ASK A SPIRITUAL CEO: 5 RULES FOR CONSCIOUS SOCIAL MEDIA USE

Addicted to likes … while practicing non-attachment? In her first “Ask a Spiritual CEO” advice column, Maha Rose founder Lisa Levine shares her top 5 rules for conscious social media use …

Lisa gets social at Maha Rose. Photo: Annie Forest.

Q: “I know that to grow my business I need to be active on social media, but the more time I spend on Instagram the less connected I am to my deeper spiritual experience of life – which is also vital for my work. How can I reconcile both worlds? Instagram in particular is so addictive! It’s easy to get sucking into living from a place of what to “share” next. I also find myself distracted from my spiritual process by wondering which parts of my own journey will also make a good post, rather than being fully present with it. Help!”

Lisa Levine: Social media is such an amazing tool for small business, incuding independent healers, teachers, and artists. What people are able to grow through connecting in this way is inspiring!

But it can be a double-edged sword. Here are my top 5 rules for navigating the social media wilds while having fun, staying grounded with ourselves and each other, and preserving some of the mystery …

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Rule #1 Use it, Don’t be Used by It. Remember that social media is a tool. As spiritual seekers, our goal is freedom. Attachment to anything is the opposite of freedom.

When you know (or just suspect) you’ve had your fill, get off the screen and meditate, draw, dance, spend time with real live humans. When I find myself overstimulated and overstretched, I slow down, make extra eye contact, and focus on listening. During staff meetings at Maha Rose, we ask that people don’t have their phones open so we can be as present as possible with one another.

Photo: Annie Forest

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Rule #2: Know Your Triggers. Social media allows us see every aspect of people’s lives, and this information can trigger feelings of jealousy, competition, and feeling less than or left out.

I’m not exempt. If I feel myself getting triggered by things I see in social media, I stop engaging and spend some time with that emotion. I ask myself: where is this coming from, and what do I need to address in myself?

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Rule #3: Let the World Move On. The challenge of having your own business is deciding when and if you clock out. And social media is a 24 hour, 7 day a week medium. If you’re not on it, it keeps moving without you, and this can trigger a feeling of needing to be on it all the time.

Practice letting the social media world move on without you for some hours of the day, or even a day or two out of the week. I take regular hiatuses from social media, whether it’s just to disconnect for the second half of the day, or when I’m hosting a retreat, so I can create a bubble of magic space and healing and preserve that energy.

Notice the difference that break makes in your life. Also, notice if it is hard as hell. Social media addiction is REAL. Soon, there will be support groups helping people to get off social media. It’s designed to be addictive. More breaks!

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Rule #4 Recapture the Magic. Nowadays, we share EVERYTHING! And it feels good to share our revelations, and our “a-ha” moments with others.

But let yourself preserve a little bit of magic and mystery. There are revelations that might just be for you, or to be shared in an intimate setting with people who have signed up fully to receive this information, rather than anyone and everyone who happens to be scrolling by.

I love to share, but I do keep some things out of the spotlight. We generally don’t photograph in our workshops because we want them to feel really super sacred. And there are things in my personal life I don’t share. It’s good to keep a bit of mystery.

Photo: Annie Forest

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Rule #5 Pay Attention to Your Intentions. As healers and teachers, our business is US. What are you using to sell yourself? Your beauty, your sexiness, your children? Is that connected to the work you do? If it is, great. If it’s not, maybe question why you are posting it.

Really ask yourself, with every post, what your intention is. To uplift and inspire? Or something else? Everything has a vibration—even social media. Pay attention to the subtle underlying nuances.

Got a question for Lisa’s monthly “Ask a Spiritual CEO” column? Email [email protected] with the subject line: “Spiritpreneur Questions”

HOLY F*CK: IN CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL PINCHBECK

Alexandra Roxo meets radical thought leader Daniel Pinchbeck, to talk spiritual materialism, future planetary solutions, and the rise of the extreme right…

Photo: Alexandra Herstik

Daniel Pinchbeck is a writer, thought leader, speaker, and one of few modern radical voices that come from a grounded, realistic, and holistic perspective. Today we are in dire need of leaders and thinkers who can articulate and envision a path towards union and healing that includes our political, environmental, cultural, AND our spiritual state. Daniel speaks of the whole picture, with a balance of right/left, masculine/feminine, science/art.

