Normally my day revolves around lots and lots of electronics and social media – on the bus I read my email, on the train I scroll through Google Reader, waiting in line I catch up Twitter, and Facebook is opened practically once an hour, and this is all on top of working all day on a computer. I’m not just looking to keep up on the news, to stay current with the writers and blogs I love most, and to connect with family far across the country. I’m keeping myself occupied so I don’t have to notice the people around me on the crowded train, or the long wait in line at Starbucks, or the fears and concerns in the back of my mind.
I’m just filling the space.
Yes, I love my Google Reader for the inspiring, insightful and truthful stories, but I also love it because it takes me out of the present. Facebook and Twitter – they help me tune out the rest of the world. Essentially, social media provides a place where I don’t really have to think – I just scroll through and look at pictures and short blurbs of text – lost in a sea of information.
What I’ve found is this constant connection makes my mind feel jumpy, makes it hard to tap into my true beliefs and dreams, makes it hard to focus and to prioritize, makes it hard to breathe. Worst part? It’s addicting – I feel like I need to be on Google Reader anytime I have a free moment, I need to read emails once they come in, I need to tell everyone what I’m doing.
For months I’ve been jumping from one app to the next and it’s been slowly gnawing on my spirit. That was when I knew I needed to create some space. I needed to unplug…
I needed to feel less attached to my email.
I needed to feel more connected to my surroundings.
I needed to be more present.
That’s what unplugging meant to me :: not rejecting social media per say but embracing the life around me more fully.
Unplugging last week helped me find space … clarity … and a new-found sense of balance and freedom.
In the morning I didn’t race to my email – I let my mind gradually wake up.
When I walked to the train station I enjoyed the fresh air, really took it my surroundings – the vibrant leaves, chirping birds, and Halloween decorations, explored new paths and didn’t necessarily care how long it took me.
Then on the bus and the train I just observed, my eyes and ears wide open, and you know what I felt??? Gratitude! Even though they aren’t reliable, even though they break down, even though my commute is long, I realized that without public transportation I would have to walk to and from work everyday - and that’s a 18 mile round trip.
Throughout the day I felt slower, more peaceful, less stretched out.
At night I just laid in bed and enjoyed the feeling of being supported by fluffiness.
Unplugging helped me realize that I have the ability to experience my days the way I want to – I don’t need to always fill the space. I can choose to be overwhelmed and overloaded by social media and constant connection OR I can simply enjoy and embrace the present moment and allow social media into my life when I want.
Do you think a little time “unplugged” could be good for you too?