Shadow Ban brought me back to Reality!

I typed #mindfulness in my Instagram post as the train came to a stop. Amidst a sea of people I scrambled to get into the train and yet I typed in few more hashtags related to being mindful. The irony was in my face. I was trying to do atleast 5 things at the same time, apart from trying not to tumble down the stairs. And I was definitely not living in the moment.

I  have been extremely unfocused on my goals in the winter months. I was running behind numbers…  Instagram numbers to be exact. I was trying really hard to get more likes, more followers, more engagement. Every waking minute I spent looking at Instagram and wondering if I will reach where others have. I would keep checking my phone for notifications, messages and comments. I seriously became an Instagram robot.

And then, one fine day Instagram shadow banned me. Yeah, just like that. This meant that my posts were not visible to anyone except my followers. It completely killed my account. When usually I used to receive 100 likes, I barely got 10. And with new algorithms in place, it is now even more hard to get likes or views on your post.

It was at that moment I realised how much time and energy I had wasted on a medium that in no way benefitted my goals. How much more I could have done… Read…  Lived…  Enjoyed in the real world. And the brash neglect of a medium I had spent so much energy really got to me. I have now changed the way I look at social media. They are tools,  only tools and it’s better if they are left that way.

Coming to mindfulness, since I was extremely guilty of wasting my winter months and felt betrayed by social media, I am now more determined and focused on some real time goals.

My biggest hindrance is the internet itself. No surprises there 🙂 It’s so easy to get lost, lose minutes and hours scrolling through feed one after the other. I have now created spaces and corners where the phone stays away and Wi-Fi is not needed.

I love my little garden. Now that summer is here,  I am spending more time in the backyard. These are the rare moments when I am truly lost in what’s in front of me.

I got the below plant from my Aunt last year. It was just a root at that time.  And this spring, it got its first bloom. The Jade behind it, are my rescue plants,  as I call it.  I have grown them from a small cutting I got from roadside. Now they got strong roots 🙂

The pests had been cruel on my beautiful decorative Kale plant. All that remained was a dried stick. I seriously thought I lost it but didn’t have the heart to throw it away. Instead, I added some potting mix and prayed for a miracle to happen. The first leaves appeared a few weeks back. Yayiee!

My uncle gave me 5 rose graftings from his garden. I planted them in five different places. For months there was no sign of life. I even started wondering if I put the correct side into the soil. But Spring did its magic!

One misses family even more during festivities.  Although I couldn’t celebrate with my parents,  I am grateful that my uncle and his family live nearby. We got together at our place for a wonderful family dinner. I lighted Diyas, and played with Sparkles along with my cousins.  My husband and I spent three hours in the kitchen to prepare a meal that he used to enjoy during his childhood on Diwali. It felt so good, the rush of activities, the feel of festivities, how we were so engrossed in preparing some awesome Indian dishes, brought back a lot of memories.

I don’t let any paper go to waste. If I see a blank hard paper my mind starts conjuring images of all the patterns I could draw on them. The below bookmarks are made on cardpaper that I found in a box of tea bag. They had been stuck in my drawing book for long. So last few weekends, I dedicated my time to draw tangle patterns on them. A great way towards mindful living – sometimes, a pen and paper is all one needs!

September to November are my favorite times of the year in Sydney. The days are absolutely perfect to go on an adventure. It feels so amazing to be in nature. To explore the wilderness, listen to the sounds of nature and be terrified of it too. Like few weeks ago, when I took my friends to Blue Mountains and we climbed down really steep stairs into the Valley of Waters.

shadow ban brought back reality - hiking blue mountains

The sign board looked pretty strict about stepping down by facing the stairs. This was the first of many more steep stairs that we descended towards Valley of Waters, while doing the National Pass trek. The rest were without that protective cage like structure. I had never seen anything like this before, and was very excited to climb down. Only to be slightly terrified when I reached the bottom and looked down to find couple more steep stairs without any covering. But my friends and I braved it all. This is one of my most favorite hikes in the Blue Mountains 

mindful living - waterfall blue mountains

We had hiked for over 3 hours when the path suddenly dropped and in front of us was this beautiful spectacle.

I even caught up on my reading. Finished reading 3 books in last couple of weeks and 2 are in progress.

A post shared by Rajlakshmi (@paperandprose) on

So I believe being Shadow Banned was a good sign after all.

21 thoughts on “Shadow Ban brought me back to Reality!

