It has been around a month since I’ve posted anything new here, and it’s nice to be back!
Last month I went on a week-long cruise with my family, and I experienced a kind of shift that has stayed with me, even as I returned home to my regular routines. On the boat, there was no Internet, no cell phone service, no email. For the first few days, I found myself looking at my phone from time to time, and then wondering what I was looking for. But then this feeling of slightly nervous obligation gave way to a sense of quiet freedom.
Not being tethered to the phone and all of the expectations (mostly my own) that surround it seemed to release me from the “should’s” and “have to’s” that I think I use to try to get things done, but which carry a really damaging subtle message underneath it all — that I’m not enough. That I have to do this and change that and try harder at this other thing. THEN I can relax and fully allow the good that is all around me to be fully felt and enjoyed.
What I found was, when I had no choice but to fully tune in to what I was doing, who I was with, and my own feelings and connections with people, it was easy to “take in the good” that the particular moment offered. Ease and joy were not some reward to give myself after hard work and accomplishment. They’re natural parts of each fully attended moment.
Since I’ve been back in the “connected” world, it’s been a bit of a challenge not to fall back to the constant phone-checking habit. Here’s what helped: I removed all “push notifications” from my email, aps, Facebook, etc. Don’t worry — it still rings when you call! (But if my daughter is telling me about her day I will have to let the voicemail get it.) There are no chimes or buzzes when email or notifications arrive. I have to actively decide I’m ready to spend a little phone and e-connection time, rather than having it always dinging at me, slicing my attention and pulling on me like little children at the mall who are tired of shopping.
Somehow breaking this habit, and deciding when I want to do X and Y, has helped me to feel more in control, and to keep this sense of freedom from the nervous backdrop of constant responsiveness. If I find myself slipping into the old ways of putting off happiness as a reward for getting things done, it helps me to remember to “take in the good” through my senses — letting happiness find a way in through the body, even when the brain is not in the mood. Even when you’re not at the beach.
Try it. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this in the Leave a Comment section above. Can you release yourself from phone tyranny? Can you take in the good through your senses?
Let the you in this moment be enough.
“Enough” by David Whyte from Where Many Rivers Meet
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to life
we have refused
again and again