Social Media, Serendipity and Self-Compassion

cliffwalk142While social media has many drawbacks including its skewed version of reality that can sometimes make us feel inadequate, it can offer up a whole lot of support (which it did, in my last post, and a heartfelt thanks to all of you who commented for that). Despite it’s obsession with cats, it can sometimes offer us a completely different animal to admire and it can also educate, inform and offer wonder and consolation as we serendipitously come across fascinating and helpful articles and links. At times it’s algorithms can be suspect and constricting but at other times it can offer us truly human connection and insights.

From my last post you’ll know that my tank has been on empty and some of the challenges have not gone away. So it was timely that I found a helpful post today on Facebook from Estrella Azul, a lady that I have made the acquaintance of online through our involvement with #FridayFlash. Her exchanges with me and her work on the Friday Flash website have always been very thoughtful, industrious and kind. Today she has posted about an ongoing project that she is involved with – a set of 52 (weekly) assignments that focus on nurturing and uplifting the self. This week’s assignment Estrella explains is on ‘practising pleasure “doing what you do – creating, reading, hiking, writing, dancing, singing, gardening, running, knitting, cooking, making friends, making art, making love – with everything you’ve got, savoring the experience, letting delight rearrange your insides”. The quote comes from the E-book of assignments 52-52-Love-Your-Wild-Self e-guide by Judy Clement Wall. Linking to Judy’s website from Estrella’s I see that she is interested in developing (wild) creativity, making art and the impetus is developing the self also by fearless love and living. The e-guide offers a weekly task to focus on caring for and bolstering ourselves. In her post on her Love Your Wild Self e-guide she says that “we live in a culture that celebrates a certain kind of martyrdom. We appreciate sacrifice and celebrate those who, day after day, put themselves last. I think this is especially true for women, upon whom we have heaped so many nurture-the-world expectations.”

While not so sure that our culture “celebrates martyrdom” and having seen, especially in the boom years the opposite case where greed and selfishness has often been institutionalized and rewarded, it is true to say that for both men and woman and particularly at certain phases of life juggling work and home issues people can lose sight of themselves. They forget the need for self-care and feel disillusioned. Something that is important to me and that I admire in others is open mindedness and compassion with regard to others. There is no celebrity so famous or public figure so powerful that they should be exonerated from treating others with consideration and respect. And the same for the rest of us. But at times it is ourselves we lack compassion for, we are perfectionists or at least believe that if we cannot solve life’s problems or ‘cope’ continuously then we have somehow failed. Yes, I’m talking about myself but we all set ourselves impossible standards especially in these times when we are led to believe that our efforts and our positive thinking alone can make us succeed (not taking into account, luck, circumstance, economy, the state of the publishing industry etc). Judy Clement Wall talks about self-compassion and in turn links us to Jill’s blog which has the tag line life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible – keep your heart open. Jill compiled a self-compassion e-book filled with reader’s posts on how they practised self-compassion. The self-compassion pdf is free to download.

Judy’s weekly assignment 52-52-Love-Your-Wild-Self e-guide is available to download from Etsy for roughly 15 dollars/euro. Along with Estrella I’m going to give it a go and use the assignments as a structure for seeing myself again and strengthening my spirit and energy. We know to exercise to get our bodies in shape, why not a similar program for the mind?

In my last post I said that my head was under water. I felt adrift and overwhelmed, sorry that I couldn’t post on this blog under ongoing trying circumstances. So many responded and emphathized and shared their own struggles and that in itself helped refill the well. This morning I was able for the first time in many months to do an hour (ish) of writing at my favourite 5am slot. So down, but not out. And I’ll keep posting other consolations I find along the way of self-compassion, those things that we can learn from and enjoy.

6 thoughts on “Social Media, Serendipity and Self-Compassion

  1. Weather is a factor as well. Nothing like some sun and warmth to fuel the soul. Hopefully we should be getting some soon for 2015. My thoughts are with you … not at 5.00am when all good people should be asleep … but two or three hours later each morning I and the Mekon will say a prayer or two for you.

    1. alisonwells

      Yes, it’s been a very long, cold and overcast winter here, the sun is sure to make a huge difference. Thanks for your good wishes.

      1. Another six weeks has passed by and I am still in the writer’s doldrums waiting a fair wind to get started again before the five year anniversary of starting to write on 1 6 2010. Weeks of repairs in hospital, garage and home trying to get all those jobs done I put off in past years while writing was a priority. We have had some good weather here in the Midlands so feeling better and the days are longer. Hope your weather has been good as well and you are feeling much better too. May I take the liberty of sending you a writer’s hug of best wishes for when you wake up later today. I am about to read a few more pages of The Sea by John Banville before I go to sleep. A dreamy memory mix of lovely writing.

  2. Hi, Alison. I’m sorry about your overwhelm and happy to read that you’re writing. Sometimes “down but not out” is a herculean achievement, I know. Let me know if you want to be added to the 52-52 email list.

  3. This is a wonderful post — I’m so glad you’re ‘not out’. I joined you in the 5am slot today; juggled a few ideas, listened to music and started to clamber back up to some kind of creativity. It has been a long winter this time, but my Nan always said about March, “In like a lion, out like a lamb.” Here’s to the daffodils.

  4. Well done, Alison, and keep it up! I am also getting fed up of the hamster wheel right now (you know, trying desperately to get published in the right places, with the right people, at the right time, while juggling family and domestic crises), but I know this is all only temporary. That doesn’t help right now, but we can and will move on from our immediate problems. And yes, here’s to sunshine and warmer days!

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