Tired of Wired

“I’m tired of being so wired,” I wrote in my journal a couple of months ago.  At that time, writing a blog about the topic of being too technologically connected seemed just a tad hypocritical.

But the thought kept coming back.  Even though I spend far less time on screen or online than many folks in my line of business, I was still noticing myself sneaking peeks at my I-phone or my email when I was feeling a little itchy or bored.

I hadn’t even noticed it had been happening. The shift from meditative pause to checking my screen was almost imperceptible at first.  So were the effects.  Now that I think about it, I had been noticing that it’s been harder than before to work on bigger projects.  After all, who might need a response for Ms. Important Me? Even without online games (like the Scrabble the rest of my family shares) or Facebook (where most of my colleagues seem to spend a lot of time), I was tiring the way more of my time was spent on screen.

For one thing, it all seemed to fly in the face of  my relatively new practice of being more mindful, pausing and breathing, taking Pema Chodron’s advice in Taking the Leap  to heart. Chodron, a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, refers to that moment of  restlessness as a “shenpa’ attack, a signal to stop.  Breathe.  Re-connect.  As I’ve experienced the practice in the last months, it’s been an extremely calming and centering way to go take a break while going about my life.

But gradually I was noticing itchy I-phone finger, wrecking it all.

The bottom line: the best way for me (or anyone) to really focus on the big picture of how to live a life or get bigger projects done, short of moving completely off-grid,  is to get serious about choosing when and where and how much we want to be connected to the web.

The other best piece of advice: like the scientists with which he shared a retreat, follow the “three-day rule.”  Getting (and staying) offline for three days, they noticed, radically changed their peace of mind.

Which is my intention, this weekend.  A great way to celebrate Labor Day, giving my brain a break from the overwork and tiredness of wiredness.  Join me?

6 Responses to “Tired of Wired”

  1. Deborah Rose

    Hi Susan …

    thank you for the inspiring post … (i think) …

    i just had a bit of a panic attack at the idea of going off-grid for three days ….

    Apparently i have a bit of an addiction problem … sigh … 🙁

    …deb

    Reply
  2. Susan Sanford

    I find myself wondering….could I really do this? And then…what if I started on Friday, the second full moon in August (a blue moon) and did a blue moon retreat for my soul?

    Reply
  3. Marion Youngblood

    Susan, I am going to “…get serious about choosing when and where and how much we want to be connected to the web.” That’s a super-great line and I’m letting it fill me up.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Aimée

    Hi Susan,
    I joined you on a laptop free weekend.
    I spent most of my time with the students from friday to sunday. Normally when I get home after a day like that I like spending some time distracting myself on my laptop. Now I noticed there was the uncomfortable ‘gap’ – the time where I was too tired to be relaxed or social. But I had some tea, or just sat there, which started being good after about 20 minutes of being uncomfortable. And than I noticed how much time I actually have after an already full day. A nice surprise 🙂
    Another thing at the end of such a day – normally conversations with Ulrike at such a time can be draining and I tend to retreat quite soon. Now, with no itch to flee to the laptop, we both just kept talking and somehow arrived at the other side of ‘tired and drained’ and really enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. That was a really nice gift…
    And than there was the late night moonlight walk with our cat.

    How was your weekend? 🙂
    Love, Aimée

    Reply
  5. Anne Gordon

    Just got back from an off the grid vacation on Vancouver Is. BC. Didn’t plug into anything for 7 days. It was really wonderful to step off the “freeway” of screen communication during that time. Only problem is I’m having a hard time getting my brain re-programed to chronos time. Was totally convinced until this afternoon that it was Sunday today….oops. Very inspiring blog! I love the calls for breaks when I get out of sorts, which has been occurring since I’ve been home. In fact, it has inspired me to go take a very much needed nap. Which I’m getting up to do right now….

    Reply
  6. SusanGrace Beekman

    I’m online again. Home from the Old Growth Forest (which made going offline far easier, to be totally transparent open and honest). I loved Anne’s comment about Real Time and the slow flow of it. Napping, breathing. Lovely. Now that I’ve been back for a day, I’m still observing when and how I use this miraculous technology. I want the best of both worlds. A natural flow of time. Instant access to the information that inspires and educates the mind. The experiment continues…

    Reply

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