The Observer vs The Participant.

It’s pretty crazy that I get to write here in this corner of cyberspace and share my heart with you all.

The internet has brought about so much opportunity for us to find like-minded individuals, seek information + expand our circles further than we could have ever imagined or anticipated. We are more connected than ever.

But with this ever-connectedness, I feel as though we are even more disconnected from immediate + present surroundings. It’s a blessing + a curse, because as an entrepreneur, it’s easy for me to always get caught up in the forward cycle of “what’s next” and stressing over the future.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in my daily Instagram posts so that feels like I am continually creating something or offering some form of digital content to be viewed, shared, or thought over. I constantly find myself in this strange place of tension between wanting to dive headfirst into all things online business, or completely pull myself out of this exhausting blackhole of consumption.

Things like Instagram + Pinterest are great modes of inspiration, and Facebook is an easy place to stay in touch with friends across the world, but I have noticed that when these platforms begin to take away from the actual “doing” of the work I am trying to create, I get trapped at the intersection between time-suck + comparison-itis. And then what? I find myself zapped, and all that creative energy was wasted on nothing.

One of the biggest take-away’s I gained from my workshop weekend in LA with Rob Bell was that we as humans are beginning to approach our lives from one of two viewpoints: as the Observer or the Participant.

We are either watching + consuming or we are actively living + creating.

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The best example he used to get his point across was a picture of an Instagram post by Taylor Swift, and noticing that someone posted in the comments of said picture that they were the 22nd person to like the photo. AND felt the need to tag + tell a friend.

Like… WHAT?

Bragging to friends about the ranking of your likes on celebrity posts? And then feeling the need to pull someone out of their present life to tell them about it. That’s insane.


We live in a world where a growing number of people have become deeply confused with the difference between…

 

Observing someone else having a life

and

Actually living a life.

Boom.

Life is not meant to be observed. It is meant to be wrestled with, owned, marinated in.

Of course we can marvel + wonder at the talents of others, as we rightly should. But when it becomes an illusion of actually living YOUR present life, there is no true substance beneath the false facade we’ve been led to believe as participation.

Choosing to live a present + conscious life has helped me release fears and be more connected spiritually, relationally + physically. Looking back over the years, I would slip in + out of connectedness, and man did it wear me out. I would get caught up in grades, work performance, fashion trends, waist size, business success, marital success, the Pinterest-perfect-home, or the most beautiful looking Instagram grid.

I knew things were misaligned, and I would experience these unsettled feelings of uneasiness in my bones, with no words left to describe them.

When you are bored,

restless, 

longing for something more,

unfulfilled,

feeling like you’ve settled,

haunted by the sense of being trapped in your own life,

these are the deep waters of your soul speaking to you,

telling you something is wrong, something is missing, something needs to change.

— Rob Bell, “How To Be Here”

I knew I wasn’t living a present life. And that’s where mindfulness + meditation come in to play. And no, it’s not about sitting still for 30 minutes of weird chanting. To me, mindfulness is about CHOOSING TO NOTICE.

Choosing to notice your thoughts, your feelings, your pain, your joy, your hands, your breath, the sounds around you, the sun against your face, your partner’s eyes as they crinkle with a smile, your children’s laughter, your furbaby’s puppy dreams.

It’s choosing to show up + PARTICIPATE in this life!

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And believe me, I’m not always zen-like + flowing with this mindset, but now I know how to recognize the unsettled feelings of insecurity as they creep in. I also recognize when I get caught up in what other people are doing (even the inspirational ones), and know when it is time to step back, put my blinders on, and focus on the here + now.

You have to remind yourself that just like any good habit you want to cultivate, it takes time + effort and most importantly GRACE with yourself in order to make this a natural rhythm of life.

Y’all, we have this ONE, BEAUTIFUL, MESSY GIFT CALLED LIFE, and I hope you decide to show up for it.

So, that all leads me to ask…what role are you playing in your one life?

The Observer or The Participant?