More Soul, Less Scroll

When my friends Jill and Tom were downsizing to move, Jill asked if I wanted any buddha statues she was passing on. Though I haven’t made much progress with decluttering, I am doing my best to not take too much more in, so I declined. My neighbor, Mareah, also a friend of theirs, offered to take and redistribute them. When she asked if I wanted any, I hesitated. Since the Universe was now presenting me with a second chance, I inquired if there was one that could live outside. I found the perfect place for the little stone buddha on a moss-covered root ball of a fallen tree along the path that I walk every day on my property. This Buddha seems right at home here in the woods. Sometimes the Universe keeps presenting us with opportunities until we pay attention.

At first I would just pass it daily, feeling good that I could enjoy something without cluttering up my house further. Then one day I decided to ask if it had any wisdom for me- and it sure did! Most of the messages I get are short directives about relaxing, slowing down, listening more, especially to inner guidance. I am often delighted by what comes to me when I actually slow down. The latest directive was:

‘More Soul, Less Scroll’.

Prior to this I really didn’t think I spent that much time scrolling on my devices. Ha! When I started to pay attention it was way more than I realized – mostly on Instagram. Which is odd because most of my friends are on Facebook and though my grandkids are the reason I first got on Instagram, all but one have migrated primarily to TikTok. I don’t let anyone but family members follow me, but I have become a follower of too many others. Though I do follow a few political ones, I mainly look for inspirational reels, anything with dogs, and humor (The Holderness Family is my favorite). While some of the things I watch do feed my soul, I’m being passive, taking in other people’s creations, like consuming packaged foods. When I am constantly consuming information and entertainment, there’s too much coming in and no room for what wants to come out.

Research indicates that on average, people across the world spend 2.5 hours per day on social media.(1)  While there certainly is educational content and it can be a way to connect with or follow family and friends, we were not meant to be passive consumers but rather active creators. There are also studies on the negative effects of social media usage on our mental health – impacting our attention spans, our self-esteem, our sense of connection to reality and others (2). A social media fast, like a news fast, is worth trying. Notice what you are drawn to in the space that opens up. Every time I do this, I am amazed at the creative ideas that arise from within. I invite you to join me in doing more of what feeds your soul!

photo of stone buddha

 by Jane Norton

 “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

Anne Lamott

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

REFLECTION

Estimate how much time you think you spend scrolling or distracting yourself with various forms of social media, emails, news, etc.

Then observe yourself in action. Consider a social media fast. Notice what emerges in the space that opens up. What might you create rather than consume?

PRACTICE

Make a list of all the things that feed your soul.

Commit to do at least one every day. If you find yourself scrolling too much, stop and switch to a soul practice.

And when you get back on social media, check out The Global Day of Unplugging!

RESOURCE

1. Data from research company GWI (Global Web Index) shows how much time we spend on social media – an average of 2 hours and 23 min.

2. UC Davis blog on Social Media’s Impact on Our Mental Health and Tips to Use it Safely