Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Create Your Own Style of Unplugging

Written by Chloe

When Heather first introduced me to Unplugged Sunday I fell in love. A family together. Those lovely photos. Their out-of-doors passion a seriously central part of their lives.

And I tried it.

But I am contending with a thirty-one-weeks pregnant belly and temperatures in the nineties. Some seasons of life just don't lend themselves to day-long hikes, do they?

The desire to have a pause in my week resonated with me. Instead of loading up a podcast for my morning walk, I left the cords at home. We live in the suburbs, but I've seen chipmunks scurry under bushes, I've heard squirrels duke it out twenty feet above my head and I've seen birds enjoy the first warm sun of the day.

At lunchtime I turn off the overhead lights and light a few candles. I take the time to sit down at the table. And use a real plate. Flowers have even made an appearance occasionally over the last few weeks.

At first, I felt as if I needed to justify my version of Unplugged Sunday. It was far from feeling like Walden Pond Sunday after all. I paid my almost forgotten copy of Thoreau a visit. Turns out he needed an Unplugged time from his cabin, too! Trips to the village of Concord every few days and hosting friends and travelers from time to time.

It was through this tacit approval from Mr. Thoreau himself that I realized that there is no perfect Sunday. The phrases that Heather placed into my vocabulary months ago resurfaced:

On this path no effort is wasted,
no gain is ever reversed;
even a little of this practice
will shelter you from great sorrow.
- Bhagavad Gita

It may not be practical for me, in this moment, to spend a day on the trail. But my unplugged practice provides guideposts I can build off of as my desire for time away grows.

How can ‘a little of this practice’ be incorporated into a busy day?

Turn off the computer, walk away. 
  • Even if you work in a computer-driven environment, a fifteen minute break seems much longer and more refreshing if you use it to engage in something other than a mindless checking of email. Could you tuck a journal and colored pens or pencils into your desk drawer and doodle instead?

Leave the cell phone at home. 
  • Or at least away from the dinner table. If you are with your significant other or immediate family, nearly every possible incoming call can wait. How much could your evening meal change if no one touched their phones for thirty minutes? One hour?

Make a little green space. 
  • Even if your home doesn’t have a yard and your workplace doesn’t allow for a picnic lunch, could you have a fluorescent-light friendly African violet or succulent in a space you visit often? Would a small scented candle make it easier to spend ten minutes before bed unwinding with a book?

If you, too, are in a season of life where a dedicated unplugged day doesn’t seem to make sense, would you share with me the ways you are personalizing the practice? Even fifteen minutes at a time?

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