One of my favorite actors is Ewan McGregor. I enjoy some of his body of work but I really enjoy his interviews on various talk shows. He just seems to have a joie de vive and a generous spirit. He embodies the adage, "do what you love and love what you do". He takes such delight in his environment, what he is doing, and the people whom he meets.
I heard him once discuss his experience on giving up smoking. He was a heavy smoker and finally had enough. He said that he spent so much time looking for his smoking accoutrements-lighter, cigarettes, ashtray-every time he sat down that he just couldn't sit down. He had to make sure that he had all his "stuff" and he would fiddle with all those things. He couldn't leave the house without checking and rechecking that he had all his smoking paraphernalia. There was so much activity just to keep the habit going. Now that he is not smoking he says that he is at peace. He has a sense of tranquility. When he sits down now, he can just sit and enjoy the experience.
I feel that way with all the cords and wires to keep us electronically connected. Every time we go on a trip we have added to our checklist litany, 'Do you have your chargers- for the phone, the laptop, all your devices?"
One summer we were packing up from our stay at our rented vacation cottage. For reasons that take too long to explain, my one son had put all his electronic cords, mouth retainer and other (expensive) sundries into a plastic grocery bag. The four of us in the family were doing our respective "getting ready to leave" jobs: final vacuum through, packing the back of the car, loading the bikes onto the roof rack and collecting the trash which was in a plastic grocery bag like the one my son used as his "luggage". You can only guess what happened. We did not discover the switch until we were ten hours away, dropping off this son at his college apartment. The restful and peaceful feeling of our two week vacation was immediately shattered with the seemingly innocent inquiry, "Mom, where did you put the white plastic grocery bag?"
Somedays I wish I could quit the habit of the electronic devices and the need (seemingly) to be connected all the time. Somedays it seems as if the cost of the devices- keeping track of their whereabouts, keeping them charged, updating the information, figuring out how to use them properly- far outweighs any benefit. Somedays the red circle or ding of a reminder that I have a text message, a notification or an email is anxiety producing. I can feel my heart rate increase. The red is too reminiscent of the red marker from school. "What did I miss?, Did I do something wrong? Have I broken something?"
When I get anxious I know that I need to take an electronic fast. I need to take a deep breath and realize that I am not going to get an "F" for failing to respond to a message or alert immediately. I need to set the electronics aside so that peace and tranquility can reign in my heart.
I have an acquaintance who makes a point of taking an electronic sabbath one day a week or at least a good part of one day. She and her husband have agreed not to look at emails, turn on the computer or respond to text messages. Admirable. To be honest, I think I might have a tough time not being electronically connected for a whole day. Although the times when I couldn't be connected to an electronic device for whatever reason (current location has no service, attending a workshop or meetings, on a trip), I have felt such lightness of being, kind of like a snow day. I always feel rejuvenated and ready to come back to the "electronic age".
What about you? Are you too wired? Do you get frustrated with all the cords, wires and connections of which you need to keep track? How do you handle it? Physically and emotionally? Have you ever not been connected? What was the reason? How did you feel when you finally "reconnected"? Have you ever taken an electronics fast?
Aren't we fortunate to be living in an age where we can choose how we use the tools that improve our lives? I just need to remember that the electronic devices are to be used and not to let them use me. I need to choose peace and tranquility. I need to choose not to be "wired".