It’s been over 7 months since I returned back to the US from the jungle.
In that time I’ve found myself longing again and again for the lifestyle I experienced during my time in Peru, especially the disconnection from technology.
I love technology. I really do. I think it’s fascinating and amazing that I can connect with people from all over the world while sitting on a couch wherever I happen to be that day. I am deeply grateful for the presence of today’s technology and the work it allows me to do.
And, not a day has gone by in the past 7 months that I haven’t thought about the next time I get to go out into the woods to hike or to camp, leaving my computer behind and shutting off my phone to take in the silence and peace of nature, to be with my own thoughts.
One of my favorite things about being isolated in the jungle for almost 6 months was the absence of uninvited thoughts from outside sources. I experienced this a bit as well when I was living in Europe. Not speaking the language, I wasn’t as influenced by other people’s ideas as I find happening for me in America.
Again, I love the diversification of world view’s and opinions. It’s a beautiful thing.
But I’ve found that for my own personal process, I do better to sit with things by myself, meditate on them, and let Spirit guide me, instead of asking seeking external validation right away. Throughout my life I’ve been all to quick to take on another person’s version of they think how life should be, either directly through their comments to me or indirectly through simply witnessing the way that they interact with life.
When I was in the jungle, I only had access to information that I consciously let into my experience. No newspapers, radio, movies, magazines, social media.. I was able to choose what I wanted to learn or hear about through the types of books I chose the read, the music I chose to listen to, and the conversations I chose to be a part of.
I found that this allowed me to hear my own inner voice that had been shut down most of my life. For what felt like the first time, I was able to recognize which opinions were truly mine and which had the tone of another injected into them. When I heard or read something that brought up resistance, I’d contemplate it for a day or two before asking for other’s opinions on the matter. That way, when they gave their view, I already knew where I truly stood.
I found my authentic voice.
This way of life also allowed me to get closer to Spirit. I call it Spirit, but others call this force by different names; the Universe, God, Source, Cosmic Truth, Oneness, the Divine. Whatever you choose to call it, I found that I was able to receive information from outside my ego and my mind, from some higher dimension where the wisdom was clear and precise.
Lately, I’ve been feeling like I don’t have much of a choice in what kind of information get’s in and I really don't like it. I find my mind becoming blurred and it difficult to discern what is my authentic thoughts and what is the ideas of others.
Michael Brown’s untimely death, Ferguson riots and militarized police force, James Foley’s murder in Syria, the Gaza-Israel war, drought, poverty… These have all been topics that have crossed my experience in one way or another the last week, along with a whole range of people’s opinion’s about each of them.
I learned a long time ago that I’m empathic. I’m like an emotional sponge, absorbing the energy and emotions of those around me. I recently watched a movie where a woman with cancer died while her son watched. I started crying, and I don't just mean tearing up. There were literal stomach-heaving sobs coming out of me. It wasn’t just a movie I was crying about, I was feeling the pain of all the people who have been in those positions, the patient and the witness, and remembering all the pain I’ve experienced in my life from dis-ease. Even as the movie picked up, I felt myself overwhelmed with sadness for all the people who have ever experienced pain of any sort.
I then realized that I’ve been feeling this way for awhile now: caught up in the pain of the world and unable to clearly connect with Spirit.
There’s one thing I tell people regularly: "You are the co-creator of your experience. You have the ability to control what you want to have in your life and to let go of what is not longer serving you."
The other day I realized that I haven’t really been walking my talk when it comes to creating what I want for my own life experience.
Then I had a big epiphany:
I don’t have to isolate myself in the jungle to get away from the news of all of the pain and sadness, I just need to decide that it will no longer be a part of my experience, unless of course I make the conscious choice to educate myself on the happenings of our world.
It was easy to stay away from all the bad news in the world when I had no access to technology, but to have instant access to whatever information I want (and don’t want), and to still say “no” to what is not serving me takes true dedication in today’s world.
I’ve found myself going back and forth between feeling empowered and playing the victim. From “I can create whatever I want! Not having this stuff in my life is going to be amazing!” to “Ughhh it’s too much trouble to go through my newsfeed and unsubscribe from people whose posts I find continually bring me down or to tell my family, ‘no, actually, I don’t want to watch that violent movie’.”
The question that’s been going through my mind the last few days is, “How willing are you to commit to exercising your own freedom?”
How committed am I to saying, “This is my life. These are my boundaries and this is what I will allow in and what I won’t. If you have a problem with that, I’ll let you keep that for yourself.” I’m reminded of the saying, “You don’t have to show up to every battle your invited to.” If people have problems with how I want to live my life, that’s their thing to work through, not mine.
It’s not that I don’t care about what’s being shown on the news and talked about on social media, because I really, truly do. I think it’s important for us to recognize what’s going on our planet, not only to educate ourselves about the happenings of the world, but also to have gratitude for all the blessings that many of have access to on a daily basis.
So, I decided that to kickstart my new way of interacting with the world through a 21-day social media, movie, radio, and news source detox! Anyone who knows me that I’m all about detoxing my body, and now I’m going to detox my mind. I’m going to use the extra time that had previously been spent scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to do the things that make me feel more connected and fulfilled.
Meditating, hiking, looking up at the stars, connecting with friends, dancing, making love, taking baths, reading books, cooking healthy meals, writing, journaling, creating…
These are the things that make my heart sing, things that make me feel at peace, and grateful for my limited time here on Earth. If I feel the inspiration to make a video or write a blog post I will, but I’m not going to feel obligated as I have recently. I may even do a BufferApp post if the feeling strikes, but again, without obligation.
I’m going to focus on the things that help me to become the best “me” possible, so that I have even more to give in service to others. Because what good am I curled up under the covers crying for the pain of our species and our planet? Not too much. I’m giving myself permission to say, “No more” to the things that bring me down and, “Yes, please! Thank you!” to the things that make my spirit soar.
See you on the other side!