What Happened When I Unplugged From Social Media?

Let me start by saying whooo hooo! Unplugging from social media is G L O R I O U S. 

Photo by  Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

For anyone who's missed my announcement... my fiancé and I are having our first baby and decided to take a much needed break from all work as best we could to be together, relax and create a family plan before our little bundle of joy arrives in July. I've been intrigued by the friends I've seen take a month off from social media and decided that this would be the perfect time to take a break as well. Our seven days may not seem like much but it served us both so well. Kauai is a magical place to embrace & explore and really sink in to it's beauty. Now I'd like to pay it forward. 

Have you guys ever unplugged in any kind of way? I've definitely limited use of phone at times and shut things down for a day here and there but since the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc.. I've become pretty consistent with posting content I enjoy sharing and don't often miss a day. I find myself most active on Instagram. With my own posting commitment I also spend time looking through feeds of those I follow for all kinds of reasons; motivation, happiness, a good laugh, style, friends & family, education, shopping, world news... it can be an abundant and overwhelming time-suck at times right? 

I would be remiss if I didn't admit; somedays creating a post is far too time consuming. Checking to see who's viewed or liked it happens periodically out of habit and I often catch myself going directly to Instagram when I picked up my phone to make a call, put something in my calendar, send an e-mail and such. It’s apparent how easy this monkey mind subconscious can take over. Is anyone else with me on this?  Now the key is to use these unplugging tactics to sustain new habits.  Limit yourself to be on social media for an allotted time that serves you well but doesn't end up highjacking you of precious time that would be better spent elsewhere. 

My mind is often blown when I see how many followers some individuals and brands have and I wonder will I get there, do I need to, does my brand become better if I do? All logical questions I guess when you are a blogger looking to grow your audience and reach to the masses in an inspiring way... but really how important is this pertaining to what I truly value in my life? I hope we're all questioning this at times. 

My purpose on social media is inspiration and branding; seeking and providing. I hope to connect in a positive way with those that may enjoy a little insight into what's helped me along my journey as an actress, yoga instructor and human who seeks sustaining happiness, acceptance and pleasures in everyday joys. I made a deal with myself when I entered the social media craze that posts should be; kind, fun, inspiring and thoughtful and even a little goofy at times... never straying from my authentic self and integrity. It wasn't a place to rant complaints, judge or be negative. My fiancé, Erik and I hope to instill these same morals as we expand our family. We remain curious and interested in how to be great partners and parents with our digital lives. It's fun to connect with family and friends on this level. In addition, those I follow are aligned with my brand Inspirational Addict and provide intentions that support my mind, body & spirit well. 

What I learned:

  • I am far more present in my surroundings and conversations when I'm not scrolling and posting.
  • There is a sense of contentment that arrives when you let go of needing to share everything or see what others are up to.
  • The voices of comparison and questioning how good or useful my content is dissipated. 
  • You pick up where you leave off. Nothing changes, I never felt as though I was missing out... I loved not caring. 
  • How enjoyable it is to listen intently, talk and feel heard and connect organically to each moment of your day.
  • It feels darn good to simply take a break from it all. Meditating and yoga felt even calmer & more connected to myself.

tips for mindful social media:

  • Ask yourself why you're on social media? Get clear about it.
  • Decide the allotted time you should spend per day and stick to it; brand versus personal fun (if you have a brand)
  • Be authentic to who you are with honesty, integrity and wise intentions in your posts.
  • Create content that you enjoy sharing and the audience that loves you for you will come.
  • With-in your allotted time you've established; like and comment with the things that bring you joy.
  • Take a break from all social media every so often. Schedule power down's and observe how that can help you grow. 
Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

Photo by Erik Almas, Kauai Baby Moon

This has been a particularly special time in my life. Feeling this baby girl growing in my belly day by day and being with Erik traveling to yet another beautiful place I'd never been. I cherish that we both took time to just be together and get connected to what's most important in life; LOVE and FAMILY. No matter where you are geographically or spiritually you have an opportunity to pause and let go of the chaos that being on social media too much can bring and create a healthier digital life. It will not only help you grow as a person but will deepen your connection to everyone you cross paths with. Delight in that.... it's just lovely.

fun fact:

I'm happy to report amongst the long list of National Day's the www.NationalDayCalendar.com added National Day for Unplugging.  It's the first Friday of March every year as of 2017. 

Thank you guys for popping by, I love hearing from you so if you have comments or questions or tips for me, send them my way! Share your unplugging story back with me... Biggest Hugs! 

xo Andrea

 

My Unforgettable Night With Our Beloved Prince

Prince lovers everywhere are saddened by the news that we've lost another iconic artist way too soon. I've been a fan since my youth. Often lip syncing and twirling around my bed room and forcing even my shy friends to perform and make up choreography to his music at every slumber party.  Multiple dance and tumbling routines of mine over the years were performed to some of his greatest hits. I don't often make any fuss about meeting amazing people but this was Prince, The Prince, and my moment was inspiring to say the least.  Never in a million years did I think one day I would shake this legendary performers hand or melt with disbelief and a throbbing heart as he captivated my presence.  Shall I go on?

