“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?