One of the big obstacles that stands in the way of us living our dreams and experiencing lasting happiness is the frenetic pace at which we live these days. Many of us feel busy, rushed, overwhelmed, and anxious all too often. We are living at maximum speed and capacity, so there is little room for life's little (or big) surprises and curve balls.
Over the years, I have developed solid spiritual and self-care practices to help me stay more grounded and centered in the midst of the hectic pace that is our modern world. However, I still find that I can very easily get caught up in the quick pace and busy-ness of life.
I am blessed in that I get to press reset multiple times a year as I leave my surroundings for shamanic retreats and ceremonies. Each time I experience a reset, my desire for slowing down and taking more time to simply be is renewed.
Earlier this month, I took a few days solo retreat in the beautiful redwoods of Mount Madonna, and during that time, I made a conscious decision to stay offline. I put my phone on airplane mode and turned the WiFi on my computer off. At first, this was a little challenging...a bit like withdrawal.
But staying offline just for a few days really allowed me to slow down my monkey mind and feel a great sense of peace. I also didn't feel the need to rush anything. I felt so good that on my drive home, I decided I would try my best to take a short daily tech break and a little longer break each Sunday.
I've done this for the past three weeks, and it feels AMAZING! My head feels more calm and clear, and I feel like I've been able to create an abundance of extra time for myself. Here's the simple layout of what I've done:
The practice I've developed is to stay offline a total of 9 - 12 hours from late evening to about 7 or 8am daily plus all day Sunday until 6pm. I haven't been militant about this. If I realize something has to be done during that timeframe, I'll use my phone, but I try to have anything that isn't truly urgent wait until I'm ready to get back online.
The key to having this work for me is that instead of turning the ringer on my phone off as I did in the past, I now put my phone on airplane mode and I turn the WiFi off on my computer. This allows me to use the notes function on my phone to jot down things I don't want to forget and also to write reflections on my computer.
Doing this one thing for the last three weeks has felt incredible. At first, I was genuinely stunned to realize how good it felt to regularly and frequently give my mind a break and to enjoy real rest without distractions. It especially has transformed how rested I feel after the weekend.
I've always taken Sunday as a rest/reset day for myself, but staying offline has taken it to a whole new level. I get an amazing amount done and feel I have oodles of time left over. It has made me realize how easily I had previously let me precious free time get squandered by overusing technology.
If you find yourself feeling stressed and rushed, I invite you to give tech breaks a try. After the initial resistance and withdrawal, I guarantee it will feel good. The simple act of staying offline can lead to a significant drop in your level of anxiety and give you a much greater sense of having an abundance of time on your hands.
I know, even as I write this, that some of you may feel that it's not possible for you to do this. But I ask you to keep an open mind and experiment with it. Most of us these days have multiple devices that we rely on to help us stay connected in very essential and critical ways for both our personal and professional lives.
I, for one, love my smartphone and computer! I'm amazed at all the things they help me do so easily and quickly. But, I can also very easily get sucked into checking them way too much. It's so very easy to get addicted to our technology, and that can really create a lot of clutter in our heads as well as a constant sense of low-grade anxiety and urgency.
So, I'm not proposing you ditch any of your devices. I'm proposing that YOU take charge of how and when you use your devices instead of having the devices continually tugging at you to check this or that. Like most good things, it may take some experimentation to see what works best for you.
The basic concept for giving your mind regular, uninterrupted rest is so simple and amazingly effective. As you try it, I invite you to email me to let me know how you're doing. I'd love to hear from you and support you in any way I can.