What is my intention? What is my desire? What is enough?
What pulling back on social media awoke in me
As I mentioned last week, I deleted my social media apps on a Saturday night after I was so overstimulated and underwhelmed with the projections coming at me. I was in a period of what I call apathy, but maybe also depressive, where everything in my life was quite amazing, yet I felt disconnected from myself. I intellectually knew it was “all good”…but it did not feel that way.
I knew my period was coming on, which usually induces these feelings, but the mood was coming on a little earlier than usual. And then I got into “figuring it out”, a mental cycle that is mostly not so useful.
Deleting my apps was not something I ever expected to do, especially because I use social media, especially Instagram, for my business. The decision to delete was instantanous, a gut instinct, and whisper of intuition. Whatever you want to call it, it had to go, at least for the next 24 hours.
Sunday, I felt like I was just coming down from this constant dopamine chase. Moving from what felt like being a mosquito to being a butterfly. I mentioned this in last week’s post. Later that day, on a walk, I saw at least six monarch butterflies. I truly never see any butterflies in my neighborhood, so if there was a sign to validate my decision (besides the tarot card I pulled), this was definitely it.
On Monday, I decided to only show up on social media through the browser versions. The Instagram browser is so clunky that constant scrolling just doesn’t happen. This just shows how systems and design are so influential over our behaviors. I posted something on my Instagram feed via the browser on Monday, and then I wanted to share that post to my stories but realized that Instagram basically forces you to go into the app to do this. I had two choices, re-download the app or don’t post to stories. Since I had a big shift in my program that I announced in the post, and because the algorithm is pushing Reels more than posts, I decided to re-download the app. I was a little scared, but I just did it anyways with the intention that I would delete it immediately afterward. I posted the stories, looked at a few posts and other friends’ stories, and I deleted the app!
For the next few days, I basically did the same thing. Used the various forms of social media only via browser and re-downloaded Instagram only for features I couldn’t use unless I had the app. Then I deleted it immediately. I decided that Wednesday would be a day to spend more time on it, be more present for my audience and to catch up on other people’s posts. My dear friend Courtney Koester who is a beautiful teacher of energetics calls Wednesday a Mercury day, a day of communication and connecting. I recenty downloaded her digital calendar, and it’s really helpful for me to calibrate my energy instead of being go-go-go. And yet, I still didn’t love having it on my phone, ignoring other things I wanted to do. So I deleted it by mid-afternoon.
This all leads me to intention.
When I’m asked “What is your intention?” in coaching or support spaces, I often freeze up. I’ve had a hard time with this question. It has almost sounded like another language…a cloudy yet magical idea that is meant to be some type of divine answer or whisk me away to another dimension. I usually answer very generally because, you see, I don’t like to focus on wanting one thing because there are so many possibilities! I don’t want to EXCLUDE anyone or anything.
But something made me delete the app, a desire to no longer engage, a desire to tend to tasks, and just pay more attention to the present. While I’ve connected with so many amazing people via social media, it can also feel very disembodied.
This past week, I was using social media with true intention: to share my stories and ideas, connect with others, and move on to the next thing. I used it for what I desired instead of letting it tell me what my next desire was.
It totally clicked. Intention is desire. Intention is deciding your desire. Intention is deciding. This can be a super specific or general decision. But I’ve noticed that for so many spaces I enter, I’m just excited to learn. And yet, there’s something else behind that excitement that I’ve been hesitant to name for fear of missing out.
James-Olivia Chu Hillman told me that the etymology of decide is “to cut off”. Deciding means knowing what you want, and that means saying no to other things. As I’ve been doing my Delight with Nisha in Nature calls, I was talking to someone who was sitting with a plant they have in their room. They were so proud to be with it and to have supported and tended to its growth, which required pruning…cutting off…deciding. Pruning makes space for growth.
Being intentional is knowing what you want or even what you might want, and seeing where it takes you. But knowing what we want can be really really hard - especially if you see yourself as a helper who just wants the best for everyone else. In my first year of business, I’ve learned that knowing what I want takes time, reflection, and constant refining. And that’s okay.
What often gets in the way of desire is fear of deciding, fear of what or who our desire can hurt, fear of missing out, fear of the unknown. So we allow all the leaves to crowd us instead of making space for our vision.
But it’s so so important to try to desire, especially if you come from a marginalized background that was conditioned to constantly assimilate to what other people desired from you because that provided safety.
One beautiful outcome of pulling back from social media has been that I’m finally catching up on a bunch of emails I’ve put off because I didn’t feel like I had time or energy. What I’ve realized is that scrolling and sharing and posting and checking metrics depleted my energy and focus. One email I finally got to was from Hima Batavia’s Substack titled “on tiny kitchens”. She talks about the tiny kitchens she’s had in her life and how she longs for a big beautiful kitchen, but she realizes the beautiful and funny memories in those tinier kitchens and how, maybe, what she has is “enough”.
Given that I’ve been thinking so much about intention and desire, it was really helpful to connect this to “enough”. I believe “enough” is very relative based on history, systems, context, and our individual selves. It’s hard to separate one from the other. Yet, thinking from this lens made me ask myself, “What is enough for me?”
Now I’m not saying we can’t dream. But what I am saying is that if you’ve had a hard time even thinking about what you desire, this can be a beautiful place to start.
I created a list of what would feel like enough for:
my coaching offers
I also think that “relationships” can be a great one, however, that’s what I was thinking of when I included “my feelings”. Feel free to add others! I can also imagine “world”, “society”, “family”, “intimacy”, and more.
For home, I wrote “having a washer/dryer in unit, making an altar space in my second bedroom, and maybe a third bedroom?” Not super succinct but a starting point. Then I added a section called “BONUS”. This is where I wrote what would be extra nice for each of those categories as well. For home, I wrote “a nice outdoor space”. Now, two bedrooms, and maybe even one, might be enough for me. But since I have two bedrooms, this is where I started. This isn’t definitive or written in stone. It’s a practice and exercise.
So now when I think of intentions for each of these areas, they are moving in the direction of desire and enough. While it might seem contradictory, it feels like a breath of fresh air to me. A way to decide, prune, and see what will grow.
What is my intention? What is my desire? What is enough?
In the end…
Doing things intentionally can go in so many different directions. It can be about how you approach a task to your dream world to making a boundary. And it’s so so so powerful. Now when someone asks me “What is your intention?”, I’m ready to receive it - not because I always know the answer but becauase I know that a decision is a gentle opening, another way to tend to myself which helps me tend to the world as well.
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