There are many thing of which a wise man might wish to be ignorant.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
Let’s face it, we Green Divas are all over the digital media space, right? If it’s not here on the blog, there’s a podcast to be produced and shared, and a ton of social media to distract us when email becomes overwhelming. So, it’s easy for me to rationalize constantly being on my laptop or my so-called smart phone. Hey, it’s my job!
I’ve noticed that my tolerance for moments of dead air—or silence—is decreasing. And I LOVE moments of stillness. I have observed myself whipping my phone out to be “entertained” the second I’m asked to wait for anything. I don’t know about you, but historically, I’ve had some of the most fascinating unplanned conversations with random people while waiting in a long line. There seems to be a potential for bonding (at least temporarily) with strangers locked in the fate of some crazy long line at the grocery store. I stopped being impatient and began to take these kinds of former irritations as signs that I needed to slow down and focus on the rare moment at hand, and find the gem in a small child’s smile or the gratitude of a clerk for my not freaking out about having to wait.
Now, my impulse is to reach for my phone and see what exciting news has transpired in the 10 minutes or so since I last looked.
I’m resisting this now. Not always successful, but I now want to laugh at myself like, “Really!?! Could you have missed something so important—something that needs YOUR attention so badly that it will save the planet?” yea . . . no. I smirk to myself and put it away and smile at the nearest human and force myself to make some kind of contact with something other than my 5th appendage—the ever-addictive smart phone. It’s smart all right. It knows how to suck us in!
Obviously the digital world has its awesomeness and offers the benefit of easy and fast access to literally a universe of information, but it has the potential to be a soul-sucking black hole too. Balance. It’s all about finding balance. Hey, it is a challenge for any busy mother to find time to have a peaceful potty break alone with or without a hand-held distraction device! Life is an obstacle course of shiny objects pulling us away from who we really are at our core and our soul’s true nature of love, light and peace. Seriously. I believe we are beings of light who mostly move around in a state of forgetting what we are.
I don’t know about you, but nature always helps bring me back. A great walk in the woods or a visit to a nearby lake or the ocean can trigger that reset button like a deep happy sigh of relief and perspective of what is real, what’s important… and what really isn’t.
Please check out this Green Divas Peaceout Meditation that I was inspired to put together, which leads you on a peaceful 20-minute tech timeout. I didn’t think I would enjoy it because it is my own voice, but I am trying to sit with this on a regular basis, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work!
8 strategies to help find balance throughout the day
1. Don’t wake up and run to your phone or laptop or tablet.
2. Start the day with some kind of quiet, peaceful ritual and set your intention to have a balanced day. I have a 20-minute yoga, prayer and meditation practice that I do every morning and while it isn’t always easy to make the time when there are so many exciting things ahead for the day, it makes a big difference in my day.
3. If you’re on a computer all day, set a timer to go off every hour and create a routine of walking away from the electronics and taking a couple of deep breaths, maybe stretch (try Stretch Clock a cool app that reminds us to stretch every hour and offers different, really simple stretches).
4. Find time to connect to nature. Even if you’re in a big city, there has to be a park or at the very least a plant or maybe a pet you can commune with for a few minutes or more each day.
5. Banish electronic devices from the dinner table. The kids (or you) will balk, but it’s so important to try and have REAL face-to-face interaction.
6. Put the phone down when you’re talking to anyone. It seems like it’s acceptable to multitask and chat while browsing through our phones, but let’s all try to make a better connection to each other. Sometimes paying attention to someone and really listening can make all the difference in their day AND yours. Try it.
7. Turn off the phone and all the digital devices at night. Silence them and put them in another room if you can. There have been studies about the effects of the EMFs (Electro Magnetic Fields), as well as the little standby lights on our sleep, and I feel like it’s just a good practice to have that separation. We plug our phones and any other devices in a room separate from our bedrooms. Unless you’re an on-call doctor or someone’s life depends on your picking up the phone @ 3am, whatever it is can wait till the morning.
8. Meditate. Whatever works for you, whether it is a guided meditation like mine here, or a quiet walk in the woods, find time to be alone and find that peaceful stillness within. Get connected to a meditation group if you want to learn more. Read, explore different ways to meditate, but do it.
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