30 Day Detox from Social Media

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Hello my fellow blog readers!  I have been meaning to get around to sharing my experience of going thirty days without my precious Facebook and Instagram, but life has gotten pretty busy.  I have written blog posts before about going without technology, such as my 10 days at my first meditation retreat and the weekend I turned my cell phone off, but this was a unique experience in and of itself.  It made me realize how much I look at my social media sites when I feel lonely and bored. It also made me feel closer to my best friends and family members because I actually spoke to them on the phone or texted with them more than just following their social media posts.  I am sharing word for word what I wrote in my journal during the 30 days sans social media and then there is a little recap at the end. I hope that this is beneficial and inspires you in some way, that is my ultimate wish in sharing my writing ☺.

Social Media Detox from March 26-April 26, 2019.

3/26/19

I noticed my first pull toward wanting to check my Instagram as I was going on a walk with my friend (I had just posted on my Instagram that morning and wanted to check on any “likes” or “comments” that I received).

3/27/19

Already feeling a profound emptiness when I look down at my phone and there is nothing-no text messages, no phone calls, emails, and definitely nothing to scroll.  Lonely is another word that comes to my mind.  Frustration, but that might have to do with PMS, haha.

3/28/19

My first full 24 hours without social media and I honestly have this feeling of freeness that I haven’t had in a long time.  This feeling of being more of who I really am and being okay with who I am. Happiest I have felt in a long while, a stronger sense of self-esteem, more confidence than I have felt in a long while.  Really doing well with self-care too! I ran today, meditated today, wrote three full pages in my journal, I spent quality time with a buddy, talked with new people in the town I just moved to, feelings of true presence.

3/29/19

There is a serious feeling of emptiness that I feel today.  The dopamine levels in my brain feel very low with no social media to excite it.  I have been reading my online horoscope and my hormone horoscope app (an app on my phone that informs ladies what they might be feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally depending on where we are at in our cycle).  Both of these apps have been on my phone for months, but I never use them because I am usually scrolling on my social media.

I took my friend to the Amtrak this morning and as we were waiting for her train, I reallllly wanted to check my social media, I actually felt physical pangs of frustration in my chest when I realized I couldn’t scroll.   I ended up reading a book instead, which is great because I have been trying to finish the book for months.

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3/30/29

Most likely because I have had a friend visiting me for the last week (I relocated to a new city three weeks ago) and she left last night, I have felt a sense of loneliness today.  I awoke this morning to see nothing on my phone and sensed a feeling of dread/loneliness. My new job hasn’t started yet, so I have had much more free time than what I usually have.

3/31/19


I’m really feeling an emptiness today not being able to look at my social media.  I am really coming into the realization of how much I use social media as a bandage for my feeling of loneliness.  Also, I felt a little guilty today because I accidentally cheated last night when I met a new friend in town and he gave me his Instagram name, so I plugged it into Google and stalked his Instagram pictures for a few seconds until I realized that counts as being on social media.

4/1/19

My sister really triggered me this morning when I informed her about my social media fast (I explained to her how my friend changed the passwords on all my accounts) and she told me that I remind her of an alcoholic, that I sound like an addict and that she’s generally concerned for me.  It really hurt me and I told her that instead of labeling me, I need support and encouragement. I am going to take some space from her.

4/2/19

How interesting, the chapter that I’m reading in “Women Who Run with the Wolves” has a section in it labeled “ADDICTION” and I came across this great quote which resonates strongly with what I have been learning most about what’s needed with social media use: BALANCE. There’s nothing inherently wrong with social media, it’s when we become unbalanced with it that it becomes a problem.

“To alright all this, we resurrect the wild nature, over and over again, each time the balance tips too far in one direction or another.  We will know when there is reason for concern, for generally balance makes our lives larger, and imbalance makes our lives smaller.”

4/3/19

Having feelings of lightness and freedom.  I have been getting things done that I’d otherwise be sitting on if I had social media to distract me.  I have finished multiple books, got paperwork done for my move and for my new job. I also attempted to go to an open mic show at the chai shop down the street from me, but there was a sign on the door that it was canceled.  So I went home with no backup plans, but still wanting connection, so instead of going onto Facebook or Instagram, I ended up going onto my Couchsurfing profile and ended up surfing it for an hour…I totally used it as a replacement, haha, but still….generally felt good today.

4/6/19

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is at the strongest than it has ever been in my life.  I went solo-camping this weekend and ended up meeting these awesome folks; we shared drinks, a bonfire, stories, laughs, and s’mores all night.  At one point, one of the gals I met broke out her phone and had us put in our social media names into her profile so she could add us and we could all stay in touch.  I had to explain to her that she could send me the request, but that I won’t be able to accept it until April 26th due to my social media detox.  They were all fascinated and interested in my decision to detox from social media for a while.  Each one of them explained that they have been feeling the pull to get away from social media for a while as well.

4/7/19

I am realizing that social media is a big energy drain.  With all of the judging, comparing, and feeling the need to keep up with everyone.  Lately I have been feeling a lot lighter in the mind and have more energy for other things.  I have been super busy learning my job and hanging out with new friends, at one point this week I honestly forgot that social media was a thing….like, I forgot that it existed (no joke!!) until someone had mentioned it.  I honestly get stressed out when I think of re-entering the social media world.

