#AtoZChallenge: J is for Just Unplug


just lede
photo credit: Stormtrooper via photopin (license)

I clutch a wadded up and imagined life instructions list in my figurative if not literal hand right now.

JLook at it. It’s utterly impossible. Stupidly, ridiculously inconceivable. What the hell? Check it out.

  1. Use, even for a second, my ability to take control of my life
  2. Still my mind
  3. Release attachments

Seriously. I wouldn’t take that first list over this second one, at any odds.

  1. Slam-dunk a basketball
  2. Catch up in your inbox
  3. Become a Jedi

You can’t turn up the quiet, that’s the thing. In the quiet and in the still, great things happen. I’ve dipped a toe in it once or twice. Or passed through it like a cloud of aromatic deliciousness, like walking behind a restaurant server delivering a plate of sizzling fajitas.

It’s as elusive as yummy fat-free ranch dressing or appetizing anything not gluten-free, and yet, the pursuit of it has a beauty of its own. To detach is to unplug is to foster inner quiet is to find your Zen. Like this guy did:

Technology calibrates us better than we can ourselves

It was 1977, and Luke Skywalker unplugged before unplugging was a thing. And you know what happened to the Death Star as a result. Anyone who’s had to navigate a work day without your device of choice knows the stark inconceivability of Luke’s blind shot.

Technology calibrates us more accurately that we can ourselves, sometimes.

It’s how mankind has evolved. There’s an app for that. To move without tools, that’s been a problem since the first wheel busted in 1439 B.C. At some point, the battery will die. The network will fail, or you’ll drop your compass in the stream.

You lean on braces and bumpers and apps, and then you don’t.

At that point, you’d better now how to find your due north with nothing but spit and wits.

My guru lent me meditation CDs. Can’t wait to play them. I also can’t wait to meditate without them. It’s running without a knee brace, bowling without bumpers, finding Leo the Lion among the stars without firing up your star-finding app.

You lean on braces and bumpers and apps, and then you don’t.

Taking your cosmic swings

It’s easy to talk about taking batting practice with the universe without batting gloves.

Can you actually do it? Can you swing the bat and feel for it, absorb the reverberations without buffer, and swing again? Can you balance what you’ve learned with what you must come to know?

I once loved my GPS so deeply I named her. Shelley. You might recall our love letter.

Shelley was my navigational heart.

Today, Grace found Shelley in the console of my love-worn Pontiac Grand-Am.

Grace wedged Shelley – once the apple of my technological eye – in the console door by accident, and I nearly crunched her screen trying to lean while I drove, Sly and the Family Stone blaring from the speakers.

Point is, Shelley was my navigational heart. Now, she’s navigational surplus.

I have unplugged, though

I still won’t even take the girls to school without Google maps. I have unplugged, though.

I won’t run this post through an editing app.

I deleted the app that told me when to drink water. (Not because it wouldn’t also remind me when to refill my Coke Zero, believe it or not.)

Accidentally, I’m chipping away at not only at innocent tree bark with misguided golf discs – I’m cranking up the invisible knob on the “quiet”

I also trashed the disc golf app. Rather than swipe to record shots and waste time angling away the glare on my Android phone screen, I’ll swipe canker worms off my sleeves and waste time locating a screeching hawk or industrious woodpecker.

Then, bam, accidentally, I’m chipping away not only at innocent tree bark with my misguided golf discs. I’m also cranking that invisible knob on the “quiet” slightly, ever so slightly, up.

And then those kinds of ups seem infinitely simpler than the ones that could get me off the ground to slam dunk a basketball. Which makes utterly impossible suddenly impossibly achievable.

[Another Shelly inspired this post with this blog right here.]

unplug quote

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16 Replies to “#AtoZChallenge: J is for Just Unplug”

  1. It is liberating to unplug. Sometimes you need to leave the house without your cellphone ( it’s more difficult for you as a parent). People keep trying to set me up with Sheldon (the male version of Shelly) but I tell them solo is okay by me. It’s fun to enjoy the ride. Peace, Eli.

    1. Sometimes, I can’t imagine unplugging, LJ. You’re on, with the parenting thing – what if the school calls? You could always use Sheldon as a backup! Peace to you too, my friend.

  2. You don’t realize how much you rely on technology until you don’t have it in your hand. How did that happen? But it does feel good to unplug – at least for a little while. It’s refreshing for the mind.

  3. I enjoy power outages for just this reason. There’s not time easier to unplug than when you are forced to. Most of the time we are “unplugged”. Our cell phone is used for what it was for intended, texting and actual phone calls (though I do use an app when I take it running). GPS is only used when geocaching or trips longer than 3 hours.

    1. Playing cards by candlelight with the kids – cool as hell, brother. I’d take advantage of that.

      I don’t even have WordPress on my phone. GPS and texting are just about it.

  4. I love unplugging, but I have a hard time with this considering I “do” social media for a living. But I think that’s why I really enjoy the time that I do get to unplug.

    I watched Star Wars (the new one, whatever it’s called dontyellatme) over the weekend. I don’t have much experience with these movies, but Bryan really wanted to see it and he wanted me to watch with him. So we did. And I found myself actually enjoying it–a lot of lessons that extend beyond the obvious.

    1. It’s kind of your job, Charlotte. Which means you probably enjoy the unplugged time even more.

      Oh, Star Wars. So many lessons. And lasers and fights and bad guys. Heroes, too. And Rey.

  5. AMAZING post! There are so many great analogies and metaphors. You are a true language artist. And your subject speaks to something deep within my soul… as I tap away on my iPhone… thinking how amazing it would be to ditch the darn thing. Before I start getting too hard on myself (sometimes, I think that’s my favorite pastime), I find myself remembering that I’ve already made some little changes. I don’t watch much TV anymore. I never bought one of those fitness wristbands (that’s the last thing my ED needs – oh my disordered little mind would love to crunch all that data and then ruminate about it!). Recently, I’ve even started experimenting with leaving my phone at home when I take walks or turning it on airplane mode at random times during the day. It is pretty liberating, but it’s still a work in progress. Thanks for the inspiration to keep working at it! I’m glad you are finding ways to disconnect and to reconnect with yourself and the world around you!

    1. Lulu – thank you. I wonder sometimes even reading over what I’ve written if it will make sense, to anyone.

      TV was the easiest sacrifice. So much time. I can do so much with a half hour instead of watching Seinfeld.

      I think I just want to make sure my eyes aren’t diverted to screens when the universe is trying to show me something phenomenal.

      Or not so phenomenal. I’m good with that, too.

      1. Finding gratitude and grounding in the mundane and ordinary… sounds kind of phenomenal to me! Hope you are having a great weekend!

  6. I deleted 3 sites/apps in the past two weeks. I deleted an old Tumblr, but started a new one. One that is more reflective of ME. I am seriously toying with deleting Instagram because it takes me out of the moment – that constant push to “take a picture of the moment!” Meh – I can’t be bothered anymore to even look at the photos in my feed. It all just pulls me away from what I really want, or should be doing. It would be nice to keep it though, because I love photography of course; maybe just get to that place where I browse when I am actually in the mood, and not because I feel pressure. I can’t wait to go camping. When I am in the woods and the campfire is burning and the suns rays filter through the trees; I am home.

    1. Have you seen those body cameras that capture images for us every few minutes? It could probably go straight to your Instagram.

      Also, camping, sometimes your watch or ever your phone don’t work.

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