The Power of the Individual

As news reels roll tape after tape and radios play session after session of all the chaos that’s going on in the world, it’s no wonder that some of us are starting to feel a bit insane. Or if you are like me, you may be feeling completely insane. For those of you who are also like me and are not currently connected as the rest of the world, you still get your dose of updates from friends, family, and co-workers.

The swirl of chaos I hear makes me question where I stand in all of this. I am a human being. I am part of a collective whether I chose to be affiliated or not, whether I voted for a particular party or not, I am still part of society. I am part of the collective. We reflect society. Individuals reflect the collective. Amidst all of the chaos, I can only think more deeply about the truth behind such a statement. I can think about this in two ways.

#1: If individuals reflect society then our individual change and progress will make a great impact on society. The power lies in our hands. We can make an individual change that will be reflected by society.

#2: If individuals reflect society then society would therefore reflect the individual. If that is true then what we see in society is the truest reflection of ourselves.

Upon accessing all of the uproar and protests on the news today, I am not upset at any one candidate or any particular party affiliation. I look at this new world we live in with eyes of curiosity with the above statements in mind. What must be going on in the state of the individual for us, the collective or society, to be in the state of chaos that we are in? Are individuals more fearful, mistrustful, and depressed than before? Individually, are we in more of a chaotic state than before?

The most important fact is that real change and growth for the collective or society rests in the hands of the individual. The individuals make up the collective. There is no one else to blame as life is not a game of blame. This is not about where to assign responsibility. This is about accepting your power as an individual.

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Going Without a Mobile Phone in 2017

A few days into the New Year of 2017, I decided it was time to ditch my mobile phone device, my smartphone. This was not my first time thinking about the idea of being phoneless. For a while in 2015 and 2016, I played with the idea of going backwards in time and getting a flip-phone.
At any rate, I decided that today was good as good as any. I guess I did have some middle ground I could rest upon, Google Voice. Before totally giving up my mobile phone, I set up a google voice number for instances where it seemed almost dire. (Use your own discretion as to what is deemed dire. Dire in my case was needing a number for potential clients could call and leave messages for me. )
How to Go Without a Mobile Phone?
Step #1: Open up and Tell People
This step, especially as Step 1 may seem a bit weird. Let me assure you that you will want to be as prepared as possible when doing this. Doing this step first also strengthens your resolve for the time after you have stopped using your mobile phone. You will appreciate knowing possible objections to your decisions and criticisms from others as knowing them will help you come up with creative alternatives.
Step #2: Plan Your First 30 days
Having a plan for your first 30 days will help ease the transition for yourself. For just 30 days, try to calendar out for usual interactions you would have by phone. For example, make a plan weekly to communicate with your friends and family. Going mobile less, time can be your friend or your enemy. Trust me, you want time to be your friend. Having time as your friend means that you stay committed to time contraints as much as possible and you want others aware of your commitment. When events or such circumstances require that you be at a place at a certain time, being mobile less, you do not have the option to text or call to let someone know you will be late. Planning ahead is how you make time your friend.
Step #3: Know Your Limits
Knowing yourself and your limits is crucial. Know that sometimes, you will need to communicate with others that are not immediate to you. Let’s face it, in this day and age, you are probably never less than 10 feet away from a person with a mobile device or access to a telephone. Use your resources wisely. I do not advocate using unsafe measures but I have been know to walk up to a stranger or a store to ask someone to use their phone if I get lost. Know that there are limits. Know when you need to reach out for help or when you need access to a phone while you are out. Lastly, have confidence that you will be okay. Even in emergency situations, think clearly and act fast.
What have I learned since going mobile less?
I learned that there are not nearly as many emergencies that pop up that require me to have access to a phone. I also learned that I have to rely on my instinct and myself when faced with a problem or issue instead of relying on instant communication. I have learned a lot of random things going mobile less:
  • I learned how to navigate my surroundings better;
  • I learned that not everything is an emergency and that eventually everything works itself;
  • I learned that life is more interesting when you are looking up and not down at a phone;
  • I learned that I am much more resourceful than I ever could have imagined.
If you think going mobile less is for you, give it a try. Even if you don’t think it’s best for you, it won’t hurt to give it a try and see what you learn. Let me know if you have tried to go mobile less before or if you are going mobile less now.
Good luck!

Experiencing the Unexplainable

29 days into the New Year of 2017 and already something feels really awry. I am not just talking about the political environment, no. Something else is happening inside of me and maybe you at this very moment. Stick with me as I tried to describe it.

