What I Learned From 5 Months Without the Internet

[dropcap custom_class=”normal”] You haven’t been hearing much from me lately .

I’ll tell you a why in a bit.

I’ve simply been heeding my own advice from what I learned during  my proposed 5 months without virtual interaction.

The apps, the technologies, the medias, the outlets, the platforms—they’re all great, wonderful inventions as they play an important role in the reason why you and I are connected.

But one thing you have to ask yourself when delving deep into those realms is how connected are we really? And are we actually more together as One in the world? Or are we simply alone together? [/dropcap]


Do you remember the days when you would wake up and actually live in the moment of what a morning feels like without scrolling through your phone? You would lie comfortably under your blanket and snooze a few more minutes as you closed your eyes to feel the sun beaming on your skin, radiating its warmth throughout your entire body.

Do you remember the days when you would sit at the dinner table with all your family or friends and everyone contributed to the laughter in the conversation without a

“Come again?”

“Wait, what’d you say?”

“Sorry, I missed that, can you say it again?” because they were too busy texting, checking who liked their photos, who retweeted their words or commenting on other people’s pages.

The days when you would enjoy the liveliness of the sunset without thinking about pulling out your phone to then snap a picture, to then filter its already natural glow, to then post it on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Flickr and Pinterest?

Or how about the days when your thoughts were the most pure because you weren’t inundated with other people’s thoughts/opinions and especially information overload? Can your mind take it?

I don’t know about you, but my memories were a lot more vivid back in those days. I remember a face drowned in tears from laughing so hard because we actually listened to each other and our lame jokes. I remember conversations being intimate, deep, personal and real. I remember when we asked “How are you?” and we actually meant  it versus asking just to ask. I remember conversing with strangers on the elevator because we never used our phones to  avoid the “awkward silence”.

[blockquote] I remember being in the moment and doing things because we loved to do it, not because we wanted to prove a point or to have the most “likes” as a way to validate who we really are. [/blockquote] 

—I remember Living. 

Bing.

Bing.

Bing.

Notifications and pop-up galore. It’s like every time your phone makes a noise, you have to give it attention immediately or else you’ll feel super uneasy and figedy.

As we drift and “settle” into the New Age, and the New World of the 21st century, I found myself falling along side the majority, getting heavily involved with technological stimulation. That’s when I knew I had to stop for a moment.

Time to step back.

Evaluate.

During the course of my own transformation, from August 13′ to January 14′, I made the decision to take an exit from the virtual world.

I deactivated my Facebook. I deleted my Instagram. I deleted my Twitter  and I didn’t use my texting services that had already had a red notification and the numbers 109 colored in bold white of unread messages. I even went away from this digital space that I created right here. It was sudden but it was necessary.

It was overstimulation. And we have become more and more addicted to our senses.

We were moving too fast. And the faster we move, the further we drift away from ourselves. The easier it became to follow the footsteps of somebody else’s versus doing what we do best, creating our own. 

I didn’t want to turn into a robot or become the extension of my machine. I wanted to be human.


 

What Happened During 5 Months Without the Internet

Full Attention in Conversations

 

The real kind of connection exists when you can feel.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

― Maya Angelou

 

When we disconnect ourselves and mentally unplug completely from our social networks, we genuinely and sincerely begin to contribute to conversations in our lives in meaningful, thoughtful, and valuable ways. These conversations give us growth in character and an increasing ability to understand others.

 When we genuinely listen,  we learn more about the person in which we are facing and more importantly, we learn even more about ourselves.

Stillness in the Mind 

Instead of spending mornings checking messages, scrolling or reading random information, I spent it deepening my desire to get to know myself.

Meditation.

Silence.

Inner stillness.

I deepened my practice resting in the inner world aligning my thoughts with my actions and deeds to be of service to others. I became more focused, concentrated and efficient.

Energy unscattered.

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Creative Bursts From the Soul

The creativity was lit on fire. I wrote more from the soul, I cooked more from the soul, I laughed more from the soul (yes, even a laugh can be creative — it sounds something like a hyena), I painted from the soul and my ideas were sprouting like a valley of dandelions. The best part? I wasn’t afraid of who is criticizing me.

 

If you want to access your creative source, the best way to be is still. 

