Gone a month on winter vacation, and discovery of discoveries: travelers on the internet highway can get along without me on it just fine. Another discovery? So can I. Well, almost. Get along without the internet, I mean.
Yes, for my networking friends, it was long-time-no-Sue-nami. That’s my Internet nickname, bestowed upon me during Hurricane Katrina — referring to the tsunami effect of my emails, which tend to be long and overwhelming to some recipients. I love that reflection of me, imagining it as a positive wave effect; although I hesitate to mention it when most people are still coming to grips with the devastation of the tsunami in Japan, which I missed except for brief news headlines, while we were gone.
For me, it was long-time-no-Internet. Because of all the networking I do via emailing and Facebook, plus this blog, it was with some trepidation that I went on vacation, wondering how I could exist internet-poor for four weeks. And how would I catch up once I returned?
I didn’t tell many people we’d be off camping in Florida. A few FB folks noticed I was missing from the hallowed walls. Knowing there’d be no internet in the state parks, and knowing I wouldn’t have time or inclination to go to a public library or sit at Panara Bread or MickyDs — and not having acquired the necessary internet access card whatevers — I decided that it would be part of my vacation experience to NOT be on Facebook, NOT write Sue-namis, NOT be able to read or send anything other than simple text emails on my phone. You’d probably call that the bare minimum of internet activity in order to survive.
Yes, a few people noticed I was missing from Facebook. After a week or two the Facebook team realized I was not checking in; they told me so, too, emailing me about all my messages and hundreds of notifications I’ll never see. Those who began to search me out were those who enjoy my daily mandala reflections. Yes, I have a tiny little cadre of fans. I’d been posting for several months the daily mandala photos of Henry Reed’s artwork, adding my personal reflection to it; and a few people got used to them being there every day.
A mandala is essentially art in a circle. Reed, a psychologist and teacher of intuition and creativity, has been drawing and sharing his mandala art every day for about six years. Describing his work, Reed explains:
Mandala means circle. In this case, the circle refers to the symbol for “All that is,” especially all that can be, or Creation’s complete and full potential, the unmanifest. Carl Jung brought mandalas to our attention and noted that they often appeared in conjunction with the square motif.
Jung noted that the square, a four-side figure, seemed to be a universal (archetypal) theme about life on earth, as in “the four directions” or the “four corners of the earth.” What is the significance, then, of the circle and square together?
A mandala expresses that blend of the unique and the universal.
Everyday I share with you my attempt to “square the circle,” in the form of a mandala. I put it on a web blog in keeping with the current vernacular of how individuals now present their voice to the world.
You can read more about the mandala art at the links below. They fascinate me, because, although I love art, I can’t draw or paint — at least, not yet. I keep telling myself that sometime I’ll buckle down and try drawing them myself; I’m aware of the therapeutic aspects of doing the artwork. For now, it’s therapeutic to write a personal expression about what I feel or see in Reed’s pictures.
I love spreading the word about The Daily Mandala, which Henry freely shares on his blog. Posting them on Facebook is my way of passing them along on a global stage. I decided I needed to put something with my postings, besides just the picture; so I began writing personal thoughts to accompany my post. Over time, I realized that doing so was evolving into an exercise in creative writing for me. Just being myself, and seeing what comes to mind each day.
At first I was shy about it. Not so much anymore. As time goes by, I often astonish myself by what words come through; and, often, the mandala that Henry draws seems to reflect my actual experience that day. Of course, that’s my reflection; and others see them in their own way.
So, no daily postings from Sue Parcheta for an entire month. And no blog. Plus, I killed my new Kindle on the trip, when I reached up into a cupboard in our camper trailer. I heard my knee crunching it on the sofa. Never put a knee into your Kindle. Zaps it but good. Kindle crushed, just as I was getting used to another new tech tool. I was even beginning to like the darned thing. I don’t dare tell our son; he already thinks his mom is incapable of properly looking after anything technological.
In gratitude for those who missed me, and sent up the distress signal, I send back a virtual hug. Another to those who reassured the others that I was fine – just out of connection. Another to Maria Stuart, LivingstonTalk editor for reprising my signature blog Yesterday’s Coffee, Tomorrow’s Muse, to fill in my blog space while I was gone.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson from the absence of me on the Internet. I am perfectly replaceable. I’ve also discovered that I need this kind of time away from networking, and blogging, and connection…always connecting. Even though that’s my nature; and I’m loving that part of me more as the years go by.
For one thing, this time apart has made me realize (besides being dispensable) that it’s oh, so easy to become addicted to all this social networking. And oh, so easy to spend too much valuable time doing it. And, so it is with some trepidation that I returned home to face the music…I mean Facebook, and all my social connections.
You wonder, sometimes, if you can keep up with it all. I wondered, for a brief moment, if I should keep on keeping on with the daily mandala reflections. Then, I decided that it is good creative discipline for me; and that I enjoy sending positive thoughts off into cyberspace. If words can inspire someone as they happen upon them on a particular day, that’s a beautiful thing.
I’m hoping this vacation experience will find me balancing my time on the Internet a bit better. Also, maybe I’ll do a better job of checking up on some of those faces on Facebook that I haven’t heard from in awhile, knowing how good it felt to think someone was actually wondering my whereabouts.
It was sweet to discover that my absence was felt by a few, but sobering to note that time marches on, with or without Sue-nami. May I make the best possible use of it from now on. Like posting this blog, as soon as possible! Back in the saddle: Yippee…Connecting once again!
Sue-nami blog notes:
Should you be curious about the mandala art of Henry Reed, here’s the link: www.dailymandala.blogspot.com
You are welcome to subscribe, if you wish, in your daily email, and receive this beautiful art. I like to think of the mandalas as little bursts of energy medicine to go along with my morning coffee. Who knows, it could be just as therapeutic for you, as it is for me.
And, besides my Facebook postings, here’s where I archive my reflections on Reed’s mandala art: www.allthingsbeautiful-susangail.blogspot.com. You guessed it, I’ve a month to catch up on.
A couple of other links on creativity popped into my inbox recently, regarding the therapeutic value of the arts. One is a blog called Creativity is Sketchy by Imaginibbles, about the right/left brain benefits of sketching and doodling.
The other is an article from the Ottawa Citizen, They Believe in the Healing Power of Art, about the arts as healing tools for our health. Essentially, that is the theme of Sue-nami; it’s been my best discovery of all.