It’s been a super shitty week (don’t tell the girl I am on Instagram as she is too busy dancing around in her room and skiing and stuff to notice).
Last week I deactivated my Facebook account for almost 5 days. Pulling this temporary plug was unnerving, like killing myself. I’ve taken breaks before, times when I detached from posting, but nevertheless remained a passive consumer of whatever the Facebook algorithm gods were choosing to show me and, let’s be honest, sell me. Currently, the Facebook grand master dragons know that Goop has my number. Every ad for goop in my feed hawks a product or oil or sunless tanner or herb i cannot pronounce that is sure to fill every hole in my swiss cheese soul (and make it “gleam”). if someone gave me a gift card with $500 bucks on it, I WOULD BUY EVERY GODDAMN THING GWYNETH IS SELLING RIGHT DOWN TO THE CREEPY BLUE ALGAE.
Never before have I “deactivated” — a move, though temporary, so earth shattering that Facebook walks you through the steps and want to make sure you are sure. It rendered me unsearchable for a bit. I kept Instagram though. It’s a sunnier place, filled with food and beaches.
So what prompted the new, more thorough, albeit temporary, plug pulling? Part of the inspiration came from Angela Jamison, who spearheaded her own “one week on Facebook, three weeks off” modus operandi. So I decided to see if I could go a week. Second strings puling me along included numerous signs that Facebook is just reeking with control over what i see, when, where and it began to freak me out (Goop and company) — and that is saying a lot, because I stand up with a leg behind my head and that doesn’t freak me out at all. But the real magnetic pull away from the Facebook frothy ocean of drama was, well, drama. And not just any drama, but yoga drama, and not just any drama, but yoga drama 2.0. Ashtanga drama, all new redesigned and re-engineered and ever-unfolding like a Matryoshka, those Russian nesting dolls.
And then I found myself utterly atwitter inside over a drama between two people outside, two people I really didn’t know, over something that had nothing to do with me; I rubbernecked the scene on this yoga group page, but the drama spilled out like rocks from a cliff crushing innocent cars below, and pebbles of it claimed residence inside my thoughts, my soul, my blood.
And then I stepped onto my mat.
I had to ask myself, if yoga is the cessation of he fluctuations of the mind, why am I jumping into the water of the most volatile, storm-driven waves of Facebooktic sea, the Zuckerbergian fluctuation fabricator, the churning of the ocean of milk. What was there on Facebook, after, of course, all the kid pics and selfies, but a freakazoid cult of the small self?
The truly subversive thing to do when you have a President who airs every grievance on Twitter (sad!), when internet troll training becomes mainstream, is to speak to people face to face or on the phone, to inhale fresh air, smell the scent of pine trees, feel the nuzzle of a dog, to create your art — and I don’t believe that creation for the purpose of “likes” hits the spot.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore the Facebook– I write alone, practice alone, hang out with a 6 year old and two dogs who seem to be unable to hear a single word I say. And yet on Facebook, occasionally, I find people who listen and connect.
Last saturday I logged back on but with a more passive presence. I said this was a practice diary, and forgive the lack of asana, but once again, if yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind—–then this experiment was a big part of my practice. I found that (1) i was better able to step into my mat with only my own personal drams to deal with, rather than a world of dramas (2) I was forced to reckon with what was here now, which was sometimes hard, and to realize the way I use social media to check out from the things I do not care to touch in real life. (If you practice ashtanga, you might see the irony here, as I once wrote that in ashtanga you don’t get to say “pass.”) (3) Instead of having 100,000 thoughts running through my head, I had 95,000.
I began by saying that it has been a shity week. I confess: deactivating FB did not turn my days from black and white still life to kodachrome glitter. Not every day is sunny. Not every practice is hot damn kickass.
But it’s real.
And I wouldn’t have life on my mat–or off of it — any other way.
Care to join me for another week of deactivation? I plan to pull the plug again Monday (she says as she shares this on, ahem, Facebook)