“…being connected in a shallow way to the
entire world can prevent us from being deeply
connected to those closest to us–including
ourselves. And that is where wisdom is found.”
— Arianna Huffington
Lately, I’ve been taking a long, hard look at my daily habits. And I hate to admit it, but not a whole lot of them have held up against scrutiny.
So I’m especially grateful for reading “Thrive” last week. Several bad habits have formed already this year — almost without me noticing. And many of those habits have kept me from connecting in a more meaningful way with the very people I love and admire in my life.
Last week, one of my favorite yoga instructors repeated a phrase at the beginning of our class: “Sometimes we need to disconnect in order to reconnect.”
Disconnect from our smartphones. From our Inboxes. From our schedules. Even from important obligations. We need to disconnect with that outer world in order to reconnect with ourselves, take time to breath slowly and meditate.
These ideas are central in the first section of Arianna Huffington’s book. In the first chapter, “Well-Being,” she discusses an uncomfortable topic: How we “nurture” our outward lives at the expense of our inner lives.
We all know how hard it is to prioritize our spiritual or emotional lives over the demands of daily life: returning emails, cleaning the house, meeting deadlines, preparing for meetings, attending those meetings, taking care of family, and so on. Often, at the end of the day, there’s just no time to tend to our spiritual lives. The problem becomes that, eventually, a day turns into a month, which turns into a year, which can turn into a decade.
And then, the thing that used to be important (tending to our souls and significant relationships) becomes urgent because we’re burnt out, exhausted, and depleted.
Between reading “Thrive” and really listening to what my yoga instructors are saying, I’ve realized the importance of taking time out — daily — to disconnect from the demands of my exterior life in order to focus on my inner life. For me, that looks like kicking some bad habits and replacing them with new ones.
The first thing to change: Taking “PTO”, “planned time off.” I turned my phone off Friday night and didn’t turn it back on until Sunday morning. It was wonderful. As much as I love connecting with people online, I realized how amazing it is to have one day that is devoted to a different kind of connection. So now, one day a week, I am going to keep my computer completely closed and my phone completely off.
The second thing to change: No Netflix TV shows for one month. Because I spend most of my working life on the computer, I’m realizing that if I’m lucky, I have about one or two hours a day when I’m not plugged in to at least one type of electronic device. So now, when my work day ends, I’m shutting my laptop and silencing my phone. Last week I tried it out. And in one week, I went swimming twice, signed up for tennis lessons, and did yoga almost every day.
The result: I’m starting my work week off feeling rejuvenated in a way I haven’t felt for years.
I would love to hear your thoughts — What ways do you rejuvenate?
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