Updated: Mar 24, 2020
"24-hours without touching your cellphone, your laptop, or your Ipad. No TV. No TV shows. No messaging. No social media. Can you do it?"
Something very interesting happened to me last week while I was at The Farm at San Benito over the weekend teaching a Past Life Regression workshop. The Farm is a health and wellness retreat in Batangas, Philippines where I spent two wonderful days of being out in nature and working with people in exploring their sub-conscious mind, taking them to view the different past lives they have lived.
After those two days of being out of the city, surrounded by nature with animals like peacocks and birds, I came back to the hustle and bustle of our city. On the day that I got back, when I got home from work, and I’m not sure how this happened, but I accidentally locked the keys of my car inside the car. And with that, I locked my phone, my laptop, my wallet, my driver’s license - literally everything that makes me who I am - in my car and I had no way of getting to it.
I was in quite a predicament because I had lost my spare key some time ago. Since my car had an electronic key, the only way to get into it according to the car company would be to order a new replacement key from the car manufacturer in Germany which would take 3 weeks, or break a window and order a replacement window which would take 2-3 weeks as well. Neither of these options were ideal, so we were exploring other options on how to get it out.
Which left me for two and a half days with no access to anything digital. I had all my passwords saved on my phone so I could not get into some of my online accounts, nor into my social media accounts. It was a very interesting situation I found myself in.
Meanwhile, I had to learn how to live without a phone. I spent more than a day just trying to set a new laptop up but it somehow wasn’t quite working. So I think the whole universe had put me into a situation where I had to do what I came to call a “Digital Detox”.
I had to learn to switch off from access to my cellphone, social media, and even my work files saved on my laptop; and although I still had my Ipad, it just wasn’t as simple as having everything at my fingertips as it normally is. And as I went through those two and a half days, totally disconnected from the external world in all those different ways, it brought me back into my inner reality. In effect, I had unplugged from the external world and plugged into my inner reality…without the usual interruptions or distractions.
I realized I was really on to something. I started to understand how much this was something I needed for myself, perhaps even something we all needed to do from time to time. The digital detox that the Universe gifted me transformed into a commitment that I made to myself - to make sure I switched off every now and then. Maybe it would be certain hours of the day where I would turn it all off, or one day in a week, or spend a weekend without social media, no work on my laptop, no phones. Whichever way I chose to do it, I knew that I would have to intentionally create the time to digitally detox. I would need to completely disconnet so that I could just be very present with myself to experience what was going on within me instead of outside of me.
And so this blog is really about how dependent we all are on all these external factors, all these external systems that we rely on in our life. I had to figure out over those couple of days how to plan my life so that I was going to do things without a phone. And I’m so used to relying on my phone. If I remember something, I put it on my phone in my notes. If I need to set a reminder, it goes on my phone. If I’m running late, then I’ll just call or text someone to say I’ll be running late. If I need to go anywhere and I need directions or to estimate my time in traffic, then I open up my Waze app. And three days of not being able to do that was really an eye-opening experience.
I could have used a temporary phone if I wanted to, or gotten a new sim card, but for all my efforts, it felt like there was some invisible force telling me to just let go, surrender to this experience, and just switch off. Like literally.
And so I rolled with it. I let myself experience something totally out of my comfort zone. I learned how to live without any digital access for a few days. It was oddly discomforting and liberating at the same time.
So, I challenge you. Can you do this? Can you go 24 hours without touching your cellphone? Your laptop? Your Ipad? No TV. No social media. Can you do it?
And If you can, I guarantee you will feel so much more connected to yourself. You will feel so much more grounded—so much more centered. And you will start to notice and realize things that perhaps you know you’ve ignored over the course of time as we’ve become so engrossed in the world that exists on our cellphones.
Our whole life has started to be on-screen instead of off screen. So bring it back to the off-screen—connecting with real people, having real dialogue, real conversations. Notice how you feel. Observe how you react to the situations in your life. Start asking yourself questions again.
Be present. Be here in the now, and be present with yourself. You are here for your experience of this life, where it all happens from inside your head, not in the virtual space where it has moved to. Bring it back to the real and tangible; this is what we came here for.
My story ends with the irony of it all. Once I got really comfortable living in the offline space, a set of events that began with a very fortuitous conversation with a friend who then referred me to a mechanic of some kind, lead to my car door being unlocked without having to break a window or order a new key. It took all of 5 mins to get me connected again, leaving me with the bittersweet regret of, ‘wouldn’t it have been nice if I was disconnected for just a few days longer.
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