His new book How Soon is Now REALLY resonated with feelings I’ve been having for years about the nature of the world we live in, which I have explored in my own writing here on The Numinous and in some of my films. This includes the need to make a shift from focusing on the personal, to focusing on the global. To overcoming spiritual materialism. To escaping hyper-individualism and coming together.

Also, how plants may be aiding in our evolution on multiple levels. How our approach to love and sex is so heavily politically guided and conditioned. The need for rites of passage and the need for ecstatic connections to the cosmos and to each other, through experiences like Burning Man, with psychedelic experiences, and a reconnection to the Earth.

Beyond all this, Daniel’s book reveals to us how we can engage with the planetary shift and initiation that we all know at soul level is in progress, and in doing so be a part of the healing of our planet.

Even better, Daniel is going to be LIVE with us for Moon Club this Sunday Feb 5, which means you can join and ask him questions too! Click here to sign up.

I sat down with him for a little prelude to Sunday’s talk…

ALEXANDRA ROXO: So you’re an author, a TED speaker, a radical thinker, a writer. You wear a lot of hats in terms of your work. What’s the common thread?
DANIEL PINCHBECK: I think that the core of my work is a philosophical quest for the nature of reality.

AR: Word. Was there was a clear point at which this search began?
DP: I had a major spiritual crisis in my mid to late 20’s. I’d been writing for magazines, and it just began to feel very nihilistic. I felt this kind of total emptiness. I also realized ultimately that when people believe conscientiousness is only based in the physical hardware of the brain, then life has no particular meaning. I was like, ‘okay, how can I actually inquire into this?’ I remembered my psychedelic experiences in college as having suggested that there were these other layers of psychic reality that I didn’t really understand.

So I went back to them and went to West Africa, to do Iboga and I went to the Amazon to work with a tribe in Ecuador with ayuasca and so on. These travels informed my first book Breaking Open the Head, and then new questions kept opening up—because these experiences had completely transformed my world view.

AR: The subtitle of How Soon Is Now? is: “From personal initiation to global transformation.” To me it feels like that is what we’re all being called to now, on a micro and a macro level.
DP: I came from a leftist background, and I always had this uneasy feeling about our culture and the direction our society was headed. And then when I looked more into the ecological disaster that we’ve constructed and the amount of poverty and inequality that the system creates, I also saw this whole “new age” spirituality thing, with the meditation and the yoga, as kind of like a trap—because I felt that people were using it as just another distraction, getting so obsessed with their own little healing journeys.

AR: There is definitely the idea of: “I’m entitled to my healing and my enlightenment and I gotta just focus on that.” Healing individually is very necessary too—but how do you see us then finding a way to integrate this into healing the Earth?
DP: It would require for those of us who’ve been on this evolutionary initiation path to reach another level of our capacity to…hold a new frequency, to express it to people who are out of the loop. One thing that really began to upset me overtime was Burning Man. When I first went I was like ‘oh of course, this is the model for this new society. The point is to now bring this out into the world.’ But overtime I saw it become more like another entertainment complex. I saw the people who run Burning Man being really kind of pleased with themselves because all these rich people wanted to hang out with them.

But I think a shift is actually happening, because of this geopolitical emergency that we’ve unleashed. For example, I saw a really good thing on Facebook—this guy wrote that he used to have three different groups of friends that didn’t really integrate very well. One was artists, one was meditators, and the other was activists, and he was, like, thanking Donald Trump because now they’re all in the same group. We’re basically confronting a very, very severe existential emergency with this situation, that I think people are beginning to comprehend in kind of waves.

AR: In the book you use Burning Man as an example to show how if society praises you for good behavior, like cleaning up your own trash for example, and if we praise each other for good behavior, we can start to rewire the conditioning that says it’s somebody else’s responsibility to ‘do the right thing.’
DP: I feel that what Burning Man reveals and why it was such an ‘aha’ moment for me is that our social nature is extremely malleable and changeable, and humans will conform like putty to whatever reward system presents itself. So, say you get laid by becoming a Neo-Nazi and hating on the Jews, a bunch of people will do that. If you have lots of lovers or one lover or whatever you need, as a result of being generous, altruistic, and sharing your gifts open heartedly, you’ll do more of that that.

