On the first of each month, I send Monthly Notes to the people on my mailing list. Maintaining a newsletter is something I initially resisted, but it’s something I have grown to love. I look forward to writing a letter each month and sharing that more intimate conversation with my readers. While my Monthly Notes are special letters written for my special people on the newsletter list, I shared some thoughts yesterday (in my February Notes) that I wish to share here as well.
If you visit this space, things like intention and attention and practice weave themselves through your heart; what I share below might strike a chord. If you already receive my newsletter, this will not be new to you. If you do not receive my newsletter (what?! you haven’t signed up for my newsletter? quick, go here…!), I want to share an excerpt with you.
I would hope that, if you and I met in a coffee shop one day (or maybe at a retreat…wouldn’t that be nice?), that you and I would have a good chat. And you would feel like I was the same person you find here in these letters, the same person you find on my blog, the same person you find on Instagram.
There’s so much out there. And by out there, I mean the online world/social media. Some of it is wonderful. Some of it meh. But what doesn’t speak to me is perhaps the escape someone else needs. Who am I to say that’s not valid? I will say this: I continually assess and re-assess what I’m doing out there, and make conscious choices to share work that reflects what I do here, in my daily life.
I also make choices as to how much I consume from out there. And therein lies perhaps the trickiest part of all. Because sometimes the content that I think I like ends up making me feel disconnected from what I do in my daily life. Consequently, I find myself needing to be equally clear about what I view as well as what I share. I make certain choices because it’s my work, it’s my practice. It’s not to say my choices are better than anyone else’s, because they’re not. They’re simply my choices. You will make your own choices, yes?
I choose beauty. I choose quiet. I choose intention. I choose what lies at my feet, literally and metaphorically.
I share beauty because I celebrate beauty. I try to be honest though (and realistic) about that beauty coming in various guises. Sometimes it’s tulips. Sometimes it’s a cup of tea after losing my temper. There is no rosy wash over my life. I don’t expect there’s a rosy wash over yours either. But there definitely IS beauty.
This is a letter in which I hope to underscore that what you see (or read) is what you get with me. I am navigating (with some difficulty, I confess) the waters of social media, with its likes and followers count and platform building, with its cries for attention. I’m trying to be friends with social media, but we have some kinks to work out. In truth (because I’m trying to be honest), they’re my kinks. Social media is what it is. At the end of the day it’s a business. Me? At the end of the day I’m still me. And while I’m trying to build a creative business with work that fills me – and, I hope, work that fills you too – I can’t let algorithms and hashtags run my life. I just can’t.
So I sit here sipping my coffee, writing to you. As you read this, maybe you’re sipping coffee too. Maybe tea. Regardless of what we’re sipping or not sipping, I sit here, across space and time with you. Trying to be honest. What you see is what you get. That’s my promise to you.
Yep, promise and cross my heart.
Sending a little love your way, m
17 thoughts on “What You See Is What You Get”
Oh I totally get this. It is so easy to get swept up in the algorithms and
likes and follows…I think I have to terms with the fact that I may never have a
huge following…but I am content to just connect with the people that I connect with….
because ultimately, that’s why I started doing this…to search out other people who might
“get me”…to connect…and as long as I have that, I’m ok with it. :)
Appreciating this comment – and you – so much, Arlene. It really comes down to that…remembering why we do what we do in the first place. xo
This is one of the most thought-provoking and wonderful posts that I’ve read in a long time.
Ah, Lisa, that’s so nice to hear. Thank you, and I’m (really, really) glad.
A few months ago, I deleted Facebook and Instagram off my phone. It felt nice to pay attention to the here and now, and not feel tethered to a device. I found myself scrolling through images and stories that I didn’t care about, but I kept going anyway. I’ve since added IG back on my phone and what I’ve learned is that I missed the community and creativity of that space. So, I’m not giving up social media altogether (I’m actually a social media & community manager by day, ha!), but instead, learning to use it with more intention. “I choose beauty. I choose quiet. I choose intention.” Me too. :)
That’s the trick!…to use it with more intention. Yes and yes and yes. xo
Well I get this immensely. My IG post yesterday shows my concern for the tidal wave of egos, thought leaders are if they say they are. I am the same as you, sincere and honest and value integrity. Maybe we are afraid the shouts and busyness of all that will overshadow us?
But I want to say that there’s an amazing force we’ve both experienced that brings like minds into the same space. Even cyber space. Our people find us. Our people know us and that’s enough to keep us writing our blogs and posting at our own comfort and peace on social media.
Wecome through, yes we do.
Thank you for your thoughts, Shalagh…yesyesyes to finding one another. That part of things…how kindreds do come together…is pretty awesome. In the end, it’s as you say: we must keep writing and posting at our own comfort. We must be true to ourselves, first and foremost. xo
it’s a long long waltz with social media. The less I consume the happier I am but then I miss out on must see friends photos. I follow so many on instagram and the feed is too fussy now that they mess with what they think I want to see. Grr. I like my blog and putting my stuff out there – I do love how I have made friends along the way, like you, and that is valuable to me in the end.
I put myself on time limits when I’m on instagram, twitter or reading blogs. This seems to work!
Sigh, Instagram with its newish algorithm has gotten so fussy and I can’t stand that it’s trying to figure out what it thinks I want to see. I know there’s no sense in pining for the early days of Instagram, but I do miss the live feed. Grrr…indeed.
And, as you said, there are valuable friendships and connections made. For sure, and thank goodness! xoxo
I’ve been spending time thinking about social media lately — what it’s become, and what I’ve become in the trying to chase it all. Personally, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to pull back. I can’t (and don’t even want to try) take it all in anymore. So I’m choosing where to put my social-media-focus — because I’m also choosing to put my focus on the small things in the world that matter very much to me. Thanks for your thoughtful approach to working this out! XO
Like you, I don’t want to take it all in either, don’t want that chase. It’s an important consideration for ourselves. It’s nice to know others like you are contemplating things too. xo
Tea is great medicine for the soul.
It sure is. xo
I have the same concerns, the same philosophy, and sometimes I am overwhelmed by the constant decision-making required to navigate my way through social media. I am grateful for the inspiration, education, and encouragement afforded by a loving community, but also wary of the emphasis on external validation and comparison, the fear of missing out over the joy of missing out, and the annoyance of ads and sales in the midst of my day. Thank you for this newsletter and for every kindness and thought your share – from a place of sincerity. One day I am going to drive north an hour and we are going to have that cup of tea together!
Oh, Donna…it IS overwhelming sometimes, isn’t it? I appreciate your thoughtful words here, and understand you completely.
And thank you for your thank-you…it is people like you, leaving comments like this, who touch my heart deeply. (and yes to tea. someday I’d enjoy that very much.) xo