I'm currently on an extended break from Instagram shenanigans. It had to get really uncomfortable, and I had to get a bit ugly before I finally had the guts to actually tell my followers I was on an indefinite break.
I had withdraws the first couple days...not from seeing other's content (I had gotten pretty bored looking at all-decor-all-the-time), but from popping on to share Stories, which is my favorite part of IG. By the end of the first week I wasn't waking up with my first thought being "check instagram", so I actually freed up my morning hours (yes, I said 'hours') to do new creative things...you know, like showering.
I've had some really good stretche of time to noodle around in my imagination how I could change my experience on Instagram. I have a pattern in my life, and I realize some would call it "being flakey", but when something starts being monotonous, boring, not fun, annoying, etc....I bail. Whatevs. Earlier in my life I would feel ashamed about this. Culture frowns on it, and perhaps rightly so if you happen to produce a child and decide to bail. But I'm only talking about my hobbies. Afterall, I've been married to the absolute love of my life for almost 33 years, and raised 6 kids...I wouldn't call that flakey.
As with many of my creative pursuits, I find success fairly easily, but I've yet to find the path to sustaining that success. And when it starts to feel uncomfortable, I bail. Sometimes it's permanent and I never look back. Other times I pick it up and give it a go again til it feels awful and bail again.
I don't believe there is some inherent flaw in my personality that prohibits me from moving forward in sustained success (which I would like to define as JOY above any other measurement or rubric). I believe it's a simple matter of lining up my energy with the energy of my desires. It's a GIFT to know when to tap the brake (or jump on it with both feet) when you feel a bit out of control of something. Some folks like the bumpy ride, I seriously don't. So if there's any 'work' to be done, and *if* I feel like doing it....it would be to focus on the FEELING I expect to get if said success was sustained. Because truly, we want things not for the thing itself but for the feeling we think we'll have once we get it.
Let me back pedal a bit here to talk about goal-setting and those who enjoy chasing goals, crushing goals, screaming about goals, hustling for their goals, ad nauseam.
I don't set goals. Ever.
Here's why: Firstly, my personality loves spontaneity. I don't enjoy focusing on one thing for too long. Again, very unpopular in our culture. Again, whatevs. Secondly, I have GREAT FAITH in my Inner Being knowing what I truly want out of this life experience, as well as showing me the easiest path to it. Thirdly, most often goals can feel unreachable in vulnerable moments....and instead of spurring me on, they instead taunt me and bring out that delightful sarcastic and sadistic inner dialogue that offers a tempting one way ticket to TUP (The Ugly Place). And Lastly, I've just lived enough dang life to know I really don't know what I want most of the time....except to feel FREE, HAPPY, SAFE, and FRISKY. I let the Universe deliver to me the experiences that match those things. Getting too specific, for me, sometimes ruins the surprise. And many times I manifest things I totally thought I wanted...only to be disappointed or worse, terrified. (I didn't realize I was scared of heights til I manifested a "dream drive" down the California Coast to Big Sur. And by terrified I might mean I almost passed out in Anne Shirley fashion by the uncontrollable thought of falling off the cliff next to me. Zero fun, BTW.) So no hate to those who thrive in an environment of goal-setting and all that....but much love to those like me who enjoy life as it comes while focusing on finding your happy place slothing on your daybed on the back porch.
After a bumpy ride from about November on, I started letting go of things that seemed attached to 'dreams'. I mean, if I stop leading and writing music for my church, I'll miss deadlines for competing for the POSI awards and the recognition! (The Posi's are a New Thought spin on the Grammy's... VERY small scale, although in my sphere it's kinda a bit deal. Though having attended one, I left feeling rather blase' about it.) But I began realizing I wanted my Sunday mornings back, the PEACE and FREEDOM of no commitments and no deadlines. That desire trumped the angst of continuing in hopes of winning an award and recognition. And honestly, my creativity was severely in the dump at that point anyway. As soon as I began earnestly thinking about taking sabbatical, new musicians moved into town, stage ready. Perfect timing. But again, like IG, things had to get really uncomfortable for me to just say "I just don't want to anymore."
At the time I was also becoming frustrated with IG, and tried to change things up a bit...I stopped participating in share groups and giveaways which for me, were feeling very non-authentic. My growth stagnated. I began getting bitter watching others continue to grow while I hovered at the same number. I got irritated with the constant questions people asked me that could easily be googled. I felt used up many days...but still I continued. We began a major renovation on the house in January, and somewhere near the end of February I was OVER ALL THINGS HOUSE. I am a home decor Instagrammer. So yeah, not super convenient. By end of March, I let go of my account, told my followers I was on IG vacay for an unknown amount of time, and put the app on my last page of my phone. These days I rarely check it.
I've popped on my Stories, like when we were traveling, or when I wanted to chat about new ideas I was considering for rebranding and starting fresh....but I still get antsy when I'm on the app. Still tapping the brake, slowing down. And at this point, IG just doesn't hold the appeal for me...other than being the easiest way to share myself via stories. But I just don't care for the other stuff that comes with that.
(this pic cracks me up for SOOOO many reasons. I'm supposed to be pointing out the Golden Gate Bridge, obviously, but instead I'm pointing to some dude holding something in a rather awkward way...and my expression is well...and I didn't know that dude was back there....making my expression even more hilarious.)
Since I believe my Inner Being knows what I want and the easiest path to it, I'm again reminding myself with cooing words that I only need to relax, do only what feels best, and stay general. Stay off the freaking specifics. It's been helpful for me to think about how awesome and natural it felt to share silly stuff or helpful stuff or vulnerable stuff in my stories (or my music for that matter), and then find how it brought some happy to someone's day. Or how just being a normal person helped someone feel like they were ok too. I love making normal sexy and relatable. :) So I guess I make some intentional choices where to direct my thoughts regarding IG (succeeding occasionally *wink*), deliberately focusing on the parts I like best.
(I like to think Mickey represents my Inner Being...so I adore this statue of one of my fave humans and his Muse)
So...I still don't know what my future holds regarding music, IG or anything else I've let go of (this blog?). But I'm only chasing FREEDOM right now. And I trust my IB will light up a path to freedom in any endeavor that feels right. I know I am an encourager, and it brings such a rush to know that just 'doing me' encourages others....so vehicles for doing so will appear at the perfect time....I'm just basking in the freedom I've found from letting go of what isn't serving me best this season.
(Random pics from our recent trip to California)