  1. Isn’t it amazing how life and its various shades of experience have their own special way of giving us the most necessary we need at that point of time? Looks like Instagram became a great teacher for you in this case 🙂 I am not on that medium so don’t know anything about it, but you are right about the addictive nature of social media and how much it can suck us in if we are not careful and mindful. It turns out you did very well with the lesson you learned and I love the pictures of your garden and the Diwali pics as well. Great post, Raj!

  2. I didn’t know about Shadow ban until now! But glad that in a way it brought you back to reality and mindfulness. It is funny what social media does to you…It starts running you rather than the other way round. Thankfully I spend only a limited time on all the mediums.

    I know how festivals brings in the homesickness. So good to hear you had a wonderful Diwali. I am glad we have friends here who are family and we too spent a great time.
    Loving your green thumb! 🙂

  3. I am not on Instagram so I dont know about Shadow Ban but staying away from the internet (atleast for a while) is a good step. So happy that you rediscovered nature … You seemed to have had a wonderful Diwali… Stay blessed!! 🙂

  4. Being shadow banned was indeed the best thing to happen to you, girl! Leave that Instagram alone, in fact, leave the phone alone. Use the laptop just to write and share your work. That’s what I have been doing these days and it feels fantastic. Am a lot more productive this way, and my time isn’t wasted..and I feel so proud of myself now!
    Great pictures of Diwali celebrations…but loved your bookmarks the most..And, oh, the steep staircase does look rather scary!

  5. Oh social media can be a time guzzler and so addictive too. It’s best not to let it drive our life. Love your plants and it’s wonderful that you had a good time with family this Diwali!

  6. I didn’t even know about shadow ban and still haven’t figured out how that works . But you are right about getting obsessed with numbers andias Nagpur I’m living life . I’m glad to see you na k on track doing the things you love . Things do always work out for the best so as you say this was a good way forgot to get back to living in reality

  7. I didn’t realise ‘shadow ban’ was actually a thing, until it happened to a few of my friends (and other bloggers).
    I suppose in a way, it’s good to help keep us updated about mindful living. Helps change a lot of things.
    Glad you had a good Diwali and here’s to more updates from you.

  8. Yup this virtual world is a time drainer and has kept me away from enjoying simpler tasks like reading, walking, listening to music and enjoying nature in its glory. I have recently re-started my morning walk and have pledged to take notice of the many beauties I see and smell and even capture them in my camera to behold later!
    Good on you for getting out of the internet rut and enjoying simpler pleasures of life!

  9. Oh man! What’s the matter with these social media networks? A friend got locked out of her Pinterest account and faced hell. Then a few friends got locked out of twitter accounts and now you. Apparently, their bots are not doing a good enough job of separating spam accounts from genuine ones. About plants, you know we got a huge infestation in our cucumber plants and had to cut down all of them. 🙁 This year we have seen rains of a scale that Bangalore has not witnessed, that killed a few more plants. Now, it is almost winter and I guess time to sow new plants. Loved your Diwali celebration pics. And I am so envious of your travels. Take care and I am so happy that the Insta trouble got sorted out.

  10. I am not much into numbers in any platform, but I understand how social media can steal all your focus to it. Glad to know that you were able to break the chain so to speak. 🙂 Loved the bookmarks, Raj. Good use of time. 🙂

  11. I am luckily too fickle about social media .This has so far protected me.Loved your insights and the book marks

  12. Perhaps most of us would be better off without social media. Because I spent most of my life pre-Internet I may have an advantage, but, in all honesty, I sometimes think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. You used your time wisely – I love the (Zentangle?) bookmarks – beautiful!

  13. It’s never good to get too engrossed in any type of Social Media, I always think moderation is the key. I love that you rescue plants and your bookmarks are amazing.

  14. I can imagine how you must have felt about the Instagram experience. We actually have become slaves to our social media accounts. I’m glad that you’re able to put it behind you and have found your outlet. You’re lucky to have your uncle around in Sydney. Having your people around during festivals can be such a blessing. Loved the pictures of your plants and trek. Keep posting! 🙂

  15. Ah! I never really understood instagram to be frank 😛 But it is good that you have put ur energy in more productive work …Glad that it worked out not just fine but great in ur case 🙂

  16. Hugs, Raj 🙂 I know exactly what you mean. A friend of mine had her Pinterest account suspended for no fault of hers and as you may know, I got locked out of Twitter on Saturday and Sunday this last weekend! I am not as attached to my social media accounts anymore, else believe me, I’d have had a mild panic attack at the thought of losing all those followers.

    I so agree that mindfulness is the way to go. It’s completely helped shift my perspective on so many things, especially social media among other things 🙂 Your Diwali seems to have been fun! Such gorgeous pictures. Stay blessed, Raj. Always!

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