Favourites: March 10th edition

A few simple highlights from the past week:

Knitting

A delightful new knitting project!

LianeMoriarty

A great book.

DSCN6030

 

Our current quick-and-easy ‘go to’ dessert: banana and chocolate chip cake.

From around the web:

Important for HSP to remember.

A mindful approach to difficult emotions.

Self-care.

Environmental responsibility..

More mindfulness.

For the yogis.

On letting go of books. Mr. Wanderlust and I recently significantly downsized our enormous library; we can empathize with the author of this story.

Life lessons.

Instagram Favourite:

I enjoy following the explorations of Zero Waste Chef. Her profile states the three inspiring rules she follows to run her kitchen: “Rule #1 no packaging. Rule #2 nothing processed. Rule #3 no trash.”

Wishing you a tranquil weekend!

Little reminders

DSCN5818

DSCN5817

DSCN5813

DSCN5815

DSCN5807

DSCN5820

On this last Sunday in January, I crave silence. My body wants to return to bed, snuggle under the fluffy duvet, retreat from responsibility. But the boys have politely asked for pancakes for breakfast, a favourite weekend tradition chez Wanderlust. They have been waiting patiently, playing downstairs, graciously granting us extra time to lie in. Our late breakfast, complete with leftover fruit salad the Wanderlust Juniors and I prepared the day before, is a welcome treat. Soon enough, we will get up and one of us will begin washing the dishes, then repairing the leaky faucet, while the other folds laundry with the help of Wanderlust Juniors. It’s a typical busy weekend morning.

Amid the busyness — oh, how ubiquitous that word has become, and how disliked — we allow ourselves pauses, making time to enjoy a cup of tea while reading an essay in a new favourite book; rolling out the yoga mat for a quick practice; watering the indoor plants and moving one of them to a new, brighter location where it immediately assumes a grateful appearance; knitting a few rows; or plucking the strings to create a melody. Those mini pauses are sweet reminders to make space to experience wonder.

Magic is waiting to be reawakened. It’s here, in the pile of freshly washed sheets and bathroom towels, as well as in the hoodies and jeans the pockets of which I forgot, yet again, to empty before throwing them in the wash. It’s in the chaos of the kitchen, the natural heart of our home, and in the solitude of the bedroom and the meticulously made bed, which inevitably attracts two enthusiastic boys who use it as a jumping pad.

The magic is there. It leaps out suddenly from a hilarious sentence uttered amid a serious discussion, when all pretenses are dropped and we start to breathe a little easier, snapping out of that bizarre spell, wondering yet again why we take ourselves so darn seriously so much of the time when joy is our natural state.

We need to take time out to remind ourselves of the strange pleasure of returning to the chaos, to the heart of our home, ready to greet our favourite people with renewed patience and compassion. Here and now, this is our calling. Would we really rather be anywhere else?

Are you enjoying there short essays? I would be grateful if you would also share them with your friends via email or social media. Thank you for reading!

Wrap-up: Top 11 posts of 2016

Depending on where in the world you reside, you might already be well into your festivities. I wish you a warm and cosy week of celebrations with your dear ones. I also want to thank you for your support over the past 12 months. Mindful Daydreamer is forever evolving as I continue to learn and mature in my writing and exploration of ideas. I’m grateful to have this platform to share my thoughts and for the support of my loyal readers. I bow to you in deep gratitude.

Happy holidays! I am taking a mini retreat from blogging and social media, but will write again in the early days of 2017. Until then, may we all bask in the quiet peace of these final days of the year before welcoming the new one. Enjoy every moment! 


If during the holiday week you have a few minutes to relax with a cup of tea and would like to catch up on some reading you might have missed, or re-read a few favourite posts, allow me to share with you the 11 most popular Mindful Daydreamer posts of 2016:

1.  Mindfulness for the introvert business traveller, published on February 22nd

travel1

2.  Transformation through discomfort, published on February 24th

Blonde4

3.  Our mindful Disney vacation, published on March 4th

vacation1

4. The best version of myself, published on April 21st

DSCN6752

5. Deciding to simplify, published on June 10th

walk

6. A story of commitment, dedication, and love, published on June 17th

DSCN2494

7. Anniversary, published on July 22nd

IMG_1740

8. Milestones and memories, published on August 4th

August113

9. On Friendship, published on November 10th

August112

10. Festive season yoga time-out, published on December 15th

dscn4462

11. The top 11 books I read in 2016, published on December 22nd

fantasybooks

Kindest wishes,

Katia (Mindful Daydreamer)