 
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I wish I had photos but all I have is a fond memory implanted in my mind and heart which so far has been one of my most memorable nights since I moved to LA in 2000.  My girlfriend, Sarah and I got asked by Prince's private-party chef if we were available to pass champagne at his LA home for an intimate gathering. This was one of the last free-lance bartending jobs I had and boy, I can say I closed down that chapter of my life with bang! I think it was a no-brainer, YES, for us since we both were fans.  It sounded pretty lovely to be paid a substantial fee to simply greet guests and offer some bubbly as they mingled about hoping we may get to see Prince perform at some point, right? We were told no pictures and to not have too much interaction. Let's face it, you tell yourself to play it cool but that's pretty hard when you see someone like Prince glide into a room with a mysterious essence... you catch yourself trying not to stare and watch his every move like a stalker, suddenly the feeling of pop-rocks candy is exploding in your gut and you can't help but wish that for a moment he might just come say hello. A pretty natural feeling I presume?

And so he did. Not right away but eventually as the evening progressed, I caught eyes with him. Met with a smile, I asked if I could get him anything. He was kind and soft spoken. It was just lovely and enough as far as I was concerned. 

No more than 30-40 guests had casually arrived and filled the upstairs, amongst them was none other than the late, Whitney Houston, which too was mesmerizing.  As cocktail time and conversations started to wind down, the guests migrated downstairs where the band was set up to perform. Sarah and I sort of lingered with wonderment and curiosity of what we may be missing down there as we cleaned and tidied things up.  We saw more of Prince strolling about various wings of the house so we knew the band was still jamming without him.  We eventually were guided down briefly to offer some champagne refills. The downstairs hallway was like a museum with a collection of pieces like his motorcycle, amazing guitars and the purple rain velvet outfit... pretty cool to see.  The quaint space accommodated the small crowd nicely and all seemed to be enjoying the band playing and getting their dance moves on even though,  there was no Prince.

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It's now passing 2AM and we catch the band pack up and head out to valet.  And then something happens. The band comes back in and we are asked, along with any other staff that is there to head downstairs. There is less than 10 guests still hanging about that I can see. And there he is, less than 5ft in front of Sarah and I.  Dripped in a small pool of light, guitar in hand, eyes closed, the electric riffs began and for the next hour we were dancing like it was 1999, our doves were crying, we went crazy, we felt delirious, Sarah and I practically kissed, we melted wanting to be his lover and nothing compared to the purple rain we felt pouring over us 7 times and then some. YOU FEEL ME?

Whether or not Prince intended to perform his greatest hits for those who waited and held out to the wee hours or for his staff who delicately curated a perfect night, I for one was inspired by this random act of what seemed so kind and dear for just us. This will forever be a memory I cherish with my soul sister Sarah Sluder. This experience made me take a moment to pause and acknowledge that every terrible bartending job I did along the way may have just lead me to this unforgettable night with our beloved Prince.  R.I.P.

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The coffee shop I'm sitting in today is playing the songs of this talented soul that inspired so many of us. It feels nice as I wrap this up. May we all take a moment and relish in a song that gave you a memory of some kind and share it with our youth and let his legacy carry with the world for years to come. Let me know what it is, what's the one your most likely to belt in the shower? I love hearing from you guys!

Click this link for the New York Times announcement article published yesterday morning. 

Sadhus in Varanasi

Namaste from Varanasi, India's Holy City. Tonight we witnessed so many things I will never forget. From the ghats at the banks of Varanasi to see the evening prayers, and for an evening boat ride on the holy Ganges River— I'm speechless and my soul feels like its received a blessing in some way I've never felt.  

Photo by Erik Almas

Photo by Erik Almas

What is a Sadhu you ask?

Here is a little bit on the Sadhus, the good man/holy man we are photographed with, whom may or may not be a real Sadhu.  Now I say this because it was brought to our attention by our guides that tourists, like me, want to get pictures with these interesting faces of India.  Similar to our favorite super heros and disney characters who line the Hollywood Walk of Fame taking pictures with tourists, they've all found a way to capitalize on this and make some great tips.  

Photo by Me:)

Photo by Me:)

In Hinduism, a sādhu (Sanskrit sādhu, "good; good man, holy man") is a religious ascetic or holy person.[1]Although the vast majority of sādhus are yogīs, not all yogīs are sādhus. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation of Brahman. Sādhus often wear saffron-coloured clothing, symbolising their sannyāsa (renunciation). This way of life is open to women; the female form of the word is sādhvī. In 2014, an all-female akhada (group of sadhus) was formed; it is believed to be the first such group in India.[2]  (Wikipedia)

Sadhus are also often referred to as Baba, meaning father and real or not, some of them we crossed paths with had intriguing energy and with curious eyes we were drawn in.  As the sun started to rise I watched this ash covered Baba Sadhu turn himself to bow and then begin a tea & smoke ritual.  Our guide helped us communicate that I’d like to have a picture with him and next thing you know I’m invited in, offered a smoke (I said no thank you and we all cracked up) and I folded my feet on top of my thighs for Lotus and he joined the party, clearly not to be out done!  We both pressed our body weight up into an elevated Lotus Posture (Utthita Padmasana) while Erik captured some really fun moments.  After it all, our guide explained he was a special Baba Sadhu, who practices hot yoga and more rare to see.  What a treat.  I’d like to believe our paths crossed and I just did some yoga with a real Sadhu.  I’m grateful. 

Photos by Erik Almas

Photos by Erik Almas

Through the higher spiritual intelligence, there is the realization of the Light of the Self
— Lord Shiva