After Saturday morning’s 5 am feed, I couldn’t fall back to sleep. My head was a jumble of thoughts that chased each other like clothes in a dryer. It was pre-dawn and I was tired, but I knew these thoughts would add to my fatigue. I had to do something.
My laptop was in the living room on the ottoman, where I had left it the night before after finishing off some work. I let it stay there. I was doing this, unplugged. Entering my studio, it looked like a magical place. The porch light outside my windows and outside the French doors along the far wall streamed in to kiss my sparkly chandelier, and lit a rectangular path on my soft, white carpet. There was something ‘extra’ about the room, and yet, I realized it was because the laptop was missing.
I sat down at my desk and turned on the lamp, staring for a minute at the soft glow cast upon my dark grey tabletop. Look at this space. It wasn’t just the writing desk that looked bigger; the possibilities felt greater, too.
I grabbed some loose leaf paper and a pen, and alone – without a world of other people sharing information or social gab with me – I had the quiet I needed.
It’s only in that quiet that I could have heard the messages I received that morning.
I thought I would start by writing out all the things that were bugging me, but instead I ended up sculpting a paragraph of my gratitudes, which honestly surprised me. I thought the whole reason I got out of bed was to have a great big rant. It was thrilling to be in that place again, that feeling of being slightly out of control, not really knowing what would flow from my heart to my fingers as my head slowly got out of its way. Once the gratitudes were out, the dryer in my head stopped tumbling; the pen and my hand worked together to pull everything out. The paper offered a space for everything to land and finally, when I wrote out my first question, in that gorgeous quiet without technology and conscious thought, I heard things. Bits of phrases, loving words, directive language. As I heard, I wrote – as fast as I could to keep up. I kept asking, and writing, feeling loved and cared for and so very un-judged. It wasn’t like someone was listening and nodding and showing understanding. There was nothing to understand or validate. Whatever I was feeling just was. It wasn’t good or bad and I was simply loved through it all.
It might sound crazy, but you’ve heard things, too. I’m convinced none of us gets through life without gut feelings and lightbulb ideas that come out of ‘nowhere’. If you journal, you have probably had similar experiences to the one I just described. Maybe it’s the same for other artists. I know songwriters who say the music comes to them ‘from somewhere’ and they simply transcribe. My husband has built sound business relationships based on his gut. I’m sure your gut has gotten you out of trouble at times, too. (Or maybe into trouble, if you didn’t listen to it!) What I’m saying is, there’s nothing special about me that these messages came through. Or rather, we’re all that special. We just need to get quiet.
What does that quiet feel like? To me, it feels like sitting under old-growth pine trees, in front of a clear lake, watching the sunlight dance on the small ripples. It’s like hearing birdsong – and distant childhood laughter – as I feel the warmth on my shoulders. I feel peaceful. Calm. Relieved. Content. Healthy. Loved. Significant.
On a daily basis, I can’t be exactly in that scenario physically, but I am convinced I can have more of those feelings if I unplugged more. What about you? Or does unplugging make you feel more anxious? No judgment. Just want you to think about it.
Of course, I write for online publications, including this blog! I provide social media and web content for businesses and non-profits. And if I have a how-to question or need a recipe, I turn to Google. The internet has certainly brought me a lot – I wouldn’t have gotten involved with Pandora’s Collective 5 years ago, which led me to doing all kinds of awesome things with my writing, if I hadn’t Googled ‘poetry readings+Vancouver’ in an effort to find community.
But at what point did it become too distracting? At what point did it take away my quiet? And how can I exist with it, but still live my most healthy, peaceful, content life? Where are you on that barometer, by the way? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being sitting-by-the-lake calm, where are you today? Is this related to how often you unplug? I just want you to think about it.
Because I certainly am thinking about it. I’m thinking a lot about what keeps me relaxed yet inspired.
[Tweet “I want to be grounded, but still chase my dreams while my Spirit soars. “]
Speaking of which, I spent a good chunk of time in my studio this morning photographing these beauties while the baby rolled around on my carpet. Can we take another look?
What are your thoughts on unplugging? How do you stay grounded? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Thanks for reading!
P.S. There is a Canadian TEDx speaker, Christina Crook, who did unplug…for 31 days! She’s written a book called The Joy of Missing Out which she is launching tonight in Vancouver. If you want to swing by and ask her how and why she unplugged for so long, go to The Charles Bar in Gastown between 8 and 10 pm tonight (Feb 17). I’m waiting with bated breath to receive my copy so I can tell you my thoughts on it!