The very beginnings of it started maybe two months ago. This sudden, very heavy cloud of dread started to form over my head. I noticed that I was more anxious than usual, more irritable than usual, and more frustrated that usual.

These feelings were not the run of the mill, usual feelings that are mostly fleeting and have some basis to understand them. No, these feelings seemed to have come out of nowhere and STRONG.

At work I was mechanically going through the motions but something felt amiss. At home, I was unsatisfied and hardly able to do anything because I was so tired when I got home, more tired than usual. I also felt confused because given my lifestyle, I would seem to be a happy person with minimum worries. I am married to a great husband, I was gainfully employed at a law firm as a paralegal making okay money, and living in a nice neighborhood in a rather affluent small town. Even at my job, I sat down in an air-conditioned office, rarely saw clients and had much autonomy. But something felt very wrong.

One day on my way to work in November 2016, the clouds of dread totally descended upon me. I began crying heavily and soon I was having a full blown panic attack around going into the office. I was paralyzed with anxiety and fear that I could not get into words but it felt like that if I stepped foot into the office, I would drop dead. The fear was so real that I decided I would rather die now so I insisted upon trying to jump out of the car while we were driving. My husband jumped into action to grab me, locked the doors, and pulled over.

All I was able to tell him between choked tears was that I simply could not do it anymore. Do what anymore, he asked? Life, I replied. I could not do life anymore. Not in this way. I crumpled up into my chair, hoping that my soul would leave my body, rendering me lifeless. I stopped caring about any and everything at that moment.

My husband became silent and began to drive. I had lost track of all sense of time and responsibility but soon, I noticed that the car had stopped and my husband was on my side of the car pulling on my arm for me to get out. We were at the Emergency Room at the local hospital. I don’t remember what he said as I was totally checked out but I assume he told them what he just occurred and that he didnt know what to do. They took me back into a room for me to undress into a hospital gown while they took inventory of my things. They involuntarily admitted me into a psychiatric in-patient program where I stayed almost two weeks.

Fast forward to the beginning of January 2017. My employer was nice enough to let me return to my job as if nothing happened and was very helpful to help me get back up and running again, of which I was grateful. Life was still going on around me. Trump was still president-elect and people were still mad about it. Future still had a number one song on radio play and I still couldn’t understand what he was saying. Time had not stood still. As I tried to settle back into the swing of things, something still felt off. Each day I would come home tired as ever, frustrated and confused. A few days into the New Year and once again I had another panic attack about going into work. I would sit in the car and cry my soul out, hurting from a place deep inside that I could not put into words. At work, I was not focused as all I could think about was when I would leave and how I did not want to come back ever again. This kind of thinking and feeling was not conducive to productivity which made me feel depressed.

One day, I decided that enough was enough of feeling this unexplainable dread. Enough was enough of not knowing or feeling lost. Enough was enough.

I couldn’t even articulate what I had had enough of. I just knew I had to try something.

Simply going to work, coming home, watching the news, and trying to be present with friends was not enough. So one fateful day, I typed up my resignation letter to my nice kushy job and quit. According to my surprised husband and family, I quit without rhyme or reason. When asked why, I told several different reasons but none contained the real reason. The reason couldn’t not be articulated. To my boss I told her that I wanted to go into self-employment. To my co-workers I told them that I may be moving soon. To my husband and family, I told them it was because I wanted to be a housewife. None of these reasons were lies but neither were they the truth.

So why did I quit? And what do I expect to gain from quitting? How will I sustain myself or help bring in income for my family? These are all the same questions that others have asked me including my family, my husband, and quite frankly, myself. Stay tuned to the blog as I tell you my journey of self-healing and explaining the unexplainable. This will not be a story that is retold by me. This is the documentation of a story unfolding.

