Perforce Mindfulness

Angel with mobile phone

Image by Akbar Sim via Flickr

My lifeline was cut. My electronic arteries collapsed. My cyber synapses pruned.


I’m in the process of my challenge for the January Carnival of Natural Parenting, so I’ll leave much out of the goings on this week. Part of this has sussed out that I needed a bit of offline time to help me concentrate on the CarNatPar project properly.


However, my Blackberry, which was my ever-present appendage, took a swim in salt water. And the usual methods of resuscitation have been unsuccessful. There may be an iPhone in my imminent future, which is a real bummer because the 2 year renewal is actually at the end of January. I’m deciding whether I can be cell phone-free for a month or if I can borrow someone’s old phone as my sim card is fine.


My laptop picked this time to begin having some lovely driver errors, involving a number of seemingly random effects: complete shutdown without notice (and the data hasn’t been recoverable, even though by all rights, it should be) display going dark and then coming back on anywhere between 2 minutes or 2 hours, or deciding to stop having wireless capability at random intervals.


Yes, we’ve gone through everything for both devices. Yes, we’ve tried whatever it is you are kindly about to suggest. Twice. Between my husband (who does tech for a living, so should know what he’s about) and myself, we’ve decided to blame it on the 1% in my laptop hogging all the power from the 99% working parts, and leave it at that.


I’ve resorted to occupying paper to get by. I’m reading actual books. And writing with actual pen and paper.


The interesting thing is that I noticed exactly how often I can’t tweet my thoughts on a whim. I can’t read other people’s tweets and grow to a point. I’ve missed my online friends a lot. I’ve been quieted. Still. Muted. But, in a good way, perhaps.


While I don’t believe that online relationships should get a discount for being virtual, I have been mindful of how seriously I’ve been avoiding in real life friendships. I just haven’t had to notice this uncomfortable fact because I’ve got enough connections at hand whenever I wish to click.


There are reasons for the avoidance of friends. I am aware of them. I have chosen to let those remain quiescent for awhile. I have enough triggering issues to deal with for now. So, I’ve been meditating deeply on relationships that I want to cultivate. I’ve been exploring whether I can reconnect friendships without extending trust that I’m currently lacking.


I think I can do this. Simply being present is enough to reconnect friendship. Simply expressing interest in others is enough. I don’t have to reciprocate with anything about myself and that is what has been holding me back. The hard part is going to be the inevitable rebuffs from friends who have been neglected too long. Sadly, I think any of those I encounter will cause me to back away, at least for awhile.


Taking time offline has also created an enforced sense of mindfulness. It takes longer to write words on paper. It takes more sustained effort to read a paper book. It creates a slower pace that I take with me off the paper and into life, just as it does off the mat. I notice my lack of patience with myself. I notice I’m falling into old patterns of expecting reactions from others without sharing it with them.


I don’t know whether I’ll be repairing my cell phone and laptop, purchasing new or making do somehow. As I look forward to the projects I’m excited about for 2012, I’m taking this time out as mindfulness perforce, using it to refine and reconcile my wishes with my reality.


It’s nice to know that I can exist at this slower pace and relax into it. And it’s pleasant to remind my ego that everything online moves on without a blink at my absence.

5 thoughts on “Perforce Mindfulness

  1. I hear you. I keep trying to have one evening a week tech free, but it never lasts for more than one consecutive week! I love that you can turn it into an exercise in mindfulness though. I seem to fold under pressure when my technology breaks!

  2. I tend to feel a bit panicky at first when my line to the virtual world is cut, but I deeply appreciate that slower pace myself. I hope the opportunity brings you a whole lot of goodness in your personal life, and any amount of change or clarity you need. xo

  3. Miss you, lady!

    If we didn’t live a 10 hour drive apart, I would SO be RL friends with you. (btw, I suck at staying in touch with people). Since we do, I’ll happily stay online friends (for now *evil laugh*), and see you when I see you, as ever. ❤

  4. It sounds like you got the gift I’ve been considering but have been too scared to give myself. It’s strange how difficult it is to remember when we weren’t so connected (not you and I, but you and I and everyone) via cell phones and the internet and how fearful I feel about being alone with my thoughts.

    I’m happy to hear you have embraced your virtual seclusion. (And I’m tickled at the occupy references.)

    If you’re keen on reading paper books (and don’t mind stream of consciousness), you might try Ali Smith’s There but for the. It has a character who willingly shuts himself away in the middle of Greenwich, London, like a modern-day secular anchorite. I found it powerful. Smith has a unique way of addressing the issues of past and present and the nature of impermanence.

    • Thank you, CJ. I’ll add it to my library list. I’ve enjoyed the last 3 you recommended to me (I can’t recall what the last 2 were because I didn’t remember to write down who referred what, but the first was Zen Path Through Depression, of course)

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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