AR: So how did things tilt so far to the extreme right?
DP: Unfortunately, the extreme right has managed to marshal a lot of collective intelligence by expert use the media system, whereas the progressive community has been much more slow and much less strategic and tactical.

There’s actually been a phenomenon of people on the coasts in LA and New York having greater freedoms, better lives, more opportunities, but we haven’t really taken care to transmit these benefits to the rest of society. And, rightfully in a sense, the rest of society realized they were just being shafted and got extremely angry. I think that theoretically, the more conscious we are of this, we have to bear the blame when things go this wrong.

AR: That’s a tough wake up call for people. If you’re living in light and love all the time, you don’t want to hear “hey, this is your fault, take responsibility, step up to the plate.”
DP: But this awareness is spreading rapidly right now. In a sense, what I am trying to show with the book is that the progressive mystical counter culture hasn’t done a good job of articulating the world that we want to bring into manifestation, beyond our individual process.

For example, let’s take The Beatles at their word: “All you need is love.” But how do you actually create a society centered around altruism and sharing and empathy, what does that look like? In the book I am pretty rigorous looking at this in terms of love and relationships, in terms of monetary systems, even questioning whether private property is good for us. I’m sure many people will disagree with some or many of my conclusions but that’s good. At least we have something to disagree about, which can lead to debate and innovation.

AR: I write about sexual healing quite a bit and you share an anecdote about the community, Tamera, in Portugal, that’s so moving—how a young man’s first lovemaking happens with all the group gathered around the house, celebrating and holding space for him. I cried. There is so much internalized sexual shame in our society. I grew up in Georgia in a very, very Christian space and I was totally shamed from a very young age. When I heard that story, I was able to envision people not “losing” their virginity, but embracing this as a rite of passage—leading to us totally flipping the way that we approach love and sex.
DP: One of the founders of Tamera in Portugal said that sexuality is a superpower that radiates throughout all different facets of society, and we can totally see that with this last election. We saw it with Trump and the grabbing of the pussy, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Roger Ailes who was the Fox News head who was taken down in a big sex scandal, and all of their connection to Jeffrey Epstein, the pedophile…

In a system where sexuality is oppressed, alpha male types seek power and wealth (versus creating a system that spreads wealth evenly) so they can have sexual access, you know? Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, society is more open about sexuality, but it’s actually been reintegrated into a system of domination and control. So it becomes MTV Spring Break or Sex in The City, that type of vibe.

AR: Yes, those pop culture markers reveal that on one level we can “have sex” and “be sexy” but on another level it’s absolutely not okay as a culture to accept our sexual nature. 
DP: Rupert Sheldrake writes about the idea of “morphogenic fields” or “morphic resonance”—that actually, when a small number of a species is able to fully discover or integrate something new it can become generally available to the collective sort of non-locally. So if there’s a small number of communities that have shifted into this different frequency of collective care and responsibility and kind of a truly liberated Eros,  or attitude to love and sexuality, then that could really propagate quite quickly. I mean Neo-Nazism didn’t seem to exist two years ago…and now it’s all over the place. Or look at something like Facebook, and how quickly everybody began using it. Ultimately, I think it’s fully possible that positive shifts towards empathic and responsible social system could also happen rapidly.

Discover more about Daniel and his work at Pinchbeck.io. His new book, How Soon is Now: From Personal Initiation to Global Transformation, is out February 20 2017.

THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF CHOOSING THE RIGHT FRIENDSHIPS

What if you applied the life changing magic of Marie Kondo’s tidying methods to choosing the right friendships, asks Victoria CoxArtwork: Found on Pinterest

Friendship is a constantly evolving thing. We have our inner circle of friends, our coven of trusted confidants. Then there is a secondary circle, comprising people we are friendly with but who are less likely to know our strange quirks and deepest desires; work colleagues, gym buddies or school friends.

