Last week, my curiosity took an unexpected turn as I found myself systematically unfollowing the very same Twitter accounts I'd originally followed because at some point they'd piqued my interest. It's taken me some time to realize this, but 'following' people doesn't end when the little button next to their handle lights up blue; 'following' means trailing them as they give in to creative rabbit holes, pursue intellectual quests, join in on hashtag conversations, decide to support a Kickstarter, share their life hacks, and on and on.
It's not that who they are and what they're sharing has stopped being interesting to me. (Far from it.) It's not that I felt offended by something they tweeted or retweeted. (I'm intrigued by healthy differences of opinion.)
It's that my feed was becoming something that very closely resembled a terribly noisy auditorium.
There was some angry-shouting and general loud-talking (which often registers as angry-shouting to my HSP self). There was a lot of advice and opinions, tips and tricks, being hurled all willy-nilly like. Ever more reminders of news items that I was trying to avoid, at least for an hour or two, since I won't indulge certain awfulnesses beyond their headlines.
By following 250+ people, I'd opened myself to the thoughts, feelings, recipes, whims, reactions, opinions, heartbreaks, joys, updates, and distractions of a lot of folks who very likely mean well in their desire to connect, but who, together, collectively, started to sound like noise to me.
The unfollowing began shortly after I read and reflected on this piece (which, incidentally, came to me through my Twitter feed) and considered that perhaps even curiosity could benefit from occasional maintenance. Trimming back what's excessive, keeping its branches from getting tangled in electric lines, pruning what's old to make way for new growth.
Then, on Friday, Stephanie Madewell absolutely nailed my feelings about current events in general when she tweeted:
We, the curious, know that curiosity doesn't actually give a rat's tail about results—but what we might not realize is that it also gleefully eschews facts, or what we believe to be the facts of a situation or circumstance. As far as curiosity's concerned, it's all up for questioning, even and maybe especially "the facts."
So, between feeling overstimulated by a noisy internet and gutted by world events, I decided to put my curiosity at the helm of a brief investigation; I asked myself:
How can I tailor my consumption of information to meet my spirit's needs?
The word 'consumption' immediately made me think of appetites and how I fuel myself and where my boundaries are when it comes to incoming information:
How will I know when I've had enough servings of devastation and disappointment (that is, if I choose to serve that to myself in the first place) and need to take bigger helpings of altruism and goodwill?
The intuitive questions that followed were:
What if I designed my feeds to feed me?
What would a nutritious feed look like?
Mmmmm, nutritious feeds—that idea really lands for me (and it sounds delicious). That's what I'm after. I want to consume the information that energizes me, that makes me want to engage with the world—not the stuff that puts me in the fetal position with my fingers jammed in my ears.
With the help of these questions, it's becoming a whole easier to spot and silence what sounds like noise and/or what gives me that overcrowded auditorium feeling. I'm still paring down my feeds, testing my theories, playing with the variables. Getting curious about all my options for engagement with the world, not just the ones that are loudest.
I wonder: Where can you build a filter this week, to ensure that what makes it through to your spirit is exactly what you want to feed your spirit?
Notes from the week of June 19
READ & NODDED MY HEAD
+ "The dominant zombie story of bodies without minds strips people with dementia of their humanity and interferes with creating new kinds of familial connections. How many of us have the privilege of knowing our parents as children? Through connection we heal. Comics lead us to light because, subconsciously, we associate comics with laughter, and we need permission to laugh at sickness and not just describe it in medical terms. Laughter is respite. It opens new possibilities for how to cope"
+ Revolve Pizza Kitchen, a local restaurant that takes the Chipotle approach to pizza