The top 11 books I read in 2016

For several reasons, I recently discarded my book journal. Before recycling the notebook, I did a quick count of the number of books I read over the past year: 36. Of those, I wanted to share with you my favourite 11, in no particular order. Please note that only two of the books on this list were published in 2016. I strive to read a mix of classic and contemporary novels, but do enjoy that natural high every time I receive an email notifying me that a freshly printed, newly released book I have been looking forward to reading is on hold for me at the local library. Choosing a list of favourites is not an easy task; there were many that almost made the list, but I decided to cap it at 11. Here are my picks for this year’s favourite books:

  1. The Course of Love, by Alain de Botton

The Course of Love by [De Botton, Alain]

Alain de Botton shares incredible insight into the human mind through the story of a typical married couple. The lesson: There is no ‘happily ever after.’ Marriage requires work on both sides, but that work allows one to better understand his or her partner, making the journey of riding the ebb and flow enjoyable and rewarding. I love this book for the beautiful writing and ideas that left me with much to contemplate.

2. A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

Ove is a grumpy man in his late fifties who at first might not seem very likable, until we read on and learn his story of love, grief, disappointment, and deep longing. The short, charming, whimsical chapters kept me turning page after page and left me craving more when I finished reading the prologue. I was introduced to Backman’s writing earlier this year and he quickly became one of my favourite authors. His storytelling is delightfully funny while touching on serious subjects. Backman reminds us to take life less seriously, appreciate the ordinary people (and pets) who surround us every day, and remember that everyone has a story. A Man Called Ove reminded me, in some ways, of the film Amélie.

3. My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman

Another funny and heartbreaking story of love, loss, and complex relationships among people, told through the witty, quirky words of Backman. This is a delightful story of Elsa, her eccentric grandmother, and the legacy the grandmother leaves behind as she continues to empower Elsa, her family, and community posthumously. From time to time, we are fortunate to meet a person who lights up the room with a magical presence. That person does not see the world the way we do, and the stories she tells are different from ours, yet they are about the same ordinary subjects. Such people tend to change our worldview and of those around us through their fairy tales, allowing us to see the enchantment behind what at first might appear banal. This is the message of this charming book.

4. The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue

The Wonder: A Novel by [Donoghue, Emma]

A haunting, captivating story of Lib, a nurse who apprenticed under Florence Nightingale, summoned to a small village in rural Ireland to keep watch over a young girl, Anna, who refuses to eat. What at first starts as an attempt to disprove the wondrous miracle with which the religious community is obsessed soon turns into an assignment to solve the mystery of whether Anna might be a victim of slow murder.

5. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel

StationEleven

Station Eleven begins with a production of King Lear in one of my favourite theatres, the Elgin and Winter Garden in Toronto. In the midst of the play, the actor Arthur Leander collapses on stage and dies of a heart attack. Jeevan Chaudhary is a paramedic in training who attempts to resuscitate the actor. Observing the real-life drama unfolding on stage before her is Kirsten, a child actor who was greatly inspired by Arthur’s work and feels a strong curiosity to learn more about his life. Two days following the death at the theatre, the world is plagued by Georgian Flu, an epidemic that sweeps throughout the globe. Among the survivors are Jeevan and Kirsten, who separately struggle to make new lives for themselves. Read my full review here.

6. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah

For the past few years, I have been drawn to fiction set during WWII. I picked up The Nightingale after fans of All the Light We Cannot See, which I cannot praise highly enough, recommended this book. This is a touching story of the passions of two sisters who differ drastically yet fight their own complex battles during the war, working to stay strong for their family and refusing to give up on love in the darkest times.

7. Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith

I confess, I chose this book for its interesting cover and also because I was looking for a quick weekend read. What I found in the pages within was a beautiful, rich, delicate story of love, loss, and hope. Isobel is a quiet librarian with a fascination for memories, both her own and those of others. In her spare time, she browses antique and vintage clothing shops in search of materials to satisfy her nostalgic longing. As with Amélie, I imagine that if Isobel and I were ever to meet, we would quickly develop a friendship born of the realization that we have just come face to face with a kindred spirit. This is by no means a ‘chick book’ and the ending is not that of fairy tales; this story is beautiful as much as it is bittersweet.

8. The Go-Between, by L. P. Hartley

The Go-between by [Hartley, L. P.]

