Lessons Learned and Facebook

In this time and age, I would be hard pressed to name a family member or friend that doesn’t have a Facebook account. My husband doesn’t count. Technology is not his thing and sharing personal information and opinions is not his thing either. Other than him, I cannot mention anyone else off the top of my head!!!

When about 11 years ago, my daughter convinced me to give this new Social Media outlet a try, I would have sworn it was not going to last. Well, that is how much I know. I also refused to even consider investing in it.  So much for my powers of observation. Not only is Facebook thriving, it is so influential that it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Which proves again, what do I know???

I will be remiss not to point out that most of the time I enjoy what comes and goes and passes for information, the personal opinions, the photos of family and friends that live far and wide. The pages that post uplifting messages that somehow fit a mood, a feeling, a moment. It can be fun and informative.

Unfortunately, as the mood in the world has turn to hate and division and more and more people feel free to express those feelings, Facebook has turned into a minefield. You need to be very careful what you say and pay attention to the smallest of details when expressing an opinion, talking about your feelings on a subject or just wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Easter. What pictures you want to share, what you would anyone thinks about a page you like, the quote you posted or the people you admire.

Never mind the kind of news sites you prefer, the people you are voting for or anything about a controversial public figure. Everything is black and white and you must be very careful. How exhausting!!! It seems we not only have the government censoring what we can and cannot see, write or express….now everyone you have friended on Facebook feels they should do it too.

I am not even going to mention civil discourse (a very much dead concept at the moment), or differences of opinion, I am talking about plain bullying and plain intimidation if you as much as express the notion that things can and do have two or three sides to them. “Mine, yours and the truth in the middle” is what I believe. Apparently I belong to a growing group that has learned the hard way to keep their opinions to themselves. How very sad…..it seems the only freedom of expression we are allowed is the one our critics spouse.  Both sides of any issue are guilty of this.

So, back to the lessons I have learned on Facebook. At the beginning, I joked about the four wonderful concepts that this Social Media community has taught me were: Ignore, Remove, Delete and Unsubscribe. We were provided with such choices and with cute little signs for : Like, Love, Surprise, Sadness, Anger. Seemed simple enough, not really anymore, things are now very angry, very insulting, sometimes even dangerous.

If we only want to see and want to hear what we believe, we are not improving communication among our friends and family, or the community in general. If only our opinion is true, if we only hear what we want to hear, if we only engage with people who agree with us, we are bullying everyone else into falling in line or just pack up and leave. A very sad state of affairs, especially when it is not doing any good to society as a whole.

I write a blog about things I have learned and things I am still learning, Facebook provides a wonderful platform for this.  My hope is that out there someone agrees with me and will share my posts. Never my intention to impose or to think I know better. I am not holding my breath, but will continue to do what I think is right. It gives me pleasure.

Life is short. Everyday there are new challenges we must face, new sorrows to deal with, but also new happiness to share, new experiences we want to talk about. I want to feel comfortable with my friends and family, so I can do just that. Having a Facebook account has taught me many things, the ones I mentioned here are not the best ones. Fortunately, I hold hope that the good things about this site will eventually win the day.

P.S. You have to have some rain to enjoy the rainbow: photo by my niece Ana Gregoria

 

Striving for a Mindful / Meaningful Lifestyle

IMG_3830Ah, how things can change!!! I have always been opinionated, felt I could be right in many instances and be in control of most situations. Since starting this blog, this has changed. It is now my goal to live mindfully. Enough, I think, of always wanting to be right or getting upset about things I cannot control.

Turning the page has not been easy.  I started last year with: Tossing out Control, it was my first attempt, first chapter so to speak. Unfortunately, since then, I have so  much to share and write about, I have not followed on this path. I have not put the effort into it.

Tossing Out the Old is one reason I started this blog. Listening to the New is the other. It is only logical that I should go back and keep at it until I can say I am Living Mindfully. First, though, what is Living Mindfully?IMG_3834

According to author Micki Fine (M.Ed., L.P.C. )Mindfulness is about waking up to life and what it means to be fully human.”  Sounds easy, something we can all achieve, isn’t it? Putting these thoughts into practice is another story because it brings us to other questions such as : what does being human mean? what does she mean by waking up to life? and most important, are all definitions of mindfulness the same, or different people feel differently about the concept?

Obviously, I am running off with something that should only be felt not analyzed. After all, Mindfulness is “the intentional, accepting and non judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment”. Here comes my very active personality, though, ready to think too much and dig too deeply. Breathe…IMG_3490

Let’s go with the flow, to use a cliché. After all, we must be open and curious about the world that surrounds us, without imposing our judgement on anything. Easier said than done.

Being aware of the world around us, focusing in our daily experience, letting go of preconceived ideas, embracing new ones, having an open mind to accept others and their actions as they are, that is what mindfulness will bring to our lives. It is said that once we achieve this……our stress will disappear. A very important reason to strive for this, right?

Understanding the concept and putting it into practice…..there is where the whole thing becomes a conundrum. This is what I have come up with. Living mindfully equals meaningful lifestyle. It is concentrating on the fact that we have more years behind us than ahead. There is not a lifetime to experiment, try different approaches and then change. It is the time to grab life with both hands and live it!!!IMG_3827

Accepting this has made a difference in my attitude. It is so simple I wonder why I didn’t think of it before. Now, I am. These past weeks I have started to do things I truly enjoy, even completing projects I wanted to do for a while. The results have been wonderful. Not only I have reasons to be proud, I have objects to remind me that I am actually moving forward!!! You can see on the photos I have posted here.

Believe me, my body aches and I am exhausted. On the other hand, I sleep profoundly and wake up refreshed. I smile a lot and I am not taking myself so seriously. I am more carefree. Problems, unless they are of real importance, are being left to work themselves out or let to be solved by others, plans are made for purely enjoyable activities. Not everything is peachy, living mindfully and meaningfully my way is still a work in progress, a never-ending task. Life is made of challenges and I believe I am actually winning this one!!!