Why I’m Quitting Facebook

Endless comparisons with people I don’t even care about.  This includes the drive to keep up with the Jones, again who are these Joneses? And why do I need to keep up with them?

Non-connection connections:  Virtual connections that make you feel empty when you are done clicking on FB pages.  I want real intimacy not virtual intimacy (which btw is not intimacy at all, at least not like this).

Time sink: Especially on my phone. I removed FB from my phone years ago when I saw how much of a draw it was on my classmates of our class breaks.  This is a great! First step to getting rid of that clinging compulsive feeling you have to constantly check your FB page.

It’s a distraction: It is meant to draw your attention in and hold it indefinitely, and it works well.Once you remove distraction from your life you have the opportunity to actually live it!

It’s also a pacifier: (This is from The Minimalists so check out their blog for more on this subject) A pacifier is what babies need to calm down, do we need this?  We should not need this! It distracts us from feeling all the feelings just like a drug, that should speak volumes!  Which, means that it soothes our digital twitch.  Why this is even a thing is just scary!  Break the twitch!

Demands more attention than a lover.  Speaks for itself, see also time sink above.

Someone else’s top 1% of their life shows you repeatedly how crappy your life is (psst this is a total lie your life is just as good, especially if you only post the top 1% of it online too!)

Why?  Ten years ago, FB wasn’t a thing, so why is it now? 

Intentionality:  How intentional are you with your precious life time?  Do you really want to be part of the stat that says you spent a year or two on FB?  Instead you could have created something or actually been the first person in your own story!

So, these are some of the reasons I am quitting FB.  Now while I support your desire to do the same, I really just want you all to spend some time evaluating how and why you use social media.  Maybe take a month long fast?  Start with taking social media apps off your phone and see what happens, take note, think about it, take a breathe and see how you feel about it and ask yourself if it gives anything to you or does it only take…take your time?….take your attention?….rob you of real intimacy?  I challenge you all to see what social media does to you.  If you don’t like what you see, well then change it!  I’m eager to hear what you find out!

Good Luck,

The Slow Minimalist

Falling Down

Today I want to talk about falling down.  We do it when we are little, in fact I did it a ton as a child! Most of us can’t remember when we were learning to walk, but if you have ever witnessed a toddler, a niece/nephew or friend’s child learn, then you get the idea.  If you spend any time with kids you know one thing…they fall…a lot…and frequently with bumps, bruises, and crying.  I mean, that’s why Target sells those cute animal shaped ice packs, right? And they totally are cool by the way, in all ways cool (as long as you freeze them!)

Ok so kids fall.  Well, in the interest of full disclosure…a few years ago as a fully mature adult I fell.  Actually I fall pretty well, gravity and me we have some history. But I fell by slipping on some wet leaves, in a yard, on grass, and broke my wrist…so I know a few things about falling, badly!  

Well, I fell a three years ago…(before the wrist) and I didn’t get up.  I mean of course figuratively.  And I only realized it a couple of months ago.  Let me explain…

I took the Buddhist vows of refuge along with other vows over the course of the last ten years.  I have practiced meditation the last few years as well.  I took some specific vows in 2013 and 2014, well one thing about Buddhist vows is that some of them require a daily practice.  For instance, some Buddhist practices require a particular chant to be done a number of times (specified by a teacher/monk) once or multiple times a day, and many can be lifelong.  Vows in general are serious karmic business (IMHO) so beware! Anyways, one day during massage school I forgot to practice and I spent so much time berating myself about it that I forgot again that week (here’s the fall) but instead of getting up after the second time…I laid there…for three years….and didn’t practice…not one bit.

Yup I fell and I DID NOT get up…I couldn’t. I had never learned from my family of origin and I was lost. I fell, and I didn’t know what to do.  So, I laid there…I stopped practicing because, Hell, I already broke these vows…it didn’t matter now what I did, right?! Well that is what I thought, but it was really just accepting defeat, because I literally picture myself laying in a heap, on the floor, for three years, not moving.

And I didn’t move (spiritually)…not really.  The Universe takes vows seriously in my opinion and so its serious business taking, breaking, and keeping them. 

So, three years later…it’s the last week before the new year at the end of 2018 when I finally wake up and realize that I have broken (or think I have broken) vows. So after multiple emails to my Buddhist teachers, and conversations with my Buddhist friends I set up some meetings to figure out how to make things right.

I spoke with one of my teachers, and in wonderful Buddhist monk fashion he said ‘this happens to many people…did I regret? (yes, I said) then it is ok, keep going’ he said, the practice will purify the negative action.  So simple    So easy? So hard for me to do on my own…forgive myself. Unfortunately it became a stumbling block for me that lasted three years. 

