Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data.

My brother has been in town from Montreal for an audition since last Wednesday, and San Francisco welcomed him with three days' of torrential rain. Unusual for us. So our plans for parks and exploring went out the window, and instead we lingered over lunch at a little French-Italian cafe and made our (soggy) way to the Metreon for an overdue screening of The Social Network.

I'd heard raves. Wasn't disappointed. Was, however, left considering the very many implications for this relatively new social media-driven lifestyle of ours for mindfulness, presence and real-true-interpersonal connection. Fascinating, really, the way the film closes with a lingering shot of the filthy-rich-yet-perpetually-socially-peripheral Mark Zuckerberg ogling the Facebook profile of his long-ago unrequited love.

So this morning when I read Ethan Nichtern's HuffPo piece on mindful social networking, I couldn't help but remember that final glimpse of the successful-yet-lonely young entrepreneur. And I got to thinking about how much of a threat this whole social media thing can be to our ability to stay here in the present moment, not checking the phone with every ding of a notification, not running to find the newest comments, resisting the urge to keep one ear perpetually turned to the online world. Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to fall back on mindfulness to resist the compulsion to always, only, be half-present where we are, here, in this body, this breath, enough.

That's why it's always felt, and continues to feel, so radical to me to embrace that yogic practice of being in the moment, right now, right here, and why stepping away from our laptops and into our bodies, turning off the ringer, committing to an hour and a half of breath and silence and motion and engagement, can be such a powerful practice.

Read Nichtern's piece. As he writes, "It's said that anything can become a mindfulness practice with the right intention, that we can actually cultivate our minds and hearts 24/7/365. So for all of us who spend too many hours online, here's our chance." Go.

Mindful Social Networking: Going Online Without Losing Your Mind (HuffPo)


jenn said…
1. Thank you for stepping into my day today! I needed that.
2. I also recently saw The Social Network late and thought much the same thing at the end. What a great article share. As someone who spends the majority of my waking day on a computer (working in software support) and therefore being plugged in all the time, I have been trying to be more mindful of the time I spend on certain activities. Certainly, if I'm on the computer after working hours it will be doing something that enriches my life and hopefully, in terms of social networking, it will also be of some benefit to those I'm plugged into.
Rach said…
It's so easy for us to immediately take that condescending anti-social media stance. I was there for a long time. Especially in the yoga/mindfulness world, it's tempting to quickly decry the whole thing. But then, Jenn, I think about how very *connected* I felt to you yesterday - out of the blue, across these many miles and years - and I realized that there is indeed some very great power to the whole social networking phenomenon. Cheers and jeers both to FB and the like, for sure, but I give thanks for the reconnecting it makes possible in ways we otherwise might not achieve. Being "unplugged" is not necessarily always the best, most life-giving option, as much as it's tempting to make the black/white statement that it's so.

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