Monday, March 26, 2012

When a meandering mouse unplugs, is there anyone around to hear it?

Last weekend, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, I participated in the National Day of Unplugging, an initiative of the Sabbath Manifesto. The Manifesto goes like this:

1. Avoid technology.
2. Connect with loved ones.
3. Nurture your health.
4. Get outside.
5. Avoid commerce.
6. Light candles.
7. Drink wine.
8. Eat bread.
9. Find silence.
10. Give back.

I was able to do seven out of the ten. I interpreted “avoid technology” as avoiding all unnecessary electronic devices such as the computer, Internet, television, and radio – not room lights and automobiles. The hardest part for me was remembering not to turn on the radio as I drove down to The Queen’s Bakery for coffee and something sweet. I ended up having a cappuccino and a homemade “Ding Dong” with a chocolate petit-four covered in lavender icing.

Now, this is not what anyone would call a nutritionally correct lunch, but it was definitely good for my soul. I was more than ready to try a new bakery with colorful style and spring freshness. (Especially since rain was correctly predicted for the next day.) For the rest of the day, I read words of ink on paper instead of onscreen. (It’s good to find justification to read books!)

I did wish I had more people around me who were into unplugging. Turning off is unfathomable for many Americans. The first thing we do in the morning is turn on something, whether it be the alarm clock or the television. We have forgotten to listen to silence. What are we afraid of, really – that we can’t help but find out what is wrong with our life system? Yet, when we find out what is wrong, it’s the first step to figuring out how to make it right.

I wonder if I should do this every weekend? Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, twenty-four hours without unneeded technology. I will miss certain radio shows that come on Saturday morning – but I can hear them later via podcast. What do I have to lose?

Nearly anyone can unplug – and if it seems impossible, it’s an occasion to take a critical look at your time management. Why not visit the Sabbath Manifesto website and find out what unplugging can do for you?

(And now, a pause to consider the irony of going to a website that promotes unplugging.)

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