A Complicated Addiction
There’s no doubt about it, my iPhone complicates my life. Even with all the high techy potential it possesses to keep me connected and cutting edge, it’s actually an addictive annoyance which dulls me to the experience of living; it interrupts my flow.
I wasn’t sure if I could pinpoint what was blocking me in terms of finding this elusive flow, but I knew that I was being held back from a flowtastic existence and in my quest to discover what it was, I decided to finally pick up a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now to help me out. If you are ready to be rocked to your core, go out and get yourself a copy. But if you do, you’ve been warned from someone who is only a few millimeters into this text and mustering the courage to continue onward, that this Now-erific book is the real deal and could very well change your entire outlook on life.
It did for me anyway, particularly in terms of thought processes. Tolle teaches that if you observe your thoughts you will notice they are the construct of only one of two things: 1) the past and 2) the future. The real task is to be neither partial to 1 or 2 but rather to find what I am calling “three”, The Now, which of course requires a great deal of practice and is entirely why I decided to go on a tech free fast for 11 hours each day, to reduce the distractions that often pull me into the two narrow ways of thinking that Tolle identifies.
Not so Tech-tacular
I see an isolated joy pic of someone on a beach with Best Vaca Eva scratched next to the sandy waves and I’m immediately on Expedia trying to find a way to go there too. I notice another person’s matchy-matchy family photo shoot against a rustic barn door and I’m kicking myself for not scoring on a deal I’d seen the week prior for an ultra reduced rate for a camera sesh with my kids in the Fall foliage. Another friend is doing an ultra modern bathroom reno and suddenly I’m Pinteresting and sledgehammering a support beam in my home simultaneously. And that’s a key word right there, because nearly everything I do on my phone is part of a complicated string of urgent simultaneous multitasks that draw me into a false dependency on my phone. And none of it is ever very now-worthy, not at in the least. I began to wonder how much differently I’d feel about my life and parenting in particular, if I reduced my access to to the gloss of social media and the allure of my phone. Turns out, I don’t need either as much as I think I do.
And what a difference it made to my life in one short week to go without it for most of the day.
March Break, Unplugged
I was far more patient with my kids than I ordinarily would be and I said yes to way more little requests I might otherwise overlook. No one had to wait 10 more minutes while mom finished up with her browsing and instead those precious moments were filled by hatching plans for the day, like sneaking into a Raptor Center after closing time so that we could have the place to ourselves! I was part of crucial decision making discussions I think I used to miss like what our wishes would be the next time we hit up a wishing fountain. And I was far less stressed about finding ways to fill our time. We spent our days in museums and exploring woodlots and parks and for the first time in eons, I actually paid attention to my surroundings so much so that the days would get away on us before they felt like they had started and it was only our growling tummies which would bring us home. One afternoon I found myself propped up by an Oak tree, watching my kids at play, and realized I was way better at tag and grounders at almost-40 than I was when I was 7. I laughed at fart jokes and silly faces and rediscovered the glee that comes with childlike amusement. I paid way more attention to people and had more face-to-face interactions than I usually do. Best of all, I connected to the world around me, observing a lot of it as though it was the first time. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a paperback to enjoy with a cup of tea, or watched the snow fall or a bird take flight; there’s an incredible exquisiteness waiting for us if we take a few minutes to peer up over our screens. I hadn’t realized how much of that had got away from me in the last 13 years of owning a device.
By unplugging, I absolutely began to rediscovered the flow and I don’t really want to go back now that I’m truly keying into it.
I’m not doing away with my phone just yet, I still like it and I enjoy its uses. I truly believe there is an especially vibrant and blooming virtual community that is endeavoring to make the world a better place and I think it’s one of the strongest vehicles for sharing and passing kindness around the globe. I want in on that and I need my phone in order to be an integral part of it. I am however ready to release the hold that the e-domain had over me and the square box that contains it for what it is, a time suck that will no longer hold a predominant space in my life. I’d prefer to continue uncovering more of the gifts awaiting me in Tolle’s Now and deepen my relationship with the real life.
Get Out of Your Way
While I can’t even begin to come close to articulating Tolle’s supreme ascendancy on the topic of now-ness and flow, nor have I personally achieved mastery here yet, I’ll leave you with the advice that if you think you’re ready to get out of your own way and find The Flow, consider taking a lil vaca from your device every once in a while. You might be surprised by what you find.
Have you limited access to your devices and/or social media? Let me know how it went in the comments below!
Xo, unleighshed potential