Last weekend, I unintentionally went on a digital detox retreat. What I mean by that is I signed up for a yoga retreat and didn't read the fine print. What the fine print said was that there would be 1/ no alcohol 2/ no technology (outside of cameras) and 3/ copious amounts of mindfulness. In full transparency I may not have booked myself in for all this serious stuff had I been more across the agenda!
Now to take a step back, I need to call myself a spade. I love technology, the interwebs, facebook, instagram, texting with my friends and I basically live my life connected to one device or another. As the weekend approached, I felt my resistence to the DD increase with each passing hour. Then as my friend and I drove toward the retreat I changed the gears in my brain. I decided to let my competitive streak take over and embrace the challenge. Yes, I thought, I've got this.
Now for the big fat surprise. It wasn't all that difficult. I'm sure the knowledge of a fixed end time helped (and being surrounded by lots of new and interesting people to talk to). I had my moments though - one in particular when I was with a group but feeling a little alone. We were sitting on some rocks staring at a waterfall (pictured here) and I got that restless feeling. You know the one. I'm slightly uncomfortable, bored of my monkey brain and looking for distraction. Addicted much? Yup guilty as charged. Thankfully I had my camera with me so I took the opportunity to capture a few more shots of the beautiful scenery. But I took notice and it got me thinking.
Later that day, I dragged myself along to the digital detox fireside chat. We all confessed to sleeping with our phones at arms lengths. To checking them first thing in the morning. Then we got on to the whole inauthenticity of social media (ie photo shopping). Which very much reminding me of my authenticity overload blog post. All said the biggest recommendations discussed were to use flight mode more often (especially over night), avoid the late night/early morning bed time social checks and to relax on the false perfectionism.
By the time I got in the car to depart after all my lack of interest in the DD task I have to admit something in me had shifted. And since getting back to NY I find myself adopting much of the suggested behaivor. I'm also working on releasing my need to always travel back on social media to the last post I saw but I'm not there yet. Yes I know I'm crazy, but I still hate the thought of missing something (my excuse is I'm along way from home!). That said, I do find myself checking in less often, then having to race back through lots more content to be 'safe' from FOMO.
The truth is our phones have become a crutch. More reliable than any friend they are there at every moment of discomfort (does anyone ever look at you in the face in an elevator anymore? I think not!). But if you're like me, when you think about it that's the problem. Company from a phone can never replace connecting with a real live human. And maybe, all that time staring at a screen is leading us to miss out on some more of that good stuff?
So I'm going to try to make this shift permanent. To look up more often. To catch an eye, to smile and say hello. The way I figure it even just a 10% shift is a good chunk of time to connect more with my people. So that is my commitment - 10% less digital connectivity.
Tell me - do you think you could do with a shift as well? Your comments and questions are more than welcome - and I promise to always reply.
And finally...... don't forget to embrace the good stuff.