Out of Service: Why We Desperately Need to Put Our Phones Away
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Although our cell phones offer a great deal of connection through phone calls, texts, email wifi and social media, it is apparent that some of us have become dependent on our devices—may I even say addicted? For me, admittedly yes. The incessant scrolling, texting and communicating has been a ‘problem’ of mine since purchasing my first iPhone, and it continues today. It’s far too easy to hop on social media at the click of a button and get lost in everyone’s beautiful images and captions. This tool can be abused very easily, and that’s why I need to put myself in check every now and then. Just with everything, there is a time, place and use for this beloved technology.
Lately I have been CRAVING something different. I am seeking experiences where these distractions are minimal and where I am able to drop in and soak in the present moment with nature and those I love. Going to places where my phone won’t work, limited access to wifi with minimal distractions is my happy place. I appreciate technology and all that it has to offer. I respect it, but my mind and body need time away. In a world where nearly everything is accessible at the touch of a button, it is a nice alternative to experience life off-grid. At first, it is challenging but after a day or two without using my phone, I begin to forget about the technology and remember my roots and why we are here—to connect and experience the moment right where we’re at. There’s so much in the present that we miss when we are distracted by our phones or computers—the butterfly floating by, the hummingbird flying by the window, or the smell of the jasmine flowers on the walk to dinner. There are small bits of beautiful, magical moments everywhere.
It has become increasingly difficult to get out of cell range. There are cell phone towers and wifi everywhere. It’s pretty wild to think about how connected and easily-accessible we are. I have so much appreciation for the locations that are committed to staying wild, and inaccessible cellularly. Esalen Institute is one of those places that we have recently experienced, and it was beautiful. There is no cell service with very limited wifi access, but they turn off the wifi during meal times so that people can be fully present with the sacred meal time and connection with people and food in the present.
Here are some things that I have learned over time and why I am now a seeker of experiences out of range:
1. My habits are interrupted. My daily habits of checking social media, email, and easily texting any questions to friends and family are unavailable to me. My patterns shift and I go about my day completely different. It’s epic.
2. My senses are heightened. When we aren’t distracted by our phones, it’s so much easier to notice the little things that bring me joy.
3. I notice more details. Whether it’s the colors of the sunset or the taste of my food, I am present and aware of more details when cellular distractions aren’t an option.
4. I connect deeper to myself and others. Do you notice that when you’re in conversation, and someone picks up their phone to look at a notification, that you completely lose their attention? Having a conversation where the other person is fully listening makes me feel heard and loved. It’s that simple. Keep the phone put away when you’re having meaningful conversation. It’s a gift for the other person who is asking to be heard.
5. I sleep so much deeper in places where there isn’t wifi constantly streaming and my phone isn’t beeping from incoming texts, emails & phone calls. Most nights these days I try to keep my phone in airplane mode while I’m sleeping, but I know that’s not always possible for everyone. Treat yourself to an off-grid experience and notice how much deeper you rest!
6. Coming home or back into cell service, I end up feeling more gratitude for the abundance of technology. That is duality. If we are constantly accessible and are able to access life at ease, it’s not always easy to feel gratitude for it if we don’t go without it every once in a while.
How to go off grid with a little more ease:
1. Communicate to your friends and family that you’ll be out of cell range ahead of time. Be sure they know when you’ll be back into service so that they can assure that you are safe. If there is a landline in the area, give them the landline number in case of emergency.
2. Respond to any important emails, phone calls & messages prior to losing cell service so that you don’t have to stress about it while you are enjoying your cellphone free zone.
3. Set your voicemail and email up to notify people that you are out of town and when you will be returning.
4. Put quality people in place to care for your home, children & business and trust that they are capable of doing so.
5. Bring a good book and your journal.
6. Breathe deeply and soak in time with yourself and nature.
I hope this offers you some insight and inspiration to put your phone away and experience life outside of the screen! Reply and let us know about your most recent off-grid experience. We’d love to hear it!