A coming-of-age story set in the Edwardian English countryside, in the middle of a hot summer, where Leo stays with his school friend and becomes a messenger between the friend’s beautiful and sophisticated older sister and a farmer. The imagery and symbolism in this novel are powerful and haunting, leading to a climax that will change Leo’s world for ever. The beautiful writing and a fascinating story are irresistible.

9. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

This is a delightfully enjoyable epistolary novel and I did not want to put it away when I reached the last page. For several days after finishing it, I found myself wondering about the characters and creating stories in my mind about how their lives on the island continued to unfold. I highly recommend this charming book to anyone who enjoys WWII fiction with a focus on the kindness of humanity.

10. The Muse, by Jessie Burton

I enjoyed Burton’s The Miniaturist, but The Muse kept me completely enthralled. This is a beautifully written book with a carefully laid plot, rich with elements of mystery, art, symbolism, and a sense of place in London and a small Spanish village. The story presents two parallel plots, of a Caribbean immigrant in London in the 1960s and an artist in rural Spain in the 1930s whose lives are delicately interwoven in unexpected ways.

11. The Forgetting Time, by Sharon Guskin

The Forgetting Time: A Novel by [Guskin, Sharon]

The Forgetting Time is a mystery without the typical elements expected of a book of that genre. Janie is a single mother whose son, Noah, has disturbing memories of his past life. With the assistance of a researcher, Janie and Noah search for the woman whom Noah misses and slowly piece together the story of how Noah was murdered. This is a meticulously planned and very well written science fiction novel that centres on a subject that I would typically avoid. As a mother, I found this book at times challenging to read. Yet, I kept being pulled by the exploration of the subjects of love, deep connection, belonging, co-dependence and independence.

What books did you read in 2016 that you would recommend? Please leave a comment below. Thank you for sharing this blog with a friend.

In search of stillness

 

In the midst of chaos, may we remember to return to the source, to continue to seek stillness. When the ground beneath our feet feels unstable and an ache pulses in our chests, may we remember to look to Nature for the greater lessons. May we continue to tend to our gardens and hearths, to smile at our children and marvel at the special fleeting moments of grace.

May we find comfort in uncertainty and trust that love will prevail.

I invite you to read and listen to this wonderful, timely poem by Wendell Berry, shared with me by Kristin Espinasse of French-Word-A-Day.
Wishing you peace.

On Friendship

 

It has been said that introverts tend to not have a wide social circle; instead, we hold on tightly to friendship with several people who truly ‘get them.’ I suspect that extroverts value special friendships just as much as introverts. I am fortunate to know a very special extrovert who enjoys our intimate catch-up sessions as much as she enjoys vibrant parties. She and I spent a wonderful afternoon together last Saturday, enjoyed strolling through the Art Gallery of Ontario and marveled at the awe-inspiring paintings at the Mystical Landscapes exhibit (aside: go see it if / when you’re in Toronto), then drank red wine and ate delicious Pad Thai at Queen Mother Cafe.

I cannot fathom having a meaningful conversation with a group of several people. A discussion, yes, where everyone gets his or her say, but not a deep conversation, the kind that fosters mutual trust and understanding. I believe that such conversations are essential to our well being, but there are not many people whom we truly feel that we can trust to listen and to understand, without the need to justify our emotions. They simply ‘get it,’ and if they don’t, they nevertheless accept without judgment.

I am grateful for a few such people in my life. Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables) might be convinced that ““Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world,” but I have found that they are rare and invaluable. We may not meet often in person, but when we do, it is as though no time has passed since our last tête-à-tête. One form of communication that helps to minimize the time distance is email. I am grateful for friends who don’t merely tolerate my electronic novellas but genuinely enjoy reading my updates, and I am delighted each time I open my email inbox and see their names. I long to read their happy tales and commiserate at the not-so-joyful ones.

 I raise a glass to you, mes chères amies! Thank you for being in my life.

 Is there a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while? Why not send an email or make a phone call today and plan to meet for coffee? I vow to make the time. 

Seeking enchantment

Humming songs about Thumbelina while skipping toward the patch where wild strawberries smirk as they play hide-and-seek.

Running along the rustling golden path laid carefully with delicate cascading leaves.  

Stopping to twirl now and then, silver bells of laughter playing with the gossamer leaves of the surrounding trees.

Seeking demure mushrooms that lurk behind the robes of gnomes disguised as tree stumps. 

Constructing cosy moss houses for the faeries on the floor of the lush green forest.

