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Unplug and BE….an Invitation….

social-media-burnout-unplug

I have a confession…

I’m having major First World Problems.  Please forgive me if this post sounds whiny and spoiled but I promise I’m going to get to an important point that might give you something to respond to…or feel into…or think about…

Here’s the whiny bit:  I just returned from a three week vacation in Vienna, Florence, Venice and Istanbul and I’m having a really hard time adjusting to being back at work.  I just can’t seem to find my mojo and I keep daydreaming about my time away….

Do I miss the cool adventure, the great coffee, pizza, spaghetti, gelato, Turkish Delight, the smells, riding on trains, hearing different languages, beautiful architecture…?

Yeah, of course.

But, I live in a pretty great city and we have amazing food, great coffee, the best vegan pizza on the planet (my humble opinion), several amazing farmer’s markets, lush vegetation, the most awesome creek (right by my house!), good friends and the best dog in the world!

I have a breathtakingly abundant life.

So what is it that seems so “off” in my daily life?  Why am I struggling to get back into the swing of things?

I’ve been wrestling with that question for a few days now.

I’ve run through the whole list of obvious answers.  Do I hate my job?  No.  Do I have jet lag? No.  Am I stressed about making money?  No.  Am I worried that I’m not fulfilling my life purpose? No.  Do I need to exercise, take my vitamins, get more sleep, take better care of myself?  No.

Is there something in my life that is missing?  Yes.

I miss my family.

I know we live in the same house together.  I even share a bed with one (sometimes two) members of my tribe, but being home is not the same as our adventure together.

And it’s not the “adventure” that’s missing.  My daily life is always somewhat of an adventure.

It’s “presence” that’s missing.

Let me explain.  When we first left for our trip, we stopped and picked up our 20-year-old daughter who had just finished a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria.

She, like me (the woman who loves her job and looks forward to reading emails and posting on Facebook every day), loves the internet and, for the first few days, our travels were punctuated by squeals of glee whenever we encountered free wifi.

(Oh precious, free wifi, the Great Connector of the Universe…)

Wifi was pretty easy to access in Austria.  A little less so in Italy and Turkey.  The more time we were away from home, the less access we had to our “normal” life.  The distress of missing out on important emails and Facebook updates was replaced with time together as a family…no phones at the table, no laptops open in the evenings…just great adventures, new experiences and real connections with each other.

We were truly present to each other.  We all went to bed at the same time after enjoying evening conversations over dinner and a nice glass of wine (for the grown ups).  We woke up, walked to the nearest cafe and had breakfast together and planned the day.

The first day back in the States we stayed with my parents in Houston before flying home to Minneapolis.  It only took a matter of hours before we were totally plugged back into our full suite of Apple products, “connecting” with each other over the top of our laptops.

Ugh.

Now we’re home and the technology has insidiously crept back into our every day life.

Truthfully, it’s a challenge to disconnect.  I run my business on the internet.  I need the computer to do my work.  And probably, many of you do too.

The computer and my iphone are terrifically convenient.  I can “facetime” my adult children and my parents.  I can text updates with my loved ones.  I can connect virtually with the whole globe and I am moved by and learn from people all over the world every day.

It’s a pretty fantastic thing.

And, in spite of it, I feel gross.  My body, which loved walking everywhere while we were on our trip, feels icky from sitting for many hours each day.  It’s easy when I’m tired to get sucked into “browser blackout” and find myself taking a stupid online quiz about discovering my past life personality based on which images of different colored doors I prefer.  I’m wasting way too much time on social media and finding myself looking for the perfect spot for a selfie on my morning walk instead of breathing in the crisp beauty of the morning sunlight and fresh air…

I’m totally aware of what’s happening and I still feel somewhat out of control.  I feel zapped and hypnotized and, truthfully, it’s waaaay worse for my husband and our young adult kids, who are mediated in some way almost every hour of the day.  (I consciously “unplug” several times a day and I still feel hijacked by the machines…)

I hate it.

I hate it soooo much.

Every day I get emails (and social media posts) from people asking me what they need to do to make good, strong decisions, how to know what their life purpose is and how to trust themselves and their intuition.

