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Articles: Digital Diet

Sometimes you don’t spend time thinking about what you have and how you should use it until you don’t have it anymore. I was at a concert and I was dancing my pants off. I had a side purse on that was bumping and grooving along to its own beat and slapping against me. I just wanted to put it down, and went looking for a coat check. A worker in the back told me that there wasn’t a coat check. My face must have looked terribly upset because he told me to “just hide” it and showed me a good spot. I offered him a twenty to watch my goods, which he didn’t accept.

I was free! Well, sort of. I realized that I kept looking at the spot where my purse was, but made little agreements with myself that if everything was stolen I wouldn’t get upset. I tried to get myself to stop focusing on the purse, but had a difficult time. I truly wished I had just left it in the car.  Fast forward two hours, the concert ends and I snatch my purse from the lucky hiding spot with everything intact.  I was relieved at first… but then it was almost strange, I had a moment where I found almost myself wishing that it had been stolen. I was apparently ready for a break from the never-ending tether to the digital world the phone represented.

I feel that I pushed this karma into the world somehow because sure enough two days later I lost the phone, this time at a friendly barbeque. I didn’t become frantic, but called the experience my “digital diet.” I spent the next few days with family and didn’t spend too much time looking or thinking about my missing phone.  I bumped into my neighbor, and mentioned that I had lost my phone. She told me to pray to St. Andrew, the patron saint of lost things. I smiled and went along with my day.  Last night, I missed my phone a little. I pictured St. Andrew finding the phone. So I threw my “karma” out into the world that I was ready for it to be found.  This morning, notified first thing on Facebook, my phone had been located.

The digital age has us connected and dialed in like never before. Being forced to be on a digital diet had me left wanting something different. I would like to find a digital balance of “turned on” and “turned off.” I find myself checking the phone more often than I should. I hear a phantom beep… and think, is that a new text or Facebook update? Only to find that it was nothing at all. I would like to “lose” my phone more often. Maybe have one down day for every week. Since when were we expected to be reachable all 24/7? It’s a little ridiculous actually.

This experience reminded me of a talk at Google given by spiritual leader Eckhart Tolle author of The Power of Now.

He spoke about how to remain connected the body while browsing, and how not to lose yourself in the distractions of the digital age. We are more connected digitally than ever before, but does it translate into true human connections? Eckhart gives us the practice of intentional breathing and feeling the body within while using the computer. I am trying to grasp all of this wisdom and notice that I am gaining it while using digital devices… oh the irony.  My quest is for balance. Humor helps me in these moments when I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. One day off at a time. I am planning a day off from my phone this week, and I challenge you to do the same.


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