- michelle m. davis
Lessons From a Digital Audit
After listening to an Almost 30 podcast discussing the importance of conducting a digital self-audit, I made a list of activities to houseclean my devices. Not only did the podcast’s host suggest organizing files and photos on laptops, phones, and iPads, but she also suggested we review all aspects of our social media accounts, exploring whether our digital personas represented who we truly are today.
Because I always love a good “self-improvement challenge,” I dove in, busily deleting old texts, unimportant emails, and contacts who I no longer contact. I updated my website, uploaded more current profile pics, and removed outdated Pinterest boards. I purged duplicate or unflattering photos, fine-tuned my files, and reorganized my bookmarks. I deleted unnecessary apps on my phone and reviewed my security settings. Cleaning up my devices and on-line profiles created a sense of peace. I felt “updated.” However, I wasn’t ready to stop. I knew I could apply this strategy to the other parts of my life. But where?
It then came to me … what if I did a self-audit of my daily thoughts, ideas, and beliefs? Would doing so help shift any negative patterns and elevate my attitude?
I loved this idea! After all, who wouldn’t want to reduce mental clutter, eliminate doubt, and say goodbye to negativity. But how could I reboot my old ways of thinking? And if I were to broaden my perspective, might it be possible to delete that voice … the one which judges and impacts my belief systems? And what about taming the monkey mind that frequently leads me to worry, stress, and fear? Could self-auditing the brain allow for peace within?
Organizing and editing my digital reality felt fabulous. However, this new exercise would be more difficult than cleaning up my laptop and refining my on-line presence. I would not be completing a series of mindless tasks that induced an immediate sense of accomplishment. Instead, a mental self-audit would require time, contemplation, and focus. I’d need to become calm if I hoped to see what was actually occurring within.
So, I put on my hiking shoes, headed outside, and quickly become lost in my thoughts as I ambled down the dusty trails. Within moments it became crystal clear that my mind was so busy because I was the one complicating my life, creating unnecessary chaos which led to unintended stress. Why had I never realized this before? However, as I explored this idea, I was able to settle in and observe what really transpires in my mind. Amazed, I discovered …
· The voice inside my head continues to be self-critical and has unrealistic expectations of myself and
others, despite the work I’ve done to “quiet her.”
· When certain situations arise, I too often react instead of mindfully responding.
· If I’m fearful of losing something or someone, I cling tightly, hoping to fix or control what is not mine.
· When unsure of what lies ahead, I'm apt to become unsettled, imagining worst-case scenarios.
I’d be lying if I didn’t share that I was disappointed with what I found. I thought I’d removed those layers of the onion. However, more remained, and my work is to peel back the next layer.
So how do I edit these things which I know are not in my best interest? Why can’t I hit a delete button, erasing those ideas that no longer fit—the ones that cause me to doubt, compare, and worry—those that are ego-based?
And if it's possible to erase the beliefs that complicate life, create chaos, or keep me from being my highest self, where do I begin?
Knowing no delete button is attached to my mind, I turned to the books I’ve read, podcasts I’ve heard, and conversations I’ve had, hoping something would reveal itself. As I continued down trails I so love—focused on the ground beneath my feet—the answers began to appear.
· Note the difference between the loud, anxious, fear-based speaker and my intuition—the one who only
whispers as it guides.
· Breathe … use the pause to consider the higher path.
· Let go, knowing nothing is ever truly “mine.” If it is meant for me, it will be there.
· Have faith the Universe/God has my back and knows what is in my best interest as well as which lessons I
still must learn.
Suddenly, I remembered the name I’ve used to refer to the negative voice inside my head. It’s Lilith, named after Frazier’s uptight ex-wife who dresses in pin-striped suits and wears her hair pulled back in a bun. Next it became evident that when I take a moment—and a breath—to identify who’s doing the speaking (Lilith or my intuition), I can recognize whether fear’s talking or my intuition’s softly leading me. And if I permit myself to release my tight grasp, surrendering to what is and not try to control everything that doesn’t go my way, I will be more likely to stop trying to fix everything and everyone who doesn’t seem happy or live up to my expectations. Only then, if I can muster the grace to realize how truly insignificant my ego’s desires are, will I be able to trust everything’s occurring exactly as it’s meant to.
A calmness came over me as I connected the dots. No doubt this is the path to realigning my calm … my peace is my power. And if I truly desire peace in my life and in our world, I cannot have a mind filled with chaos.
"If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else." — Marvin Gaye
At this moment, the beauty of a mind edit became abundantly clear. All I must do is delete the thoughts, ideas, and belief systems that pull me down, keep me small, and dim my light. Releasing these unnecessary restraints allows me to elevate closer to my higher self. This is when my creative side shines, compassion flows, and my actions align to my values. It’s what propels me along my life’s path.
It's amazing how one podcast episode can literally explode with endless possibilities for a new way. But we must remember that as humans we’re constantly evolving. And sometimes it seems as though we take more steps back than forward. Nevertheless, with conscious effort and a positive outlook, we transform to our higher selves, shining brightly. And when we come together and recognize our oneness, our individual lights illuminate the way for each other as well as those who follow.