D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: intentional living

murals in the desert

"You may stand the strain of the most intense labour, coupled with severe suffering, and yet break down utterly when laid aside from all religious activities; when forced into close confinement in some prison house."--Streams in the Desert

As I walked past the countless murals on the street, I recognized myself: a colorful, hollow attempt at redemption. Paint splashed on bricks to make it all seem new; wide-eyed, good hearted people bounding in to help. But murals don’t change neighborhoods; neither does my showing up.

I am reminded by Psalm 103 to remember the miracles that the Lord has done. In this lonely, awake place I remember what has pointed to the divine in my life. It is my family: my precious, baby-that-almost-wasn’t, my husband, so young and brave and handsome. It is my friendships, so surprising and challenging, with people so unlike me, my Somali and Bhutanese friends. It is the way I continue to plod along after this great love I have heard about and experienced in so many tiny ways; it is the way I feel relentlessly pursued by this love, how it has pushed and pulled me outside of myself. It is the way I have been brought to this place, outside of all of my religious activities, my labours and sufferings, and am finally alone enough where I can recognize how I am a colorful, painted tomb.

I don't want this to sound depressing; I debated all day on what I should or shouldn't share, on how honest I can be. I find this odd space, this time of complete newness and being emptied out, to be exhilarating in every sense. I am alive, I have eyes to see, and ears to hear. How often have I been able to say that? Recognizing my own flaws, be they a propensity for pride, self-righteousness, acedia, or melancholy, is a true and vital step in becoming whole. In living life awake, asleep neither to the realities of the world or the realities of my heart. This is where I am supposed to be, and in this moment I am holding it close.

 

Linking up with SheLoves Magazine today, for their synchroblog on the word "awake". Come join us?

One month without Facebook

Time for an update on the No-Facebook experiment.

January was awesome. 

I loved not being on Facebook. It was ridiculously easy. I thought I would have all sorts of withdrawals and not be in the loop, but I was fine. My in-box was quieter than normal and I didn't have a thousand inane details about random people's lives to clutter my thoughts with, and I was OK with that.

Here is the good:

I read. A LOT. I truly had no idea how much time I would spend checking my facebook, then checking my 3 (!) e-mail accounts, then browsing pinterest, and then checking facebook again. In the mornings I would check my e-mail, read my blogs (via googlereader, which is such a time saver in of itself) and basically be done. It was hard to wean myself out of the habit of flipping open the laptop anytime the baby was asleep/distracted, but I am getting better (not perfect, but better).

So with my oodles of extra free time (said only with a hint of sarcasm, since the baby is prone to 1 one-hour nap these days) I would plop down with a book and engage my brain and heart and will for at least 30 minutes a day. It was amazing. I eschewed fake camaraderie in order to wrestle with some deep and lovely thoughts, and came out energized and ready to wrestle a cranky toddler. I was worried I would feel lonely, but instead I burrowed in the comfort of good books.

I didn't compare my life to anyone else's. Yeah, in January I didn't go out to any cool restaurants or bars or art openings or social justice fundraisers or concerts and I never got the chance to sit in a coffee shop and take a picture of my chocolate croissant with my instagram app and I didn't run through the rain in wellingtons and a mustard-yellow cardigan and and and.

I just lived my life. Full of its own drama and monotony. For awhile, I felt bad. The entire world was being deprived of my witty status updates! And then I realized nobody cared (plus, I was never that witty).

After week one, I stopped thinking in 140 characters. I stopped reshaping my life to fit into an update.

And so help, I feel free.

I made space for God. Social Media is all tied up with narcissism and voyeurism for me. Perhaps it is not that way for you: great. But I am constantly having to battle my own feelings of restlessness and a need for recognition. Relegating myself to a more isolated existence felt scary. Instead, I found the time and space for a rich inner life and on-going conversation with the Spirit. Although there were a few days where I checked pinterest a little obsessively, and I did try out twitter a tiny bit, on the whole I let myself truly stop trying to interact with everybody. If I ate something delicious, I told Jesus about it. If I found music I liked, I told Jesus. If I was reading something amazing, me and Jesus would hash it out.

It was pretty awesome. And now that I am back in this groove, I don't ever want to go back to my "refresh page" kind of life.

And with that said . . .

On February 1st I logged back into my Facebook account to link to my blog/column. (As it turns out, nobody reads your blog unless you promote it at least a tiny bit. As it also turns out, I can't quit blogging and am learning to deal with the narcissistic aspects of that as another facet of my growth this year).

In the past week I have logged in about every other day or so, usually to look at photos of my friends who are having babies like it is nobody's business (it's like a baby boom out there right now).

I have decided to keep my account, and to use it to link to my various articles/blogs, and to use it for important things like babies and birthday party invites. It is amazing how everything from signing up to bring a friend a meal to graduation parties all take place on FB now. And with the possibility of us moving far, far away looming on the horizon, I don't feel it is wise to cut off all communication right now.

But friends, I am done with the status updates and all that. I have made a committment not to update my status or get sucked into reading others for the next good while. And once you step back for awhile, you realize how trivial it can get in there. I don't need anything more inane in my life; I have quite enough as it is.

So I can't say I am %100 off Facebook. But in all the important ways, I am done.

Facebook, I thought I couldn't quit you. But it turns out it is one of the easiest things I have ever done.

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