give it a go, I’d love to hear what comes through for you).
It’s all you need to do…. what would bring you a sense of relief and permission to hear it’s all you need to do?
Can you give yourself permission to cut out all the unnecessary doing and really hone in on what brings you joy, aliveness and energy? Maybe you don’t have the luxury to get rid of everything else (wouldn’t that be amazing??) but can you get honest about what’s working and start weeding out some of the stuff that drains you
I’m wishing you so much aliveness.
As I've previously mentioned, I'm really allowing myself to go towards creating more. Fridays have become my studio day and I've been having a lot of fun painting a series of tiny paintings (that might one day find themselves on some oracle cards...but who knows!!).
Here's me with my little painting 'Bursting Forth' that was chosen to be part of Worcester Open 21 art exhibition at The Art House, Castle Street, Worcester, UK on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons between now and mid January