Quick update on getting my obsessive technology use under control—if you missed the blog last week you can read it here.
It’s going really well. As I write this I have “SelfControl” going on my computer. This is a free program I downloaded that allows me to turn off offending websites and email providers. Once you turn it on you cannot get in to the sites you deactivated—even if you delete SelfControl from your computer! (and don’t you love that name? If I had any self control I wouldn’t need SelfControl).
I have been following the prescribed guidelines very well. It has been an unusually busy week for me, so that helped. My phone has stayed out of reach while I drive. My trolling has stayed within the times allotted (mostly). I have kept my obsessive phone checking and texting to a minimum.
And you know what? It all feels really good. While I am online I don’t feel guilty and when I am off I am finding more productive uses for my time.
Thanks for your words of support and being there for accountability. Putting it out to you and knowing that people were going to check in with me has really helped me stay in line. I commit to sticking to the plan and making this my new normal.
Many of you told me that you were changing your technology habits also. I would love to hear how it is going. What worked? What didn’t? Let me know in the comments below.
I read a great analogy recently. It was by Eckhart Tolle and it has really stayed in my mind. The subject was our thoughts and how the degree of our attachment to them can be the difference between a peaceful and a chaotic mind.
He likened our “true self” to the sky. We are all, at our core, beautiful blue sky. We are endless peace and beauty. The sky is always there. It never wavers. No matter where in the world you travel, the sky is there to greet you. Even when you can’t see it, the sky is always there.
Clouds on the other hand are different. Eckhart likened the clouds to our thoughts. Sometimes they are light and fluffy—making you feel happy. Other times they are gray and overcast, making you feel sad, guilty or lonely. And then there are times when the clouds unleash the furor of tremendous storms, making you feel stressed, scared or unsafe.
Underneath the clouds is still the beautiful blue sky. No matter how many there are or how thick the layer, the sky is always behind the clouds peacefully waiting. Even if it is a slow moving storm, eventually the clouds clear out. There always comes a time when the blue sky shines through.
What are those clouds, our thoughts? Are they real? They certainly feel real, but what if they didn’t have to? The clouds and how seriously we take them are the difference to living a peaceful existence and a dark and stormy existence.
The same way you can’t take a cloud and put it into a bucket, you can’t take your emotions and make them concrete either. Show me guilt. Show me stress. Show me fear. They aren’t real things. We make them up. And we have the power to change them at any given moment.
Think of a terrible break up. You have been completely miserable. You haven’t been eating or sleeping or bathing. You slink around your darkened house for days on end and long for something, anything to make you feel better. You lament the break up. It shouldn’t have happened. You were meant to be together. But for right now, you can barely get up off the couch.
Then he calls. It was all a mistake. He wants you back. Can you meet him now?
You can’t get ready soon enough. Suddenly you have all the energy in the world. Life is wonderful. You are singing as you shower and get dressed. You’ve never felt better.
What happened? Did you eat? No. Did you sleep? No. So how could you suddenly feel so amazing?
It was all in your mind. Those bad feelings were not part of you. They were not real. They were simply the clouds you were attaching to. In this case an external event occurred so you easily let go of those clouds.
But what if you could let go at will? What if you could see negative emotions for what they are and simply choose to let them go? To recognize that they serve no useful purpose and are only holding you back from living a peaceful life.
We tend to take things super seriously. So many situations are cause for anger, upset or alarm. As I have gotten older it has become apparent to me that very few things matter that much. No matter how big a deal it seems in the moment, when I look back I always wonder why we caused such a fuss.
This has allowed me to react differently to situations. To see that “this too shall pass”. And when you can see it that way from the start? It is a heck of a lot easier to take necessary action while staying detached from your clouds.
I’m not saying this is the easiest thing in the world to do. It takes practice like anything else.
The next time something comes up in your life that you normally react negatively to—stop. Take a breath. Remind yourself that you have a choice. Let the cloud move on. Stay the crystal blue sky that you are.
What do you think? Is there a place where you really need to change your reaction? How different would your life be if you made a different choice? Leave me a comment below and tell me what you are going to change.