No Technology Sundays
For a while now, Herb has been suggesting that we take a family day of ‘sabbath’ – sabbath as a holiday from technology. Though technology has brought so many wonderful things into our lives, it’s hard not to feel like it has also unknowingly infiltrated our lives in ways that aren’t always beneficial. I had till now resisted the idea of a technology sabbath, thinking it seemed a bit extreme. Why take a day off of technology? Why not just become more mindful of it in our day to day? Well that is easier said than done. Habits often easily perpetuate even when the intentions to change some of them are set. The only way to really change habits is to first become much more aware of them.
After returning from a wonderful ten day retreat with Sarah Powers, which included a very insightful twenty-four hour period of silence, I came home thinking that a period of time where we put our phones, laptops and TV’s away sounded intriguing. To make sure we didn’t feel like it was too extreme of a measure, rather than a full day, we made it a half day commitment. We decided that on Sunday morning from dawn till noon, our time would be dedicated to our family and ourselves. We wouldn’t use technology for communication, entertainment or information, outside of an emergency or something out of the ordinary. That said, when we felt that this intention no longer served us, we could happily change it.
We are about four Sundays into this commitment and I am so happy we made it.
Without the distraction of phones, of texts, of the immense amounts of information and entertainment across the internet and TV, time has seemed to slow down on Sunday mornings. That in and of itself has been such a gift, especially when it seems that the pace of life only increases. Often the first thing that I do when I wake, is check my phone which lays on my bedside table. I check the time, sometimes my calendar, other times my email. Oh yes, and any lingering texts that I might have received. And just like that with one small glance, I am drawn in. Now on Sunday mornings, I look at my phone, often with the urge to want to pick it up, but I resist and instead enjoy a few quiet moments to myself or with Herb, while we wait for the kids to run into our bed. Instead of exiting into some other reality, I can enjoy sweet early morning moments with my family. We more leisurely wake and get to breakfast, maybe a walk. I even got the whole family to meditate together one morning. And as I share that, yes, I struggle at times with my idealized version of what a no technology Sunday morning would look like. 🙂 This too has been good – to see my expectations and then allow them to be as life often takes its own path.
But mostly, we have enjoyed slowing down and, that too, not in the context of going to a yoga class or sitting to meditate. Rather, slowing down while being
really engaged with my family . And that sometimes means being engaged in the squabbles, the constant negotiations, the arguments and fights. But without fail, there are moments of laughter, of sharing intimate thoughts, of feeling connected to oneself, especially feeling connected to each other.
I confess I am a bit of a doer. Slowing down is not always the easiest thing for me. Yes, I meditate and do yoga and that all helps. But why do I do all these things? It’s to feel more alive, more connected and enriched by life one moment at a time. And when the moments pass me up without notice, when the laughter gets lost amidst the to do’s, when I forget to look into my daughters’ eyes and tell them how much I love them, when time has passed without knowing where it went – that is a call. It is a call to wake up, to breath, to attend to the moment and start over. And often to start over, again and again. Because we will forget. We will get caught up. We are only human. Every moment is a choice – a choice to be here or not. And I know with practice, I will remember to gently nudge myself back into this very moment, over and over again.