Unplugging from the Modern World, By Chandra Michelle Tracy, LMFTby Sierra Sparks, MFT on 05/23/19
I was reading the words of my yoga teacher, who foretold in the 1990s, that there would be a time when every person would have mega billions of units of information on the tip of their ?nger, all the time, which would cause a widespread nervous breakdown (Yogi Bhajan). He was right! In the 1990s, we had barely scratched the surface of the information age, but now, nearly 30 years later, we are encapsulated by it. We are facing a world wide epidemic of emotional crises. Never before did we have to struggle so completely to achieve a true peace of mind.
The last 30 years has been characterized by immeasurable production, where everything has become disposable, from computers, to food, to people. Our value system is based on multitasking to get everything done, but not necessarily done well. Connections are made through texts, comments on social media, online video gaming. The human experience has become quanti?ed by industry. Those with PhDs cannot get jobs, while 25 year olds are becoming millionaires with their Youtube stations. There is complete imbalance between our hopes and our lifestyles, as well as between humanity, industry and nature. I listen to my clients lamenting how fast the world is moving with greater velocity, feeling that we can never catch up. Every day there is so much more, but there is nowhere for the old to go, and every day something, or someone becomes outdated or goes extinct. In this world, how are we to ?nd stillness, how can we truly rest in a state of peace?
One trend that I have been seeing on the “Renew and Retreat” stage, are “tech fasts”. Going on a retreat somewhere in the wild that has no internet reception, no wi? signal, and turning off. Can you even imaging an hour without your cell phone, let alone an entire weekend, or even a whole week? I haven’t done it yet, haven’t taken the time to disengage. I was on a plane this weekend and noticed that nearly every single passenger had a device, even the toddlers. None of us are spared from this epidemic, and there is no going back. What if every single human took just one day off- Screenless Sunday, like the day of rest we are all familiar with. Taking that one day a week to be in nature, or in our homes, or doing something we love, but without having that small screen in our purse or pocket. This is a great challenge. Try it for one month- once a week, leave the cell phones turned off, let people know you will not be available that day, and take time. Just take time. Be unproductive. Be with yourself, your loved ones, the trees, a great novel.
Another challenge I feel compelled to explore is to take time every day for “Single tasking”. Notice how many things you do at once, all the time. Writing a text while eating and having a conversation. Doing your job, listening to the
news, talking on the phone. We can try meditation, yoga, tai chi. Practicing mindfulness is essential, a sure ?re way to get still within, to slow down. But if we leave our meditation, meditating on our to do list, what have we accomplished? It is time for more. We will all have to do more in the way of self care, ?nding stillness, changing our habitual patterns of operation. Try spending time every day doing only one thing. Eat without distraction, read the news with your cell on airplane mode. It is truly time for change. What are our collective values for sustaining this age of information, technology, and mass communication, while keeping the humanity and connection alive?
There is no way to change the pace of the world, but I would like to think that we can change our pace, our mental space, our surroundings. Making inner peace and happiness our greatest priority, taking time for nature and stillness, and taking honest breaks from technology and mass communication are some ways to begin this process. Shift the focus from the outer to the inner, allow time for renewal, unplug for hope.