I’ve noticed that a default place for me to go to if I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, is my phone. I’ll catch myself looking at the news, or facebook or refreshing emails like they are a safe space to hang out when things in real life feel full on.

I don’t actually know how much time I spend being plugged in, it feels pretty constant. And I’ve a gremlin that tells me if I’m not plugged in I might miss some key information that I need* to respond to immediately. (*When we use the word need it is almost always tied up in some kind of gremlin perspective.)

Really my phone isn’t the place of refuge it pretends to be, it is a place of numbness. I don’t have to think about anything and I don’t have to be present if I can distract myself with a little bit of phone time.

Right now as I’m writing and thinking of the space I step into when I’m plugged in I feel almost toxic, I feel a headache coming on, and I find it more difficult to breathe. It feels the opposite of gentle and self caring. My phone actually costs me ideas and creativity, it costs me time to connect to myself, it costs me connection with others around me.

So I’m working on shifting things.

Last night, for the first time in a long time I left my phone in the other room all night. It felt great, I woke up this morning and didn’t reach for it first thing, I let myself rest in bed for a bit, and then I thought about my day. It felt lighter. I felt lighter.

I have also been thinking about a helpful metaphor. I imagine two rivers. The ‘plugged in’ river and the ‘unplugged’ river. The plugged in river is moving pretty quickly, there are lots of things going on on the river banks, there’s a sun, some cloud, a bit of rain ahead, there’s a helicopter in the sky, a plane, there are hills and mountains with ice and snow and forests with trees, and all the time new things jump into view. The unplugged river is slower, the water is deeper and I imagine more space, the river banks are further away and there are fewer things going on on them. The sky is clear and blue with gorgeous sun, the air is clear and I am relaxed, I have space, I have ideas.

Up until now I have spent most of my time on the plugged in river, I am now giving myself permission to actively and regularly connect to that beautiful unplugged alternative. What this looks like day to day for me is giving myself permission to sit still, to go about my days at a slower pace, to breathe and feel my way through life rather than being blind sighted by a continuous stream of new information.

Deepak Chopra says ‘rest into existence.’ I think what he really means is put the phone down and unplug. Connect to what’s here, and all the resources, creativity and ideas that are available when we slow down.

With love, Hannah

Ps. There will be very little phone and internet use at our retreat in October. Check it out here. And/ email me at hello@hannahmassarella.co.uk to find out more information.

*Image by Leo Rivas-Micoud. www.unsplash.com

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