4/8/19

Damn.  My feeling of guilt is STRONG!!  I went onto Google and looked up both my Instagram and Facebook to see if I got any new comments or like, as I was looking at my profiles, I thought to myself “You know damn well that you’re cheating from your 30-day detox right?” And then instead of beating myself up, I just observed my antics….observing without judgement.  Observing without judgement is such a powerful action, a practice that I’d like to try and do more often.  Also, I just moved to a new town a month ago and I only have a few friends here so far and to be honest…I was feeling pretty alone lately.  Anyhow, just wanted to come clean on that. Otherwise, things have been going pretty strong with the detox. I went camping, hiking, and worked this weekend.  I finished a book today, which I am pretty sure I’d still be reading for another couple of months if I was currently using my social media. I am still having this feeling of the whole world being at a party that I wasn’t invited to.

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4/15/19

Only 11 days left and I am feeling like I might stay off social media for good.  Things feel more simple, it feels like the 1990s again. The more I think about it, social media is really kind of freaky…..we stay in touch with dozens (actually more like hundreds and thousands) of people that we aren’t maybe necessarily meant to be in contact with anymore.  Also, all of the pictures are fabricated (filters, scanning through multiple pictures and finding the best one) and it’s always intended to get a bunch of likes so how real is it when we are really just trying to please people.  I dunno…just some thoughts.

The biggest takeaway that I got from doing this experiment, if you will, is that my feeling of PRESENCE with people in real life was so strong. I noticed how I was having these really lovely in-person connections with new friends and acquaintances and also my self-esteem skyrocketed!  It was such a relief to not have millions of pictures being thrown in my face of “See! THIS is what you need to be, do, and have to be better.” Instead, I was able to meditate, connect, and go within more to figure out what I was truly needing in any moment. Life became a little more real, my head hurt less from staring at a screen so much, and I really had some profound moments. 

Reflecting

IMG_6499[1]Recently taken at the beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park just a couple hours from where I now live!

I didn’t intend to write a blog post today.  I actually haven’t been writing a whole lot lately, besides in my journal.  I just had a really intense moment as I hoofed it by foot over to the library this morning (I have been trying to do 1-2 days per week of no driving) and I got inspired.  The moment made me want to write it down as soon as possible before I forgot it.  I thought that this would be the perfect place to share it because I feel like someone out there needs to read it and I haven’t written a post in a while.

Lately I have been stressing out about many different things and it has no doubt been manifesting out into my physical reality.  Just lots of tough, dense, life darkness and yet on the other hand, I know that I have had so many blessings as well.  It’s just that, my monkey mind has been on full-swing and I haven’t been sticking with my meditation practice as strongly as I used to….it truly is amazing to see the difference which occurs when I don’t stick with it.  I don’t want to delve into too many of the details of what is going on in my life, but the best way to put it is that I am finally facing a ton of my crap that I can no longer run away from.

So, as I am walking to the library, with cars whizzing by me, loud sirens and car alarms going off…my mind was doing it’s wandering.  As it was wandering, it was playing out all of these different scenarios, such as “Ohhhh, maybe if I decide to take that path, that will create happiness and peace in my life, ohhhh maybe I shouldn’t have done that and then I wouldn’t have found myself in this situation, etc. etc. etc…” It was creating straight up novels based upon a future that hasn’t happened yet and the past that is no longer.  As the stories built up, the anxiety in my chest got stronger.

I turned the corner to head down the main street that gets me to the library.  Everything went quiet since it’s a residential street and it doesn’t have much traffic usually. All of a sudden, my anxiety dissipated and everything felt just like pure peace.  I looked over to my right and in someone’s house window was a message that simply stated “Enjoy the journey.”  All of my worries, all of my planning just dropped like a giant Jenga tower and again, I just felt the pure peace of the moment.  Not one minute later, I noticed a cemetery to the right of the house that I had never noticed before since I always drive to the library.

As I passed by all the tombstones, the wind gently pushed in the direction towards the library causing a chill up and down my spine. I started reading the messages on the tombstones, one in particular was a man that passed away in 2008, he was almost the exact same age as me. Further on, I kept noticing how unique and personal each tombstone was and how there were so many different ages, from a baby that had only lived a week to a man in his late 90s.  I started nearing towards the end and there was a sign that had a message on it, but it was bent and blocked by a big bush, so the only word that was visible on it was bright lettering that stated:

“NOW.”

It just seemed like a pretty clear message to me, as I was worrying the whole morning and night before. It can all end at any moment, truly, so to stay present with wherever you are is the most important.  I no longer want to dwell on past regrets as there isn’t anything that I can do regarding it, except to accept them as lessons.  I also don’t want to keep projecting a future that is yet to be, as Doris Day sang “whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see.”  While it’s good to do a little bit of planning, it’s also best to adjust to the flow and appreciate what is happening now.  I dunno, just a little musing for this Thursday morning, thanks for reading if ya have thus far.  Peace out!  🙂

Revamping before 33!

