Hands in the dirt
I might have mentioned here that I deleted most social media apps off my phone aside from Instagram and Dribbble—Instagram because it's my favorite app, and Dribbble because it's a quick and painless way for me to share some of my designs without too much commitment.
The reason I got rid of them is to eliminate as much distraction as possible, but there was another, more powerful benefit that I considered at first, but didn't realize how much it would affect me.
With no access to Twitter and Facebook, I wasn't getting the deluge of political dissonance. I feel like the majority of content I've consumed since Donald Trump decided to enter the race for President of the United States, I've been hit over the head with one angry story or meme after another. I was partly to blame for a while, but I made a choice recently to stop (or at least significantly reduce) sharing my political views on social media because I no longer wanted to add to the flood.
I still have my moments of weakness, especially when I read stories about the crazy stuff that man in the White House proclaims, but before I press that share button now, I'm giving myself a few seconds to consider if it's really helping. I don't know the answer, but since I do know that it makes me feel worse to see nothing but that stuff in my feed, then I'd rather not be part of the problem.
Making a victory garden
We have this patch of dirt in our backyard that I keep meaning to turn into a garden. I tried once unsuccessfully but I want to give it another shot come Spring. I was browsing through a seed catalog, deciding what I want to plant, and the thought struck me that when you plant seeds, you pretty much know what you're going to get.
If you plant carrot seeds, you get carrots.
If you plant corn, you get corn.
If you do things correctly, you know the results you're going to get.
I can't say for sure if the science is the same, but I'm guessing that the same translates to what we put out into the world.
If you plant seeds of dissonance, you're going to get more dissonance.
If you plant seeds of appreciation and love, you'll get more appreciation and love back.
One of the reasons my previous gardening attempt didn't work is because my soil wasn't the best. I didn't do a soil test, but I'm certain if I did, I'm sure the ph balance would have been off.
Soil that's too acidic or too alkaline on the ph scale can kill the seedling before it starts. Also, when a soil if out of balance, it might take an entire season to get it back in balance before you can plant again. Unfortunately, I learned this after it was too late.
That could also apply to what we share on social media. I was sharing my creative work consistently, but interspersed with the occasional post about my sociopolitical leanings. Looking back over the past few years, it's easy to recognize that my lack of growth may have come from putting my seeds in bad soil.
When I started working for myself, I did so with the purpose of helping other creatives do their work better, but as time went on, I started to work my internally, focused on my own creative work.
After removing the social media from my phone, I started feeling better about life in general, and I got clarity about the overall attitude of my work. What I produced had grown dark, not necessarily negative, but definitely a more foreboding presence than the work I'd done in the past.
With some contemplative consideration, I decided that I want my work to inspire others. I want it to bring light into people's lives and make them think positively on themselves whenever they see it. I'm not talking rainbows and unicorns, but definitely not some of the doom and gloom, "you are gonna die, so get to work," aesthetic of some of my recent work.
The way I see it is, if I plant these seeds of positivity into fertile ground, it will bring more positivity back to me. So yeah, a tad bit selfish, but only for the most generous of reasons—at least that's what I tell myself.
The proof is in the practice, so it's time to get my hands in the dirt.