If you were to write my epitaph based on my Instagram feed, what would it say about me?
She loved accent walls and dream catchers. Their windows were bare. She collected pottery and had a small but special treasure of rings. The light streaming into their home was lovely. She unabashedly paired boyfriend jeans and scarves almost daily.
Or something more like…
The desert fed her soul. So did movement. They woke early to climb on weekdays. She ate well but simply. Her bests (David, Eisley, Bodhi) were her life. They were happiest outside. She was often happy, which meant she was outside often.
From time to time I snap a screenshot of my IG feed. I find reassurance in what this snippet of my days says about my life.
Recently I’ve taken note of daily challenges on IG – participated even – and been left with the question of my intention behind IG. Prompts kindle a different creative spark; they were a clever way to share our experiences in Bali without posting a million vacation snapshots. I knew my un-styled photos weren’t the type to be featured, which was fine until the moment it wasn’t. The instance it bothered me, I stepped back and had to ask, “why am I on Instagram in the first place?”
What do I gain? What do I enjoy most? What do I have to share? To contribute?
It seems like the word intention is being thrown around a bit, so perhaps it’s losing value…or maybe it’s seen as passive to most – “oh, she was good-intentioned and all” – but I’ve found the word popping into my vocabulary often over the past few years in an active way. Being intentional means being deliberate with my choices and engaging with every aspect of my life.
It’s easy to get caught up in the stylized nature of Instagram, and then edit our lives to participate. Design. Fashion. Papery things. DIY. Material possessions arranged just so…
Ultimately, I’m less inspired by stuff.
Stuff can certainly grab my attention and linger as a distraction, but what gets to my bones is experience, honesty, wildest passions, adventure…
When you share the ways you nourish your soul and reveal the essence of your human experience through experience, I see it. I feel it. And I, in a way, am nourished by it too. Your adventures and collection of moments nudge me farther from the shallow end into the depths of my own experience. They are a reminder that life is active, and not a lifeless arrangement on the perfect white backdrop.
I Instagram to connect over shared passions. Dynamic hashtags, landscapes from your trail run, your climbing shots in Thailand, local exploration, homemade meals…inspire me to collect moments. I share my own adventures, whether epic or inserted into my weekdays, with the desire to inspire others to seek out passions and put energy into experiences over things. I stick to IG as my preferred social, because I can share and get back to the experience rather smoothly and quickly.
This is why I Instagram; it isn’t a mandate to anyone other than myself. What I urge is for you to claim your actions and not simply fall into gazing at others’ lives longingly and mimic them without cuing in to your desires.
I’ve started a couple hashtag projects over on IG to celebrate what I find not only inspiring but essential to happy living.
Hop on over, and if these resonate with you, slap them on related images - share, share, share - then immerse yourself back into the moments that make your life.
Normally I don’t take part in blog challenges, but when Faith asked me to share my writing process the timing seemed fitting. In my morning pages, I had just scribbled out a page answering why I write. This was two months ago!! I didn't finish this post during summer because I just wanted to play outside. There is something about September though that heightens my introspective side, and I’ve found myself writing in my journal nearly every morning - mostly sanity-seeking entries - but I thought I’d finally share my writing process here.
Faith Levine of Gracefulfitness is a woman who knows and celebrates her strength. Her beautiful energy radiates out, felt even through the cyber world, and she stretches her limits to redefine them. But there is also a vulnerability to Faith, and it adds power to her words. Whether she is talking about body image or “oversharing” her incidents of cervical dysplagia, she overcomes fear and insecurity to share experiences that leave us feeling connected, even supported. Thank you, Faith.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
During our recent trip to Bali I found myself drafting up “essentials” lists, including my go-to products for outdoor adventuring, as well as essentials for surviving 14-hour flights. These will be fun to share, but I’m most excited to express my current thoughts on “exercise” and how I’ve recently let go of this concept. I was also “redesigning” this blog, but I’d rather be playing outside or simply writing...and there's plenty of studying to do. Graphic design bores me. I don’t know if things will ever look – or feel different – but I am trying to allow myself freedom to write my stuff and continue to figure out what that is and how that might affect what things look like around here. I want to work in topics I’m passionate about like movement, anatomy, biomechanics…in a way that is relevant to others and easily understood.
HOW DOES YOUR WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS’ WORK IN THE SAME GENRE?
Your life isn’t meant to look like mine. I write my stories hoping to inspire others to fill their lives with passions. I show I’m a mess. My life isn’t Pinterest-perfect or Kinfolk-esque, but it’s beautiful and amazing.
By finally recognizing what my blog isn’t (a food or fitness blog), I’m allowing myself to work my passions into topics. Through my storytelling, I share what I need daily – what brings colour into my life (climbing, nature, writing, yoga, travel, movement) - but I also share painful lessons I am continually learning.
WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
To process my own shit. Honestly, my journal is mostly a brain dump where I dive deep into the mess of my thoughts, swim around in murkiness for pages, and - if I’m lucky - surface with a bit of clarity.
Why do I share some of it though?
The by-product I hope to cultivate by sharing is to convince you to throw off the perceptions of what our lives “should” look like and dive into living the way you were meant to live. Live a rich life. Turn autopilot off and start making intentional choices.