Wandering off the path to explore, sometimes discovering surprises both pleasant and fascinatingly spooky.

“Mama, does a witch live in the little cottage in that clearing over there? Do you suppose she’s lonely? The squirrels and birds must keep her company.”

fantasybooks

The memories of my childhood days of playing in the pine and maple forests remain strong with me to this day. I seek solace on the winding paths, allowing myself to be guided. I thirst to hear the whisper of the trees, the rustle of the leaves, to dance with the breeze and swaying willows and to stand rooted, attentive to the murmurs of the mysterious life that surrounds me. It always made perfect sense to me that the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien chose to set many of their stories in the forest. The setting has always been enchanting and continues to enthrall. 

img_2134

Several years ago, while visiting Fussen, Bavaria with Mr. Wanderlust, we chose to walk up the misty mountains toward the quietly bewitching Neuschwanstein Castle. The visit brought my fairy tales to life before me, overwhelming my fantasies as I sought to absorb the visit with great gulps, urging the colours, textures, and smells of the castle to remain in my memory without ever fading. The building lured me within and hypnotized me. My affinity toward it is that strong. I listened attentively to the strange stories of King Ludwig II, recounted by our tour guide. Prior to visiting the impeccable castle, I had read the fascinating story behind the Fairy Tale King’s idealistic vision for the perfect dwelling, and his story spoke to me, from one lover of magical storytelling to another. Standing in the lavish rooms of the castle and admiring every carefully planned refined detail, I felt I understood the king’s passion, and I whispered as much to the walls that were silently watching the processions of tourist groups. Those walls tell wonderful Medieval stories with their murals, yet I imagined the secrets they keep to themselves, with all that they have seen and heard over more than the past century.

neuschwanstein

After Mr. Wanderlust and I reluctantly left the castle, we took a walk in the darkening Black Forest beneath an overcast autumn sky and the heavy canopy of trees to marvel at the beauty of the swan castle from different angles. I read about the Black Forest in my favourite fairy tale books, and its significance was heightened for me at that moment. I saw what Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty saw on their own walks through the woods to collect mushrooms and berries. Shhh, don’t tell me they are fictional characters. If you have ever walked through those woods, I’m sure you were awed into stillness, allowing magic to weave its way around you, silencing your logical mind, if only for a few moments.

I continue to seek that magic every time I step onto a forest path. I wish to reawaken the enchantment, to bring back to life the fascinating stories of my childhood… If only for a few moments.

Have you ever felt such magic? Tell me about it, perhaps by leaving a comment below. 

Thank you for sharing this blog with a friend.

Don’t judge a book by its size, or why I sometimes give up on books

To save some space in my carry-on luggage while packing for a business trip, I sought a thin paperback from my pile of books to read. The majority of those books are not compact by any means, but I did find one that I was glad to fit into my small purse. “Excellent,” I thought, until two hours into my four-hour flight from Toronto to Calgary, when I struggled to stay awake. Please understand, dear reader, that no matter how tired I might be, a good book will rarely, if ever, put me to sleep. I can easily fight sleep in order to continue reading, then pay for it in the morning.

I have recently become better at practising self-discipline when it comes to my bedtime, reminding myself that sleep is more important than reading. I turn off the lights before heeding the tempting invitation of “One more chapter.” The book I held in my hands on Sunday evening did not fit into the category of great books that I could devour in one sitting, given the opportunity. I gave the book another chance by continuing to read on my return flight, but didn’t find it any better. I look at it now and wonder whether, 150 pages in, I should continue to stick with it or abandon it altogether.

I used to feel guilty about abandoning a book after starting to read and finding it uninteresting, or simply not enjoying the subject matter, plot line, or characters. I have since become more strict about how I spend my time and am selective about the books to which I choose to dedicate my hours. I have learned to abandon books, yet the feeling of guilt lurks. Do you ever feel that way?

Whenever I start to doubt whether to abandon a book or to continue reading, I revert to a few criteria points:
1. The plot is boring or not interesting to me. This is somewhat tricky. I found James Joyce’s Ulysses boring but stuck with it because, well, it’s a classic. I might need to re-read it several more times before I can fully gain an appreciation for the book.

2. The writing is not great. I love good prose and dislike melodramatic inner dialogue that seems to spin in circles for too many pages. At the risk of sounding snobby, I will also say that I generally avoid books with language that is too pedestrian and books that read like a movie script without intending to be so. When it comes to non-fiction, I am averse to a preachy tone.

