It took unplugging to recharge my batteries. Yesterday, I did not check email; I did not surf the Web; I did not check blog hits; I did not check Facebook or my new Twitter account. I did not even open the laptop, going a little Amish and doing my writing by hand.
Since diving into social media over the past couple of months, the spaciousness I had created in my life has evaporated. I’m not saying it’s all bad. It’s arisen from a very good thing — the process of writing the book proposal and starting to build an author’s platform. I’ve had great fun with it, as a matter of fact, much to my own surprise.
A year ago, heck, even six months ago, I boasted that I rarely looked at Facebook, that bloggers weren’t real writers, and that Twitter’s usefulness was incomprehensible to me. But I wasn’t supposed to be doing those things at the time. I was supposed to be learning the feel of spaciousness in my life. Having a clear head and a clear schedule were the new things I was tasked with at that point. I floated through my days in quiet reflection when the kids were at school, often not answering the phone, practicing presence in every seemingly mundane activity. I made a lot of progress in clearing the mind-clutter of obsessive and unproductive thought patterns.
But now chaos has crept back in — a good type of chaos this time, coming from a new creative endeavor. I know I am supposed to be writing this book, and even the social media experience has proven to be supportive and reinforcing of the process. Within a few hours after setting up my Twitter account a couple of days ago, before I had even announced it on my blog or Facebook page, another blogger with my bent on life was not only following me, but willing to answer my questions about how it all worked. (Check out Bill Apablasa’s totally cool site, “The Other 999 Rooms”, by clicking here.)
Still, I could feel the junkie tendencies starting — checking my iPhone for messages at every stoplight. Not being able to watch an entire Olympic event without my laptop there. Thinking obsessively about the number of blog hits I’d had after a recent post. And just feeling anxious if I wasn’t connected.
So I took a day off, in line with the philosophy William Powers outlines in Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. Picking up his book again, which I had started a year ago and never finished because he was preaching to the choir, was one of the components of my perfect day on Sunday.
By disconnecting, I had time for every item on my perfect day list: writing, working out, reading, cooking, family time, and gardening. (Squeezed in there as well was sitting through a torrential downpour on metal bleachers without an umbrella, watching my son play soccer until lightening chased us all from the field.)
I woke this morning feeling like the daylily bed that I cleared of weeds yesterday. My creative landscape is cultivated and primed for new growth, with plenty of space for new blooms to unfurl.
When was the last time you unplugged–or didn’t, when you should have? Share your experience in the comments!