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Note to Self: Don’t Pollute the Information Ecology!

Enough. I woke with this word ringing in my ears this morning. Having spent much of my life connected to educational institutions as a student, professional and parent, the academic year seems to remain a solid structure in my psyche. September, therefore, ushers in the promise of new beginnings and a time for planning. With some perfectionist tendencies that can lead me towards a pattern of toxic productivity, I have to be mindful of this risk when planning for the term ahead. With such a passion for what I do, I often feel pulled in many directions. Part of what I do these days is write, and I keep a post-it note by my desk that simply says ‘don’t pollute the information ecology’. This note serves as a reminder that less is often more and to remain mindful of the kind of energy I contribute through the words I offer.

There is so much noise in life at the moment. We carry much of it around each day in our pockets. I, for one, can find myself discombobulated by the overwhelming amount of stuff being thrown at me when I look at my phone, and I know I’m not alone. I also recognise myself as contributing to this noise, and therefore the need to reflect on how I do this.

I’ve recently begun dabbling on social media with my professional hat on to support my new website and the book I’m currently writing. Having stepped away from it over August, I noticed that I’d been getting sucked into the pressurised rules of how to ‘perform’ in this sphere. Within these invisible structures, I repeatedly felt I was somehow coming up short and failing. Apparently, I don’t post often enough, don't do reels enough, don’t comment enough, don’t collaborate enough and so on. However, I got to thinking that if I step outside of this mainstream story, then what I am doing is enough for me.

As I have begun to pay more attention to the content of Instagram, I’ve been struck by just how much repetition there is, how many supposed ‘experts’ there are and how I have to sift through a lot of dross to find quality postings that really serve me. As my mind gets increasingly foggy whilst wading through the sludge of information on social media, it has begun to feel like a form of pollution I’m imposing on my being. Do I want to contribute to pollution of any form? No. And so, with this in mind, as I reengage with social media this term, I am creating my own strategy that is simple and sensitive. It may not help me be as successful according to the myths of social media, but it will be enough.

I am reminded of the concept of W.A.I.T, which I was introduced to through the work of Charles Eisenstein, though he attributes coming to it through his friend Gigi Coyle. Quite simply, it means 'Why Am I Talking’. Pausing before contributing our voice in any form and asking ourselves this question can be incredibly helpful in several ways. It allows us to explore the underlying motivations and patterns that drive our behaviour and thus provides an opportunity for inner work in our everyday life. It also serves to remind us that what we put out into the world is an offering to others to take in, simply through the act of them paying attention to it. W.A.I.T is, therefore, an invitation to consider what it is we wish to give to the world through our relationships with others. If we remember to treat other people as sacred aspects of the world and thus with the reverence that everyone deserves, this will inform our use of words.

So, Why Am I Talking? Partly because I wish to integrate this word ‘enough’ as a guide when planning for this next academic year and writing about it helps me. Partly because I assume I'm not alone in this experience of social media in particular, so these reflections may be helpful for someone else too. And partly because I’d like to add my voice to an alternative story around the quantity and quality of how we relate within the information ecology. The mainstream story endlessly demands more of our content and our attention, irrespective of the implications. If we consider our actions as contributing to the health of the overall information ecology, maybe we will pause and reflect more to ensure we are respectful and responsible when engaging with this aspect of life. I will end my words here and hope that they may resonate and serve someone in some way. Thank you for gifting me your attention in reading this, and please do share with me anything these words may have stirred up for you if you wish to. No response is also enough.


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