Mindful Social Media

Mindful Social Media

The longer I participate in Social Media, the more aware I become of the negative impact it has on my time, my energy, and my emotions.

I’ve begun to unfollow those whose posts are consistently religious or political, and the sports fans who post their assessment of every play in the game.  Just eliminating those posts from my feed (but not from my “friends” list) made a difference.

Then I realized that to really live a mindful life, I had to change how and what I post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

I began by asking myself prior to each post, share, or comment: Would I call my mother, my best friends, and my family members on the phone to share this information?

If the answer is “NO” or even a “Probably Not,” why would I put it out on social media for the world to see? What value would it impart?

If the answer is “YES,” I was OK with posting it with some restraint, such as marking some posts only for family or close friends.

Still, there was something nagging at me.

If the play-by-play sports posts, the religio-political posts and the “my kid just had breakfast and my dog is so cute” posts make me want to cancel all my social media accounts, what sort of reactions are my own posts eliciting from those who follow me?

That’s when I became fully aware that mindful social media was more about how and what I choose to post for others to see than what I choose to see from them, so I dug deeper into the “share” box at the bottom right of the Facebook “what’s on your mind” box:




When I click on the down arrow and on the “more options” option, I come to the “custom” link, which allows me to be very targeted in who can or cannot see a specific post:



If I know certain people will want to see a specific post, add them to the “share this with” list. If I know some who won’t, I put them in the “don’t share this with” box. I can create a group of those I know will appreciate my posts about marketing a small business, my philosophy of life, or my latest book of poetry and fiction.

Yes, I know that asking you to do the same causes you to put in a bit more effort and to exercise some restraint. I also know this is somewhat contrary to the tell-all-to-all culture of social media.

But on the upside, it causes all of us to be mindful of what we share, and in that regard, considerate of the people we call “friends.”  Perhaps we’ll even gain back a bit of the time, energy, or emotional satisfaction we’ve lost in endless, uninspired scrolling.

Mindful Social Media. Will you make it a practice today?

A Mythological Look at the New Year

A Mythological Look at the New Year

January was named in honor of the Roman god Janus—the god of gates, doorways,  beginnings and endings—and one of the oldest members of the Roman pantheon. He was depicted with two heads facing opposite directions, allowing him to simultaneously see forward and backward, past and future.

Image from Flickr by codicetuna


Janus was considered the “god of the gods,” consistently first in the ancient lists of Roman deities. That his name was given to the first month of the year when the Gregorian calendar was established in 1582 is significant. Not quite finished with the old year (think taxes and the IRS) and thus not fully engaged in the new year, we live January spanning two worlds— what was, and what is yet to be.

Can we gain in our 21st-century, technology-laden lives by understanding the role of this ancient, bi-directional god? I believe we can.

For me, the lesson of Janus is that every day is a door, a beginning, and it is up to me to choose to create and act upon a vision for the future, or stay beholden to the past. Perhaps you see it differently.

So I challenge you this January: As you develop your life and business plans for the next months, imagine you wear Janus’s double face.

Imagine you can see past and future simultaneously, and ask yourself:

  • What practices and behaviors of the past will I allow through the doorway of the new year, and what should be left behind?
  • What treasures of body, mind, and spirit sustain me? What trash holds me back?
  • How have my attitudes and beliefs in the last twelve months colored my perception of what is to come, and am I willing to close the door on those that do not serve me?

January, like its namesake, is the portal between the past and the future. Make it a month of reflection and beginnings for you, for your business, for your family. And when you walk through the door to February, remember that it was named for the Roman Festival of Forgiveness, and the Latin word februare, meaning “to purify.”