Being Present, Comparison, and Facebook

All of you following along get that I’ve been influenced by my recent meeting with Buddhist teacher and priest Cindy Beach. True to her calling in life, she rang out the familiar cry to be present in my life. I chuckle, because I’ve given her a fake voice in my head with a lot of attitude. I hear myself saying, “Cindy, this is where I want to go!!!!” She says, “Giiiiiiiirl, you ain’t even here yet, talkin’ ’bout where you wanna go. Mmmm.” That is not at all like what she sounds like, but it makes me smile.

I’ve also been watching Brene Brown’s talks on the OWN network. She is the author of Daring Greatly and The Gift of Imperfection, and what I’m taking from her is the importance of vulnerability. Here I am, folks. It’s tough.

IMG_4267I have been paying attention to my mind the past few days, and it reminds me of a failed art assignment. The colors are muddy, and the details aren’t being communicated well. My first assignment was to get my thoughts focused on what I am doing at any given time. My cold has made me focus a lot on blowing my nose and on what I consume.

Last night I took a shower to literally try and clear my head. I figured being present would be easier surrounded by white tile and steam. There I was staring at the corner of the stall when all of the sudden I was aware of my vision coming into sharp focus, like I’d adjusted a camera’s lens. Oh my gosh, I thought. I was away and thinking of something. What was it? A song, maybe. I looked at the corner in sharp focus and took deep breaths. I adjusted my posture to the “Bird Girl” Cindy Beach referenced during our visit. Was energy moving better through my body? Could I just ask to have my spirit guides do energy work on me, and would that help clear my sinuses? Crap! I was off and thinking again.

I have to believe that being present will get easier with practice, but it is much harder to do than I imagined. I’m finding little spells of it, a few breaths of it at a time. That’s it! Through this process, however, I am learning what doesn’t work. This brings me to vulnerability.

If I am honest with you and myself right now, I’ll tell you that Facebook has become my¬†crutch for validation throughout the day. I enjoy sharing my photos. That’s fine. I enjoy hearing about your lives. Fine. But there is something else I don’t like to admit: it re-enforces what I’m trying to avoid. I’ve lived a life of comparison, and I’ve come to agree with the Buddhist perspective that comparison equals suffering. I’m having trouble blessing where you are, because I’m not feeling accomplished enough right now. I’m having trouble with not finding a full-time job. I’m having trouble with the idea of me being undisciplined, and I’m having trouble seeing clear paths versus road blocks. Facebook charges me with that feeling over and over throughout the day, and “likes” make me feel like I’m in a room full of like-minded people for a while. “Likes” make me think that you’re all people I can count on for a phone conversation, for a heart-to-heart, and that you all would just as soon seek me out for the same. That’s not true though. Relationships are cultivated in person. They are cultivated through shared experiences, and they are not cultivated with icons, photographs of food, or even a buffet of hilarious comments.

Do I hate Facebook? Nope. I’d rather see what you’re all up to than tend to the dishes in the sink. I’d rather focus on making you feel better than me. A little balance is all I’m speaking about. Nobody should wait around to be “liked.”

 

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