The lesson is quite amazing, and I think it holds true for everyone; that compassion we try to have for others, we need to spread some to ourselves, and it’s ok to do that, actually WE NEED to do that! Because if we can’t give compassion to ourselves, how can we truly give it to someone else?  Easy to say, hard to do, I know from personal experience.

I believe that my teachers understand this much better than myself. They have learned to just get back up and keep going. That it is wasted effort and emotional energy to beat yourself up. So don’t cause yourself more suffering and waste time berating yourself, moving forward is better than standing still or lying down. Just keep moving.  But sometimes we need some external help to get back up, so if you need it, then ask for it, and always keep moving forward. This holds just as true for minimalism as with any new or frankly, worthwhile thing. There will be set backs, it’s ok. There will be times we fall down, that is ok. What matters is if we get back up. As Pema Chodron says “Fail, fail again, better”. And remember, you deserve compassion too!

Your friend the slow minimalist,

Riley

Declutter a thing

I’m not your typical minimalist.  I have had a very long journey to minimalism.  The beginning having its roots in Buddhism and my ideas to become a Buddhist nun.  Though at the time, I think that idea was born more out of living with a person who was a maximalist for several years.

I dreamed of the day when I might travel and have only a bag or backpack full of belongings, wandering like a nomad across Europe or hiking the Andes.

Though the fantasy has morphed some, it has basically the same features though now born out of the background of Dungeons and Dragons with me becoming a modern day adventurer/Hero.  I think we all want to become the hero of our own story.  I know I do.

The longer I am a minimalist though, I’m beginning to understand that we are all like snowflakes, terribly individual in our collective journeys, to minimalism.  Which is great, but also for me personally kind of tough trying to find what works for me…I have read a lot of Minimalist writings, decluttering skills, podcasts, books, blogs, vlogs etc…and ultimately the thing that really jump started my decluttering recently was a post The Minimalists wrote about decluttering one surface.  This one spoke to me. This! Was something I could do…and I wanted to do it immediately! right then! So I cleaned off the top of my bookcase in my room right then.  And that was it.  That one thing was enough to jump start my decluttering again.

I will say, it’s a constant struggle for me to keep a surface clutter free.  Daily, I have to revisit this.  Daily, I have to clean off the surface again.  Partly, I think this is due to  me not having a place for everything I own and partly, because I still need to minimize my belongings more.  I’m working on this.  My minimalism, is very much a work in progress and I’ve mostly come to terms with this.

But what I have realized over the past few weeks, is that decluttering and minimalizing what I own, is really just the vehicle for living an intentional life.  Owning less allows my mind the space to focus on creating, writing and other things I value and want to devote my time too.  Literally, my stuff takes up space in my physical room and also takes up space in my brain.  Seems like I only have room for so much in my brain before its full. But as I pare my physical belongings down, it creates an opening for me to create.  Because, creation takes room.  Kind of like the Feng Shui principle that without making room by getting rid of stuff, you cannot have room for new things to come in to your life.  I think this holds true with creativity as well.

Its like being pregnant (ok I dont really know if it is but it FEELS like that to me), I know hold on and go with it, its not really as big a jump as you may think…  When a couple/woman finds out she/they are pregnant, they prepare the space, whatever that means to them, they clean up, clean out a room, maybe buy a crib and some clothing.  Well creativity is like a baby, I feel like you need to make room for it, prep a space for it, clean some stuff out of the way.  You wouldn’t put a baby on a stack of old magazines in a cluttered room, that’s no place for a baby.  Creativity is like that for me, it needs air to breath, space to flow into and fill, move in.  If all the space is filled, where does creativity have to go? See, not so awful, (I hope) and it makes those dreams of giving birth make just a little bit more sense, doesn’t it?

So then where does that leave us now?  I think it comes down to this…where in your life can you make room?  Is it one bedside table you work on keeping clutter free, it can start there?  Just start with one place and keep it clutter free daily if need be.  Minimalism is a bit like a muscle and it requires practice and work to build it up.  This is where the intentionality comes in.  As you work to keep one small space clean, it grows the muscle of intentionality. This in turn, can become a stepping stone of growth for another area of clutter and then another and so on.

Remember, start small, and manageable cultivating a practice of daily decluttering, slowly growing your clutter free area as you build the muscle of intentionality.

Good luck,

Riley

The Adventure Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Hi! I’m Riley and I’m a writer, poet and now a minimalist! I have been on a lifelong journey toward minimalism and the best, most interesting part, is happening right now! I don’t have all the answers and probably far too many questions myself but if you want a friend to chat with along the path, I will be there with you! So if you’re contemplating minimalism or already on a journey of your own minimalism just say…”yes, and…” join me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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