Interruption: a Communications Fast

I know that I’m addicted to being online and on my phone. The funny thing is, I’m horrible about replying to emails, particularly those coming into my personal inbox. But I’m compulsive about checking them and reading them, especially on my phone.

So when my running friend Gretchen mentioning trying to not watch TV/videos/Netflix or check email for a day, it was a challenge too nagging to ignore.

I had recommended a book to her that I love, and one that I try to re-read at least once a year. The Blessing of a Skinned Knee – using Jewish teachings to raise Self-Reliant Children and in it Wendy Mogul mentions the “Blessing of Time” and the Jewish concept of Sabbath.

The concept is pretty amazing, actually.  It’s the idea that we take one full day a week, to do nothing at all. To rest.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20: 8-11)

My friend Nicole told me about her dear friends who are observant Jews, and keep the Sabbath by not cooking, turning on lights, or doing any number of activities. It’s hard for me to imagine not even cooking for an entire day, but in the spirit of taking a small step toward growth (and with Gretchen’s invitation / challenge) I thought I would start with my online and phone use.

I picked Saturday. Mainly because I knew I would want to check my email and phone calls on Sunday before the work week!

Nonetheless, I woke up yesterday resolved to have a phone & media fast.

Honestly, it was so, so hard.

I was making breakfast and needed an egg substitute. I stopped myself from grabbing my phone and looking up an answer, and looked at the back of a package for ideas. We were talking about summer plans (my obsession for the week) and I had to literally stop myself from texting my brother-in-law. I kept walking by my phone and wanting to instinctively pick it up in a moment of downtime and check my emails. I had to bite my tongue to keep from suggesting that we all watch the Olympics that night.

Finally I hid my phone.

And then, I picked it up to take a photo of my son and his grandma, and I just could.not.stop.myself from responding to a text.

Small steps.

Yet, despite it all, it was good for me. There were so many “to-do” things that popped into my head – calling, emailing, texting, online shopping – that I just mentally filed as things for tomorrow. And it really was a sense of rest. I guess if I’m honest with myself I haven’t felt that sense of rest in a long time.

So maybe next Saturday, I’ll try it again.

Have you ever tried to do some kind of fast, or a day of rest? Tell me about it!

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