Over time, lesser known friends move into the inner circle, whist others move out of the constellation entirely. The point being that our friendship circle is ever changing, as we mature and grow. It is not designed to be stagnant and fixed.

Some friendships gain strength year after year, reaching surprising levels of intimacy. Some fade away entirely either through neglect, distance or simply growing apart. Then there are others that come to an abrupt end, the flame of friendship extinguishing itself in a dramatic fashion.

I understand all of this. So why do I still find myself trying to maintain friendships that no longer serve me? The answer to this question can often be surmised in one word: obligation. After all, if we’ve spent years building up a friendship, investing our time and our hearts, it seems counter-intuitive to throw it all away.

But what if we could learn to accept that if things aren’t what they once were? Acknowledge that it’s time to move on, with no hard feelings?

After all, I’ve learned to do this is every other area of my life. I’ve walked away from dysfunctional relationships; shitty bosses and unfulfilling jobs without even looking back. Why not apply the same thought process to my friends?

And then I finally read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and a light-bulb went on in my head.

Kondo, a Japanese organizing expert, touts the virtues of tidying by asking of everything you own: “Does this spark joy?” and if not, thanking it for its service and getting rid of it. But instead of pondering whether inanimate objects in my apartment sparked joy, what if I applied this method to choosing the right friendships?

Admittedly my first thought was to question whether or not I would qualify as a sociopath in comparing my friendships to my heavily stained shower curtain.

But really, what if we were to scroll through every friend listed in our phone contacts and ask ourselves: “Does this person spark joy in my life?” I would hazard a guess there’s probably a good thirty percent of people about whom we would either answer with a long “hmmm…”—or else blurt out a “Hell No!”

And when you really think about it, why would we choose to spend our valuable time with friends that no longer spark joy in our life? It simply doesn’t make any sense. Until you factor in that godawful G word. Guilt.

So powerful is the G-word (evil twin of the that O-word again—obligation) that I recently found myself spending hours with a friend who I didn’t want to hang out with, doing things I had no interest in doing and wishing I was somewhere else. Talk about soul-destroying.

And so turned back to Kondo’s book, seeking more pearls of wisdom to apply to my friendship circle.

She also wisely counsels that nostalgia is not your friend when it comes to your closet—and it turns out it’s not much help when it comes to friends, either.

How many times had I continued to hang out with a friend based solely on memories of what fun we used to have together? As it turns out, way too many. Our conversations always took a detour back down memory lane, peppered with “Remember when’s?” rather than “I’m so excited for…”

Sadly, the past is the past and if the only connection is over what was instead of what will be, then it might be time to reassess what purpose that particular friendship is serving. Is this person invested in your future dreams? Do they relate to the person you are today, or only the person you used to be?

Friendships are unique. Unlike relationships with our family, we choose to enter into them. And unlike a marriage, there’s no piece of paper reminding us we’re obliged to try and make it work. We choose each other because the relationship means something to us, it brings us joy, makes us laugh, brings over pizza when we’re feeling down and out.

Whilst it may be incredibly sad to bid adieu to a friendship that just isn’t working for us in the same way—because we’ve changed, they’ve changed or it simply doesn’t jive the way it used to—it’s also freeing to remember that since we chose to get into it, we can also choose to get out.

MATERIAL GIRL, MYSTICAL WORLD: ROCHELLE SCHIECK

Total lifestyle envy alert! Just wait until you read about Rochelle Schieck’s Mystical World…PLUS shamans and Liquid Sunshine in the round-up of Ruby’s Mystical Week.

