Unplugged

002

Plugged

Three hours and twenty minutes ago a poplar tree smashed against electrical wires on our road, ousting electricity for everyone.

The mothers, fathers and teenagers could no longer utilize their computers.  The kids lost access to iPads.  Toilets no longer flushed.  Water no longer ran freely and joyfully out the faucet.  The gas stove no longer lit without a match. Most of the telephones refused to ring, unless they remained hooked up to an old-fashioned rotary line.  The refrigerator ceased humming.  The dehumidifier?  Kaput.  The lights?  What lights? (Who needs ’em anyway, on this first day of summer, the longest day of the year?)

I sat cheerfully for the first hour or so, reading a book.  Then dusted and cleaned a shelf. Called my mom on the rotary phone to see what’s happenin’ down in Yale.  Lit the stove with a match and drank a cup of tea.  Went outside and watched the grass grow and the wind blow.

And then I felt that familiar nervousness…oh no…what the heck do I do NOW?

Oh my, oh my, that experience of becoming unplugged!  It showed me, once again, how dependent and sometimes addicted we can get to our modern technology.  We love our running water, our cold food, our flushing toilets, our blogs, our email, our Facebook, our telephones, our connection to the world, don’t we?

002

Unplugged

It’s easy to become so quickly bored, restless, nervous.  What do we do with ourselves without our machines, our lifelines?

You see young people texting, texting, texting into their phones 24/7.  You see older folks scrolling through Facebook over and over again, whether they contribute or not.  You see people almost unable to take a deep breath and go outside and wander slowly through the woods, the parking lots, the dusty country roads.

I know the allure of this instant-connection media, the way it fascinates and consumes and beckons you in.  During my year-long commitment to “Opening the door, walking outside” in 2008-2009, I wrote a blog every day about what the world revealed outside the house. Yet the act and allure of writing the blog, reading the comments, checking the stats, consumed me.  I would spend an hour or two outside, followed by four hours staring into the computer.

These days it feels so much more peaceful and relaxing to simply turn off the computer and Kindle for long periods of time.  To recognize that there is a part of me–and the larger culture–that wants to be connected.  But also to see that connection is not healthy all the time.  It’s too focused.  It can be too painful to our nervous systems to be staring at a screen or phone for so many hours.

Turning you off, Computer.  Desktop background courtesy of my friend Melinda in the mountains of California--isn't that a cool photo of a stone white buffalo covered with snow?

Turn ye off, Computer.

It seems like there is a part of us that wants to stay instantaneously and immediately connected with the world–to be available and present to whoever and whatever needs attending.  However, this seems to create a state of hyper-vigilance and almost over-attention.

It’s been a continuing journey, and not one yet mastered, but I’m learning to gracefully unplug when necessary.  Without fanfare.  Just simply “Closing the technological door, turning off the computer.”

To learn to trust an inner knowing that informs us when to turn on the computer, and when to keep it off.

It feels so much more healthy to give ourselves that break, that dalliance where attention is free to wander wherever it wants to go.  To not always need to be focused, staring, attentive.

What is your relationship with unplugging, with taking computer breaks?  Have you ever felt overwhelmed by technology’s presence and the need to stay present to everyone and everything?

Three preachers talking together about the glories of nature (soft fuzzy backround)

You might even hear a Jack in the Pulpit preach about how nature has as much to offer as technology!

 

 

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in June 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Unplugged

  1. debyemm says:

    We manage to stay online, even when our power is technically out for 3 weeks, because that isn’t uncommon here, we own a gasoline powered generator. But for power outages that we anticipate to be short term (as yours was) we hold off the significant work required to hook-it up. So I am well acquainted with periods without the modern convenience of electricity and true, it feels a bit “empty” and we feel a bit “lost” and have to figure out what to do with ourselves and it may depend on the time of day how we use that time. For example, we’ve told stories in the dark by flashlight while dozing off waiting for it to come back on so we can wash dishes, shower, do bedtime chores, etc.

    We go on a 3 day, 2 night canoe trip once a year and we are ALL unplugged the whole time and don’t really miss our technology in that setting.

