I am fortunate. For 15 years I have worked in a job where for weeks at a time, I am forced to untether myself from computers, phones, iPads and communication with the outside world. I can slip into nature and immerse myself with shapes, sounds and experiences that cannot be replicated anywhere.
Despite these forced vacations from my devices that have become somewhat easy to adopt, I have a problem. I am still addicted to KNOWING to WATCHING to WONDERING and BEING CONNECTED. Who will I miss? What will I miss? What is going on out there and not right here?
I can’t be the only one right?
As a facilitator for Outward Bound, I ask adults participants to leave behind their smartphones, computers or iPads for 7, 10 or even 23 days. I know that it’s not easy because I would feel challenged, too. They usually push back and then I convince them how wonderful it is. I tell them that it is an opportunity in a lifetime to free yourself from being constantly available. At the same time, I am trying to convince and remind myself of my own words. After about 24 hours, we all have survived and made it though the initial withdrawal. Soon technology is forgotten and we are home in the natural world. Sigh. Breath. Body relaxes. People to People connection in the here and now. We have become too accustomed to immediate gratification, finding answers and disengaging from conversations and connection.
Last week, with a group of eight adult friends and three young folks under 12, we ventured into the winter wilderness of British Columbia for eight days of backcountry skiing at the Mt. Carlyle Lodge a rustic abode nestled below a pass in the Selkirk Mountains.
I turned off all technology on Saturday December 27th and did not turn it on again until January 5th. My phone and computer sat alone on the shelf, unused and remained unpowered for 8 days. I had no obligation to call anyone or to be in touch with the “outside world.” I felt blessed. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard. I didn’t have to convince myself to unplug. It was so easy this time. My days were filled with eating, exercising, laughter, deep and meaningful connection with friends, and sleeping.
It was awesome. I was free!
2014 arrived about midway through the eight days. Sunny skies, nature, my health, skiing in deep powder snow, friends, my husband and dreams for the year to come beckoned outside the cabin door. I didn’t need anything except what was right in front of me in that place in that moment.
I find that these periodic experiences to untether myself from the world of knowing and responding are important to my well being. My soul is fed, my creativity renewed and my spirit is once again grounded. I do not feel hindered or limited.
The best thing of all is that anyone can cut the tether at any moment. You don’t have to venture into some remote wilderness. Just take a hike, run, meditate, practice yoga, spend time in nature, swim in a lake or read a book.