Qoya founder Rochelle Schieck

Almost everyone I’ve spoken to this week has been experiencing the change of seasons like a wall of water to be waded through, or a heavy cloak of fog obscuring all hope and light – myself included. Hibernation season incoming! As a spring baby, I always find this downshift into darkness pretty hard to handle, which can only mean one thing – time to ramp up the self care and dive into my spiritual practise…

It’s also the week I’ve been sunshine dreaming about a January trip to Costa Rica :: drinking Liquid Sunshine from the Montauk Juice Factory :: talking chakras and conspiracy theories with my shaman, Manex Ibar (yes I have a shaman now, full report coming soon) :: mixing Meditation & Margarita’s at Danielle Mercurio’s mystical monthly NYC meet-up :: interviewing the gorgeous Felicity Jones, star of Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything :: and thanking the all-seeing creator for my new Isabel Marant Etoile flight jacket (seriously, TF for Isabel Marant)

Isabel Marant Etoile Benny jacket, available at Matchesfashion.com

So I first met this week’s Material Girl on the Astro Twins’ Become Your Own Astrologer retreat in Tulum last year. As creator of sensual movement class Qoya, it was Rochelle’s job to get us out of out astro-addicted minds and back into our bodies – which loosely translates as: “host an awesome dance party every night.”

I’ve since come to realize (main via her brilliant Facebook posts) that this is pretty much what Rochelle’s life looks like. Based mainly in Venice, CA, she seems to spend most of her time tripping from retreat to delicious retreat, all in the name of spreading the girl-empowering message that: “our essence is wise, wild and free.”

Rochelle Schieck, we want your life! Here’s what makes her Mystical World go ’round…

:: MATERIAL GIRL ::

My Look I led a Qoya workshop in Woodstock, NY last weekend, and as I was walking through the forest, smelling the fresh air and seeing all the leaves changing colors and gracefully falling to the ground, I felt a thrill noticing the temperature had dropped low enough to pull out my favorite piece of clothing – my Pendelton poncho! I wear it religiously as if my soul is expressed through its fabric and design, which honors all of our indigenous roots. I wear the poncho with black leggings and heels to dress it up, or, to keep the shaman chic vibe going, with my Minnetonka Moccasin booties.

Rochelle in her Pendelton poncho, $399

My Fragrance I live in Venice, CA, most of the time, but after my time in Woodstock last week I went to stay with a friend in NYC. She laughed, commenting that whenever I come to visit, my scent of rose and sandalwood fills up the whole apartment. It’s Amma Rose Oil and it is intoxicating. I like to put it on my wrists and neck, but since I’m 5’2, I also put a small amount on the top of my head as a gift to all those I hug that day.

Amma Rose Oil, $35

My Pampering I couldn’t go to NYC without making a pilgrimage to Spa Castle in Queens. Four floors. There’s a gold sauna, a salt sauna, a jade sauna, an infrared sauna…even an igloo!! The quintessential Korean spa treatment is to get a scrub and massage that feels on the verge of too aggressive, but leave you feeling like polished gold for the next 72 hours. Rumors are there is a new location opening in Midtown Manhattan in the fall!

My Jewels My best friend since college, Becca Kannapell, started Pound Jewelry with her mom and sister, and they make my favorite pieces on the planet. Right now I’m really into their pendulum pendants – which are completely gorgeous, and double as a divination tool. I even wrote a piece on how to swing a pendulum inspired by my love their jewelry!

Pendulum pendants, $85 each, Pound Jewelry

My Food Whenever I’m in NYC I end up traveling around the city seeking different variations of a macrobiotic bowl that has rice, steamed kale and vegetables, seaweed and a large amount of Tahini sauce. My go-to’s this mission are Souen (for their Macro Bowl), Jivamuktea Cafe (Yogi’s choice) and Anjelica Kitchen (Dragon Bowl).

My Gift to Me I recently booked a Boudoir photo session with Lori Berkowitz, who specializes in capturing the beauty of a woman in her sensual essence. Sensual energy is life force energy. The stronger one is, the stronger the other. But this doesn’t have to be translated into the framework of sexual relationships with others – it can also mean reclaiming the physical sensation of the divine in your body, and honoring that sensation and the body itself as sacred, whole and holy.

 

:: MYSTICAL WORLD ::

My Morning Ritual On wakening, I immediately roll over into child’s pose to count on my fingers ten things I am grateful for. Then I slide into half pigeon and feel something I want to celebrate about my life on each leg before laying back into Vajrasana (hero’s pose) and imagining what I’d like to co-create with the divine today. Here’s a free video on YouTube I made for anyone to follow along Bed Yoga

My Sign I AM a Gemini. Gemini Sun. Gemini Moon. Gemini Venus. Gemini! Also Taurus rising, which explains my passion for the body and the sacred work I do in the world focusing on embodying the soul through a movement system I created called Qoya.