    I don’t feel overwhelmed or overly attached to a constant connection to the online world – texting is rare with me (my smart phone doesn’t work in our remote deep valley). We do have a rotary phone for reporting outages to the electric company and for receiving calls in temporary outage circumstances. While I am very often “monitoring” online traffic (email, Facebook, etc) as I work each day, I feel comfortable at the level of my involvement. I don’t feel obsessive about it but I probably spend more time at it than I would if I truly tried to limit it. I don’t really feel I need to – as I said, I’m comfortable with the level I am at.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I think that is the most important thing–to feel comfortable with where one is in the technological world. Our deepest inner selves know exactly how much and where the focus needs or wants to be. Too many of us seem to feel divided with this issue, sensing that perhaps we need more balance one way or another. I have felt this division at times, attempting to balance a deep need for introversion and quiet and contemplation versus an outward pull toward engagement. Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful answer!

  2. Carol says:

    Unplugged for short periods of time is fine, but my electrically powered life is important to me – no apologies.

  3. We miss out on “the moment” when we have to stop every few minutes to text, snap, update. True, it’s entertaining in the wee hours of the morning when I can’t sleep to see where others have gone, what they’ve done, what they’ve eaten. However, I do feel a need to disconnect from time to time.

  4. lucindalines says:

    O I love this post. First off, I did not connect to the idea that we are on the first day of summer. This has actually been one of the most beautiful days here in several weeks. Second, though I use my iPad mini lots, I don’t always use the internet with it and so can go for a long time just on battery. And last of all, I have unplugged from my daily dose of cable and o has that been a relief. I no longer care which soap opera character has died in a car accident only to come back to life with another man’s child and on and on. Love the days of sitting on the porch watching the flowers grow!! Enjoy the rest of your summer!!

    • Kathy says:

      I had almost forgotten it was the first day of summer, too, Lucinda. It is SO windy here, I can’t believe it! It sounds like you’re really feeling good about your soap opera purge. It’s weird how we can get so occupied with soap operas or any other kind of technology. When, actually, watching flowers grow isn’t so bad after all! (I wonder if this is an aging thing. I remember our elderly neighbors watching the squirrels and chipmunks for hours on end and thinking–why the heck are they so interested? Now I think I know!)

  5. Fountainpen says:

    I am so aware that I am convinced
    I “need” my phone
    And I do need it.
    but I do not like my
    Feelings of vulnerability when
    I misplace it……!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Fountainpen

    • Kathy says:

      Oh yes, I understand–those feelings of vulnerability can be overwhelming! I have just “graduated” to a new smart tracfone (we don’t have service at the house so can only use it while traveling) and am delighting in it–but trying to be careful not to become too addicted.

  6. Brenda says:

    Kathy,

    I send up a prayer of gratitude for everyday when I have the ability to communicate online because if it wasn’t for this option, I would only have the snail mail option. And even that would depend on whether I have stamps. So, for me, being plugged in is always a blessing. Especially since I can no longer enjoy the benefits of being outside (which would be my choice if possible again).

    I’m sorry you lost power up there, but maybe it’s not such a bad thing because it gave you time to consider alternatives because I would consider sitting outside and watching the grass grown and the wind blow as blessings and gifts from nature. ❤

    Hugs! ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Brenda, I imagine the connections of the Internet give you so much. How nice that it’s always a blessing for you! Sometimes I wish I could have that “always a blessing” feeling about it, but it feels mixed to me.

      And you are so right about how losing power can open up other options that maybe we never even considered. Hope you are having a good day!

  7. john k. says:

    I think I would need some Xanax if a power outage went more than 2 or 3 hours. What I really enjoy in L’Anse in the wee hours I can go 30-40 minutes without hearing the sound of a car. When I am in Illinois it is 24/7/365. Our condo is within 1/2 mile of 2 interstate highways.

    • Kathy says:

      John, I’ll bet there is such relief in just listening to the quiet in the still of the night after being so bombarded by noise and traffic. I am always a bit disconcerted when visiting the kids in the city–especially Chris in San Diego–with airplanes and crazy noises all around. Even when visiting down in Yale in a neighborhood there are so many noises: dogs barking, lawn mowers, people chatting. Of course we have our share of noise in the woods, too, with splitters and chainsaws and mowers and everything else. Guess it’s all a matter of degrees…

  8. You’ll be living just like in the olden days if you go for more than a day or more with no electricity. It surely isn’t any fun, at least from my perspective.

