A Guest Blog Post from Christina Malecka, MA LMHC, founder of Unplug. Reconnect. Restore: Digital Mindfulness Retreats:
Hello. Take a breath. How are you?
If you are like me, you have spent a LOT of time on your screens over the past month. This global pandemic still has us spinning and we are in the midst of a transformative cultural uprising led by Black Lives Matter.
We can’t look away, nor should we. But it’s also time for some respite from the constant flow of information, and to step away from our screens to integrate new information.
As someone passionate about tech-life balance and off-screen wellbeing, I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
Over the the past month I have been immensely grateful to brilliant Black women like Nicole Pearson, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Ijeoma Oluo. They have challenged me to more deeply interrogate systemic racism, and my responsibility to dismantle it.
There is no denying that social media has been a major catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement, and for that I am deeply grateful.
At the same time, I am skeptical about the powerful corporate interests working tirelessly to keep us addicted to their products, and the racism, sexism and other biases imbedded in digital platforms. Platforms that are overwhelmingly created and maintained by White men. (To learn more about this, I urge you to read Safiya Umoja Noble’s book Algorithms of Oppression.) Can social media really be a foundational tool for systemic liberation in the long-term? I have my doubts.
The very nature of social media is that topics “trend” and then fade over time. What will we do now that Black Lives Matter is no longer front and center on social media?
I will be continuing to follow Black leaders, activists and thinkers to stay engaged for the long term. The brilliant Ijeoma Oluo warns us to “be wary of things that are purely symbolic“ and anything that allows you to do something that isn’t actually felt by people of color.
She says: “I always ask myself when I’m trying to do solidarity work, can the people I’m in solidarity with actually feel this? Can they spend this? Can they eat this? Does this actually help them in any way? And if it doesn’t, let it go.”
One of the dangers of social media is that our actions on it are often purely symbolic.
I am not saying that agents of oppression should not demonstrate accountability to, and solidarity with targets of oppression on social media. But it can’t stop there. We must make a regular commitment to inquiry and action, even after Instagram stops reminding us to do so. But I’m preaching to the choir here. We’re part of a Collective that leads with accountability to BIPOC communities and I see you out there doing the work.
We are also allowed to rest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about humility and the freedom that comes with it: pausing, listening, reading and learning. What a relief to not have to cling to the White habit of striving for “expert” status.
We know that dismantling institutional racism is a marathon, not a sprint. It needs to be integrated into our lives along with our work, relationships, hobbies, leisure and spiritual practices. I love this incredible google doc compiled by Bryanna Wallace and Autumn Gupta that offers daily actions to support the Black Lives Matter movement while maintaining physical distancing in the time of COVID-19. Whether you have 10, 25 or 10 minutes a day, this resource will help us maintain momentum when BLM is no longer in the fickle social media and news cycle.
Are you craving a reminder of what it feels like to have more spaciousness to reflect on what you’d rather be doing with the 4 hours a day you scroll social media? (Hey, we all do it…even me!). How do we make the most of our off-line time in the age of socializing from a distance? I have an idea….
Screen Time Lifeline! A Rescue from Smartphone Fixation in a Time of Uncertainty
Starting on July 5, I am offering a 5-week I am guided mutual support experience called Screen Time Lifeline to support you to find tech-life balance – not by rejecting technology – but by embracing evidence-based practices designed to help you make the most of your offline hours, calm your nervous system and buoy your emotional health. Something we could all use right now.
This will be my second cohort of Screen Time Lifeline. After leading magical in-person Digital Mindfulness retreats at The Whidbey Institute pre-COVID, I was skeptical about building community on Zoom. But with only 6 people and plenty of space for everyone to participate, we co-created something truly special. Most importantly, when participants logged off after our Sunday gatherings, they were all able to use the tools and support I shared, to become more mindful about their relationships with technology, and to find balance.
I’m not here to guilt or shame you; I’m here to throw a party to celebrate your humanity, presence, and capacity to connect with others!
We’ll be meeting on Sunday evenings from 4 – 5:30pm PT between July 5 and August 2, and together we will:
- Create community to support you to set intentions and goals to stay electronically connected on your own terms.
- Set you up for success to enjoy a screen-free Sunday evening after our online gathering
- Learn how mindfulness is the opposite of distraction – and the key to a healthier relationship with technology.
- Meditate, ground, move, laugh and learn
- Empower you to rediscover your passions, values and priorities. Because why would you spend less time on your phone if you’re unclear about what to do?
Fun fact: Hannah encouraged me to start this group and was a participant in the first cohort. Here’s what she had to say:
“I always love working with Christina, but our group dynamics were really special too. I felt like our group was especially thoughtful and empathetic due to the number of therapists and people within the wellness industry. The biggest take-away and change by far has been creating a conscious relationship with my technology. When I choose to binge out on it, it’s a conscious choice to absorb info, zone out, or connect with others. Christina has an innate ability to read the room and create containers for real change to happen, which makes every experience feel uniquely tailored to the needs of each individual and the group as a whole.”
Three Moon Collective members and fans: you are my ideal audience for Screen Time Lifeline, so I’m offering you a 10% discount off the $200 registration fee if you use the code THREEMOON at check-out.
Let’s unplug, build community, and rest for a while. Join me!