3. I dislike or feel unable to relate to more than one of the characters. I consider myself to be open-minded to various views, opinions, and personalities, but some characters can be simply drab. If the plot and characters annoy me, the challenge of continuing the book becomes cumbersome.

4. The book annoys me for one reason or more. This one goes hand-in-hand with numbers 1 and 3 above.

5. The subject matter is disturbing to me. I like some suspense and crime fiction, but tend to choose the classic Agatha Christie books or those inspired by Christie. I don’t mind classic macabre fiction, but generally stay away from thriller-style books the main objective of which is often to simply be sensationalist. I am also drawn to fiction set in WWII era, but can only take so much when reading true accounts of what happened during the war. This is not because I am disillusioned in any way. On the contrary. I am a grandchild of a holocaust survivor and grew up with real stories of the horrors of that time. Rather, as an HSP, I know that for self-preservation, I must approach such material with care.

books2

How about you? Do you read every book cover to cover, or do you abandon books that do not interest you? What is your criteria for giving up on a book? Please leave a comment below.

I learned something about stress

Last week, during a drive to and from cottage country for a work-related event, I listened to The Upside of Stress: Why Stress is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It by Kelly McGonigal. The idea that stress is not dangerous is relatively new to me. Ten years ago, I used to avoid difficult situations and experiences because of the stress and anxiety that they most often connote. Since then, I have learned that when we try to avoid potentially challenging situations, we often do so to our own detriment. Instead, by accepting each scenario as it comes, responding to it accordingly while keeping a focused and calm mindset, we can deal with stress in a mature and mindful manner. Our response to a situation determines our experience.

Yet, our mindset is only one piece of the puzzle. As a yoga and meditation practitioner and guide, I have learned that the state of the mind influences our physical and emotional states. As a student of Ayurveda, I have also learned that our physical energy and the energy of our environment have a tremendous influence on our emotional and mental wellness. If I spend a quiet evening at home, by 9 p.m., I feel blissfully tired, both in my mind and body. If, instead, I spend several hours before bedtime running errands and doing housework, my mind is abuzz due to my physiological state.

apple2
Making time for apple picking at a local organic orchard.

September has been a busy time for our family. I typically avoid the use of that ubiquitous word because of its myriad convoluted meanings. For most of us, life moves fast and we must prioritize. The autumn Vata season is a time when we tend to start new projects, take on too much, and generally run ourselves off our feet, feeling spaced out and far from grounded. For me, whose dominant dosha is Vata, this is a time of year when I especially must make self-care a priority, eating warm and unctuous foods, keeping up with my daily warm oil massages, drinking hot liquids, moving slower, and enjoying plenty of rest. Yet, over the past few weeks, with changes to our family’s routines, I have not had many chances to slow down. Instead of going to bed earlier, I catch myself loading the washer and cleaning the kitchen at a late hour. We have been working diligently to avoid over-scheduling, paying no mind to the expectations of our fast-moving society and the priorities of the people who surround us. It has not been easy to completely isolate ourselves from those expectations, to heed only to our own directions. Yet, we remind ourselves that we know ourselves best and must continue to prioritize self-care, creating a schedule that feels intuitive and logical to us, whenever possible setting aside less important tasks for another time.

Here is today’s lesson: Stress is real and inevitable, and to avoid feeling overwhelmed, we must continue to approach life with a lighter attitude. Nevertheless, we must also make space for ourselves to slow down and pay closer attention to our own physical and emotional signals, instead of trusting the power of the mind to get us through challenging situations. Self-care must always remain a priority.

apple1
Apples: a favourite Vata food. While raw apples are okay in moderation, baked apples with cinnamon are most Vata-friendly.

More information on Vata:

In a recent podcast episode of Yogaland, Andrea Ferretti and her guest Niika Quistgard discuss excellent tips for self-care during the Vata season for people with Vata dosha and for everyone else who lives in our fast-paced society.

How Ayurveda is helping me change my approach to exercise, published on April 13, 2016

Self-care tips for the Vata Season, published on September 16, 2014

If you have additional self-care tips to share, please leave a comment below. Thank you for sharing this blog with a friend.

