Sunday, July 21, 2013

Forced Solitude

I am in the process of moving. Everything is packed except for my cell phone, and Facebook only refreshes so many times. I have no books, no music, really nothing to keep me busy.

I used to think this would be great, a day with nothing to do, just be with myself and meditate. But the truth is that it's a lot to handle. We are so used to being connected all the time. Someone said to me the other day, "You are always on your computer." I sorry of chuckled and said that really I'm always on my phone. Sitting at my computer is too painful these days.

But even my phone got to be too boring this morning . . . until I decided to write about it.

It can be scary to be alone in quiet when we are used to the noise of everyday life. But it's also necessary. Quiet time is where we reflect and rejuvenate. It's where we come down from the energy that surrounds us. It is vital to our wellbeing.

I used to spend a lot of time in silence without the aid of electronic media to distract me. But as my ability to go out into the world physically has diminished, I find myself more and more reliant upon electronic means of connecting.

And I'm not the only one. I watch people texting away in their cars, sitting in court absorbed in their phones, and walking down the street, and into each other, with their eyes focused only on the 3-inch screen in front of them.

But it's impossible to breathe when our necks are stained forward staring at our little screens. It's impossible to truly enjoy the world when we see it only through Facebook and instagram. It's impossible, therefore, to fully live our lives.

I'm torn about these issues. I know how damaging electronic life can be. I also know it can be a way of connecting across time and space. But like everything in life, it must happen in balance. And that means sometimes ignoring the ding saying you got a new email. It can wait. Facebook will still be there in an hour if you wait.

And yes, I'm writing this because I need to hear it. If my forced waiting game this morning has been any indication, I need the opportunity to be alone and quiet more often.

Alone time is healing time. It is an opportunity to let the stress of life wash away. When we are alone, we can be in the present moment with nothing but our breath. What an amazing opportunity so few of us take.

How often do you disconnect? How do you make quiet time for yourself? What benefits do you receive from those moments?


© Rebecca Stahl 2013, all rights reserved.


  1. i think i need to disconnect way more often then i do. i tend to read a lot, and that is a great way to distract from the electronics. it's difficult to do, but i agree with you- oh so important!

    1. Yeah, for awhile I was reading on a kindle app on my tablet until I realized that defeated the purpose of disconnecting. Oops. Now I try to read every day, and I try to read something not related to work!