Are we losing real connection with social media?

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Just yesterday I was talking with my friend at breakfast about how we used to write letters to our friends and family as late as in the 1990’s. We reminisced about the letters that we still have tucked away from friends that we kept in touch with. We remarked on how amazed we were that we took so much time to write many pages about how our lives were going and waited for our friends to respond.

Old Letters:

I recently de-cluttered my old letters and memory items and I kept one whole binder full of them. I was amazed at how detailed the letters were and how heartfelt they were. I found that the friends that I used to connect with through letters (long distance friends) were all now on social media (myself included) and how I felt that I lost a real personal connection to them. I can see through their photos and comments more or less how their lives are going, but these stories don’t encompass how they themselves are going through life and what their dreams, hopes and disappointments are. I miss that real connection to them. When we used to write letters to each other we only focused on one person at a time, writing to them and sharing our lives and also feeling so honored that they personally shared theirs with us by writing to us. Even with message apps like Facebook messenger and Whatsapp I feel that the personal connection is a little lost in the immediacy of the messages.

Real Human Connection:

Even though I am still on social media I have really started to prefer making time to meet people in person for coffee, tea, breakfast or lunch. We have a real human connection over a drink or a meal and we can really be in the present moment with each other and give each other attention. This is real human connection and there is nothing else like it. When you see someone eye to eye, there is a real bond and real caring there.

Connections to long distance friends:

I have been musing about how to connect more to long distance friends away from social media or messaging apps as well. I have many local friends that I try to see once a month or every couple of months. However, I do have some dear friends who are long distance that I want to maintain a deeper connection with. I think in the coming weeks I am going to suggest to them that we write each other letters, emails or set up a Zoom or Skype call maybe once a month to really be able to be in the present moment and connect with each other. I miss really knowing how they are in their lives. I miss knowing all of the nuances and the details that we told each other over letters.

On social media we can get some of the story of someone’s life- the highlight reel as it were. It is a wonderful thing in some respects because we can see places they have been, photos of major events and musings about daily life. However, I think that we really miss the personal details and some of the struggles that our friends used to share with us in a more intimate way. I feel that I am growing further apart from the people that I only see on social media and not through any other medium. I feel that I have to sift through the clutter of so many posts and also advertisements to really see a glimpse of what is going on in their lives. It begins to feel impersonal.

I am beginning to evaluate my relationship with social media as well. I don’t post as many personal things as I used to. I might post something about myself or my family maybe once a month or every couple of weeks because it just doesn’t feel very personal to me. That being said, I have made some very lasting connections in Facebook groups and we have kept the conversation going with other mediums such as Skype.

This week after this conversation with my friend, more than ever I am seeking to see people in person more often, to make real connections and to find ways to communicate more personally with some dear friends who are long distance.

I would love to know your thoughts on social media. Do you feel a real connection there? Do you meet people in person very much these days?

Feel free to comment below on your experiences or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

—Trista

Letting go of clutter = Letting go of pain

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Recently, Oprah (on her show and podcast Super Soul Sunday) has started a special series on the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. Each Monday they talk together about a different chapter and readers of the book call in with their questions. I read this book many years ago, but this program reignited my interest in it. I picked up a copy of the book and to my surprise the chapter on the “pain body” really had a lot of meaning to me. I began to wonder if letting go of clutter and extra things in your environment could lead to letting go of pain. In my experience it certainly has.

According to Tolle “This energy field of old but still very-much-alive emotion that lives in almost every human being is the pain-body.”

I also believe that a negative energy force can live in the clutter we keep in our homes. Even if it is an every day item that we keep that belonged to someone else, if there was pain around this person in our lives or if it was painful to let them go because they have passed away, that item can carry pain with it instead of joy. You will know when you look at or hold those items.

In the chapter called “Breaking Free” Tolle states:

It is your conscious Presence that breaks the identification with the pain-body. When you don’t identify with it, the pain body can no longer control your thinking and so cannot renew itself any more by feeding on your thoughts. The pain-body in most cases does not dissolve immediately, but once you have severed the link between it and your thinking, the pain body begins to lose energy. Your thinking ceases to be clouded by emotion; your present perceptions are no longer distorted by the past.

—Eckhart Tolle “A New Earth”

When we are clearing our homes we are focusing very much on the present moment with our things as we decide what to keep in our homes and what to let go of. In this sense, the amount of pain and stress dissipates with each clearing session. You are clearing away more than just physical items. You are clearing away the painful attachments you held on to for so long that are no longer serving you in this present moment.

It’s like with each box and bag that leaves your home, a part of you feels a little lighter, there is less stress from the past weighing on you. You are freeing yourself from the pain that those things represent and lightening the load on your body and your mind.

When we no longer identify with, or put a label on certain things such as “I should keep this because _____________ gave it to me.” or “This belonged to _____________.” If you have a warm, loving feeling around that item, by all means keep it in your home because it radiates love. However, if the item is kept because of guilt, shame or an attachment to someone negative in your life or a difficult time in your life, let it go. It is part of the pain that is not serving you in your present moment.

Have you found that when you let go of things you feel less stress or you feel lighter? It means that you are starting to let go of the pain in your life.

Comment below on this question, or feel free to email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 
trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Phone Addiction: Reclaiming my life and days

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Around a week or so ago, an event happened to a friend of mine that changed my life as well. My friend (and accountability partner) was painting her kitchen and had a bucket of water near her when she accidentally dropped her phone in the bucket. She had to dry out her phone for several days, so that meant no phone for her during that time. Curiously, at this same time I was noticing that I was spending way too much time on my phone, especially continually checking email and social media. At the end of the day, or even during the day it would feel as though my brain were scrambled and confused from information overload. It was such a happy accident that my friend went without her phone for a few days, because it was a wake-up call to me that living without a phone, or reducing your time significantly on it can be so, so valuable.