The road to 33 is looking good!

I have gotten so off track from my initial intentions with what I wanted to do with this blog, but that is going to change!  When I started this blog (gasp) almost five years ago I entitled it “Ilona’s Meditation Challenge” because that’s what it was going to be.  My original plan was to write down what I noticed from starting a daily 20-minute meditation practice and it kind of twisted and turned into something completely different, it became a bit more random.  That’s okay though because from it I have gained a ton of blogging friends and acquaintances.  I would like to steer this blog vehicle though back on track and keep at it.

With my 33rd birthday coming around the corner it has hit me that I truly am not getting any younger here.  So with that, I want to work on sharing a blog post at least once a week about all things MIND, BODY, AND SOUL!  I want to inspire others to be the best versions of themselves, to help remind them that WE CAN CHANGE OUR WAYS and that IT IS NEVER TOO LATE.  The only way that we can make that truly happen though is to have the desire to change, that is the first step.

So in the coming weeks, I will be challenging myself (as my blog page is now accurately named) to post one blog post per week that has everything to do with: meditation, healthy eating, exercise, and anything else that you can think of that helps to heal MIND, BODY, AND SOUL.  I am going to release any guilt that I have held onto about wasting time or any ways in which I have been unconscious.  I want to change within, bring it out into the world and inspire others if they too have this similar goal.

Please join me in these coming weeks.  I plan on sharing what I notice with my two daily meditations (I have now been meditating for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.) I will be sharing book reviews (I am currently reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.) I will be recording guided meditations for you to listen to and try out. I might even try my hand at making a video or two!

The point is, we are all in this together.  Everything is truly connected and everything we thought we knew is not going to last.  So let’s prepare ourselves now so as not to freak out when the crumbling begins (which it has already started a bit anyhow.). Let’s become more conscious together.  Let’s take a look at our bullshit stories that keep running/ruining our lives and transform them.  Please take my hand and cross this river with me.
Peace!

From my jog this morning:


Amen to that!!!!!

Different Paths Leading to Where We’re Meant to Be.

I scored a day off of work and knew exactly what was calling for me.  That beautiful Columbia River Gorge, the area that first called me to Oregon originally.  Despite not being able to find an adventure buddy for the day and the rain hammering down outside, I knew that nature was needed.  For mental health, I have discovered that I need to get out into nature at least once a week.  So I covered myself up with rain gear, laced up my hiking boots, grabbed some snacks, and jetted down the old familiar Highway 84 to get to the gorge.

 

As I pulled into the parking lot to head up to do the 2-mile Fairy Falls loop, I was surprised that there were a few cars already in the parking lot.  It looked like the rain hadn’t scared others away either.  I got out of the car and took the familiar path up to the first set of falls, Wahkeena Falls.  The path was smooth sails up until about halfway up when I hit the first set of packed snow, which wasn’t difficult to maneuver around and I ran into a group of people coming down so I figured it probably wasn’t too bad.  It was about five minutes after that thought that I realized it was going to be a soggy snow packed trail the rest of the way.  You couldn’t see dry patches of ground anywhere once you reached a certain point.

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I made it all the way up to Fairy Falls, but it was a much slower go than usual.  There were previous boot marks from other people, which made the trail much easier, but at times I had to get creative in my footing to make sure I didn’t fall.  There were several times where I had to forgo a trail made by previous people and start a new one or else I would probably be taking a tumble.  It hit me on that trail that this was so metaphoric to how my life has been over the last two years while going through what I believe has been a spiritual awakening.

 

I am not going to lie.  My life has been pretty chaotic ever since doing my first 10-day silent meditation retreat.  It changed my life and not necessarily for the better.  Over the last two years since doing that retreat: I have quit five jobs, lived in six different places in two different cities, started two different school programs–successfully completing one of them, but in the end didn’t end up doing either of those career changes which was the initial plan when I set my eyes on both school programs.  Yet, here I am, healthy and with so many blessings that I can’t even count them all.

 

We all go through this in so many different ways.  We have intentions to manifest a specific dream, only to be thrown off the path with unforseen road blocks or hiccups.  So then, that initial dream twists and turns, but you still end up okay….you just forge a new path.  You either try again or create a new pathway and see if that one takes, only to have a different curve ball thrown at you.  So you pause, reflect a little maybe, and either keep trying on that one path stubbornly or set your sights on the next dream.  This is living!  Trying out new pathways is what keeps us unstuck and gives us freedom.

 

Hopefully this is resonating with some of you, I just felt like I needed to get it out while it was fresh in my mind.  What I have been discovering is that when I come across a multitude of blockages while attempting a specific dream, those blockages are guiding me to take a different path.  When I let go of the exact dream that I had in mind, it gives space for what’s meant for me to come in.  Being happy and in gratitude with what comes to me helps me to drop the struggle of “but it wasn’t supposed to go this way!”  In the past I would get discouraged, depressed, and felt like a failure when my dream didn’t manifest.  Now I am able to rest in a more present awareness of appreciating the path that I am currently on.

 

Peace out!  🙂

 

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