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Disconnect to connect

Disclaimer: I realise it’s very ironic that I am using a social media outlet to jot down these words and ideas. It’s even more ironic that I am using another social media outlet to reach out to colleagues and friends to try to make a difference and to get their input. However, at this moment, it is the only way I see possible to create a discourse.

Last weekend my partner and I had a catch-up with a friend who told us he had recently de-activated his Facebook account. He thought it wasn’t good for the world, and more specifically himself and his focus. Although I fully agreed with him, I couldn’t help but think: How else am I going to get yoga teacher cover gigs and get exposure?

The cover assignments I got so far in London, were mostly through cover-teaching dedicated Facebook group. And although I don’t have my general push notifications ‘on’, I do have them activated for these groups. However, I seem to be always too late, because it’s a matter of seconds before someone else has “robbed me” of my opportunity to teach! This results in me constantly being on Facebook to try to be the first to respond, in the meantime looking at hundreds of cat videos, reading infotainment and watching other people do yoga – in tropical places, pretzel style, on mountain tops – in a way I cannot (yet). You get the idea; I’m in my own bubble and I start falling down that rabbit hole I recently talked about in a previous blog of feeling inadequate, tired and just truly disconnected with my true self. As a yoga teacher, we frequently remind our students to check in with themselves. How is it that I’m lacking this for myself?

Although I am a very hands-on person who goes out to market herself face-to-face (e.g. in yoga studios and at veterinary practices), meets new people and gets the ball rolling quickly, I haven’t been doing any of that lately.

I didn’t used to be like this. When I read Dave Eggers’ book ‘The Circle’ (which has recently been made into a film with Emma Watson), I was horrified. I would never take it as far as the character in the book and be so dependent on ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’. But the addiction comes gradually; we don’t notice the incremental changes until we’re living in this Frankensteinish society where everything is open access and shared. Welcome to a Brave New World.

I used to get irritated that my partner was on his phone so much when we first started dating. Now I am the same; the phone goes on after I awake and I start scrolling through my news feed. Any likes on my page or posts? Cover gigs I could get? Nope… 90% of the time the posts are not relevant (e.g. payroll-only or looking for a Pilates teacher), 9% of the time I’m too late. And although I learn a lot by reading other people’s articles shared on yoga lifestyle, it does keep me from doing ‘Deep Work’, a concept written about by Cal Newport, but implemented way before his time by people like Carl Jung and J.K. Rowling (read a review about the book here). For instance, getting started on writing those two books which are floating around in my head and always start wandering around when I try to fall asleep (read: the time I am offline). But also, other tasks like going out to see vets and studio owners, keeping up with my feline behaviour knowledge and maintaining a good yoga practise for myself:

Excerpt from Cal Newport's book Deep Work (2016)

Especially for the latter I been flunking out of lately, as I am too tired from the cycling and teaching I do and would rather pacify myself by scrolling through my digital Soma pill.

Excerpt from Cal Newport's book Deep Work (2016), Quote by writer Neal Stephenson

After our guest left, J. and I talked a bit more about our- erm my- social media use. How could I diminish the use of social media, but still be getting opportunities in teaching? I watched Cal Newport’s TED Talk about quitting social media.

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Dr. Cal Newport at TEDx: Quit social media

And although I don’t want to quit Facebook totally (yet), I do want to be nót dependent on it anymore, in terms of work. The one thing I could think of is to build up genuine relations with my direct physical community and my colleagues, both yoga teachers and vets. This might be the long way around, but as my favourite song Dry County goes: “Nothing good comes easy, all good things take some time”.

It reminded me of a coffee date I had earlier last week with a fellow yoga teacher. I had contacted her months before to tell her I would like to help her out whenever she needed a cover, because her style suited mine. We met up and I totally forgot my first intention (business) when we were chatting away and learned so much about and from each other, until she started talking about cover opportunities. I didn’t even care that much anymore, it was just very nice to have an actual connection with another being.

In the end, I think that it is that genuine connection that will get you in places and creates opportunities for life.

Thus, from now on, I will be muting my notifications, checking my emails on dedicated time slots of the day and start writing those books, going out to see colleagues and trusting cover gigs will come my way in another, perhaps more sustainable, way.

I will take my phase of immersing myself fully in Facebook and repair the cracks it has left with gold as the Japanese would do, to remind myself that I am more beautiful with this gained experience and awareness.

If you need me, send me a message and be patient, or just call.