Friday, June 19, 2015

Digital Detox Farmgirl Sisterhood Post 4

Digital Detox

Farmgirl Sisterhood Post 4

This past week, I had a dear friend and her daughter come for a visit. Esther and I were sitting in the library when all the sudden she looked at me and said, “Do you remember when we were on Facebook and we… I immediately began to giggle and responded, “We still are on Facebook!” 

Esther and I

Needless to say this erupted into more laughter. As much as we both tried we still used social media during the visit. Not that this is bad but it was nice when we both put down our phones.

View from Harpers Ferry Hike
We both made an effort to connect in a different manner, we went hiking, visited the local Mennonite bakery, and several other farms. Sometimes it is great to have a few minutes, hour, day, or weekend to detox from the digital world.  So what is a digital detox?

Digital detox: A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.


This morning I saw a wonderful picture on Facebook and this reminded me of how I needed a “Personal Social Status Update.” Honestly, I have joined and left and rejoined social media several times. Why do I do this? 

Truth, I am trying to make up for something I’m not getting in real life!

Look at what I just did!

 Posting or tweeting to 1000 of “friends” just isn’t the same as venting to our nearest and dearest. In tough times, you need a supportive friend who can offer real advice. Even advice that you would rather not hear.  How often would we say the things that we post in person?

Sherry Turkle, a professor of the social studies of science and technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently said, “Online it’s easier to interpret things as we wish them to be and avoid the subjects we want to avoid.” 

Art by Graham Roumieu
1. Powering-down helps remove unhealthy feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness.

Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives. Certainly, not every interaction with Facebook is a negative one. But typically, our own experience validates their research. From family happiness to body image to vacation destinations to the silly number of birthday greetings on a Facebook wall, the opportunity for envy presents itself often on social media. Powering-down for a period of time provides opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude for the lives we have been given.

2. Powering-down combats the fear of missing out.

 Scientifically speaking, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has been recognized as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the advance of technology. The premise is simple. Our social media streams are ever-filled with everything happening all around us. Nowadays, we even see the plates of food our friends are enjoying. And within this constant stream of notification, our fear of being left out continues to grow. Turning off social media and finding contentment in our present space is a welcome skill.

Art by Graham Roumieu
3. Solitude is harder to find in an always-connected world.

Solitude grounds us to the world around us. It provides the stillness and quiet required to evaluate our lives and reflect on the message in our hearts. In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.

4. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. 

Our world may be changing. But the true nature of life is not. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic. And the love is real. But if we are too busy staring down at our screen, we’re gonna miss all of it.

5. Powering-down promotes creation over consumption.

Essentially, most of our time is spent in one of two categories: consuming or creating. Certainly, technology can contribute to creating. For example, this article was written (created) on a computer. But most of the time we spend in front of technology is spent consuming (playing video games, browsing the Internet, watching movies, listening to music). But our world doesn’t need more consuming. It needs more creating. It needs your passion, your solution, and your unique contribution. Power-down. And begin contributing to a better world because of it.

Art by Graham Roumieu

6. Addiction can only be understood when the object is taken away. 

Through a recent technological fast, I learned something about myself. I learned I am far more addicted to technology than I would have guessed. But that is the nature of addiction, isn’t it? We can never fully realize our level of addiction until the item is taken away. And the only way to truly discover technology’s controlling influence on your life is to turn it off, walk away, and sense how strong the pull is to turn it back on.

Art by Graham Roumieu

7. Life is still about flesh, blood, and eye contact.  

There are valuable resources online to help us grow and evolve. I have been enriched by the connections I have made and the friends I have met. But no matter how much I interact with others through the miracle of technology, there is something entirely unique and fantastic about meeting face-to-face. The experience of looking another person in the eye without the filter of a screen changes everything. Each time, I am reminded that life’s most fulfilling relationships are the ones in the world right in front of me. And spending too much time looking away from them does a great disadvantage to my soul and theirs.

Yes, Life is waiting! Plug into being in the moment on or offline! You have the power to choose with what matters most. 

Art from Glitter and Greens
“Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow….

You’re cheating yourself out of today. Today is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you’re stuck on tomorrow, and today trickles away like water down a drain. You wake up the next morning and that today you wasted is gone forever. It’s now yesterday. Some of those moments may have had wonderful things in store for you, but now you’ll never know.”
                                             ― JerrySpinelli, Love,Stargirl

For myself, I prefer to live today! It just happens to be offline and unplugged for a few moments!


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