Wednesday, December 18, 2013 slow

I am breaking my fast. A little over a week ago I started fasting on my consumption of Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! updates, online news and most email. I didn't start my fast on purpose. I had one of those moments in which I felt I had had it. Paul Walker died. Then Nelson Mandela... and we wouldn't let them go! The news and messages went from the somber to the ridiculous. The silly part is that as I was reading updates and news bits and thinking how much of what we read is so absurd, an hour went by. An hour of unproductive head-shaking. Typical. I took a fast and went about writing, working, home-making.

The first day of my media-fast was ok. I was resolute, yet that determination waned on the second day. Old habits die hard. But then, late on the third day, I could breathe better. This fast allowed me to slow down. With extra time, I didn't rush as much. If I wanted to connect with a friend, I called. If I wanted to know what was going on, well, I ignored the feeling. Of course we need to know what is going on, but this is a fast and, frankly, much of what we read in the headlines makes no difference in our immediate life. The weather? I checked it on an app on my phone. Events? My week was already planned. I wouldn't have been able to make it to another affair. The photos of what people are eating for lunch? I didn't miss those. Ignoring those cute, red notification bubbles that pop-up on my phone, iPad and computer did not affect me or anyone else adversely.

Today, ten days later, I return to the online world. This ten-day abstinence worked more as a detox than anything else. I am clearer, less mentally-congested by the sensory overload created by the opinions and news bits shared in status updates and tweets. I am not giving up completely. I just needed a jump-start to cut back. I don't need to know everything that is happening in my social network. I am enjoying having conversations, laughing and connecting with those around me, reading books, walking on the beach hand-in-hand. A few minutes ago I read a few postings and had a good laugh. Then I logged out. I feel good.

Today I encourage you to fast from anything that you feel is taking you away from what matters to you.  What is it that you could cut back on? What disconnects you from what you want to do, from those you love? Today is a good day to fast in order to slow down to truly enjoy your life.

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