Not missing out

On a particularly cold Saturday evening, two winters ago, and I was suffering from PMS-induced sadness. Wanderlust Juniors were tucked into their cosy beds and I sat on the living room sofa beside Mr. Wanderlust. Instead of breathing through the sadness, as I know I ought to have done, I sought to escape the dark feeling by averting my attention. I feel embarrassed to admit this now but there I sat, mindlessly eating pretzels while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed on my smartphone. I suspect I’m not the only one to have done that in the (possibly a very recent) past. It occurred to me only later that I was mindlessly checking my social media account not because of a genuine interest in what my contacts were doing at that time. It was merely a method of distraction that did not make me feel any better. Instead, it highlighted the fact that I was sitting on the sofa, snacking, while ‘everyone else’ appeared to be having a great time. Here’s a not-so-hidden secret: If we allow it, social media has the power to make one feel like the most popular person (particularly on our birthdays, provided that we keep that information public on our profile), then several days later squash that feeling with no remorse.

When later I snapped out of the delirium and plugged in my phone to be recharged overnight, it occurred to me how much time I had wasted ogling other people’s selfies taken at concerts or pictures of the meals they ate in upscale restaurants. And then, there have been times when I was the one posting photo after photo of my carefully styled display of freshly baked muffins, or of a fun day at the beach. That’s the game of social media participation. We either share photos of impeccably crafted moments or we spend time looking at similar images posted by others. Sometimes, those pictures serve as inspiration. At other times, they can contribute to a fear of missing out (FOMO – not that I need to provide this acronym, since I suspect the majority of you are well familiar with it and have probably experienced it at least once). When we share pretty, staged photographs on social media, we do not disclose the behind-the-scenes mess that might have occurred before, during, or after the photo was taken. We also don’t share how many tries it took to finally get the perfect share-worthy selfie.

Shortly after that sad experience of Saturday night FOMO, I made a decision to spend less time on social media. I chose to do so for myself and my family. I stopped touching my phone before 8 a.m. on most mornings and after 6 p.m. on weeknights by leaving it to charge downstairs in a special basket that I set aside specifically for that purpose. Sundays became tech detox days during which I did not open my laptop or touch my phone, unless absolutely necessary to do so for a few minutes. After starting to practise a more mindful method of social media use, it became apparent that a joy of missing out (JOMO, as coined by Christina Crook in her book by the same title) started to replace FOMO. I reveled in the beauty of going out for a walk without checking my phone for updates or sharing a picture of the sunrise. Instead, I remained present in the quiet, cherishing every nuance of the experience as it unfolded. I have been practising to stay with the experience, facing what is before me, acknowledging the moments when I don’t feel joyful, without seeking distractions.

I found an almost secret pleasure in going out for dinner and not posting a photograph of the food. I felt a rush of excitement at the realization that I could travel anywhere in the world and if I did not share any updates on social media, no one had to know where I was at the time. Then I realized that most likely, no one cared in the first place, and I am perfectly okay with that. As an introvert who values privacy, this notion felt liberating. Missing out? Not really. 

The less time I spent on social media, the more odd the thought seemed to me of documenting for others every outing, every meal, and every funny saying overheard throughout the day. In fact, I started to feel a pang of sadness each time the idea of logging into my Facebook account merely crossed my mind. I continue to document my experiences, but I do it for myself, in my journal, and I share stories selectively in person and via email with my family and friends.

A few weeks ago, I took the plunge and deleted my personal Facebook account, keeping my business page, which I visit briefly several times per week. I also post photographs on Instagram from time to time. I do not miss sharing and seeing what others have shared. Instead, I choose to meet with my friends face-to-face and communicate via old-fashioned email or phone calls in-between in-person meetings. When I sit down with a friend for coffee after two months, we often feel we have plenty of catching up to do because we haven’t been seeing each other’s frequent updates via a screen. Our conversation can then run deeper. I would guess that not many people share their not-so-positive news on social media, because such updates tend to be considered a drag. Yet, when we meet with close friends, we feel comfortable and supported to speak about what is on our minds and in our hearts instead of needing to filter the message before posting it for hundreds of contacts to read and judge.

I do not discount the merits of mindful social media use. I continue to publish updates about this blog and also enjoy reading news from other bloggers via their pages. When it comes to friends and family, I prefer to connect with them through more direct and intentional pathways. I take photographs for myself and my family. I write stories about our travels. From time to time, I selectively choose to be brave by sharing with the world some of those photographs and snippets of the stories, if I feel that they reflect who I truly am and serve to inspire others. The rest of the time, I continue to pursue life with all its messy and imperfect fleeting moments, seeking joy in what is before me.

Do you wish to contribute to the conversation? Please leave a comment below. Thank you, as always, for reading, and for sharing this blog with a friend.