the law of internet overconsumption

It’s time for a bit of digital detox. Spring has already got me chomping at the bit to spend more time outside, exercise more, eat healthier, and yes, CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. But one area of my life has been pretty stagnant for a little too long now, and that’s my digital life.

On our way to the dump with some things we've been motivated to get rid of lately.

It’s been a slow time at the office, and I’ve found myself whiling away the time by checking Facebook and Twitter compulsively throughout the days. Although at first these digital pass times seem like a great way to, well, pass the time, after a while they make the days seem infinitely longer. After checking Twitter for the bazillionth time and seeing the same updates by the same people, the whole process becomes not only boring but embittering. I find myself thinking unkind things about people’s attempts at humor, proselytism and self-promotion. Internally, I become kindof a bitch.

A lot of people are noticing this trend … can we even call it a trend without appearing to be the type of people who also call ourselves “social media experts?” Yuck. Anyway, it’s not so much a trend as a revelation of the natural laws of the internet, like Newton’s laws: If you consume too much information on the internet, you will eventually feel a powerful revulsion toward the same. (I had to fight the urge to say, “If you spend all day on Facebook, you’re gonna have a bad time,” which is part of how I know I spend too much time on the internet.)

I’m not one of those Luddites who say arrogant things about “kids these days.” I am kids these days (for a little while longer at least). I enjoy being able to keep in touch with friends who live across the country or across the world. I like when my best friend from elementary school posts photos of her kid on Facebook. I like exchanging information and ideas with relative strangers on Twitter and occasionally becoming friends with some of them as we notice just how much we have in common.

When I'm not digitally gorging myself, going outside for no reason in particular is one of my favorite pass times.

What I don’t like is that feeling of emptiness when I hit refresh yet again. I don’t like that feeling I get when I realize no one is going to “like” my status update. And I don’t like going home at the end of the day thinking, “God, that was a boring day at work … I should’ve read a book written a blog post or knit a blanket or at least taken a lunch … but instead, I was on Facebook.”

So, while I don’t intend to quit social media, I definitely need to reel in my use of it. For the next week, I’m going to cut down to only checking Twitter and Facebook before and after work. That means that I’ll have to spend my time at the office actually working, or on slow days perhaps reading a book, writing, or planning a yoga class. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’d love to have your company in this, too. Maybe we could write each other good old fashioned emails!

thoughts while listening to a lecture on poetry

I love the way poets speak, crafting even casual sentences with extraordinary care.

That moment when you realize you are an adult, just another sack of bones who must take it upon herself to create kinetic energy in the body and the brain, not a child being rolled up the great hill of knowledge, and no longer in that blissful adolescent freefall.

I am so happy that this professor is addressing my favorite poems, which were never addressed (at least not properly) by my own college professors.

Modernity: spiritual agony, ambition, toward what?

I think there is still a place in the world for poetry. It’s a private place, maybe, the namaste place, which we carry with us everywhere and from which we greet one another in airports and train stations and churches.

Getting high. getting high. getting high. Not that you asked, but I remember a time when high was the thing to be. The romanticized drunk now infuriates me.

But when poets were the inventors and creators of the world as we believe it to be? That time was before me.

Thoughts while listening to this lecture on poetry. Hooray for free online college courses.

because it makes me happy

I didn’t realize it was National Poetry month until a couple days ago when someone tweeted about it. I’d been seeing little signs and reminders of my first love for a few weeks and felt like it was time to reconnect with it. I think it was the death of Adrienne Rich earlier this month that finally made me realize it was time to start writing again.

At 16, I was the obnoxious kid who would say shit like, “Poetry is everything!” in the most disdainful voice I could muster to the boy my best friend liked because I thought he was a douche bag, plus he had the gall to ask me why I was always carrying around that notebook.

At 21, I can honestly say I was getting pretty good in my own opinion. That is, looking back, I am not ashamed of everything I wrote.

During college, I stopped writing poetry for a variety of reasons. All the negative things people had said over the years were still rattling around in my brain — too cliched, mental masturbation, vanity poetry. And there were a lot of other things going on that caused me to doubt my own passion and to decide it just wasn’t worthwhile. Worse than that, I came to think writing poetry was just a pass time for pretentious college girls and hipsters.

But when Adrienne Rich died, I found myself oddly moved. I realized her poetry had a powerful impact on my life, as have the works of Marianne Moore, Emily Dickinson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Langston Hughes, and many  many other poets.

Although I’ve thankfully outgrown the idea that I will be the next Sharon Olds, I’ve also realized that if poetry has been so important in my life so far, it’s just ridiculous not to continue embracing it.

So, here’s to poetry. Because it makes me happy.

P.S. Please forgive the comic sans. It appears to be the default font on the iPad notes app, and I don’t think it can be changed.

Stuff I like

While I don’t typically like to do roundup style link posts, I LOVE to read them on other people’s sites. Also, I occasionally find a handful of things that seem really amazing and important to share. So, here are some things I’ve really enjoyed lately that I hope you’ll like, too.

Famous Historical Figures Who Self-Published is a short and sweet article about the great American tradition of self-publishing. I love it, and it’s so true! We don’t like to wait for the approval of others in this country.

I’ve finally been able to put my blog addiction to good use by working on a new blog for Golden Heart Yoga. Go check out what we’ve got happening over there. I’ll be adding teacher profiles and more articles in the coming days and weeks.

YOU NEED TO READ this article by Ashley Judd. Whether you’re male or female, stop and take a serious look at how you think about women, women’s bodies, and women’s sexuality.

Rabbit White is one of the women who inspire me, and one reason I love her is that she can make me pause and give serious thought to things that most people will never even acknowledge, and she manages to balance a great sense of humor with openness and intellectual curiosity. I want to give her such huge congratulations on her new gig writing for Jezebel, and I hope a lot more people will check out what she’s got going on.

A study has shown that yoga practice improves the mental state of teenagers … more so than regular PE class — go figure! I knew this was true from my own experience because I discovered yoga when I was 16 and in desperate need of an attitude adjustment, but I’m so glad to see the idea catching on.

Ellie Di has started her Inside Outside spring cleaning series, and I love it! She’s got an amazing bunch of people lined up, and I’m honored to be part of it. You can look for my guest post later this month, and the associated e-course will begin on May 3. If you like what Ellie is doing on her blog, you will love working with her for this course.

Bikch, please!” Bikram says women should only open their legs in an emergency? LAWL! Lemme give you a few emergencies, ok?

P.S. YogaDork is completely rocking my world these days. Did you see their response to Yoga Journal’s talent search? If there’s one thing to learn from this gallery, it’s that yoga is not about “talent.” It’s about being who you are RIGHT THIS SECOND, and these yogis and yognins are doing it right!

 

on being an artist

Here’s the thing about being an artist, a writer, a poet, a musician or even a gamer, programmer, hacker or any creative thing that you may be.

You just are. You don’t wait for someone to confirm it for you. It doesn’t matter if you went to school for it or if you’re naturally talented. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes or approves of what you do.

You don’t wait for someone to tap you on the shoulder and proclaim you an artist. You just are. Because you’re human.

Universities have whole departments labeled “humanities,” because they are dedicated to the study and cultivation of our inexplicable creative impulse. The humanities are what makes us human.

So go create your art, whatever it may be, because if you don’t … what the fuck are you doing on this planet?