We all need deep personal support and sometimes it comes from sources way less visible. There is unspoken sustenance that may need to come out of the closet: stillness, withdrawal from the exterior world, turning inward. Heartened by my three days of silence at the end of 2014, I made a resolution. I never make resolutions. But I did. One day a month in 2015 for complete and utter unplugging. The only rule? At home with no screen time: no phone, no computer, no TV X 24 hours.
So far each experience has had it’s own flavor, a unique self-crafted container. But here is the common thread: the support and tender touch of following my own undistracted flow nourished me for several days following. It fueled a memory of slower time gone by when this was closer to the norm. Until 1998 I steadfastly refused to own a computer or join the email thing; I saw the writing on the wall, or on the page, I guess. I guessed the way it would utterly change my world. And it did. And not all of it is a bad thing. But something has been lost and I feel like I’m finding it again. Here’s one piece of it.
Time outdoors is a big draw for me and on these no-tech days I easily go there. Nature deficit disorder, described in Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, contends that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors. This is resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems and the lure of the screen is one of the biggest factors keeping children (and the rest of us!) inside. I’ve lived on this quiet residential street more than 40 years. It used to be a veritable playground. My kids grew up roaming with the neighborhood posse: children of all ages playing ball and hide and seek and games born of their wild imaginations. Now they are all grown and gone and there is a new crop of kids here. I sit on my porch and it is eerily quiet. I miss those rowdy calls, their visible playful energy, the general alive chaos of it all. Mostly I know there are children because I see them scuttling from door to car and back.
“Something’s happening here…what it is ain’t exactly clear.” This week I actually have to make a sign to put up at Coloma Center about turning off your cell phone during practice. Don’t ask. Right here, in this precious moment, I’m inviting you to find some clarity around this one. Will you join this dialogue with a simple (but not easy) challenge? One 24 hour period, just one…to turn it all off…at home. You might begin right now by noticing what this request brings up for you. Maybe that immediate gut response is enough to get you intrigued, perhaps watching the way you resist, find excuses for, laugh right out loud at this challenge, let alone actually consider taking it on. My next dedicated turn off day is April 21. If you’re game, please respond by letting me know what 24 hour period in April you are willing to pull yourself out of this morass. Be brave, make a commitment, maybe even let me know. But for sure write to me and let me know of your experience, even if it’s just about your no-way response to the challenge.
What are you waiting for?