less tech. more life.

Excerpted from The Flight From Conversation by Sherry Turkle New York Times, April 21, 2012

...In the silence of connection, people are comforted by being in touch with a lot of people — carefully kept at bay. We can’t get enough of one another if we can use technology to keep one another at distances we can control: not too close, not too far, just right. I think of it as a Goldilocks effect.

Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the body. Not too much, not too little — just right.

Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move from conversation to connection is part of this. But it’s a process in which we shortchange ourselves...

FACE-TO-FACE conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits. As we ramp up the volume and velocity of online connections, we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions; we dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters...

...we have confused conversation with connection and collectively seem to have embraced a new kind of delusion that accepts the simulation of compassion as sufficient unto the day...

...We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we never have to be alone. Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.

When people are alone, even for a few moments, they fidget and reach for a device. Here connection works like a symptom, not a cure, and our constant, reflexive impulse to connect shapes a new way of being.

Think of it as “I share, therefore I am.” We use technology to define ourselves by sharing our thoughts and feelings as we’re having them. We used to think, “I have a feeling; I want to make a call.” Now our impulse is, “I want to have a feeling; I need to send a text...”

→ to view the complete article, click here.

I am deeply moved by the words above. It's an important reminder with cautionary insight for all of us. I recently took almost a year off of Facebook; during that time I completed the first draft of my book, started a lifestyle brand, improved my focus + increased my self-care. I was more present for my relationship(s), lost some weight, upped my joy + experienced more restful sleep.  Then about a month ago I got back on it + within 1 week my anxiety was up, I was more distracted + irritable + I also felt more  self-conscious. Not healthy. Not okay. Not cool. I promptly deactivated my personal account, added a second daily meditation to my schedule {for now} + have returned to communicating with myself {and others} or not communicating at all with others in a more purposeful way.

Try an hour, or a day, or a week without social media + see how you + your life transform. Let me know how it goes. I'm rooting for you.

Warmly, Alicia.

eat. nourish. build your strength.

I began my journey in alternative medicine + healing with Holistic Nutrition; my own life had been dramatically transformed by changing the way I ate + I needed to understand why. Why did one set of choices lead to happiness, healing + health + the other set of choices lead to sadness, anger + illness? Could it really be that simple?

Nope. No. It's not simple at all.

As I learned more about nutrition, I learned more about myself. My relationship with food followed the spectrum of self-loathing; either I was overindulging or pushing myself to the brink of starvation. Food was mine to control in a life that increasingly felt out of control. For the uncertainty, stress + overwhelm I could binge on the days when my life felt scarce + my soul was hungry, or I could practice self-punishment by depriving + delaying my nourishment until it hurt. And so it was. Eating too much. Eating too little. Then back again. It was a vicious cycle of feast or famine - mentally, emotionally + physically.

I was out of alignment.

Holistic nutrition education gave me the fundamentals for self-care; it turns out that how, what + when you eat really does matter. I mean it is everything. It impacts your capacity for joy, health, patience, compassion + love. It determines how you will show up for your life + the person you will be when you arrive. If you are like me + depression sometimes waits just outside your front gate, then you need to know that eating well can make a tremendous difference. Period. But food cannot + does not work alone. You need to eat mindfully.

Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. It helps us become aware of who in the body/heart/mind complex is hungry, and how and what is best to nourish it. —Psychology Today

How you nourish yourself is how you love yourself. Every time.

The reality is, I really didn't get better at eating until I began meditating; something about quieting the noise + clearing out the clutter gave me the ability to hear myself. In time, I knew the difference between what my mind wanted, what my body needed + what my soul craved but even more important, I actually trusted myself enough to listen + follow through. There was no negative internal dialogue after each meal. I was no longer pushed + pulled by diet industry 'news' or insecurity or life's changing circumstance. Day by day, I was getting lighter, brighter + more powerful. My energy, focus + time were allocated with discernment + care. I felt better because I was better.

Only the beginning.

It's been over 10 years since I made the connection between who I am + what I eat. I have a balanced relationship with food that is deeply rooted in self-love. What was once a salve for stress + anxiety is now a source of fuel + pleasure. My body is a temple that houses my soul; a spark of divinity that I know is whole, worthy + precious. I am mentally, emotionally + physically stronger. Every morning + every night, I come back home to myself through my meditation practice. I breathe. I listen. I love. My life is seen from the inside out + not, from the outside in + from this vantage point, I see clearly that I am already nourished.



real talk

The truth is, in order to heal we need to tell our stories and have them witnessed...The story itself becomes a vessel that holds us up, that sustains, that allows us to order our jumbled experiences into meaning.

As I told my stories of fear, awakening, struggle, and transformation and had them received, heard, and validated by other women, I found healing.

I also needed to hear other women's stories in order to see and embrace my own. Sometimes another woman's story becomes a mirror that shows me a self I haven't seen before. When I listen to her tell it, her experience quickens and clarifies my own. Her questions rouse mine. Her conflicts illumine my conflicts. Her resolutions call forth my hope. Her strengths summon my strengths. All of this can happen even when our stories and our lives are very different.

{Sue Monk Kidd}