9 Ways of Enjoying Being Offline
Be “on” anywhere. In the ‘70s it meant being live and aware and engaged. In the 20's, it means connected.
“Be ON!” ….is the ad painted all over today's world. It is demanding…nerve wracking…exhausting. So, once in a while, an online free day, 24 hours of “off” is truly fun.
You may find it hard to get away from your online connection. With portables these days, you carry total connectivity wherever you go. Wi-Fi sneaking up on you everywhere. Very convenient. So, wherever you are, your connection is always open. You are online. Very oppressive!
A couple seated in our table at a party the other night each looked at their phones the whole time even while eating. As we did not speak the language, we did not try to engage them. Besides, there were others at the table with the sense of being engaged with reality, so we chatted away with them.
Even in restaurants, it is now normal to see people dining with each other, even during Valentine's Day, each holding their phone and taking pictures and sending it to their connections.
Their significant other is just an audience to their connectedness. Each is online communicating with their electronic friends ignoring the flesh and blood beside them.. What a life! But, maybe for them, it is the life.
Maybe it’s time…..just try to be off line even for half a day. See how you feel…are you hyperventilating…suffering isolation collapse….saying prayers to your iPhone?
Here are ideas for a therapeutic day to re-establish human to human sanity:
1. Sleep late. Nice to get out of bed with your eyes not half closed. Enjoy the rest. Fight the urge to reach out for your phone to see your latest messages. Open the curtains in your room…and in your life.
2. Take a break. Connected…. you continue to work even on weekends. The moment you wake up, you go straight to your iPad or phone. You check your social media and see what your friends posted or what they put in your own posts.
Take a day this week and leave connectedness at home. We did this yesterday with the head of a national “always in touch’….association, a very “on” businessman, a marketing specialist always linked to the deal, 5 of us from 4 different countries.
We first took a very short ferry ride away from the city giving us the feeling of leaving the communications towers behind. In the idle of the day, each one commented…with a touch of surprise…. how relaxing it was…as we looked at rice paddies…mango groves and dirt roads in a phone free everglade.
3. Visit a temple. A bastion of quiet. Last Saturday, we went to a century old temple with 15 hectares of treed pathways so it was like being in a jungle park. Though the majority of us were not Buddhists, it was very calming to go in the temple and watch the elderly and families make their offering.
In one corner, there was a group surrounding an old woman making beetle nut chews. In another corner, someone is preparing a food offering on beautiful trays. In still another, an old lady offered food and covered it with tall cone like shaped object in gold cloth.
Walking around the treed walkways, there are small spirit houses where people leave offerings. And the masses of birds, hidden except in song, welcomed us at every turn. Not a phone was to be heard. Contact anxiety slowly faded, not talking to contacts, just inside ourselves.
4. Take a walk. Make it long enough to clear your mind and get away from the beckoning computer. Try to find a quiet path or backroad or trail.
5. Go for a swim. The beach would be better as you can also take walks on the beach kicking surf or just lounge around listening to the waves.
6. Climb up a hill or a mountain whatever is close to you. Hike in the forest. Make calls to the tress and flowers if you must. Just let your mind wander.
7. Visit friends and share with them what you're doing. Encourage them to have a day off and get offline. Actually, talk with them….do not communicate!
8. Have lunch in a restaurant located in a natural setting. Enjoy chatting with nature and friends as you savour the fresh cooked food. We did just this a few days back and we enjoyed talking about things other than work. Food was enjoyable and we got to know more how our friends think and what's important to them. One companion we had only met ended the day as a friend.
9. Visit a farm. Chat with the chickens and the ducks and get some energy from the plants and flowers. Buy fruit and enjoy it freshly picked. Grunt right back at a pig and howl with a monkey. Stare a great white Brahmin cow in the eye and see who belches first.
Go offline and enjoy the company of yourself, your family and friends, nature, and things around you. Enjoy their company, no phones...ok...ok...you can use your phone once….only to take pictures. The world is too much with us….trash being “on” for a day.
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