My Mantra In a sentence (and a hashtag): “#dancemakeseverythingbetter”

My Healer My favorite healing has always been collapsing or resting into the embrace of Mother Earth. Every jump in the ocean restores me. Every moment of relaxation while sitting next to a tree, softens my body into trusting the cycle of things. Every breath of fresh air in the mountains calms my thoughts and invites me to remember all I have to do is be here now. Every dance around a fire helps me feel the pulse of my own heartbeat and recognize it as the same heartbeat that dances through us all.

However, if my access to nature is limited, my team of healers includes several astrologers, body workers, shamans, intuitives and the occasional impulse call to Californiapsychics.com. I recently had my world rocked (again) by checking in on my favorite Shamanic Astrologer Sao. He is a passionate man put on this earth to assist with the awakening of the divine feminine and the way he gives a reading, it goes into the center of your soul. For daily inspiration, weekly and monthly horoscopes and yearly readings, I love to check in with the AstroTwins who help make everything make sense in the most intuitive and simultaneously scientific interpretation of my chart. And for chart readings assisted by akashic guides, I am grateful for Virginia Rosenberg and Heavenly Bodies.

My Reading With all the Gemini in me I read a lot, and many books at the same time. The novel that soul stirred me recently is Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, about the true story of Rumi and his soulmate happening concurrently to a modern day 40-year-old woman on her journey to learn the forty rules of love.

I also just finished an advance copy of my friend Betsy Blankenbaker’s first novel, Autobiography of an Orgasm. A nod to Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, it’s the most honest account I’ve ever read of a woman’s sexual journey, dealing with childhood abuse, confusion as a young woman, marriage, giving birth to four children, and then the unexpected turn of events that led to her turning fifty and exploring the connection between the sensual and sacred by researching her relationship to orgasm. It’s part erotica, part informational “how to” and completely compelling.

My Mission The intention behind Qoya, the movement system I created (or rather, is creating me), is to share the idea that through movement, we remember that our essence is wise, wild and free, and to follow the feeling of truth when we experience it in our body. Through my Qoya classes, workshops, retreats and teacher training, we remember that the body is a portal to those sacred moments that can rarely be explained, but must be felt and experienced. To the Numinous!

To find out more about Rochelle’s work and experience some Qoya for yourself, sign up for her free 10 Days to Love Qoya and receive a short video embodiment exercise.

You can also connect with Rochelle on Facebook.

WHY TOO MUCH SOCIAL MEDIA IS BAD FOR THE SOUL

We know, we know…too much social media can be a recipe for the dreaded “compare & despair”. Life coach Lucy Sheridan shares why it’s so easy to fall for the filter factor, and how we can all fight back.

Supermodel selfies found on Harpers Bazaar

This NU digital age means it’s easy for us to take for granted the power at our fingertips and how technology can make our lives more streamlined, where before there might have been effort and chaos.

Increasingly though, the “power couple” that is technology and social media, presents an interesting and complex counter dynamic to the no-brainer benefits of the digital world.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I think social media is amazing. It’s one of the best ways to keep in the loop with people we know and love (and people we don’t for that matter – ex stalking, anyone?)

It feels like geography and time zones no longer matter. There’s the arrival of a baby in one feed, and a stack of amazing paleo pancakes in another. The significant and the small sit side by side as we consume the constant updates we allow to flood our lives.

We’re also more accessible than ever. I’ll bet you’ve been found by, and searched for, your school buddies from your distant past as well as that cool girl you sat next to at that workshop last weekend. These connections have evolved our networks and with this our feeds fill with more and more “news”.

The irony is that these increased connections can create a feeling of acute and uncomfortable separation. There’s a sense that there’s lots going on “over there”, and yet when we look at our own lives it’s crickets and tumbleweed.

Cue the “compare & despair” phenomenon that’s so aggressively on the rise.