    • Kathy says:

      We would be, Yvonne, and you’re right–it does lose its idealistic appeal quite quickly. There can be perks, though. It always seems like you have to figure out new ways of doing things.

  9. Unplugging from my computer and phone is inconvenient but doesn’t really bother me much. The hard part, for me, is when you also lose water and heat when the power goes out. That starts getting past the “inconvenient” part and on to “a pain in the backside” really fast. It sounds like that’s where you are.

    • Esther, I agree. It’s losing the heat and light, particularly in winter, that are problems. And always the loss of refrigeration and water. I worry that the food in the frige and freezer will spoil. Otherwise, I’m happy to have the power out. Growing up, my family lived in a cabin in Virginia (Shenandoah) with no electricity for two summers. Five children, including an infant. They read to us, we read. We played outside until it was too dark to see. Kerosene and Coleman lanterns, a water pump, and early to bed.

    • Kathy says:

      Esther, it’s so interesting how quickly it goes from inconvenient to a little…challenging. I always want it to be more idealistic and romantic to be without power, but it’s not. Like isnothingopen commented to you, there’s the whole issue of spoilage in the refrigerator and freezer. No way of washing dishes. No ways of getting water to drink from the sink. It brings to mind how easy we have it now compared to the pioneer days. We complain if our cell phones or computers quit working. It’s a good reminder of what we can be grateful about today.

  10. It can be challenging finding a workable balance. Sometimes when we suddenly lose internet service I inherently know just how many moments it will take before I hear Tim’s office chair move across the floor and then hear him come down the stairs, and then open the closet door to see if the router needs re-setting.

    Sometimes we tease each other. “Step away from the laptop, that’s right, nice and slowly, step away from the laptop.” 🙂

    Last summer I was home alone one day when we lost power first thing in the morning. It was very hot and humid, the middle of a heat wave. No air-conditioning. Eventually I had to open the windows. A few hours later I took the couch cushions and put them on the floor by the sliding glass doors because it was slightly cooler down there and there was the slightest hint of a breeze. I read my Kindle until it died and then I was thankful I still had paper books to read. I drank warm water because I didn’t want to open the fridge or freezer for ice cubes. I listened to the birds chirping, the neighbors coming home and discussing the situation, comparing notes. The power was off for 8 long hours.

    The way I sometimes feel overwhelmed by technology’s presence is when I’m on Ancestry.com and keep finding new relatives and records to add to my family history. I try to limit myself to two hours of research a day. But I am keenly aware that I am missing the joys of digging through old record books at town halls and libraries and the thrill of cemetery-hopping.

    But I do think losing heat or air-conditioning and refrigeration bothers me a lot more than losing internet connection or TV.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, that’s funny about you and Tim teasing each other about “too much computer”. Nice and slowly step away…lol. Thanks also for the reminder about air conditioning. We don’t have any here, so I forget how vital that is for folks in warmer parts of the country. Good thing you had your Kindle charged when the power went out–and paper books! It just occurred to me that I had a whole pile of unread magazines and never thought about them. It’s also interesting to know that about you–that you spend two hours a day researching your genealogy on line. You must feel such a passion to discover more about your ancestors–kind of like a sleuth or detective, yes?

  11. lisaspiral says:

    If I intend to be unplugged I love it, but when it is thrust upon me that anxiousness definitely makes itself known. I have a hard time just shutting the computer off and walking away. It’s like an addiction. Enjoy the wild outdoors! And thank you for sharing it with those of us who aren’t brave enough to step away from the cord.

    • Kathy says:

      That is SUCH a good point, Lisa. I hadn’t thought about the difference between intending to unplug and not intending it. It seems like so many of us are addicted to our computers or phones. And it can be frustrating when part of us wants to turn away to the wild outdoors or something else, and another part wants to keep at it. And so many of us have suffered with this…

  12. Karma says:

    It can be a “love/hate” relationship at times – love the ease of being connected, instantly finding things out, but sometimes I hate my compulsion to always be connected. Well, maybe hate is too strong a word, but you know what I mean, right? In those times when it seems everyone around me is otherwise engaged, it can be a comfort to have this connection.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, it’s good to know that many of us have struggled with this issue! I know “hate” is a strong word, but I have felt that too. A sense of frustration about these technological compulsions. I know it’s not technology’s fault–but it’s challenging. I’ve heard a theory that something in our brain/biology that craves pleasure tries to keep following the same avenues that gave us pleasure in the past. However they’re not necessarily giving pleasure any more. Thanks for adding your thoughts. I think it makes us all feel a bit less alone when we share about this.