They want to know (or remember) who they are and why they’re here and they have forgotten how to hear that inner, wise voice inside of themselves that whispers Truth to them when they most need to remember…

I am certain that there are many of you out there who are good at balancing life and technology and I take my hat off to you and honor you for that!

But, how many of us have gotten swept away into the hypnotic river of media and lost connection, not only with each other, but with ourselves.

Can you sit in silence with yourself?  Can you just “be” outside in nature and experience the world?  Do you have the attention span to enjoy a sunset without running to grab your phone and take pictures of it?

When was the last time you had an entire day without an electrical communication device?

In Human Design we talk about the process of De-Conditioning.  De-Conditioning is the experience of getting to know your authentic self by learning how to “unplug” from the energies you’ve been imprinted with since before your birth and from the beliefs and expectations you’ve been exposed to all of your life.  (You De-Condition by following your Human Design Strategy according to your Type.)

It’s in the process of De-Conditioning that you get to know who you truly are in a deep and meaningful way and you get to deliberately sculpt a life that is a reflection of that Truth.

I believe that it’s very hard to get to know yourself if you are constantly bathing in the river of media information that is available to us 24/7.  There is something truly precious about 20 minutes of meditation, an hour of real conversation with someone you love and a family dinner uninterrupted by a telephone…

I think it’s hard to really hear your Inner Wisdom when your being is bombarded with data, music, updates and weather reports.  (To quote my Mother, “If you want to know the weather, just look out your window…” )

The energy, drama, trauma and influence of the world and collective consciousness (which isn’t always that healthy…) impacts us deeply and if you don’t have a chance to really tune it all out and tune into yourself, I will gently suggest that your entire vibration might be influenced a lot more than you realize…

Of course, there is a place for technology and, as I stated, there is something pretty fantastic about the internet and the powerful ways in which we can all connect.  I think that it continues to play a powerful role in the evolution of mankind.

But balance is necessary.  And it’s just too darn easy to drift away from yourself and each other if you’re not careful….

In my real life, we’re going to conduct an experiment.  I am certain that it will be met with much screeching, wailing and gnashing of teeth in my house.  But this weekend, all phones and computers will be locked away.  We are going to talk to each other and connect with our hearts.  We’re going to read, paint, go outside, plant flowers and watch birds.  I’m going to snuggle up with my husband, sit with my littlest daughter and enjoy some stories…and bake cupcakes for her birthday party on Sunday.  I’m going to be an un-mediated human being for 48 hours and I’m soooooooo looking forward to it!!

And on Monday, I will return to my post with enthusiasm and a wide open heart.

I invite you to join me in this experiment if you feel the need….  I’m curious to hear your feedback from your experience.

And, no matter how you choose to spend the next couple of days, I wish you peace, abundance, tons of fun, deep connections, awesome awareness of Who You Truly Are and I hope you stand in awe of your magnificent Self and your life for at least a few minutes…

Have a glorious weekend!!!

Love,

Karen

P.S.  I truly get how blessed I am to have this “problem”.  May we also take some time this weekend to be thankful for all that we have and to contemplate ways in which we can use our blessings to increase the blessings of others….  I send you much love!!

21 Replies to “Unplug and BE….an Invitation….”

  1. Great Article Karen and I can totally relate!

    As you know I was gone a month and even though I was still in the US, I experienced very little electronic device time during that time. I was listening to my body & intuition deeply. There were days during that month prior to the trip where I had ‘penciled’ into my schedule to ‘catch up’ with the varied online activities that I ‘normally’ engage with. My body and intuition kept saying – TURN IT OFF – and I did. I really engaged with Life for that month and I LOVED IT! Each day I limited myself to on 30 minutes of laptop time.

    I did have lots of time creating, being in nature and really deep face to face heart felt conversations. What a joy! Complete Yumminess!

    The day before I was scheduled to come home, I shared with a friend how much I could feel my resistance to returning home. I could feel the pull of the electronics and all I wanted was to continue with the deep connections.

    Although I can’t join you this weekend for electron free time as I have a weekend class scheduled, I will do it next weekend. I have also learned built into my home life even more time that is electron free than I had before.

