I’ve been practicing mindfulness for a while now.
I say ‘practicing’ because, like anything else worth doing, it’s a practice that requires practice. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Sometimes being mindful means going deep, eating slow to savor flavors, really listening to a song, or a student or the way my cat purrs- sometimes mindfulness is turning fully On.
But just as often, I’m finding out, it requires negation of some kind.
Sometimes this means not rushing to fill space or silence, narrowing my focus or actively choosing not to do more things in favor of doing one thing well.
‘Stay narrow to go deep’ is quite possibly the most important lesson I learned in school (especially in that it was really two lessons in one- ‘stay narrow to go deep’ and ‘everyone has wisdom to share, even people who may seem at first to be mean or rude.’).
As I’ve worked towards being more fully present, especially with the people I love, this tendency to ask not only ‘what do I need’ but also ‘what do I not need’ has started to bleed into unexpected places. Like pencils (which is a story for another day), and social media. A few months ago, I deleted my facebook account, fueled by a mixture of indignation/disgust at their shifting shifty privacy policies, mixed feelings over the record of my early college days, morbid curiosity to see if I could really do it and this creeping tendency to ask ‘Do I need this?’. The result: An embarrassment of newly freed empty time and, more surprisingly delightful a mental weight lifted. What was happening with every person I’d met since high school? What was the trending meme to see and share? Did I accurately convey the depth of our friendship via a Happy Birthday wall post? Turns out, I didn’t know and I didn’t need to know.
This is not to say that the internet, or even social media is ‘BAD’ or unnecessary for everyone. It’s a tool, and like any other tool, if it’s the tool you need it’s useful to have it. But if you don’t need it, keeping it on hand costs resources you don’t need to spend. A cement mixer, for example, is an amazing tool that makes driveways, foundations and roads possible in a timely manner. But for me, personally, to store one in my garage is an unnecessary burden.
The reason I mention the facebook break-up, is because The longer I’m away from facebook, the more I’ve been thinking about this space as well. What is this space? Online portfolio? I have a website now that I invest time and a bit of money into to maintain in a professional manner. A sounding board? I have friends family and colleagues with whom I feel comfortable practicing ideas and thinking outloud. A way to document process? I’ve already been documenting processes in the garden via instagram and really enjoy the quick, limited format (mainly as it discourages long winded, rambly navel gazing, much like I’m doing now)…Couldn’t I do the same with my studio work? And really, how much of this do you need? I’ll let you decide for yourself- Whether you’ve been along for the ride, or have stumbled upon this site for the first time (maybe via a search for ‘weird armpit scab*”) please, look around, read, enjoy. I won’t delete the blog, I won’t say good bye forever, and I certainly won’t be giving up the internet (because one thing I do need is videos of goats screaming like people) but I am walking away, at least for a little while.
This space has been incredibly useful over the past five years- it helped me to find my voice, gave me a safe space to rehearse ideas, and even once fueled dreams of internet fame. Several times here I’ve given myself permission to try things out, and now I’m giving myself permission to let it go.
catlynch.com to see the big ideas
@cat_digs_dirt to see the little ones,
and crlynch2(at)gmail(dot)com to ask about either.
all the best,
*to date, the most popular way visitors find this blog