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E.T. Unplug

I realize the irony of this entry.

And yet.

I must ask.

Imagine (if we can anymore) that all electronic devices were turned off for one week.  No TV, no Facebook, no blogs, no Internet, no cell phones or iphones or whatever phones.  Gone.  Off.

How much time would open up?

What would you do with that time?

Technology is always billed as time-saving.  I beg and plead to differ.

I have been sucked into the vortex of Facebook and looked up an hour later with nothing to show for the time spent except less time for things like writing or drawing or walking or reading or talking or planting or creating or cooking or thinking or stretching or running or riding my bike or staring out the window with a cup of tea or staring at a candle or cleaning my house or sorting through stuff to give to the Arc or writing a letter or volunteering or playing Polly Pockets with Lucy or making a fort with Oliver or playing Backgammon with Paul or walking to the coffee shop and shooting the breeze with that guy Mark who moved here from Michigan or making soup or playing the guitar or learning an instrument or making a paper crane or painting a room or writing a poem or taking a bath or looking through a magazine or reading the paper or sewing that patch that I bought at Target in the dollar section on my denim shirt with the hole in the elbow.

If I could, I would write a manifesto urging the citizens of the modern world to unplug and stop looking at their iphones while we are having a great conversation in a really cool bar in northeast, dammit.

But I have to go pick Oliver up from school and I seriously have about a million other things I’d rather do than sit online any longer (see above).

I guess my larger point is this: we all need a space in our lives where we can connect to ourselves, our spirits, our essence.  We all need this every day.  A space where we can breathe, think, dream, understand, seek inspiration, vent, and let go.  And this space is not within the cyberworld, but within ourselves.

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again. -Joseph Campbell

So here is your homework/writing exercise for the week:

Take yourself on a date to the coffee shop, or wherever else you can be alone with your journal and thoughts.  For ten minutes, write about what makes you feel alive.  Begin with the words, “I feel alive when…”  For example, I feel alive when drinking that first cup of coffee in the quiet dark of my house before anyone else is awake.  I feel alive when bundled up and riding my bike along Minneapolis’s parkways in the chilly November air.  I feel alive when I’m having tea with a friend.

When you are done, after you marvel about how much you wrote in such a small space of time, tune your awareness into how you feel after merely ten minutes unplugged, with just yourself and your thoughts.  Look carefully at your list–for how many items on your list are you plugged in?

We are each in charge of our lives and how we spend our time.  When we expand our awareness of how we are spending our time versus how we want to spend our time, we have an opportunity and impetus for change and growth.  As far as we humans know, this life, these moments are what we have, kid.  We must make the space in our lives to connect. With ourselves, that is.

I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive. -Joseph Campbell


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