Unplugging

From sundown on Friday, March 1 to sundown on March 2 is National Day of Unplugging. This is how it’s described:

Do you have multiple cell phones? Take your ipad to the beach on vacation? Ever find it hard to get through a conversation without posting an update to Facebook? Is your computer always on?

We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our iPhones and BlackBerry’s, chronicling our every move through Facebook and Twitter and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of “silence” that our earphones create.

If you recognize that in yourself – or your friends, families or colleagues— join us for the National Day of Unplugging, sign the Unplug pledge and start living a different life: connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child.

The National Day of Unplugging is a 24 hour period – running from sunset to sunset – and starts on the first Friday in March. The project is an outgrowth of The Sabbath Manifesto, an adaption of our ancestors’ ritual of carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.

For the last two years I have been on constant high alert. A friend calls it “hyper-vigilence”— the non-stop anticipation of something bad. I went nowhere without my phone. I slept with it next to the bed. I took it on hikes. If the home phone rang at an unexpected time, I sat up and almost held my breath as I waited for a voice after the beep.

Last night we went to dinner and I left the phone at home. It was bittersweet. I was relieved not to have to carry it. I was sad because it was no longer needed.

This year I plan to participate in this National Day of Unplugging. I plan to follow the Ten Principles:

1. Avoid technology. (exception: my oven)

2. Connect with loved ones.

3. Nurture your health.

4. Get outside. (Yay!)

5. Avoid commerce.

6. Light candles.

7. Drink wine. (Double yay!)

8. Eat bread.

9. Find silence.

10. Give back.

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