When the Urge Arises to Log-In After Quitting Social Media

A successful Deactivation Day is not the end of the story. It is what happens after the big bang that really matters. For subscribers, please click here to review your plan. Take time to review your written plan. What activities did you have planned ? Comment below with what you will do should the urge to log-in arises. 
How to Combat the Urges to Log-in After Quitting Social Media
This part of quitting social media is the best part. To begin, depending on which method you use, the urges may or may not be as severe. For urges that are severe, I would consider limiting access to internet. Sounds extreme but if a plan or system is to work, it must be given ample time to settle and do what it needs to do. It seems to be the fact that physiology has its part in matters. Below are some tried and true ways to combat the urges:
  • Carry a journal with you at all times to take random notes. This can be very meditation and fun. Think of it as twitter without an audience. Click here to order handmade, upcycled DIY journal. Click here to watch tutorial.
  • Keep a puzzle of some sort handy. Challenging and stretching your brain wouldn’t hurt and the focus will keep the urges away. Click here to visit the bookstore.
  • Read. Carry a piece of literature with you. There’s never a wrong time to crack a book. Click here to visit the bookstore.
  • Meditate – By far the best remedy and the most rewarding. Click here to visit blog guest on Meditation
What if the Urges Persist?
The urges will naturally persist for a while until you become adjusted to life without social media. Should urges consume your thinking or interfere heavily with your mood, it is time to consider taking a more advanced step.
Should an urge persist beyond comfortability please considering following through with one of the options below:
  • Limiting access to internet; (disconnecting the internet router for the wi-fi at home)
  • Only using mobile device for emergency purposes and during set time to make outbound calls;
  • Make sure you are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.
The rationale is that where there is a way to gain access to social media, there arises the opportunity to exploit an urge.
Please feel free to comment below or contact me directly with any inquiry.

Good Support May Be Hard to Come By for Those Quitting Social Media

Every good addiction program has support as one of the pillars of sustained progress. You would not be wrong to assume the same would be true of social media addiction but you may be surprised to hear that many coping with social media addiction find that good support can be hard to come by. While it is easy for you and I to understand social media addiction and the ramifications of it, many users do not. These users who do not understand social media addiction may very well be spouses, parents, children, and close friends.
Some common responses you may hear when discussing your social media addiction with others:
 
  • Is that really a real thing?
  • Is this some hipster thing?
  • But doesn’t social media keep us connected when we would otherwise have no reasonable way to connect with long distance loved ones?
  • Everyone needs at least one social media profile, at least for business and work purposes.
  • Aren’t you worried about what people will think when they see that you have deactivated your accounts?
  • Are you doing this to prove a point?
  • How will you stay in contact with your friends?
  • Isn’t quitting social media a bit extreme?
These and others are some common response you may hear. This is not a comprehensive list so please comment some other reactions you have received and how you respond to them.
Responding to Curiosity
Once you have informed your friends and family or once users realize that you are no longer online, you will often receive many questions and responses, as referenced above. How do you respond? Having a well-thought out ‘why’ you quit social media will help ground you in security and keep you off the defensive should others get hostile with you. Remember to respond out of a place of mutual respect and support.
It is very important that you understand and are secure in your resolve to quit social media. There may be pressure from loved ones to rejoin social media. There may be pressure from society and your peers to rejoin social media. You will need to stand by your decision and follow though. Although some of their reasonings may make sense, you must remember your own reasonings for why you are quitting social media and what you expect to gain in return. Do not attempt to convert or win over someone to quit social media. Your decision to quit social media should not be basis for an argument. A reason that makes sense to someone else does not automatically make it logical for you. Also remember that many of your friends and loved ones may be unknowingly addicted to social media as well. Be patient. Carry on.

Quitting Social Media: My Own Way Approach

Quitting Social Media: My Own Way Approach
How to quit social media using your own plan. Sounds simple enough? This plan is for those who like to wing it as opposed to those who prefer to quit cold turkey or those who prefer the step ladder approach. This is an approach that involves tapping into your awareness surrounding social media and letting that quide you to quitting as you will be listening deeply to yourself. This approach sounds easy enough but this is an approach that is best suited for those of strong resolve or high emotional intelligence or for those who are keenly committed to mindfulness.
How will you know if this approach is for you? For starters, to be honest, if this approach is for you, you will most likely not have to read this far into the blog post without knowing. Those of you who have harnessed the ability to tap into your intuition may simply need a reminder or a slight nudge to detach from social media.
Step #1: Write the Plan
As with any approach, you will need to write a plan to include the following:
  1. Date you plan to quit;
  2. A list of every social media platform and the number of profiles you have for each
  3. Method of how you to plan to deactivate all profiles on all platforms on all devices.
  4. List of things you will do when you feel the urge to get on social media.
  5. Name and contact information of at least 3 supportive people
  6. Set a goal for the day you plan to reward yourself for quitting
  7. Choose and write out your reward
  8. Set a day(s), after you have written out your plan, to share it with loved ones.
  9. Write out your ‘why’ and what you plan to achieve by quitting.
Step #2: Support and Friends
Stick to your plan of how you will inform your friends and relatives. Be supportive of those who may understand or disagree with you. Soon enough, you may become the support system they need to quit. Remain open.
Step 3: Follow through
Good luck with your Deactivation Day!
Please contact me should you have an inquiry.