I want to help others live happier, healthier lives as well. Free yourself from pain. Love yourself. Play often. Live simply. Move more. Get outside. Follow your passions.
HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
I write. In a notebook.
The physical practice of writing has always been a cathartic therapy for me, so generally, typing doesn’t work as well. I’m particular about the pens I use…and my notebooks. While I love beautiful notebooks and journals, I tend to get cheap, spiral-bound varieties with silly covers. Angry Bird Pigs. Puppies. The sillier the better. It allows me to be messy and not take myself too seriously. This works out because all of my writing usually starts as a brain dump and eventually fleshes out what I actually want to say. If it’s for a blog post, I type out a VERY rough outline from my writings…see where it lacks clarification and detail…step away…then return to my notebook to expound on these, often starting with a question or partial statement.
Often ideas are inspired by others. My “best” usually hit me while walking along the train tracks or sitting in the middle of the desert. I’m striving to trust myself more and let ideas flow through me. The more I write, the more I set my own voice free.
I’ve realized what my blog is not, which has left room to expand into more of my passions. At times it feels messy to find my voice and let it develop along with this blog space. I wonder if I’ll ever feel my voice. It’s a continual process, and I think you just have to go with it and let it happen.
Months ago Analiese Brown reached out to me thoughtfully. As nice as it was to receive her remarks, the real treat was making my way over to The Necessary Wild. Her monthly recaps are especially intimate. I find myself wanting to grab a cup of tea and just watch the sun rise with her. Her writing comes off as effortless, which is impressive considering how much depth she carries in her words. I look forward to watching her develop as a writer, and continue sharing our love for nature and simple joys. Analiese, I'd love to read about your writing process. Just follow the steps above if you're game.
"Journal writing is a voyage to the interior."
- Christina Baldwin
Quiet time spent scrawling mostly nothings with the occasional something gets to my bones. It is a form of meditation for me, except instead of trying to clear my mind through breath work and imagery, I can purge these thoughts onto a page. Often it is nothing more than a mind dump, a way to clear out garbage and unhealthy/unproductive thinking; other times it wades me through the incessant inner chatter, fleshing out ideas, priorities, and the whys behind my goals/actions.
I am reworking my whole life it seems in subtle yet powerful ways; writing it out clarifies what otherwise stays muddled in my brain. This space needs reworking too, some clearing out and sorting where it fits. These pages are a place for me to play with my voice, yet I'd like to be more than a personal journal. I hope by sharing the strong parts of myself, the not-so-strong parts - exposing too much at times - I might make it relevant on occasion to even one other person out there.
I fear I am driven by the need to be everything to everyone else. Even when I'm uninterested. Even when I'm uncomfortable. Even when I'm tired. Even when I'm overwhelmed. Even when I'm on the edge of burnout.
A series of untimely and unfortunate circumstances (combined with poor management) at work left quite the strain over winter break. I took much of this workload upon myself.. I've been there less than a year, it has caused severe conflict in other areas of my life, and my main focus was meant to be school not a part-time "office" job; but if not me, then who? I stacked responsibility after responsibility onto myself, until I felt depleted, resentful, and inadequate.
"No" is a more offensive word than fuck to me. It's failure wrapped up neatly in a single syllable.
Mere weeks into the new year, I was on the brink of burnout. I pulled back, rallied to complete what was meant as a three-week course in a matter of two days, then skipped town for a long weekend. Hours of driving through the desert offered space and time - a sliver ofclarity - for a soul check. My priorities were misplaced. I know most people like to think of priorities as an abstract measurement of our values. In truth, our priorities are simply how we spend our time - not how we'd like to spend it, not how we try to spend it - how we actually spend it.
When I am unable to say No to others, I am unable to say Yes to myself.
I thought a beautiful, spring weekend in Phoenix and quick assessment was enough to get me back on track. I've made progress in establishing boundaries, but there are underlying themes I haven't been able to shake. Where do I end? Where do others begin? How out of sync with myself am I? Who have I been for the last eight months?
Being what everyone else needs causes me to lose sense of my own needs and desires. It leaves me isolated, detached from my authenticity, unable to genuinely connect even with those I please.
This season of transformation has revealed the most beautiful and the ugliest versions of myself. My emotions have bounced from elation to apathy to contentedness to frustration to shame to happiness. Despite decent into dark, internal landscapes, I know my life is a good one. It deserves my truest self.
What is my why? What are my passions? My core beliefs? What is my reason for doing any of it? School? Relationships? Work? Life?
I'm not giving up on serving others. I want to contribute to the world but from a different center. Instead of operating from this obligatory sense of pleasing, I want to be able to see clearly where I end and others begin. I want to serve from a place of love and passion, to be able to set boundaries, know/protect the parts of myself at stake, and practise self-love, self-care, and self- respect. I want to know my value and capabilities, and understand "where the needs of the world intersect" with what I offer (so eloquently put by Justine Musk**).
I can make an impact rather than navigate the impact of others**.
These darker days offer a punctuation, a pause as the light waits to expand. Quiet moments allow us to see ourselves from the inside out, as people who can "make an impact on the world", rather than simply "navigate the impact the world has" on us.
(excerpts from Justine Musk)
Thank you for stopping by - I'm so glad you did!