It all began simple enough. A ringing came from my stocking on Christmas morning in 2002. My husband wanted me to have a cell phone so we could reach each other. Then many years later came the smart phone and all of a sudden I could be instantly connected to my email, to text messaging, to the internet.
It all began innocent enough, you know. Such a new, fascinating thing, social media. I could find old friends, see photographs of family, keep track of my kids, share our fun, farm life. I started my first company- a modeling agency- twenty years ago. Since then I opened a dance company, two apothecaries, a farm, written ten books, and have been written about in several newspapers from the Denver Post to the Huffington Post.
I am connected. Bound. A Facebook page, four business pages, two Instagram accounts, two emails, a cell phone, and an unexplainable addiction to the thing I despise, technology.
My very self has been wrapped up in it all. My identity. I fear that if I don’t have a social media presence that I will disappear. If I only have a home phone, will I become invisible? How will I make friends? I might be out of touch. I might be free.
My friends know where I live. There is a big sign that says Pumpkin Hollow Farm out front! They can call me on a home phone hung on the wall in my farm kitchen. In reality, my daughter can send me photos. The same eight friends like all my posts on all my pages. I don’t really like the wide world of Instagram knowing where I live, actually. I am kind of tired of hosting zillions of events. Amazon sells my books, as do the local shops and museum. If I wanted to boost my farm, or my books, or my work, I could go to markets. I could be local, face to face, authentic. You know, old fashioned.
I can still write my beloved blog.
Does anyone else feel trapped by the constant pace of the tech world? How much time do I lose? I am a simple housewife, apron donned and all, who grew up in a time where the phone cord wouldn’t reach around the corner so I could have privacy. How did we get here? With every person we see on the phone, all the time, in every place, in every situation, always connected, as if we will lose our place on this earth if we disappear from it all.
This is a farmer’s time for rest and regeneration. To allow our bodies the much needed extra time they screamed for last October. To sit another minute in front of a sunny window, to read the books we wrote down so that we wouldn’t forget, to see the movies we missed because we couldn’t get to the theater (and renting is cheaper anyway). We eat good, we sit longer, we find our friends that we missed in the summer!
In the summer it’s all go-go-go! Go to sleep, wait…get up! Market, water, harvest, preserve, teach classes, make product, go to bed! In the winter we have more time to think. We learn more skills, read about new ways of doing things, think about what we want for the year. I also have time to notice and work on emotional health and happiness. I noticed that every time I looked at Facebook I became livid, would snap at Doug, would waste time thinking about responses. Most people just share and post things without giving any thought to validity or seeing all sides. They just post emotional, volatile, usually false articles and comments. I was picking up way too much anxiety over it. Movies would sink in more leaving me to either feel sad or stressed. I listlessly thumbed through books then took them back to the library. I was picking up the negativity all around me. Even in my beautiful snow globe of a world out here, if I checked the internet, I was suddenly seething.
We are meant to be empathetic and to understand others’ thoughts and emotions so that we may help them. But the internet and media has opened up a whole new world of overwhelming information. Our human bodies were never meant to take on the problems of the world. We can barely take care of our own! News from around the world that we have no control over, articles written from a skewed viewpoint, frustrated and complaining posts on social media, sad dramatic movies, only bad news in the press, it is enough to climb under a rock and hide! Or snap at your husband over.
So, what can we do? We can add more positivity into the atmosphere. The more we add, the less negativity there is, the odds that the person you enlightened will spread it around are good, and by shutting out or buffering the negative, the more positivity can come in..
We watched a great movie last night that I found at the library. Based on a true story and very cheer worthy, “The Mighty Macs” was fun and enlightening. A story about a girls basketball team, a private college, a bunch of supportive nuns, and a coach in the making, we were smiling the whole movie.
I removed a few people from my friends list on Facebook and I have more to take off. I don’t have to read the feed either. I can just post my blog, see what my closest are doing, and then get the heck off! I can read inspiring information.
I just started the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, not because I am unhappy, but because there are habits I could do to embrace more happiness. When you are happy, it spreads.
Some things we can all do, please comment on your ideas, favorite books, movies, and inspirational materials…
1. Random acts of kindness.
My daughter was in the second hand store picking out clothes for her baby. When she took them to the register, they were already paid for by a stranger. For Emily, this really was an amazing gift as she doesn’t have very much money.
I don’t either but perhaps sending a homemade gift when it’s not a holiday or birthday. Or adding a bigger tip than usual to a check. Or sending a card.
I also love to compliment people. I am kind of an introvert but telling someone they look lovely or that I like what they are wearing, or whatever strikes me (not making things up, but telling them what I notice) always brings a surprise smile to complete stranger’s faces. This is important because that compliment could have negated the effect of an aggressive driver, a sick parent at home, or a fight with a spouse. Who knows what folks are going through, just spread love.
2. Read inspiring works.
I loved Christmas at Rose Hill Farm; an Amish Love Story so much. It had elements of the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, well researched information on roses, and a beautiful story written with colorful characters and lovely prose. That was the last book I completed.
Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie series, Under the Tuscan Sun series, anything by Jenna Woginrich, and many others top my list of favorite books.
What are books you recommend?
3. Watch inspiring films.
We recently watched “How to Train Your Dragon, 2” and loved it. “The Mighty Macs” was great. “Maleficent” was much better than anticipated and had a fabulous story line. I highly recommend it.
What movies do you recommend?
What will you do today to spread more light in the world?