So, I’m in recovery from a forced digital detox.
Of late, I seemed to have said it to myself often. New year, new moon – It’s time to log out of work and take a day off social media. Even better, time to log out of life and turn off every device I own. But words can be empty when their promised actions fail to follow. And what will I miss while I’m digitally detoxing away? What if by logging off from my work I miss a massive contract? What if by logging out of my social media I miss a massive party?
Even worse, what if by Iogging out of my life – my life forgets to miss me?
In all honesty, all my devices really boils down to just a crappy iPhone4. While it doesn’t have some know-all random called Siri and it’s camera leaves a lot to be desired, this little pocket of data has been permanently strapped to my person since 2011. With the exception of few rural ventures where for a couple of days, we’ve run away from range, there’s always been a few reassuring bars across the top. Reminding me that I’m safe as I’m well and truly connected. I don’t have to wallow in wonder thanks to wikipedia. My smalls health needs are covered thanks to Dr Google. Last week a friend of mine built a retaining wall with you-tube. The information age is exponentially exploding – taking everyone, including me and my crap iPhone4, with it. I’m on the world wide web through google, FB, instagram… This year, I even tweeted my first tweet. Even though I don’t understand the concept of this media avenue at all.
But all this stopped when my universe imploded on Tuesday. Because I dropped my iphone4 somewhere between my kitchen table and the incoming tide of 13th beach. In the hours of searching, I tried financial incentive. Two dollars to any small hand that found my small phone. This is big money in our world as you can get a lot at the local op-shop with a gold coin. Even more things with two.
The hours drifted away as my achey gut began to tell me:
My digital life-line connection had been severed because my iphone4 had been taken by the sea.
Hours of phone calls to India and 10 passwords later; my outgoing number was disabled, my incoming calls were diverted and my iphone4 officially lost. No calls out. No calls in. No sound of my pocket data at all.
I spent over 48hours in enforced digital detox. The first half was kinda excruciating. But as the hours drifted across the skyline, I started to open and lift my eyes.
Think standing backbends, seated twists and antar mouna (inner silence).
There’s a thick and heavy feeling that sits in you when you’ve lost something you’re deeply connected to. Whether it’s something you built, something you bought or for me, something that was sort of both. I’d bought a phone with a promise from a dude with a drawl in California. He told me my life would be a million percent better and into this promise I began building a connection outwards. Only to realise when the phone was taken from me and the promise was broken, that my outwards connection had started to silently absorb me. And disconnect from a space inwards. Simply put – I wasn’t paying enough attention.
In the public health world, we say – crisis causes change. That is, intrinsic behaviour changes only when your hand is forced. Those that have heart scares start exercising. Those that have diabetes scares stop sugar. For me, I had to stop using my iphone4. Meaning initially, I was scared of the 4 years of contacts and connections I’d lost –
Until I started looking up to remember the lifetime of contacts and connections I had.
In looking up from my empty hands devoid of my one-dimensional, single pointed screen – I saw the cheeky humour in my young lad’s heart. I saw the generous spirit of my feisty middle red. I saw the searching eyes of my eldest wise one. I saw old friends and new friends as well as my lover who was tired and worn. In looking up, I remembered the texture and the flavour of my world. We began playing together. We charged rock pools and smashed blueberries. We licked Scandinavian ice-cream as it melted down sticky hands. I connected back into the database of a summer with my family. While savouring in the love and life of close friends.
Two days without a phone offered me a chance to deconstruct the barriers that had unconsciously started to build around me. Forgetting my fear of missing out on digital life forced me to re-connect with the fullness of my life as it is apparent now. While letting go of “what if”, I was reminded of the reality of “what is.” And now, through the generous spirit of a beautiful yogi student of mine – I’m reconnected to the virtual world via a fancy iphone5. It has a magic place called a cloud where all your virtual contacts can stay forever. It has a screensaver with a leaf that doesn’t tempt me to check what has been said or what I may have missed. It has an off button at the top which I have started to press regularly.
So I can look up and remember the real contacts I have in my world now.