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Thursday, September 20, 2012

intentionally using technology

Last night's community night focused on how we use technology.  I share my reflections from last night with you by typing on a computer that will post this message on a blog.  Irony.    

I appreciate community discussions that challenge me to live more simply.  Last night, I reflected specifically on my computer and phone usage.  I talked about how it feels to be "plugged in" (even the terminology seems to equate a person to a machine).  I work in front of a computer for eight hours a day, have my personal and work email open all day ready to respond to new messages as soon as they arrive, and have my work and cell phone nearby to respond to any calls or text messages.  At the end of that insanity, I come home and usually check my email again (never know who could have emailed me in the fifteen minutes it took me to get home) and continue my web surfing, sometimes while sitting in front of the TV.  

This intimate connection to technology usually results in a tense-hyped-up-on-the-move energy, a general feeling of impatience and dissatisfaction, and a disconnection from the present moment.  

I'm realizing it's time to take a step back and unplug.  

I remember how relaxed I felt on our honeymoon in June.  I had turned my phone off so I wouldn't be charged for roaming fees while we were out of the country.  The effect of being disconnected was surprisingly dramatic.  When I was walking around, I was just walking around.  When I was eating dinner, I was just eating dinner.  When I was laying around the room with Paul, I was just there with Paul.  I didn't have to worry if I had missed a phone call, text, or email.  I could just be.  And the best part was that everyone got along fine that week without contacting me.  The world still turned.  And I felt better than I usually did.  I felt present.  

How can I bring that feeling to my everyday life?  I don't think I'm in a place where I can turn my cell phone or computer off forever.  There are times when people need to contact me by cell phone and times when I need to respond to emails.  My new challenge will be finding the middle ground between completely disconnecting and being a slave to my computer and phone.  My first baby step is to focus on Pedro and my garden when I get home from work instead of checking my email.  My second baby step is to only check my email once in the evening after I get home from work.  It might sound absurd to those of you with healthier relationships with technology, but to me I think these steps will be very helpful. 

Does this reflection resonate with you?  What ideas or tips do you have for live life more simply ?

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