The Saturday Special: A Sunny Wake-Up Call

@tswiers13 @correlliful @tabbyjo_co Happy Friday! #happyfriday #friends #colorado #autumn #joy #yoga #light

Good morning, sunshine! The weather has suddenly taken a turn for the cooler here in Maryland, and it’s been nothing but blue skies and crisp air for days now. I don’t know about you, but to me it feels like a gentle wake-up call from the universe — summer won’t last forever, time moves quickly, better wake up and enjoy life while we can!

What are you doing with these last days of summer? As for me, I think I figured out how to write a book that’s been lurking in the shadows for the past two years (!!) so I think I’m going to make my coffee and take my work in progress out for some fresh air.

Meanwhile, here are a few tasty bits of internet for your delectation.

  • Write Against the Machine Episode 16: Staying Motivated When Inspiration Wanes — Ellie and I talk about how to work through slumps in inspiration and motivation. Even your favorite projects will have challenges and snags, and you’ll need to be prepared to handle it.
  • If you’ve ever taken my online yoga class, please fill out this simple 10-question survey to help me improve it. I’ll soon be adding streaming and possibly video on demand for the classes, and I want to be sure I’m doing the best possible job when that happens!
  • I’ve updated my studio teaching schedule, and I’d love to see you in class any time. If you’re in the area, why don’t you drop in some time?
  • The world’s oldest living yoga teacher turned 95 this week — this is what I call a beautiful woman.
  • Can you be too big for yoga?
  • Shit book snobs say — perfect.
  • Oh, and BIG NEWS, you guys. Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross have another round of Bodysex workshops coming up in Manhattan this fall. My experience in this workshop was absolutely transformative, and I do recommend it to any woman who is interested. Rumor has it these may be the last of the workshops, so please take this opportunity to meet and learn from the inimitable Betty Dodson. It will change your life.

Ok, babes, go on out into the world and do good things. Set your intention for yourself: What can I give myself today, and what can I give to the world today? It can be as simple as a smile, but do it with all the love in your heart, and the world will be a better place because you are in it.

Xoxo~

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Weekly Assignment: Describe Yourself in 140 Words or More

shape of a hoper

If you came of age in the era of internet profiles, you’ve probably spent a little too much time filling in boxes labeled, “Describe yourself briefly.” I get profile rage because I can’t describe myself briefly and get it right. Currently, my Twitter profile says, “Yoga teacher, writer, feminist, smartass.” If you get to know me, you’ll find all those things basically true, yet you can’t really tell anything about me by that. It doesn’t say, “I’m awkward and make inappropriate jokes when meeting new people,” because that’s not something I like to brag about. I chose characteristics I like about myself for the profile because that’s what I want you to see in me, obviously. Nonetheless, it’s important for me to be real and let you see my shortcomings, which is why I ramble on so much here!

This week, be bigger than 140 characters. Describe yourself in 140 words or more. No one has to read it, but if you do decide to share it, I think you’ll be surprised by the interest you get from others. People want to know you in a sincere, multi-faceted way, not just as an avatar that scrolls by on their various digital timelines. Be three-dimensional.Be imperfect, thoughtful, damaged, needy even. Write at least one paragraph that’s really true about yourself. What’s the most important thing in your life right now? How do you feel about your own face?

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The Saturday Special

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Hey hey, babycakes! I hope you had a good week. Mine was … weird. Going on a social media fast revealed to me that I may actually have a problem. I avoided time-wasting sites pretty successfully throughout my work hours, but once I was off the clock, I pretty much binged on Twitter. I’m wondering what I should do about this, if anything, and I’m thinking I need to continue keeping my social media time to a minimum during my work hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and also try to reel it in after work.

On the bright side, I got a TON of writing done this week, and I can now offer you this bonus post full of links and scraps from the internet, which I found charming, inspiring, educational or otherwise entertaining.

Oh, and I made what I believe is the perfect playlist. It’s called “The Making of a Dirty Feminist,” and it’s epic. You’ll see what I mean.

And now you know what I did while I wasn’t on Twitter. Go me!

Have a lovely Saturday, dears. Stay warm. Xoxo!

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cross platform meaningless approval seeking

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Do you remember when passing a notebook among your friends was your idea of social media?

I was wondering what the next big thing after Twitter would be, and apparently it’s Instagram, but do I really even want to use that? That’s what I thought when Twitter was new, and here I am, but I don’t want to play this lame keeping up game. I don’t want to prove that I am cool, smart, funny, creative and interesting 140 characters at a time anymore. Nor do I want everyone in the world to “like” my “status.” Whenever you’re posting a status update, your true status is, “Wasting time on Facebook while real life passes by.” People used to think gamers were lame (back when they were just called “computer nerds”), but now what about all these so-called “normal” people whose emotional lives revolve around getting virtual “likes” from people whose opinions ultimately do not matter?

I’m still on Twitter and Facebook, of course, for the same reasons everyone is still on them. I am no better than everyone else. I need a way to obsessively click through photos of the lives of people I no longer actually know so I can compare myself to them in the least realistic light possible. And I need a way to tell the world I’m funny and cool and stuff. Plus, it’s how I get my news. Hate me for it if you want, but I know I’m not alone. I can hear the trolls already: “You are what’s wrong with America!” Yes, dear. Aren’t we all?

I know several people who have decided to cut back their use of social media. Incidentally, social media can be shortened to “SM” if you ever get tired of writing it out. I find that appropriate. Anyway, some have quit one site or another entirely. Some have stopped all forms of digital sharing with the general public. Some are simply being more selective than they used to be, keeping everything very professional: no profane tweets, no drunk tweets, no passive aggressive breakup drama tweets.

Others have diversified: Joining Polyvore, then Pinterest; starting a Tumblr, then reaching back to Live Journal for that old school flavor; maybe even re-activating a Diaryland account (yeah, it still exists). Some of us are cross-platform blogging and bringing in Soundcloud and Youtube clips, although it’s a little hard to call Youtube social these days. And if there were a way to ad texture to a blog post a la that fuzzy bunny book everyone had as a toddler, you know I’d be first in line for that beta … unless of course it already exists and I missed it because I’m terminally uncool. Also possible.

Some people are still on Myspace. Heh. That always makes me feel better.

For me, the impulse is a complicated combination. I need to stay focused and not waste a lot of time and energy on a lot of outlets that at the end of the day are just meaningless-approval-seeking devices. I don’t want to take endless photos of myself, add sepia filters, adn upload them to the internet with faux ironic captions indicating I am pretending not to believe I’m a rock star fashion icon.

But here I am. And just like the would-be fashion icon, I am deluding myself that I can reach the world with my art via Twitter and Facebook or Pinterest and Instagram or whatever your social media flavor of the day is.

And now it’s time for a solution … I don’t have one. I am a writer, not a social media maven. And fuck the word “maven” anyway.

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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!

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