    I wish you an amazing heart connected yummy weekend.

  2. I absolutely LOVE that you wrote this and then put it out there. I’m right there with you and have been for many years. I take those breaks ALOT. I no longer bug my daughters ( 26 & 31) about such matters, but they know how I feel.

    Once they enter my house all IPhones are off. And then my kitchen table is laptop central. I still cable my computer, so sometimes we can’t poach off a neighbor and they will leave to go to a coffee shop to be wireless. I request they use the landline for calls and we only have one telephone…and its not cordless !

    My favorite times are when we all play games together like the childhood days, although now its NYT crossword puzzles instead of Battleship. Sometimes I can even get them to dance to music.
    If I’m really lucky they come for a sunset walk with me along the bikepath to the river and lose themselves in the outdoors like when they were kids.

    I’m still a kid at 61 and my kid wants to be active outdoors everyday playing, not inside staring at a screen. Or dancing/singing/making music …eating and cooking with others. Community !

  3. You hit the nail right on the head on this Karen and said it so well!! I totally agree with you that we should all disconnect every once in a while and listen to the voices in our head!!

  4. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I just know this will resonate with a lot of people. I am a professional organizer and when I started out I wanted to work with people in getting their vital documents together. So much has changed. Now it’s advocacy through organization. (less stuff equals more calm).

    What is really exciting is that I am about to start another change in my business. Mind the Gap. Fun play on words, but it’s all about minding/honoring and “put time on your calendar if you have to” direction. I am so excited.

    You really have hit the nail on the head. I look forward to gong back and re-reading this again and again.

    Cheers!

  5. Karen, Enjoy! I so agree with you. We have the means and devices to be the most connected, yet everyone is in their own little world and disconnected. I spend to much timing checking e-mails, FB, watching cute videos & taking quizzes. In some ways it’s my only contact & I spend to much time by myself. I need a happy medium. I’m glad you recognized this with your family. I do not have kids, but I hate seeing families out to dinner with every family member starring at their phones.
    Enjoy!

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for so eloquently expressing this experience and truth. I admire your dogged introspection and discovery of what was causing your wistfulness and must say I happily ignore technology whenever I can (to my teenage kids’ chagrin) for just the reasons you outline. Even so, I sometimes get sucked in for hours at a time with nothing in the end to show for it, no peaceful bliss such as I feel after a walk in the forest or a sit by the river, no warm fuzzies such as after a deep heartfelt talk with a beloved. Thank you for this gentle but clear reminder that we make daily choices, that we CAN make choices, that may profoundly affect our spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical health. Wishing you (and all of us) a joyful weekend in communion with that which feeds the soul!

  7. Hi Karen
    Thank you for this communication, and for being a marvellous example to us all. … telling us that it’s time to connect to our inner self, go within, or just sit and “be”. I was just a few minutes earlier thinking about HD and if I’d be hearing from you….when I found your message, and the PS.., it brought me to my senses.
    I too know of the joys of connecting to the soil, growing and planting and being in the open air, listening to bird song, the wind in the trees, and the tranquility and silence of Nature after busy days…yet there are times when I forget to be thankful and to contemplate ways in which I can use my blessings to increase the blessings of others, .. when my thoughts go off at a tangent down unhelpful avenues.
    Much love to you… and a glorious weekend to you and your family
    Sarah
    (West Midlands UK)

  8. Thanks, for this post Karen. I am in total agreement with you. My internet was out last week for 26 hours unexpectedly and I confess, I was in a bit of a snit about it. It was my good fortune to be standing in line at a check out counter at a big box store….when I heard someone whistling a lovely tune. I turned around and started a conversation with the man behind me. I said wow, you sound really happy today. He preceded to share his life story with me. He retired in October after working for 36 years underground in the mining industry. He said he was so happy to see the sun shine and breathe fresh, clean air. He also said that he had a near death experience and had fallen 68 feet down a shaft and had broken his neck, both arms, & some ribs. This wise soul then said, he thought everyone needed to have at least one NDE a year, in order to appreciate the life that they had. I was absolutely in tears after talking to this incredible man. I left there feeling so grateful for being in the present moment with this man. My heart was so full and I am still feeling the conversation a week later. Much love to you and your family and many blessings.

