Can you disconnect?

Do you have a screen free zone?

Do you take time and space to get away, I mean
really get away, and disconnect?

Can you remember the last time you spent more
than 24 hours without checking email, your phone
and text messages, Facebook or other internet

It’s hard to believe that this is how life is for
so many of us!

Last week I had a stunning reminder.

I arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon.
The view from the balcony was breath-taking; the
distant blue of the ocean, the rolling hills, the
gardens of the resort and the quiet calm feel of
vacation in the air.

I had checked and been assured weeks before that
there would be internet connection all over the
hotel and in my room.  I had my schedule to keep
up with; this was a work engagement, not a
vacation.  My laptop was ready, my to-do list

The first thing I did after looking at the view
from my balcony was to take out my laptop and try
to get connected.  It didn’t work.  I reckoned I
must need a password, or perhaps I was trying on
the wrong network.  

After finding my way around, greeting my hosts
and spending some time familiarizing myself with
the conference topics and attendees, I returned to
the front desk to figure out the ‘internet issue’.

‘Ah yes’, the Manager said, ‘it’s a little
problem, doesn’t always connect’. 
I thought, ‘a little problem’, everything
suddenly felt urgent, what would I do without
connection, how long was it out for?  I have to
admit…I felt lost.

I also felt a little ridiculous.  I mean, since
when was I so dependent upon being connected? 
What was the panic?  What would happen if I
actually had a few days without connectivity?
How bad could it be?

I had to get clear on this one.
I sat on the balcony feeling somewhat tense.
Then I started to feel a familiar tickle deep
inside that slowly swirled up until it became a
laugh.  What was I thinking?

Suddenly I felt completely washed in gratitude
and joy.  No connection, what a blessing!

Why on earth had I waited until it was imposed
upon me?

Why don’t I do this on a more regular basis?

I was free to really hear the conversations and
stories around me.  No distractions, no call to do
something else…just the real stories of real
people…what a treat!

So, what about you?

Do you feel nervous and uncomfortable at the
thought of being disconnected for a while?

If not, great!
If yes, go one, do it….don’t wait until you find
yourself in a remote hotel in a land far away.

Do it now!
Get yourself disconnected and start listening to
the conversations and stories all around you.

You will be amazed at how good you feel!

Leave a comment below!

Best wishes and best stories

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15 comments on “Can you disconnect?

  1. Hi Lisa

    Well, this email hit a chord with me! Reading it at 11pm at night on my iphone … I used to go to a silent retreat in Cornwall. 5 days of recommended disconnection and silence. I must admit that I was, at first, quite nervous at the prospect. In fact I could not even conceive what it would be like to switch off, completely, for 5 whole days. The first year I went, I managed to stay silent and “unplugged” during the days. On e I went back to my B&B to sleep the first thing I did was switched on my phone, checked for text messages, voicemails and emails. I once read an article about the addictive impact of the Internet on some people – the very sound of the dial up sound being made (remember the dial up sound pre broadband?) causing a sudden rush of adrenalin. I felt that rush as I tried desperately to find an area where my phone signal was strong enough to connect me to the outside world – sometimes as late as midnight by the time our daily retreat “activities” had concluded. Each time I connected I regretted it. Instantly the special bubble I was creating for myself (and my fellow retreatists) was changed, diminished. Yet I found it too hard to resist. The following year I vowed to try harder to be fully present and to stay disconnect for all 5 days. I felt nervous, even a little sick in my stomach. I was more successful than the first time but not 100%. Some of the retreatists not only respected the total silence, they even managed to not make eye contact or smile at others for the 5 days. I found this impossible. I craved all the connection I could get! I could not speak a day, with words, but needed to speak with my eyes and my smile. By the third year (!) I desperately wanted to experience success – totally immersing myself in the silence and presence for 5 days. I prepared myself for weeks before I went and I also prepared mh mother and my (adult) children not to expect to hear from me or be able to contact me until the 6th day. This time I travelled by train, too, rather than car. I also stated in the retreat house rather than a B&B. On the first evening, on arrival, I switched my phone off and I did not switch it on until I was on the train home, almost back in London. It was amazing. I slept SO much. I didn’t realise how interference dependent I’d become and how exhausting constantly being “on” had become. It was utter bliss and restful beyond my previous (retreat) experiences. I highly recommend it. Thank you for reminding me :-). I must start doing this more regularly here, at home. Starting in the morning.

  2. Excellent idea! I try to disconnect at least one day each week…or at least part of the day…like from mid day (after doing whatever needs doing) and then turning off the computer until the following morning…and the world hasn’t come to an end yet….Amazing! 🙂

    • Wonderful Lillian, I love that you say one day….at least part of the day….!!! Funny how the world never comes to an end when we do this!

  3. Yes! I disconnect once a week – either on Saturday or Sunday, just depending on schedule. It’s my favorite day of the week and I get all sorts of very cool ideas that day… the space is truly amazing.

  4. I was in the SAME situation last week. 3 WONDERFUL days spent on a beautiful beach in Queensland Australia without internet. I could connect via mobile phone but decided to avoid it due the slow connection. 3 MAGIC DAYS! I feel so refreshed now. Highly recommended. Cheers, Edible Gift Sydney

  5. I almost always disconnect when I go to conferences, masterminds, meet with clients, etc. That way,I am fully present to give and receive the most possible value from the time spent, wherever I am. I don’t see that my business has suffered at all as a result, simply because I plan for it. I plan to check out mentally and leave the office behind.

  6. Lisa,
    I can so relate, I had this experience over the weekend. My phone is part of the cable package which also includes the internet. They had an outage in my area which meant no phone, no email, no Facebook and no television. I took this opportunity to catch up on my reading.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Great story and a great reminder.

    It’s been a year since I last disconnected completely for longer than 24 hours (this feels a little like being in confession!). I spent 3 full days at a friend’s cottage where there was no internet, no telephone, and my cell phone had enough signal for a text message but not enough for a phone call. It was fantastic. Highly fun, highly playful, and I had a ton of really creative ideas. I promised myself that I’d do that more regularly, but time has slipped away. I clearly need to recommit.

    Now, if I could just find a solution for not coming home to a mountain of emails and other digital stuff to catch up on!

    • thanks for your comment (confession!!) Rachel…the thing is the pile is always there, so just ignore it and get away! I know, easily said!!

  8. Lisa,
    As a Sabbath observant Jew – I get one day off every week from my TV/computer addiction. I just finished my library book this afternoon and tackled the stack of newspapers that have been piling up. I walked over to the ladies Bible class, while window shopping on the way (noticing some nice sales I should look into). Met a friend from work who solved my problem of how to get to work when my car needs to get to the garage tomorrow. Had my sons over for lunch with my 3-year-old grandson, who always has some new phrase or knowledge to show off, like he can read numbers, well at least some of them.
    When you disconnect – you connect with people, family and friends. And that’s what’s really important in life.

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