June 18, 2019

An Intervention

My fifth day into my forced technology-free week at camp, I woke up in a grouchy, wrong side of the bed, mood. I slumped on the deck and drank in my coffee along with the scents of the lake. Watching the antics of birds on the water below, which normally is calming, only decreased my spirits. My restless fingers silently typed out words in the breezy wind … itching for an online connection: Facebook, e-mail, Pinterest, anything. I felt so insanely disconnected to what I thought was a necessary part of life.

Feeling defeated by my obsession, I curled up on the cool Naugahyde covered couch to escape my attitude and put finishing touches on my sleep. An hour later, woke in a stormy hypnogogic state – I needed a fix.

Vowing, out loud to the room, I swore to never again make a computer-free “pact” with my family. I wasn’t remotely prepared for this intervention and didn’t even bring a notepad! I was struggling, and knew it, but also willing to work through this horrible fixation on technology.

The Search

The “interventionists” were out on the lake, so, I drove alone to a local market to seek out the perfect notebook, so at least I could feel in some control of my habit and have a tactile moment with paper and pen.

Hidden in a pile of notebooks was a lovely, faux brown leather pad with a yellow and brown plaid interior – rather funky. Smelling the paper was an out-of-body experience. Also discovered not one but three extra fine point multi-colored pens, which I snapped up, as new words needed new pens, and would satisfy and calm my addiction. People who like pens are particular, for the most part. I’m into the extra-fine because my words needed to be thinly written to flow smoothly and effortlessly from brain to paper. My family would not dare argue with my purchase.

Morsels and Coffee

I discovered a new to me coffee shop called Morsels, sat in a comfortable chair with my homemade lapboard, ordered strong coffee (and some morsels) – words flowed out.

Amazingly, the distraction of using pen to paper for two hours lessened my desire for being online. 

On the way back to camp, I stopped to see a friend with whom I shared my technology free attempt for the week. She warmly welcomed me into rehabilitation - her beautiful store - where she smothered me with a counselor’s understanding and compassion, generously giving me the resolve needed to make it through my commitment. Is this what friends are for? Absolutely!

What I Learned

I knew I didn’t have to take on the “advice” of my family but think they were right to request I give phone calls and writing on the computer a break. The week ended with an abundance of special and peaceful memories … very likely due to not being tethered to my devices. I participated more in discussions, game playing, kayaking. I learned a lot about myself during the week and believe that the tactile writing from pen to paper used a different part of my brain. The lack of connection provided a quiet “not knowing” what was going on in the world. This was needed and highly refreshing.

I’ll never fully give up having online connections, as my special group activities from various sites help plan my days and adds interest to my calendar. But, an occasional vacation from technology, absolutely, as doing so adds embellishments along with unexpected ideas and activities. 

June 4, 2019

A Squirrel, Peanut Butter, and Zen

A chubby squirrel appeared to be in a zen attitude, sprawled on a tree branch in our front yard, chittering commands at our intrusion. Lifts his paw every once in awhile as if giving me a High Five. An exceptional example of chilling with his head resting on his paws … tail curled over his back snuggling down. Ah, Zen.

A short time passed and I saw him leaving his limb as someone tossed a jar of peanut butter from their car (hopefully, for him). Squirrel was quite happy pulling this delightful gift from heaven up into the tree nook where he thoroughly enjoyed the chunky morsels, reaching into the jar to scrape up the last delicious remnants. Then, like a gentleman, returning it exactly where the treat was found.

On the human hand, we have a tendency to not “Zen Out” and be carefree - and we have short tails. Our brains are cluttered with stress before our toes have a chance to curl away from the morning blankets. Thoughts race thinking about our overly-scheduled day; heaven forbid trying to remove some of the wanna do into not wanna do. So we would rather stress and not have quiet time in which to recuperate from our busy lives.

Chill, Zen Out! Life is too short to spend it in planning and execution mode all the time. Hit the snooze button, gently stretch, breathe deeply, and inhale some excitement for the new day. Literally (or figuratively) salute it with an optimistic nod. Remember, that for the most part, we orchestrate our day and create our own positive or negative times.

Consider a new and relaxed routine in the evening.
  • Open your front door, perchance it is nice outside, warm enough to sit on the porch or a camp chair in your yard.
  • Imbibe in a pleasant drink of your choice!
  • Light a candle (or have a campfire).
  • Try a music app and discover the vast musical options. We use Spotify and listen to all manner of nature music, coffee shop tunes, energizing music.
  • Breathe in, Breathe out – it really works for your stress levels … seriously!
  • Too strange for the above? Then, have a nice conversation with a friend or family member. 
  • Chuckle at the antics of a squirrel!!! :)
  • Do what speaks peace to you, at least on occasion, this is vital to your soul.

The jar of peanut butter, neatly place on the sidewalk by squirrel

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