  9. Love that you express your heart openly, live your life with reverence for your deepest truths and always contribute to raising the Love vibration on the planet through your communications. You are blessed in every possible way for endless self-examination and pragmatic application to your life circumstances. We are all so blessed to have found you (and Human Design!) so that we may truly be inspired by your authentic, inspired life. May you continue raising your bar of what is possible so we may join you in celebrating every magical-miracle moment ad infinitum. As a disabled woman with a life-threatening illness and living on meager disability pay, I have no choice but to live a very pared down lifestyle and have eschewed the social media bandwagon in order to re-examine my path and contribution. I contribute by simply Being and spend a lot of time emanating my love through everyday encounters face to face with whomever chance dictates. Kinda I Ching roulette. It works. People soften their gaze as they experience being seen for the intrinsically precious divine person that they are. Isn’t this what most everyone is doing in social media–looking for that recognition that is their very birthright? Having been without the means to acquire a new computer for 6 months and no way to be in the electronic vortex, once I was gifted a refurbished Apple product, I found myself going down the rabbit hole of searching for new meanings. It took 2+ months (yikes! and duh!) to realize that I already had those answers inside and that I was merely fun/thrill-seeking. Yes, I wish to contribute my heartfelt sartoris, but will only do so with judicious application. Living mindfully allows me the luxury of instant knowing what contributes value or what is wasteful ego-projection. Hey, I’m not perfect yet aspire to be more clear and am making a concerted effort to have a clean slate when I leave here. Having had a life-transforming NDE (near-death-experience) and willed myself back into my physical body in order to do more for humanity, I am accumulating the knowledge that will enable me to have a HUGE impact in relieving the pain and suffering of the tens of millions of people who have the other life-threatening illness I recently conquered with the generous efforts of two unrelated very “realized” people. They were and are the validation of the truth in my heart to value this life, my gifts and to hopefully soon “get out there” and give to the world in a big way with no fear. Love you, Karen, for all that you are and do, rippling your perfection from your personal life up and out to the universe and the unimaginable beyond. Love to All!

  10. Karen,
    This is a great article on which to pause & think. Yes, electronics are so much a part of our everyday lives- taking time away is an important goal for all of us. Thank you so much for this reminder.
    Many blessings,
    DJ

  11. Hi Karen,
    Great post! I too struggle with the same problem from week to week. Hearing it coming from some one else really puts it into a different perspective for me, and a light bulb just went on as to how I could better deal with my technology hypnosis as I call it. I already take 5 minutes each hour to just breath deeply where ever I am, but I think I want to get up and go outside to do my deep breathing as often as I can at least 4-5 times a day.

    Thanks again for your great post and helping us to be mindful in new and amazing ways.

    Much Love and Light on your Journey!
    Dr.Angela B

  12. Hi Karen,

    I hear you. Albeit I live by myself, it has become very clear to me, that I am on the internet way too much. Even if there are obvious reasons for being on the internet, coursework, learning, connecting with others, it has taken over my life. Knowing that it had become addictive for me, I actually began an experiment several weeks ago where I would be unplugged over the weekend. I literally pack my computer away in my office closet. The results have been amazing. I feel like I have my life back. I am reconnecting with myself, with life like before when I wasn’t constantly on the computer and it feels s-o-o good.

    I look forward to hearing about your experiment. My guess is your experience with your family and their experiences will have you all so charged!!

    Hey, by the way——-Austria is my favorite place in the world, particularly Salzburg where my ex-husband and I were resident faculty for the University of Redlands overseas campus for two years. My only daughter actually ended up going to the University of Salzburg her first year of college. So hearing about your daughter being in Salzburg for a semester abroad has me asking what college the program is affiliated with????

    Blessings,

    Deb

  13. We just did this earlier this week at our family–a one day technology fast. Presence is a big part of what I have done to heal my life and a big part of my teaching. So one important activity is having a technology fast. One day without tv, smart phones, or computer, etc. I told the fam about it well ahead of time so they would know it was coming. And I scheduled another one for six months from now. I have a 15 year old son and a 9 year old son at home. So the three of us enjoyed each other and I really didn’t have their complaint because they already don’t like the amount of time *Mom* spends on the computer. We went to the nearby lake, got ice cream, vegged out at home, watched community softball at night, and went to bed early. Best day ever, really. After that, six months to the next one seems a little far.

