This is an article written by me, published by Edge magazine
It’s amazing to me how I never even noticed the low-grade anxiousness I was feeling. Always looking, always checking, never wanting to miss or be missed.
The first time my husband dared me to leave my phone behind we were just dating. I grew up in an era without mobile devices, so the idea of going without it for a few hours was ridiculous to me. Until I tried it. After an hour and a half, I caved.
“Told you you couldn’t do it” he said. Darn, I hate to lose a bet.
“Double or nothing” I said.
“Ok, I bet you can’t go 12 hours without looking at your phone”.
OMG! 12 HOURS?! He wasn’t messing around!
I honestly can’t resist a bet, it’s a weakness in me. “You’re on”.
So, it began.
The first two hours were horrible. I was so grossly aware of how much I wanted to look at my phone for calls, texts, voicemails, any form of communication. Any form of proof that I was needed in this world. This was before the day of social media, so things like Facebook, Instagram were not even an issue. My discomfort was abated only by getting away from my phone and going for a bike ride. Totally stressful! What if I got a flat tire? What if I fell and got hurt?
Pa-lease. My ego would not shut up.
After a few hours (let’s be clear, it took like four hours!) something magical started to happen. The anxiousness of not having my device started to subside. I started breathing deeper, my shoulders dropped and relaxed. I went for a hike, no phone. We went to dinner, no phone. Out to a movie, no phone. I was hooked! That day I realized that as much as I thought I needed my phone, I really needed time away from it. It wasn’t just a want, it was truly a need.
For the last several years, I regularly give myself time away from any form of screen time. Not just when I can get outside and leave it behind, but my heart craves the absence of pressure, the off putting feel of the vibration, and the unspoken expectations of others. This happens even if it’s just letting my phone rest on the charger in another room while I am toddling around the house for a few hours.
My Spirit craves the peace and quiet, along with the pure sense of presence – the presence bring to each and every moment. No longer am I constantly thinking of what or whom I’m missing, but of the moment I am living right now.
The present is called the present because it is a gift. Our lives are so busy and entrained to being connected through our devices we really don’t even notice the constant distraction they are, until we are without them.
Unplugging gives me the space to connect to myself, to the people in my space with my total undivided attention and focus. Whether it’s family, friends or work, I can truly be available on every level.
My intuitive body speaks to me so much more clearly when I unplug. Spirit’s messages come through so much more easily, because again, I am so totally available to the moment.
I know we all have responsibilities, families, jobs, life, but I will encourage you to take time away from the screens and truly get present in your life and to your life. Each moment is unique and once it’s gone, it is never to be repeated. Be there. Be in it. Experience your life firsthand, not through the screen, or camera, or thinking about what everyone else will see and think when you post the pictures.
When we start spending time unplugged, we start to recognize how we are living for the reaction of others. Our willingness to accept and appreciate ourselves has totally fallen into the hands of others. We only like us if everyone else likes us. It’s sad really. Self-love is something we talk about, but not something we actually practice. Self-love requires us to be totally available to our true selves. This requires us to be attending to, and spending our time with, ourselves. Not a piece of us filtered through the viewpoint of others.
The constant expectation and pressure of being plugged in leaves us as observers to our own lives.
Your life is not a spectator sport. Get in there.
Blessings Galore, Anne