It’s been ages since I wrote anything, and I’ve literally dropped off of social media. During my absence, the world’s noise has increased tremendously. Headlines shout, global threats abound and acts of violence that once seemed extreme have now become commonplace. Breaking my silence is something I don’t look forward to, but it is, perhaps, time.
Breaking my silence is going to be done on my terms.
I started all of this as a means to express myself during a time when I felt marginalized and unappreciated. There had been difficult changes in my career, changes in my role as mother and a recognition that more time was behind me in life than ahead.
Typical to my nature, I studied, learned and accelerated. Teaching myself to compete in the new digital age, and meet all the metrics defined by the world, I was not only accepted by the Huffington Post and other mainstream sites, I went viral.
At the beginning of this new journey, I followed all the new rules.
I learned to create a web site. Then learned to code, create graphics, study keywords, and compete in our new, digital age.
Then I lifted my voice with courage, sharing hope and clarity among the din.
People started following me, which is what the world says should happen.
People wrote me passionate notes, telling me how I had changed their outlook, and sometimes–even their lives.
My influence grew in ways I never anticipated.
And then one day, I walked away.
I willingly left it all….drifting and untended.
For months, I’ve ignored every bit of it.
I ignored the site, the writing, the social media–everything.
During these months of silence, many people have contacted me, wondering where I am.
They’ve wondered why I’ve gone silent, and when, or even if, I’m coming back.
They’ve all said they miss my words, my wisdom, my voice in the storm of our current world.
But none of them knew the price.
Over these years, speaking to the World has exacted a price.
My privacy has gone away, completely–an extraordinary cost for a modern-day hermit.
My image and writing often pop online in ways that surprise me.
Perhaps because of this, I’ve been the victim of some cyber-crime I choose not to detail here.
In response, I had to work with my local and state authorities. Then it all became accelerated. The FBI, the FTC and even more–an alphabet soup of authorities became involved, simply because I had offered some gentleness to the world.
As it often does, the world responded to my gentleness with brute force.
In the end, I paid a price I didn’t anticipate.
Over time, as the world intruded into my space, I lost sight of the process. I focused instead on the results.
In time, I started worrying about the statistics.
How many people had commented on my essays? How often were my pieces shared?
Could I go viral again? If not, how come? What had I done wrong?
Why wasn’t I gaining followers more quickly?
What did people want to hear?
My focus became success, instead of gentleness.
I started writing less from my heart, and more from the analytics.
I put out pieces that were still helpful and true, but more commercial in nature.
My sense of internal satisfaction wilted, because I started measuring things using different metrics.
I stopped looking for changed hearts, and started looking for for statistics.
Focusing on the many became more important than focusing on the one.
Then the rudeness interrupted, and I started receiving different kinds of messages.
I stopped receiving messages about how I was helping people in their suffering.
Instead, men started sending me notes about how beautiful they found me to be.
I received propositions, invitations and photos I won’t discuss.
Men around the world told me they wanted to have relationships with me, even though none of my writing invited such attention.
Strangers propositioned me, and made me feel violated.
I responded by withdrawing more deeply into my soul.
Willingly, I walked away from what I had created.
I became still, quiet and absent from the social media noise.
For months, I have ignored it all.
I have ignored the statistics, metrics, and bewildering growth of what I started so many months ago.
But despite my inactivity, things I’ve written continue to be read.
Like a garden that continues to bloom once the gardener walks away, I have returned and found new growth taking place.
I discover I have new subscribers, new followers and new shares.
My silence has created Phase Two of this journey.
I’m not sure what is ahead for TeamJeffers.
I don’t promise I will write as often as you might like, and doubt I will invest a great deal of time tracking, or studying or worrying about the impact I have on others.
Because that was the problem before, you see.
I’ve made an extraordinary realization over these silent months, which is this: despite my desire, passion or example–I cannot change the world.
I can only change myself.
So I willingly withdraw from the competition.
I surrender myself to the journey, instead.
I’ve learned enough to create this safe haven online, and more importantly–how I must protect this sacred space.
The noise of our world is extraordinary, and filled with lies.
So I willingly turn away, understanding that I may never be read or shared again.
Which is okay–because that no longer matters to me.
I am going to focus instead on the interior desert of my own journey, and perhaps you will learn something from my example.
I encourage you, my friend–to seek the silence, as I have.
Turn the eyes of your heart and soul inward, to discover your own unmet needs that are being trampled upon by the world.
Journey with me to the center of your own interior universe, because you too have been created with purpose and love.
Ignore the statistics.
Turn away from the metrics.
Focus instead, on the silence fighting to be heard inside of your soul, and be startled by the answers that are revealed.
I’m not sure where Phase Two will take us, Friend.
But the journey has started.
Will you join me?
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**Chanler Jeffers has seen many extraordinary things over her lifetime. An adventurer, survivor, overachiever and advocate of kindness in all instances, she has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), and is a member of their Circle of Champions. She has had the good fortune to live and travel all over the world, grew up as a military dependent and was a single parent for many years. She has survived cancer, and gently shaped countless people over her years on this little planet we call home. Follow along as she shares her knowledge, her experience and her love. Oh, by the way–one more thing. She’s married to a Bass playing rock star, lucky girl.
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