  14. Hello Karen,

    Firstly, huge thanks for sharing a life experience and story- we do too little of it.
    Like so many of us, I have few philosophical beliefs:
    1. We “all” somewhere along the line at some time and place experience “Defining Moments” – be it small in stature or, maybe even hugely significant life changing. Just maybe, you experienced one of those moments here, and feel “totally compelled” to share it with the universe- good on you.
    2. I absolutely believe in the concept of Balance. We continuously seem to be peppered on a daily basis with conflicting views and notions of- one can/ can’t do/ eat/drink/think/behave/become this or that or the next. And they even tend to go full cycle- simple example, eggs are good for you; then they are bad for you; then they are ok again, and so it goes on. Finding balance is seemingly the most sensible route to follow- else one will simply do one’s head in.Obviously, some things are non- negotiable depending on one’s value set. But,in this ever fast changing paced existence we all lead- trying to match and cope with the different generations in our respective lives- finding and living “Balance” could never be more prevalent and significant.

  15. Dear Karen

    Great article – I am always amazed by timing and how one can receive external affirmation of inner realizations. I have been experiencing similar emotions and questioning as to why things weren’t making me happy sometimes when they were also making me very happy…. if that makes sense.
    Wondering why I was feeling so challenged sometimes in my body and mind one day and happy the next and other similar feelings and experiences that you described.. I was having the same realization about connectivity, presence and absence into technology and distraction when I opened your email. I was very present to your words as a result.
    I had the experience last night of working a job on a night shift when very few people were there. Normally the space is buzzing with noise and other people but last night it was fairly empty and quiet. I did my job and all tasks were the same as usual but the quietness of the space and its relative absence of people all stressed out and bouncing around off each other allowed me to relax more and empty myself out a bit as I worked. As a result at the end of my shift I was nowhere near as exhausted as I usually was by exactly the same work.
    I have got so great at not getting caught up in other peoples drama but the general theatre of life is still abuzz and very loud when you live in a city and are constantly hooked into technology and information flow and collectively consciousness. Last night’s small epiphany combined with my recent inner questioning has now met with your lovely email. I feel very affirmed in this moment consciously choosing to honor my inner world much much more with my presence as well as honoring my relationships in the same way. I will be taking regular time away from plugging into the wondrous cacophonous theatre of being physically and emotionally and digitally here and now with everyone-else-all-at-once, so that refreshed and balanced I can enjoy and love the noise, color and crackle of life when I do – and I know that it will be a really great thing!

    Thankyou again for your post

    Much love to you and your circle
    Kellie xx

  16. Have you seen the new version of the Norman Rockwell classic family holiday table? Everyone is on their iphone! Your letter states what so many of us feel. It is such a shame. I think your idea is fabulous! Can I convince my family? I’ll have to text them.

  17. yes, so true. We need to devote more time to make space for our intuition and creativity to come through. And listen… we invite so many voices that don’t matter into our head…. sometimes to numb out so we don’t have to look at what truly matters (which sometimes can be difficult). Thanks for the reminder!

  18. Hi Karen, isn’t it an irony that one of the best ways you can spread the Human Design message is via the internet. I just want you to know that I appreciate your generosity and dedication. I am from New Zealand so my chances of attending any of your workshops are slight. The internet means we get to hear from you, so thank you for your presence there.

    Kind regards and Paimarire (Maori for ‘good peace’)

    Hermione

  19. Hi Karen,
    so glad you got it! I did just that this weekend. Visited with thirty strangers up in the mountain who met just for the sake of singing lokal songs together and “Jodeling”…Very heart opening and abundent in laughter. A bearfoot walk in the morning grass will lift up your vibration and connection to the earth as well.Feels like we all need to get back to tuning ourselves to our innate own frequencies without the external media clutter.
    As always, enjoying your observations and you, staying true to your deconnditioning and strategy. Much Love Sunna

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