Photo and post by Rain San Martin
Starting this month of May we will begin a series of month-long lifestyle experiments. They will usually consist of omitting an activity (often one form of a digital detox) and adding in a short daily ritual. Many of the rituals will be the kinds of activities you may have done uninhibited as a child. Sculpting Play Doh, coloring a coloring book, drawing, dancing, painting with water color, walking outdoors, daydreaming, or journaling by hand. The reason we will be unplugging is to learn how to focus on one activity at a time, enjoy the moment and repair the neural pathways of the brain by replacing continual interruptions with focused contemplative introspection. Sometimes to “be in the moment” is being in deep thought. Not only observing our surroundings, but reflecting on joyful moments of the past, planning the future and considering our purpose. This is good, as we are fully engaged in this process. In doing these lifestyle experiments you should feel more peaceful and a greater sense of childlike wonder, helping you to change your daily habits so that they are more alined with your core values.
If you search You Tube or Google for “Social Media Detox” and “Internet Addiction”, you will find many other conscious people who are looking to make a change in themselves and society. Though social media is a powerful tool for connecting family, friends and professional contacts, excess use not only keeps one from focusing on lifes most important tasks, it can ostracize loved ones who are physically present. We are at a tipping point in society where developing ones craft will be a lost discipline and the practice of deep reading completely pushed aside as we seek continual entertainment. Our ability to focus will be lost and relationships will suffer at unprecedented levels if we don’t reign in time spent online.
“Developing a new code of ethics around technologies, creating social etiquette, setting positive cultural norms, and raising awareness around harmful habits while sharing the importance of mindfulness is urgent.” (- Digitaldetox.org)
Social Media Detox
For May 2015 the first part of the lifestyle experiment will be a Social Media Detox / Fast. For 30 days abstain from checking or posting to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & LinkedIn (unless you are specifically using this site for job purposes), and any other social media site you are a part of. For the purpose of this experiment using YouTube, without viewing the comments (safety mode) can work. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend gaming, watching TV, Movies, texting, and surfing the web, as the goal of this experiment is to free up your time and heal the mind. I also recommend taking a weekly “electronics free” day. When you return to the world of social media and other digital technologies, judiciously schedule in a specific amount of time for this daily entertainment. If you reduced your gaming or Facebook time by 30 minutes each day, you could reinvest that into working on your “side hustle” or dream. Perhaps you could read a classic book to your child in the evening when the firefly’s are buzzing outside.
Daily 10 Minute Drawing
Now for part two of the Lifestyle Experiment, we will spend 10 minutes daily creating a simple sketch or pen and ink drawing. You could design your own bookmark, or embellish the border of a homemade card. You are free to make as many mistakes as you like in this creative tactile process.
After I share this article on the social media sites (5/2/2015) I will be done for the month. I hope you’ll join in the challenge.