I asked a family friend recently how she thinks men in our community need to grow. She answered “not to be so attached and dependent on their technology and their phones.” I think she’s right. In today’s world we are always on our phones – checking the weather, checking email, checking for text messages, phone calls, and internet searches — we’re always busy, we are always on.
What happened to the days before visual voicemail when I had to take the time to call voicemail for messages? What happened to the days when you had an idea he wrote it on a notepad? What happened to the days when we wrote hand written letters thought carefully about the words before pressing send? I had to slow down just to accomplish some simple tasks.
Today it’s all about convenience, immediate gratification, and rapid communication.
I remember when I first got my iPhone. I was excited of course, but after fiddling around with it for a couple minutes I realized I couldn’t figure out how to turn the darn thing off. And then a friend told me it’s designed that way… it’s designed to be difficult to turn off. It’s always on… all you have to do is click a button and that’s becoming our way of life. Underneath it, we’re always on… all you have to do is click a button and we’re on.
What would happen if you took a day off from your phone? What would happen?
What would you feel? Would you be okay?
How lonely would you feel? How bored? How would you know the weather, the time, and the latest thing happening in wherever?
For some of us the phone helps us not be present because being present, awake and aware to ourselves and to what’s going on inside us or inside our family is difficult. If we’re only half there, it’s a lot easier.
My wife has a book in the bathroom by this famous health guru, Paul Braggs. You should see what he has to say about fasting for the body – endless praises. So I’m coming along to add another point – what about fasting for the mind. You don’t have to go to a meditation retreat to live a balanced healthy life.
There’s such a thing as a fast from food. There such a thing as a word fast too. But let’s try a little technology fasting. All fasts are cleansing on some level of the mind-body complex and I believe this will be too.
I’d be curious what benefits you got from the weekly phone fast. Give it a try. Start with five minutes every Tuesday. Explore yourself. Turn off. Be present.
–Daniel Levi, MA, CLC
Counselor and Life Coach
PS. I am a big proponent of healthy use of modern technology. But I’m an even bigger proponent of balance and health.