Invitation to the National Day of Unplugging

Last weekend, I read a wonderful article in the New York Times about unplugging.

Oh, I just heard you sigh.  Take that back! This is different.

This article was written by a New York Times writer whose column focuses on the intersection of technology and business… in other words, someone for whom it is not easy to unplug.  And he didn’t. This article is simply about his journey toward having a healthier relationship with his smartphone.

Come on!  Now I’m pretty sure I felt you roll your eyes!

We all know many of us are like rats in cages, continuously pushing that little button for a fix.  As a wise friend said to me recently, “I changed my phone habits when someone showed me that it is no longer a tool we use, but that we have become a tool of it.”  Frightening.  

So, this quick blog post is NOT about giving up technology.  After all, I am LOVING the new laptop with which I’m writing this blog.  But it is an invitation to change our relationships with technology.  Our inclination to unlock our phones just to “check what happened” since the last time we checked it… like… 5 minutes ago… is changing our brains, our relationships, our habits, and our culture.  So, let’s stop sighing and rolling our eyes, and just do these three things (I’ll try to do them too!)…

  • Read this article.  I know none of us want to think about unplugging, but do it for your yourself.  Do it for your kids. Don’t be afraid. You won’t be sorry. 🙂
  • In honor of this weekend which is the organization Reboot’s National Day of Unplugging, come to Cool Shul this Saturday morning for an Unplugged Shabbat event.  We will have some old fashioned Board and Card games at 10:30am, and some old fashioned snacks, too! For details, go here: https://www.coolshul.org/event/unpluggedgames.  
  • Ok, so you’re still hesitant, and you aren’t going to do either of those things above?  Fine. Be that way. At least read these quotes from the NYT article, and do me a favor, during this National Day of Unplugging from sundown Friday night to sundown Saturday evening (yes, folks, that’s Shabbat), find a time to literally put your phone in another room, if at all possible, and feel the freeing effect of having no idea what’s going on, at least for an hour or two.  Trump can wait.

Quotes from Kevin Roose,

Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain:

“My symptoms were all the typical ones: I found myself incapable of reading books, watching full-length movies or having long uninterrupted conversations. Social media made me angry and anxious, and even the digital spaces I once found soothing (group texts, podcasts, YouTube k-holes) weren’t helping.”

“I confess that entering phone rehab feels clichéd, like getting really into healing crystals or Peloton.”

“…her program focuses on addressing the root causes of phone addiction, including the emotional triggers that cause you to reach for your phone in the first place. The point isn’t to get you off the internet, or even off social media — you’re still allowed to use Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms on a desktop or laptop, and there’s no hard-and-fast time limit. It’s simply about unhooking your brain from the harmful routines it has adopted around this particular device, and hooking it to better things.”

“I became acutely aware of the bizarre phone habits I’d developed. I noticed that I reach for my phone every time I brush my teeth or step outside the front door of my apartment building, and that,  for some pathological reason, I always check my email during the three-second window between when I insert my credit card into a chip reader at a store and when the card is accepted.”

“Mostly, I became aware of how profoundly uncomfortable I am with stillness.”

“It’s an unnerving sensation, being alone with your thoughts in the year 2019.”

“Studies have shown that people who don’t charge their phones in their bedrooms are significantly happier than those who do.”

“Psychologists have a name for this: “phubbing,” or snubbing a person in favor of your phone. Studies have shown that excessive phubbing decreases relationship satisfaction and contributes to feelings of depression and alienation.”

“But I cannot stress enough that under the right conditions, spending an entire weekend without a phone in your immediate vicinity is incredible. You have to try it.”

Convinced yet? Okay, no matter how we do it, let’s try to unplug a little bit this weekend, maybe even for that full 25 hour period of sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  No, there is no need to ignore the phone call from Grandma, or the fact that your daughter will call when she needs to get picked up, but perhaps we can at least get off of social media and observe ourselves when we are habitually checking our email or Instagram.

It can all wait. But our souls and the connections we have with our friends and family cannot.

Love, “Rantor” Diane

P.S. Total honesty? I’m waiting in a restaurant for a to-go order as I finish this blog, and I totally just clicked on my iPhone twice to look at my email when there was no need to. I am so busted!!!

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3 thoughts on “Invitation to the National Day of Unplugging

  1. Thanks for sharing the article (I read it on my phone!) and for letting me know that Saturday is the National day to unplug! 😘 Beth Gallagher 310-266-7498 bethgallagher.com

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  2. Ima goin to unplug, though to my regret I cannot be at Cool Shul Sat morn for Torah study et al. See you Monday evening at the BOD meeting! Michael

    Sent from my phone

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