Keeping It Real – Reckoning with Digital Demands, Time & Authenticity
All photos by Elli Lauren
Here we are – fall, the last quarter of the year. So much of life seems so concerned with time – the passing of it, the lack of it, and maybe complete denial of it. Of late, I’ve felt a little like time sucker punched me, left me out cold, and then revived me just in time to become aware that I’ve little to none to spare. Major milestones are afoot for me: the completion of my Counseling Psychology degree, my thesis due date, stepping into more of a leadership role in my work with adolescents, and continuing to share the work I have been compiling for this community – my lifelong commitment. And my personal life and joy – let us not forget these things!
These elements of my life are gifts, and yet they are overwhelming. So, I find myself sitting outside in stillness a lot, with only natural sounds as my soundtrack. Not meditating, purely sitting. The lost art of purely observing thoughts like waves on a sea and taking in my surroundings. Some of the thoughts that have come to swarm me are how do we alter our concept of time? After all, reality is a fabric we each individually weave together – perception as our guide. Secondly, how do I quit going to battle internally with the digital side of life and finally freaking strike a balance that not only works with my resistance but also allows for me to share Rewilding with you all? How do I preserve my boundaries of preferring a more analog life while I ensure that the resources I’ve set out to create for more healing for others can be found? How do I pretend to care about algorithms when my work and my heart beckon me to be ever-more present where I am, with the people or places or animals I’m in the presence of and not a one-dimensional experience? In essence, the more I fall into a wilder, more present self, how does living as a digital avatar and constant producer square away with this? I don’t actually know, but I know I’m presently working through it.
Though my work might be more and more in the therapeutic field, so to speak, away from computers and phones, I am aware how many of us are engaged in these battles. How many of us now know the emperor has no clothes – digital life is in fact NOT a stand-in for our crucial communal needs. It is somewhat flat, and we are multi-dimensional – each and every one of us. How many of us lose time during the tug of war of do I don’t I engage and invest in a digital life; what should I share? How often should I share? And as I do, is it at the expense of just living my life more presently or is it an enhancement?
And there we are, right back around to the concept of time. If it’s precious, isn’t that our answer? If it’s a mirage, what kind of kaleidoscopic landscape do you want to be looking at? I personally want a life that favors the sensory experience and also includes the ability to connect digitally, only periodically, throughout the week. I am grateful that many of you are like scattered jewels when I glance at a globe, brightening pockets of the world for me. And technology made that possible. I do not discount that nor the power of social media as well. And I am grateful that I can say this in this forum, too – I am more anxious and depressed when I heed the almost addictive pull to create content just tailored to an acceptable amount of characters, with just enough imagery that it’s real but not lacking a photographic flair mandatory for the powers that social media be.
Lately, with mounting pressures of graduate school finally coming to a close, dovetailing with more clients, more outside work, and more clinical training, I find myself embroiled in resistance to post to social media for work-related purposes amidst agonizing guilt. Because I know there is much news and events I’d love to share with you, and this beautiful runway of a community of cross-talk is a little covered over with weeds , a little silenced, during this time of change-over and exhaustion for me. My anxiety grows; my nervous system reels. I wonder what is ailing you all right now? I yearn for our Rewilding community’s dialogue without the constant digital frame.
So, I concluded a few things will help me and this organization and the people who comprise it move forward:
- I will and we will at weREWILD designate days to be active on social media and days when there is no expectation
- I want to be sure you have my email address if you ever want to drop me a line directly. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Invigorating our WPCS Facebook group once and for all is important, first by posting this Jerry Maguire-like manifesto (a lot of you are prob too young for that reference!)
- Making sure you’re aware of gatherings and digital offerings like Campfire Gatherings coming up, the next Rewilding 2020, the online workshop going live soon, and (once?) monthly is really important. So, I will keep looking for ways to ensure that happens. And do please keep checking back at this site.
- Live chats of different kinds – I promise to get these going soon
Commitment of days weREWILD will be on social media:
- Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and every other Saturday (I know nothing about high traffic days)
- All other days are optional if feeling the call
- We will check messages daily though
I can’t think of a more apropos and inspiring quote to close this contemplation of time and how our digital selves fit with our real selves than this one by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves and an absolute arbiter of regaining our wild and authentic selves: “While it is useful to make bridges even to those groups one does not belong to, and it is important to try to be kind, it is also imperative to not strive too hard, to not believe too deeply that if one acts just right, if one manages to tie down all the itches and twitches of the wildish criatura, that one can actually pass for a nice, restrained, subdued, and demure lady-woman. It is that kind of acting, that kind of ego-wish to belong at all costs, that knocks out the Wild Woman connection in the psyche. Then instead of a vital woman you have a nice woman who is de-clawed. Then you have a well-behaved, well-meaning, nervous woman, panting to be good. No, it is better, more graceful, and far more soulful to just be what and as you are and let the other creatures be what they are too” (2003, p. 196).
How are you keeping it real lately, or what are you struggling with?
You have my email now!