Do you have one of those uber successful and creative people in your life that take forever to return texts and emails? Do you know they aren’t really THAT busy but they still won’t message you back? My husband is one of these people sometimes and it drives me nuts. However, these people may be onto something the rest of us could benefit from learning: they know how to disconnect.
We are always hearing about the mental and emotional benefits of digital detox, going offline, social media vacations and so on but what most of these articles overlook is that what we could actually gain by powering off goes so much deeper than inner peace.
Peace within is well worth tuning out for a day, but here is another reason: creativity, new ideas and inspiration flow to us when we are in those quiet spaces of our day without distraction. I remember when I used to drive my 1990- something Toyota Celica with a broken radio around town in my high school days. Those long drives in silence were what painted my dreams of life after high school. My trips to a mountaintop in India away from reception were where I formed deep friendships and my life purpose began to take shape in my mind. Those days ( ok, hours) I leave my phone at home and take my kids to the park are where I see new parts of their little personalities I hadn’t noticed before.
My local supermarket doesn’t have any cell phone reception and I always notice that first uncomfortable few seconds when people take their phones out in an attempt to mindlessly scroll and escape the dreaded feeling of having to stand in a line! They look annoyed and then confused before shoving the phone back in their pocket or purse. Often I will say hello to them and start a conversation. This is what we used to do before we all started walking around looking down….talk to each other!
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to having my phone around because I have a mobile office. What I do know is that if I’m out of new ideas, have a block, am feeling uninspired or need a lift the answer will not be in my Pinterest app, as much as I would like to think it is sometimes. The remedy to all of those feelings is found by seeking connection. Connection to others, myself and our earth with my undivided attention.
Photo by Bruno Gomiero