  13. Robin says:

    I almost enjoy short-term (no more than a day or two) power outages. I would enjoy them completely, I think, were it not for the problem of flushing the toilet (because, like with you, when you live out in the country and there is no electricity, then there is no water). But even that doesn’t put too much of a damper on things since we usually have another water source (the pond) we can use although it involves hauling the water in to use for flushing. Not sure why I’m going on about flushing toilets when you asked about plugging in and unplugging. lol!

    I am usually on and off the computer throughout the day, more off than on. Every now and then, I unplug for a day and have contemplated doing that at least once a week because I truly enjoy those days. I feel less present in my own life when I spend too much time on the computer.

    • Kathy says:

      You are very lucky to have that pond, Robin. It would take a lot of the power-outage concern away. We have the lake, but you’d have to have buckets and drive down to the a nearby river access site or something. Interesting that flushing toilets becomes such an issue during power outages!

      Like you, I feel less present in my life with too much time on the computer. Or…and here goes the non-duality thing…it’s when my identity seems to get sucked into the computer, or something. When feeling awake and aware, being on the computer actually feels just as relaxing as anything else. It just seems the conscious mind has a tendency to go back to “sleep” when too immersed in some kinds of technology. Maybe?

  14. dorannrule says:

    I remember a long time ago when we did without all this modern technology. And yes we were in closer touch with nature, eager to see our friends in person, visited the library for books to fill in time. Life was good even when the lights went off. Would I want to go back? Ummmm…maybe not. 😊

    • Kathy says:

      Smiling, Dor. You are right–there was a time when life was just as good when we were unplugged. But these are good times, too. I wouldn’t want to go back either!

  15. Kathy — I while I appreciate technology just as much as the next person, I also enjoy being UN-plugged. Sundays I try (not always successful) to stay off social media altogether.

    And to insure a good night’s sleep, Len and I have the practice of not looking at our laptops or cellphones (we don’t have a television) between 8-10pm each night of the week so that our brains have “clean slates” (so to speak). Instead, we pick up physical, paper books and read. By the time our heads hit the pillow, we’re gone 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, you have always struck me as the type of person who is more able to discipline yourself to what feels the most whole-some. Not sure if that’s only an impression, but you do seem to have an innate capacity to balance your internal and external rhythms. I so often feel so inspired by those of you “plugged in” in that kind of way. 🙂

  16. Heather says:

    I have always been moderately defiant about technology. I am more than content to wander where the cell signal doesn’t reach, and just be for hours. Sometimes the camera comes, but it often stays behind too. I’m trying to keep even that love tucked away when I’m not planning on a full photo adventure. We shall see. I do like electricity though 😉

    • Kathy says:

      For some reason your response “moderately defiant about technology” has me grinning from ear to ear. Not sure why! (Except, of course I am moderately defiant about technology” as well. How interesting to know that sometimes your camera stays behind. Just wondering…do you guys lose your electricity much down your way? I suppose maybe not in the city, but in your old place? P.S. Are you still loving where you live now?

      • Heather says:

        We’ve had a couple brief outages here, and we had a similar experience at the old place. The storm in March a few years ago that brought 24″ of heavy system snow took out power around for several days…except on our road! (We weren’t there though. We were traveling.)
        We are still loving this location, and will likely love it more after we close on the sale of the old house! Fingers crossed 🙂

  17. Reggie says:

    Wow, Kathy, you’ve expressed this so beautifully again. I felt myself nodding along with your words. I definitely need more unplugging time.

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, it’s good to know you resonate with this, too. It’s also fascinating to read how everyone has a different take about technology, and whether they’re content with how much time they spend on-line. While we can theoretically know this is true, it feels more experiential to read all these comments and think about the wide variety of responses. Thanks for commenting–I always smile to see you.

  18. Lori says:

    Funny you should write about this. There is a commercial on TV about a family whose internet goes out and how they freak out and don’t know what to do with themselves. It’s pretty funny.

