Yesterday I decided that I would challenge myself with an entire day of no technological devices. I wanted to see how that would feel for me and what this “experiment” would teach me.
I have noticed a growing trend in myself, and with those around me, to fill the empty spaces. I’m not sure if we can call this desire to fill our downtime with activity, positive and proactive – as we are multi-tasking and getting things done – or, detrimental because we are unable to simply be in any given moment and experience the “nothingness”.
I truly understand how busy we all are and how easy it is to text, email, or quickly call someone as we drive to our next appointment, stand in a line to get our morning coffee, or ride up to our floor in the elevator. I, as much as anyone, love to make sure I use all of my time wisely and efficiently but I am feeling lately that it is to my own detriment.
Yesterday was a day I tried to be unplugged: literally, I unplugged from my phone, my computer, and my TV – and metaphorically, I “unplugged” from that feeling of being caught in a constant cycle of “to do’s”. I stepped out of the “rat race” and I experienced a new way of living and a new way of being. In every moment of silence and nothingness and in every second of wondering what to do and how to fill my time, I realized that I had to face my own self! Where I would usually send a quick text or begin a new activity, I had to just be. And without going to do something, my feelings and thoughts had the chance to emerge. I had time to think and reflect on my week and my experiences and then make meaning of these experiences. I was also able to process and ponder and then I began to create and dream! It was amazing! I felt sadness and cried and then complete joy and happiness – the full spectrum of emotions.
I learned a lot from my “unplugged experiment”. In the empty space I was so afraid to meet, I found I was actually living in the moment. The space wasn’t something to fear, in the end, but something to embrace. It is in this time of quietness and stillness that I felt most calm and at peace. And then I felt such relief that there was nothing to do and I let go of my usual guilty feelings as I was now doing what I had planned to do. Finally, I felt grateful because in this time I could appreciate all the gifts and goodness I received throughout the week and all the opportunities I was looking forward to in the week to come. I am not sure that all of these thoughts and feelings would have come up, had I not slowed down, unplugged, and paid attention to these feelings.
I think we, and especially young girls, need to be mindful of our need to be so connected via technology. We may feel we are creating community with others, helping others, and being productive and we are perhaps proud of our speed and efficiency. And yet, a piece of us is getting lost and we may be feeling increasingly overwhelmed, anxious, and, worse yet, disconnected from ourselves.
So, my challenge to you (and to me) is to unplug as often as you feel it is best for you, in order to create space and time to connect with yourself. Try to simply be and try to simplify your life by being more in the moment. Try to have a day without distractions and without devices; a day that is undefined, unrestricted, and more reflective and a chance to reconnect with YOU!