I don’t know about you, but I’m loving and hating social media at the same time.
Using Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and all their other supporting tools has become something of a necessary evil. Want to chat with friends and family? Send a message on Facebook. Want to drop a quick note about what you’re doing today? Tweet on Twitter. Looking for a job or want to reacquaint with previous colleagues and employers? Connect on LinkedIn. Want to market your book (like I’m trying to do?) and you’ve got to balance using all three, sometimes at the same time!
It seems these days you can’t do just about anything without doing it through social media. And I think this might be a problem.
I was out running this morning, using the time to clear my head and refresh my body, and did what I always do. I listened to the chirping birds and smelled the fresh, dewy morning grass. My feet pounded on the blacktop, sounding out their own rhythm, and everything around me fell into a state of bliss. The sensuous breeze. The warm, vibrant sun. The refreshing cold water I drank the harder I pushed myself. And as I got further into my run, something occurred to me. If I had my nose buried in my cell phone and was tweeting about my activities rather than actually enjoying the moment (not that I’d have done that while running but I’m trying to make a point here), I’d have missed out on the bright red male cardinal sitting on top of a white fence. I wouldn’t have seen the two small bunnies peering out from behind a lilac bush – which smelled like a most exotic perfume, by the way – or the black kitty cat with white booties sleeping in the shadows of a neighbor’s driveway.
One of the basic tenets of meditation is something called living in the present, or living in the moment. I meditate, though not regularly, and it’s a wonderful state of mind. It’s the art of living life moment to moment and as it comes to you, without worry or expectation or planning. It’s being in the present moment and it’s a very powerful, very inspiring feeling.
And I think, for all our wonderful technology today, we’ve lost that gift. I work in NYC and I constantly see people walking the station platforms and streets, even sitting in parks and on trains, glued to their smart phones. They’re texting or reading or reaching out to others in some form — and they’re missing everything in the now! I find that frightening and sad. And you know what? I’m guilty of doing that, too, sometimes.
I’m going to be published for the first time in my life, with my first book coming out on October 8th. And there’s a lot of work that comes with publication. Marketing, editing, revising, writing more books. It’s what I want, it’s a long-term career I’m pursuing, and yet I recognize that I’m going to need to find a balance so that, no matter how busy I am, I still focus on the now. For example, yesterday I was busy getting my social media marketing in order for pre-release, release and post-release. And the more research I did, the deeper I got myself into Twitter and Facebook. It was like I was sucked into a social media vortex with no way out. Well, there was a way out but I didn’t choose it. Instead, I went to a party after I did all this book marketing work and, while I was there, I kept checking in with my social media outlets for certain updates. Was it necessary? No. Could it have waited until the next day? Yes. And you know what happened? I missed the now at the party. Not all of it, but some of it, because I let myself become distracted.
So there’s a lesson in all of this, at least for me. Social media, as wonderful as it is, shouldn’t take over our lives. And I, for one, have decided not to let it take over mine. Even now, as I sit by my slider typing this blog, I’ve taken a few breaks to appreciate the fluttering leaves on the trees in my backyard and the scurrying chipmunks that run past. I opened the door to inhale sweet summer air and then, only when I appreciated another moment, did I go back to the table and do more work.
enjoy the now
And here is where I sign off to enjoy the rest of the day.
How about you? What are you going to do to enjoy the day? The now? The present?
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