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Mono-tasking not Multi- tasking

The brain took a massive break. It was not forced to race back and forth between 5 activities at once resulting in burn out and exhaustion. It grew a more efficient handle, one thing at a time. And surprisingly, productivity boosted. Details and thoroughness were the Kings of all projects. The racing mind stopped running back and forth in a hurry trying to get things done. Attention was paid to what matters. The scatter brain retired.

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Modern Life Burn Out

We never really stop. We perform our work during the day, we come home and we keep going. Work continues in emails, conversations and perhaps more researching on the internet. Eventually, our mind and body gives out.

No longer was I rushing through the moments in the life, feeling like I had to get everything done, or that I had to answer emails at the strike of the alert, or that I had to speed up to finish one task to get to the other. I took my time. I learned the meaning behind the word patience — easy to say but hard to do. And I savored every moment that was occurring my life. My mind slowed down, and the greatest thing happened as a result of that; my life did too.

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Aligning Clarity with Purpose

I began to understand the WHY behind the WHAT.

Do you ever wonder why you do the things you do sometimes?

Are you doing it for you or for someone else?

What’s the force behind your drive and why?

Is it coming a place of liveliness, and well intentions or bitterness?

Being away from social media helped me to find clarity in my own thoughts which gave me a pathway to understanding my purpose.

Why am I here? 

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Validation from the Self

“Likes” or follows make it easy for us to depend on social media as a way to validate our passions, ideas, and with all those selfies floating around; our looks.

Our self worth should not be invested in the comments, opinions and critiques from others. The only validation we should ever receive is our own. 

When we seek validation from the force inside, we begin to own ourselves in all the different arenas of our lives. We honor our own individuality, no matter how different we are. And we see how our unique differences are actually special gifts in disguise.

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Buying Back More Time

Here’s a challenge for you to try. Keep conscious note and track down approximately how much time you spend on the internet per day? How much time you spend looking at a screen? You may think that opening an app and scrolling through quickly throughout the day isn’t much time at all, but you’d be surprised at the amount of hours you put into scanning feeds and articles, answering and commenting, liking and following. I allocated my time towards progressive things that brought me to self-fulfillment. More time to spend with people in your personal circle. To ask them how they are doing and to mean it.

[blockquote]When you take care of Time, it takes care of you. [/blockquote]

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Seeing the Real

No matter how many followers you have, in thousands or in millions, don’t forget that you’re sitting in your room alone.

Social media can create a blurred vision of what is truly real and what is not. It captures small snippets of moments in our lives and we choose how we want to present ourselves. We make up our own identities.  We share which ever moments we want to share. As a result, people create false beliefs that ones persons life is better than theirs. They wish to have another’s life, another’s job, another’s body. They compare their behind the scenes to someone else’s high light reel. Jobs on any given day, are most likely mundane. Bodies floating around on social media do not remain with abs . These are all unrealistic and create false expectations for the self.

And often times, we find ourselves being the master of the comparison syndrome.

When you step away from all the noise, you begin to see things as they are, not as they appear. 

Renewed.


Where does this lead us? 

The internet is a great toy to place with. It has shared amazing stories, it has saved countless lives, it has connected innumerable souls. But the real essence in life exists in the relationships that we have in our face to face, day to day lives.

Relationships with people.

Relationships with our thoughts.

Relationships with our feelings.

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When we cater to and give our attention to those relationships, the essence of our true Being evolves.

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This is my digital temple. The place where the words written are like prayers sent to the Uni-verse.

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However, I intend to use it more wisely.

1. 20 designated minutes a day to respond/reply/like and interact on social networks.

2. 30 minutes to read emails and if it calls for, answer.

3. No digital 1 hour before bed

4. No digital while eating (but sorry, I still need to take a picture of my food if it looks pretty. Its been a habit pre-Myspace/Instagram days)

5. Bookmark or subscribe favorite blogs/articles/ and people (hopefully all positive) worth following, read their works and leave it at that.

6. Use more of the internet to bring about self realization (intentionally reading valuable things, interacting with valuable people versus browsing or scrolling.

7. Less FaceTime, more face to face time.

8. Less texting, more calling

 

Don’t worry, I won’t go away again.

Let’s move forward in the digital world together, but let’s not forget to remember the quality of our lives and who we really are without it.

 

By the way, that creative, soulful, hyena-like laughter I was talking about? It pretttty much sounded like this: Start 20 seconds.

[videos file=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONFi8N2FQsc” width=”500″ height=”400″][/videos]

Time to run before I embarrass myself too much. (Who are we kidding?)

Love and light,

Sandy

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