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on fasting from social media

May 7, 2015

The end of my 40 days is near and it’s been an interesting 40 days. If you are new to this space, I turned 40 back on April 2nd and in celebration of my 40th birthday made a list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 41. At the top of that list was a 40 day fast from social media and a break from my etsy shop.

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

I spent the first week finishing up open orders and completing a few other projects that were on a deadline. I have had some other projects that I’ve had to do with a time crunch during these 40 days, but for the most part I’ve spent these days with lots of space. As this time comes to a close, I felt like reflecting on a few of the things I’ve experienced and learned.

1. Fasting from social media (or even just saying no to things and reducing your commitments) is not a magic bullet to clarity. I truly had this expectation that when I removed some of these temptations I would automatically feel refreshed. So not true. Silencing all this extra “noise” in my life was truly refreshing at first, but it hasn’t been until the last week or so that I’ve really started to feel (and I hesitate to use the world feel) some clearing in my mind.

2. Removing something from your life truly makes you realize how often you run to it. Removing the mindlessness of facebook and even instagram I realized how much I went to it just to veg out. It was shocking to me how many times I would be working (like truly working) on the computer and find myself done with that I was working on and start to check out facebook or blogs. While the clarity didn’t come right away, the extra time in my day to find other ways to relax came on day one.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

3. I had to admit completely that I got a lot of good feelings (think the Norweigian dude from Frozen – “lutefisk for gud feelings?” only in my case say “social media for gud feelings?) from checking instagram and facebook for likes and comments. I really think I was in this place where I was sewing, stitching, creating etc merely because I was using it as a means to making myself feel good. And it led to a very quick burnout and creative depression.

 

Dragonfly WIP - menagerie #3

 

4. Take a break is a good thing. I really do think I was in a horrible creative depression. While I found myself able to design things as people were bringing ideas to me – there was little happening in the way of just my own open expression. I have to say that I’ve had such an amazing break and putting my shop on vacation for these 40 days has been so good for me. There has been great clarity and free-ness of mind when it has come to seeing art in the world around me and being able to express that. I really don’t think that would have happened if I hadn’t taken a break. Everyone finds a slump in their work at periods of time no matter what their work is. That’s the whole reason we have a Sabbath! A weekly point of rest for us. It’s why vacations are so refreshing at times.

 

dragonfly @ urban threads WIP

 

5. Social media isn’t all bad – there is community there. I have to say that I have missed my stitching community on instagram so much. I’ve missed seeing what other people are stitching, having conversations with other makers and just the encouragement that I do find there. I’m super excited to jump back in and the same for facebook. There are people on there that I don’t ever get to see and I do love seeing their faces and I’ve missed that. I guess ultimately it’s all a matter of using it wisely and with balance.

 

dragonfly - Flying Menagerie @ Urban Threads

 

I’ve been in a book study these last few months reading Tara Owen’s book Embracing the Body. I’m still wrestling through my thoughts on it, but in essence it’s about being awake to the world around us. Probably my favorite part of this book so far is what she wrote about creativity and making.

creation is the act that declares the physical world and can bear the weight of glory – glory expressed through us, in us and with us. Glory manifest through beauty…{the idea that} simple threads can be redeemed to physically bear messages of goodness and kindness.

Last year at this time I was really wrestling with being real. With taking a jump and being brave. I had read a  speech that Roosevelt had given about stepping into the arena. Not just being a spectator, but being brave and taking that jump. I’ve been amazingly blessed and I’m so glad that I did take the jump last year. But now, I am moving more towards being alive and aware of why I’m creating and for whom. There is nothing I love more than running my hands over something that I’ve just stitched up. I am always amazed that simple threads can be combined with stitches to make a picture of something. And I want the work of my hands to be nothing more than a message of goodness and kindness.

**photos are of a dragonfly embroidery I just finished. Pattern is from Urban Threads and it will be available in the shop soon!

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