We can’t all be Beyonce getting a private tour of the Louvre…

If you’re like me, you may have looked at your feeds and thought everyone is basically:

• Having loads of amazing sex
• Building businesses overnight
• Living more spiritually than Gabby B
• Raising beautiful, perfectly behaved vegan children
• Moving into a home from MTV Cribs (Google it kidz)
• Eating only the most delicious food in exclusive VIP restaurants
• Enjoying luxury as standard when it comes to going on vacay

I fell deep into a pit of compare & despair after a high school reunion a couple of years ago, when my online habits and perceived place in my digital world began to have serious effects on my offline life.

More and more I felt disconnected from other people and, more worryingly, from myself. And I was supposed to be the Zen “life coachy” one in my gang? Uh-oh #Fail and #FML.

In short, my ego had been having a field day fixating and obsessing over all the areas I appeared to be falling short.

According to my feeds I wasn’t thin enough, clever enough, entrepreneurial enough, interesting enough – basically, just not “enough”. How that ego magpie pecked away at my confidence.

But waking up to what I call the “filter factor” snapped me out of my downward spiral.

Miranda Kerr posts a selfie with her new diamond encrusted watch…

After sitting uncomfortably with my negative feelings, I realized I was as much a perpetrator as I was a victim. After all, if I was over-thinking the angle, tone and words to use in my posts, then surely others were too?

Starting to notice, hone in on and stare my insecurities in the face was a difficult but necessary process to free me from my distracted ego state and make friends with myself again.

For me, this meant tuning back into the things I’d found it all too easy to tune out – i.e. my spiritual practice, spoken conversations and daily non-events that actually kept me grounded and in tune with myself.

Real connection happens in the spaces between our online and offline lives. The moments with #nofilter, where the failures, the poor choices, and the average, regular days are. Where nothing that interesting happens, and yet you still smile at someone in the street, laugh at a joke you heard or move your bag to let someone sit down on the subway.

I may still apply ‘Amaro’ to all my Instagram pics to make my skin look awesome but, when I do, I know I’m consciously tinkering with what people will see on the surface…just like everyone else is.

Supermodel selfie found on Harpers Bazaar

Here are six things to think about when fighting the filter factor:

Life is not a zero sum game. That is, just because you see someone else winning or succeeding does not mean you’re missing out or failing. Trust that you’ll get back what you’re putting in, whether that’s your parenting style, yoga practice or the new blog you’ve started. Stay focused on your own goals and remember there’s more than enough success to go round!

You never know the full story. What we see posted on Facebook and other channels is a snapshot of a result and does not show the hard toil and ugly tears that are part of the process of success.

Fine is fine: Most of the time life is fine. Only fine – and that’s okay! I can’t remember the last time my Wednesday afternoons were particularly epic, amazing or unforgettable. They’re usually just…fine.

Reality can have bite. Sometimes I make a point of posting stuff about the little things that make a day extra fine. A chalk drawing on the pavement in a not-very-cool-part-of town, a feather landing at my feet or finding the EXACT change for the parking meter in my pocket. Those little wins are the ones the prove the Universe has your back, boo! You don’t need to dress them up – they’re beautiful in any light and happen much more regularly than you realize. Be brave and post those every day miracles on your social media.

The power of an actual digital detox. This doesn’t mean deleting your Facebook STAT. How about just turning down your exposure to what’s distracting you, and reframing how you use your time. For example, if you’re rocking up to a job you hate day after day, instead of just scrolling Twitter on your way, perhaps use your commute to search job sites or tweak your CV. Or even stare out the window and be present, giving yourself the gift of a peaceful moment to help you decide what you really want.

Go back to basics. A “like” here and a retweet there can make us feel present and included in the lives of those we love. In fact it’s easy to forget that feelings of real connection are created and nurtured face to face. Taking the time out to really connect with those you love – whether it’s a meet up planned nine months in advance or a Skype call at the weekend – you’ll not only get the big news first hand and in detail, but you’ll feel the love of supporting your friends on their journey and vice versa.

Lucy Sheridan is a Life Coach hell bent on helping Gen Y girls overcome the comparison caused by social media and get what they want OFF-line.  Find out more at www.proofcoaching.com

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