Quitting Social Media: The Step Ladder Approach

Using the Step Ladder Approach is less drastic than the ‘cold turkey’ approach. This method is called the Step Ladder Approach because you will slowly step down the ladder of social media usage until you arrive at deactivation. With the step ladder approach, one uses his/her own discretion to manage their social media usage as you decrease from being a heavy user, to moderate user, to low user, and finally to no usage. You learn to adjust to your new free time on a sliding scale with the steady decrease of social media usage. Unlike with the ‘cold turkey’ approach, this method allows for less of a shock to your lifestyle.
As with all systems and changes, having a plan is important. Write out a plan similar to the plan outlined in the Quitting Cold Turkey Post.
Step 1: Record Current Usage
     Stepping down will look different for each person. As part of your planning, you will start by taking a few days to really track and monitor your social media usage. In your kit, you will find a small notepad or you may click here to order. Schedule anywhere from a few days to a week to track your usage. You will need to take this notepad and a pen with you everywhere. Take note of each time you log onto a social media platform as well as the length of time you interact with the platform. This includes time you use social media at work, in the car, on the bus, on your phone, and on your desktop. When using social media strictly for work purposes, please enter this type of interaction into a separate category. If you really want to take a step further to really see your motivations behind why you use the platforms, make a separate column to that tracks how you use the platform. For example, if you logged onto Facebook to contact a distant relative or friend versus you received a notification for the app and you continued to surf the social media platform, you can track how frequently you use the platform as an address book vs a distraction.n See below for an example entry:
Date
Platform
Interaction time
Intention
1/22/2017
Facebook
1 hour
To look up the contact info for a  friend
1/22/2017
Instagram
2 hours
to check notification
“You can’t change what you don’t measure.” —heard somewhere by a business person
     It is very important that you complete the prep work as you will start to see clear patterns and will learn more about yourself and your habits. Do not feel ashamed or think to compare your numbers with another. This is not about blaming but about measuring where you are so you can better map where you want to go. At the end of the scheduled prepping, you will tally up your total hours. Now you have accurate data with which to work. With this data, you can observe a number of things. Refer to the table of formulas below to read your data:
*Total # of hours  prepping for this chart = 7 day prep= 7days*24hours= 168 (recommended)
Total # of hours on social media = SM
Total # of hours of Prepping= P
Variable (This number changes depends on what you want to measure. You can choose to calculate the percentage of each intention with which you use the platform) = V
# of hours spent on a particular platform = VP
Formula
Purpose of Formula
SM/P*100
Total number of hours spent on social media/total # of hours in 7 days of prepping x 100= % of time spent on social media during 7 days
V/SM*100
For example, if I wanted to measure the percentage of time spent using social media to connect with friends:
# of hours spent on connecting with friends/total # of hours spent on social media X 100= % of time spent connecting with friends when I use social media.
VP/SM*100
*Should you need help or want more details or templates on how to study your own data, see the post here with more formulas and examples.
Step #2: Writing the Plan
After you have recorded and analyzed your data, now is the time to write your plan. You should have a good idea of your social media usage and how much of your time you are trading for it. Your numbers are your numbers. No blame, no shame. When writing your plan, you will want to be sure you include the following:
  • Date you plan to deactivate all your social media profiles on all platforms
  • Target dates to be met (daily, weekly, and monthly) to steadily decrease your usage
  • What you plan to do with the free time you will be getting back
  • How will you let online friends know how to find you offline.
  • What is your ‘why’ and what you expect to gain from quitting
In your kit, you will find a thin journal that you will use to write your plan. There are also a number of questions to answer to help you navigate your ‘why’. Click here for a sample 3 month chart to map your way to deactivation.
Step 3: Support and Friends
Writing the plan should be exciting as you plan new activities and expenditures for your time. Having a written plan also makes this next step much easier. Please refer to the Support blog post here. Set aside a date to inform and update your friends and relatives. Refer to your written plan as to your preferred method of contact.
When it comes to support, please know that some of your family and friends may not understand or agree with your decision. You will need to draw from you own well of support. Some of you may be the first person in your circle of family and friends to quit social media. Do not feel the need to defend yourself but do feel free to discuss your decision as little or as much as you like. Remain open and do not become attached to the feeling of superiority that may arise. Do not live out of your pride after you have quit. You must now be a well of support for your friends and family. Do not feel the need to ‘preach’ your new gospel. The best way to be supportive of others is to lead by example out of a place of mutual respect.
“Become a beacon, a lighthouse for all to see.”
Please feel free to contact me for inquiries.