I realized in reflection of my recent trip to Cuba, there was one thing that I really loved about being there (besides, the magical sunsets and amazing dancing). It was being tuned out of the online frequencies for nearly a whole week.
In order to access the internet or even sms or voicemail, one would have to make a trek to purchase an internet card and then walk to a large commercial hotel. And once you connected, the internet was extremely slow, like 1990's slow. The whole process was so unpleasant, I chose to only check in 3 times in 7 days, mainly to check on our kitties with our cat nanny.
This limited access to the internet gave me a sense of tremendous freedom. I felt like I didn't have to be continuously responding to emails or texts or wondering why the number of messages on my phone was so massive. In fact, I rarely thought even about what time it was; which made us late to dance training twice (and for those of you that know us, we are NEVER late).
I didn't completely give up my screen access, as I still used my laptop to write daily, but what a joy it was as I wrote uninterrupted from notifications on Facebook, email and messenger. I felt like my writing had a sense of unconstrained freedom and would easily just flow through me. I felt generally more free as I went about my day, as I didn't feel that I needed to be in response in real time. And the big deal here:
There was no guilt.
I thought about that and the way technology works these days and how each of us seeks immediate responses to our impulses and offerings. And I personally can fall into the trap of feeling guilty by choosing to wait to check correspondence. It feels like I am intentionally being avoidant or running away. What I found when I interacted with my emails by choice was that it was rather nice to sit with the emails and texts and Facebook when I set aside time to thoughtfully respond or share.
My routine immediately went back to the norm when I returned home and I found myself missing the moments where I was really connected to myself and my husband and that freedom of living life. It took a day or so and I figured out that it was this guilt of constant contact through technology that came creeping back in without my realizing it.
Having this first hand experience, I can truly acknowledge how much time, energy and space tech can take from us. I've been playing with responding to correspondence only a couple times a day and I have already found myself more time for writing, reading, and studying.
Who doesn't want more time and space in their day?
Here are a few tips to get into the silence, the disconnect:
- Leave your phone with your keys when you enter your home. This sets the stage for leaving work with work and home with home.
- Leave your phone out of the bedroom at night. The bedroom is a space for sleeping and sharing love and connection.
- Leave your phone in your purse or pocket when driving. Seriously, focus on the task at hand, getting from one place to another.
- Keep the phone off the table during meals. Wouldn't it be fun to enjoy the food you are nourishing your body with and connect to the people around you?
- Set aside 2-3 times a day when you can thoughtfully interact with the internet through email and social media. Make your sharing and commenting meaningful and purposeful as an extension of you.
- Let go of the guilt around responding immediately or getting an immediate response. Give it time to manifest. Phones still work as phones, which means you can have a purposeful conversation at a time of your choosing and experience the resonant sounds of another human's voice. How cool is that?
- Choose to claim your time and life back. There is so much more going on around us than what lives within our phone. Go experience it. Cause it's a really awesome world out there!