On Sundays (beginning at bedtime, Saturday night), I turn off all my gizmos, and my intention is to be present with myself and my loved ones. Sundays are sacred now in a weird, amazing way. It’s a simple enough concept. But walking the walk was both harder and surprisingly more rewarding that I expected.
The first couple Sundays were woefully unsuccessful. Partly because I didn’t start on Saturday night, and partly because I was in complete denial about the grip these devises had on my life. At a certain point, I realized I’d hit bottom. Not only was I in denial, but I was actively lying to people. Riding the virtue train of having stated that “I unplug on Sundays” without actually doing it. Clearly, the Electronic Sabbath was swirling down the drain of good intentions.
So a couple of weeks ago I got serious. I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “I’m doing this for real.” At bedtime on Saturday night, I actually turned off my computer, iPad, and iPhone. Then I unplugged them from the wall and put them in a drawer. The last part’s important. Think about it. If I have to go to that drawer (in the basement), get everything out, plug it in, and wait for it to power up–there’s no way that’s happening without my noticing I broke the commitment.
When I woke up the following Sunday, I felt truly liberated. Yes, I rode the waves during most of the morning: the upwelling of anxiety (what if somebody needs me? what if I forgot something?), followed by a reminder of the commitment, and a rational voice: “Everyone will be fine. Your family has the land line if they need it. Nobody’s going to die because you don’t answer your phone or an email for one day.” And then the peace. Then the anxiety/commitment/rational voice/peace cycle. It was work. It was hard. But it was so worth it. I highly recommend this practice.
And here’s the surprise. My body. I began to feel relaxed and present inside my own skin. It felt like I’d been on some kind of drug that made me crazy, and all of a sudden I was quiet and sane. I moved more slowly. I went outside. Brought a blanket and lay on the grass for a while, looking up at the leaves. I began to hear the silence inside me. And when I looked over at Elena and our eyes met, authentically. I thought of things I love to do with my hands–making things, sewing, drawing even. I played the piano. Took a walk with our little 7-year-old neighbor, Rosie. Last Sunday I even made my own dishwasher detergent and surface cleaners. I loved it. I intend to do this every week now, on Sunday.