Before this big change which I will tell you about here, I was spending an average of 4-5 hours a day on my phone. I know that some of that was listening to podcasts, however I know a lot of time was wasted checking too many apps too many times in a row. I was shocked at how much time I was spending on my phone, but I noticed I would go back to the same habits. Since I had been exploring the concept of the present moment so much and wondering why we are all so afraid of the present moment, I decided to create a different daily experience to reclaim my days. It is important to note that I am not perfect. At times I really feel like checking in on something, so I may do that, but my habits have gotten so much better over the past few days and the results have been astounding.

First of all, my first few minutes of the day are not spent checking in on anything on my phone. I have started to meditate, then exercise first thing in the morning. I used to use the timer on my phone for meditation but that caused me to launch into checking other things. So, now I use the oven timer for meditation.

My accountability partner and I have cooperated on how many messages we now leave each other per day as far as our progress and things we have learned. The limit on the messages means that we both have a big part of the day that is dedicated to focused work. That is so very important that you have time during your day to really focus and not be distracted by notifications, messages, apps, texts, emails and phone calls. This means report on what is to get done in the morning and then we don’t come back until the afternoon to report on how we have done for the day. This system works great!

I have also set a short amount of time to post on social media for my business which includes Facebook and Instagram. I do quickly check notifications and answer comments/questions. Over the last few days I have met a friend in person for tea, but I have not really looked at a lot of what is going on with people’s lives on Facebook. At the beginning it can feel like maybe you are not in the loop as far as the news with people that you know. However, I feel much more connected to people when I am able to meet with them in person over coffee, tea or a meal. I am making that type of connection a priority right now. I can text, email or call people as well who are long distance. I don’t have to be “in the know” about every detail at every moment because I have found that it really overloads my brain and I don’t have the capacity to be at my best for myself, my business or my family in that scrambled state.

I have noticed that if I have focused work time from 8:30am-11:30am I can accomplish an amazing amount of work. I can do a lot of writing, following up with people, work on my website and more. This is my real creative time and if I keep my brain clear it can really work for me. I have been amazed at how productive such a short work time can be if you really keep focused and on task.

After I have had lots of productive time in the morning I can then enjoy a lunch break, do some projects or chores, do some errands, spend time reading a book and more. I have more free hours to really explore life. The other day I even got out a paint set and painted on some nice multi-media paper and had a relaxing time.

In the evenings I can relax sooner after dinner, chat with my family, have family reading time and more. Limiting the time on my phone has brought me more time, more peace of mind, more focus and more present moment awareness.

I realize that I really was addicted to my phone. I think often when I was checking email and social media was that I was searching for validation, searching for proof that I was enough. I don’t need that because I have the present moment to tell me that I have infinite possibilities to explore in life.

Have you found that you are spending too much time on your phone? Are you checking email and social media too much? What has your experience been with this?

Feel free to comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Possibility Space

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Recently a client told me that de-cluttering and clearing her home was like seeing the sunshine come through the clouds. If you have a home that is covered in clutter in the form of piles of paper, boxes of things, overflowing bags and shelves your home feels like a dark, cloudy day. There is a beautiful, charming and lovely home underneath, you just have to take a few minutes a day to remove the clutter and begin to see the light shine. You begin to see the possibility of the home that was always there, of the space that you have been craving and searching for. You are peeling back the dark layers to reveal a sparkling space.

I have noticed through work with clients and through my own home clearing process and continual care of my home that layer after layer of clouds start to go away, and the light of new ways of life and new ways of being start to shine through. It is not just about our physical space, it is about the mental clutter that the physical items create as well. Here are a few examples I would like to share with you about my personal experience.

Play Space Possibilities:

One super fun result of our recent de-cluttering of our entire home has been that we have started to thin out a large collection of board games. This is a process that will take some time, but in the meantime we can actually see the games that remain on the shelves, pick them out and play 1-3 games a week. My 10 year old son has really taken a liking to some games that we hadn’t played in years. It’s been fun and such a great evening activity for the three of us! I look forward to playing more games together.

Time Possibilities:

Another thing that I have noticed as I have de-cluttered is that I have more time. As a result of going through my memory boxes and wondering why we may be afraid of the present moment and thus are spending too much time on our phones and other devices, I have decided to spend very little time on my phone. I was spending upwards of 4-5 hours on it every day. I have noticed in the days following the choice to be on my phone as little as possible, I have gained those 4-5 hours in my day back and then some. I have had more time to spend with my family relaxing, more time to read books, meditate, write in a journal, think about ideas, draw, explore art projects and more. This is a huge revelation to me. I think that I was losing so much time every day not only when I was on my phone but because of the after-effects of constantly checking email and social media. I felt like my brain was really scrambled from information overload. I felt like I was spinning around thinking that I had to do 10 things at a time when really I only needed to do a few things each day. I feel so at home now just in the present moment, just being. It is so amazingly refreshing.

Peace of Mind Possibilities:

Recently we finished getting all of our tax paperwork ready for our accountant. It was a relatively quick process and as a result of my de-cluttering I found an important document we needed for our taxes. Also, after we got our packet ready to drop off at the accountant’s office I was able to find exactly where to file the remaining papers since I only have 1 file drawer to keep papers in. I no longer wonder if the papers are in the office or garage. This is fantastic peace of mind!

Are you beginning to see the possibilities of clearing more space for play, creativity, peace of mind and being in your home? If you’d like some help and would like to work one on one with me, I’d love for you to reach out. comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Joyful Minimalism: 

If you are ready to explore your things but need weekly/daily support and would like to work with me one on one, feel free to reach out to me by email and I can send you a client survey and set up a call with you. I can work with local clients and long distance clients. 

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com