Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Retreat

Acrylics on canvas panel, 9x12 inches
I'm reading a wonderful book called The Grace in Aging, by Kathleen Dowling Singh.  It is essentially about spending the later chapters of our lives awakening spiritually, so we can be truly free while we're still alive to enjoy it.  Highly recommended.

My last two days, on retreat essentially, were delicious.  I feel like, in large part, this season of my life is about being "in retreat," in the sense of withdrawal from life, silence, solitude, taking stock, severely limiting distractions, focusing on the now

I'm really disenchanted again with Facebook, although I'm not withdrawing from it entirely.  I go through phases where I like Pages and follow them for a bit, then feel like I'm getting too emotionally embroiled in whatever it is I'm following, then I'll stop following or unlike the Page.  The thing about FB that bothers me most these days, is that every time a friend likes or comments on something, anything, then that shows up on your newsfeed.  So even if you don't particularly want to follow something, if somebody you're friends with follows it and likes a post, then you're seeing it by default.  I swear, if I see one more photo of a poor animal in distress, I'm going to scream.  Better to not even look at the newsfeed at all.  And soon it'll be election season in the States, and I have zero desire in seeing all that crap.

The best use of Facebook for me is the messaging feature, which is basically a shortcut to emailing a friend.

In addition to the novels I've been reading, many of which I've told you about (the ones I recommend), lately I've been reading non-fiction by a few people I trust, people who tell the truth about our culture, society, politics, the world.  Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, Naomi Klein, Wendell Berry.  I want to know the truth.  But I'm not an activist by any stretch.  I won't spend my life trying to change things that are beyond my control.  But I do want to know the truth about them. 

I ask myself why these things are important to me, why not just stick my head in the sand.  I feel that just knowing the truth, getting confirmation from trusted voices that what I perceive is happening is in fact really happening, makes me feel like I am part of the solution, despite my out-in-the-world inaction (separate from my personal, at-home action), rather than part of the problem (which I define as all those in the world who are ignorant of the truth, those who perpetuate lies and disinformation, those who are at the top socioeconomically and who therefore feel no responsibility for the world's ills because they don't impact their own lives personally).

Also, the more I know about how the world really is, as opposed to how I hope it will be, the more able I am to dissolve my expectations of it.  No one is entitled to anything here.  What we do get in life are gifts.  Even the difficulties and hard lessons are gifts.  How else will learn what we've each come here to learn?  Just being alive is a gift.  I want to use wisely the precious time I have left. 


MegWeaves said...

Sounds like a good book. FB bothers me a lot, too. For one thing I don't get my genuine friends' updates in my newsfeed, which is why I'm still there. And yesterday it was all about The Don. Good grief, eh.

MegWeaves said...
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Charlton Stitcher said...

To use wisely the precious time you have left is such a wise philosophy. Seeking the truth for yourself and asking questions is a part of personal growth and striving. Without those things what do we live for?

Roberta Warshaw said...

I will have to read that book. It sounds like an interesting read. As I age, I too need more solitude but I can't get it right now. I am hopeful for a future where I can.

As for FB, I have never been comfortable with it. I am becoming less and less inclined to post anything of value. Sometimes I will post something about a show I watched recently just to have a superficial conversation but that is about it.

I have some friends in common with my estranged daughter which is a problem. I think I may end up deleting my account. It wouldn't be the first time I ran into problems with the lack of privacy on there. An old friend of mine posted a photo of my kids when they were small. Through a friend of a friend my daughter saw the photo and posted such venom about me. It was horrible. I still have not recovered.

I find it more and more disturbing every day.

Leslie said...

Cracked me up to hear you complain about all your friends' liked posts showing up on your feed. I almost unfriended you a few times cause I didn't wanna see a lot of the things you were liking. Then I realized that I could set it to not show me stuff from that particular feed. So as those things came along, I just clicked on that itty bitty down arrow in the top right corner and selected "I don't wanna see anymore from Joe Blow". Wa-la - still friends with you but now seeing only the stuff I enjoy, like artists and cats.
But I still don't like FB much. Instagram works great for me - lots of pics, very few words.

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

I'm with you on FB... only reason I am still on it is it allows me to keep in touch with a few people I care about, and it is easier sometimes than individual e-mails. But I'm tired of all the 'shared' stuff, and definitely skim over or hide feeds I'm not interested in. As for the state of the world, I'm increasingly convinced that each generation has things to deal with that seem dire, and some are... there will always be challenges and people who care, don't care, those who will try to fix things, those who won't. I think you are going in a good direction, and we could all benefit from following your lead! I have made a note of the book you are reading... will check it out.

Maggi said...

I'm certainly with you on the FB thing. I now have just a few people on my 'Faves' list and simply look at that one regularly. As for the rest ...

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Glad your retreat is going well. I'm of the same is a gift!

I'm thankful to read about this tiny arrow on facebook as I have used it recently to rid myself of awful posts from family members and old family friends. Now I'm feeling better about facebook with some more dead and suffering animals or stupid political comments.

Sweetpea said...

Hi Connie ~
I so understand your f'book angst. There is quite a simple way to stop people's activity from appearing on your own feed. Whoever is *bugging* you at the moment, just go to their homepage and up at the top where you see the check mark that you are 'friends' hover your mouse over that word and a drop-down menu will appear. The first option is "get notifications" - uncheck it. Voila. No more notifications in your feed. Now, that being said, you can still see what they're up to, interested in, etc. if you are working on a desktop or laptop computer which displays the activity column on the far right side (doesn't appear on my iPad). It will all appear over there anyway (or most of it). So at any time if something DID catch your interest, you could click on it & see what they liked, etc. Otherwise ...... poof gone!

I have people I love, but do not love what they post OR more often for me, the frequency of how much they post. Geesh, I've no time to scroll through all that.

Anyhoo, hope that helps. PM me if you have any questions. Good luck ;>)

Corrine at said...

I couldn't agree more about the "animal" posts. Makes me nuts. I did know how to turn off notifactions, but I don't like the fact that FB decides to turn them off for you. I do have some folks I only get to hear about on FB and I would miss that, but most of the rest of it is a total waste of time. And yes, I don't need to see 40 posts or sharing stuff a day. I think that's why I've been only posting a photo these days and not every day and a share once in a blue moon. xoxo