    Aside from running water (plumbing) and air conditioning, I’ve fought technology all the way. I even wrote a blog a couple of years ago about not wanting a smart phone. I finally gave in. The reason I fight it is because I know I’ll become dependent on it once I start. I even get mad at myself for being so dependent, like addiction to a drug. If anything ever happens to the grid, we’ll all need (well at least me) to go into rehab. 😛

    • Kathy says:

      Lori, you just reminded me of that funny movie you recommended a while ago–can’t even recall the name already!–and how you enjoy watching comedy. So am picturing you laughing at that commercial.

      As for smart phones, oh yes, I too have pondered writing a blog about that. Finally gave in myself a couple months ago and got a “smart” TracFone for traveling. Already can see how addicting that can be. Bells and whistles seem to be going off all the time these days–on the Kindle and phone (although the phone is rarely on in the house because we don’t have any reliable service.) You are right in thinking about rehab–I think more than half the population will be in it if the grid goes down!

  19. Connie T says:

    When I lived in FL a hurricane knocked down a tree on the power line. The power was off for 8 days. That was awful. If I had it to do over I would have left for a week and went on a little vacation. I really missed the air conditioning the most.

    • Kathy says:

      That must have been something to live through, Connie. Eight days is a long time without power. And Florida is a darn hot state… I like your idea of going on a vacation. Especially if it’s going to be that long.

  20. Barb says:

    Oh my gosh, I love that Jack in the Pulpit! I’ve never seen one. I’m on a blog break just now. I’m trying to use social media less, too, though it is tempting to “check” what’s on there. I’m outdoors so much in the summer. It’s such a short, magical season here at high altitude. I have a Junco with 4 new babies that I can watch just outside my back door. She built her nest in our wreath. That miracle of Nature might be missed if I had my nose in the computer all the time. Hope you have a summer of adventures and find lots of awe-inspiring sights in your beautiful landscapes, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Jack in the Pulpits are great, Barb. I knew you were having a little blogging break but am happy to see you. 🙂 I have been *mostly* off Facebook lately but did notice briefly a picture of those cute juncos. So sweet! Summer adventures to you, too. I went for a lovely walk today along a trail and thought of you and your blog posts.

  21. dawnkinster says:

    The hardest thing to deal with here is similar to you…no flushing because the well won’t run w/o power. And of course, if it’s winter, there’s heat that also won’t work without electricity. And the freezer full of fruit and vegetables that I slaved over all summer…so we finally got an automatic generator. It makes me feel so much better. It switches on when the power goes out, I don’t have to do anything. And it turns off when the power is restored. It will run pretty much everything in the house, though we’re careful not to run everything all at once. Still. This month the power went out and the generator didn’t come on. BROKEN!?!?!?! Good thing it was less than a half day. The backup generator is the kind of thing you don’t realize is broken until you need it. Even with the blue light in the basement that is supposed to tell us when it breaks. You’d have to actually go in the basement to look. Which we had not done. Silly us.

    I think I’d have a hard time to be off line for more than a day or two. Too many connections. I guess I should try it.

    • Kathy says:

      An automatic generator is the way to go. So sorry to hear it was broken when you needed it! My dad had one put in at the Yale house a few years ago and it’s been a godsend. It is one of those kind that runs for ten minutes once a week. So I guess my mom would notice if it didn’t run. And yes–the thought losing summer fruits and vegetables after so much work–is agonizing. When our frig died earlier this winter we did lose some food, but luckily we have another one in the basement and was able to transfer. Let me know if you ever decide to do an extended offline break and how it goes.

  22. Carol Ferenc says:

    Great post, Kathy! I try to limit my online time but it’s not always easy to do. I’d almost welcome a power outage once in a while. I don’t own a smartphone, and that helps keep it to a minimum. A couple years ago my hubby and I were following two other couples into a restaurant. All four people were totally focused on their phones. The four of them were seated and all continued using their phones the entire time we were there. We couldn’t help wondering why they bothered going out together. I’m sure you’ve seen something similar. That’s way too much online connectivity for me.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, that’s the kind of thing that seems disturbing, Carol, when everyone is focused on their device instead of engaged with one another in *real time*. Of course, I have been guilty of it at times–having recently just bought a new smart TracFone. We don’t have much service here in the woods, but I use it when traveling or in town. But I try to limit my time on-line because it just seems it’s so easy to miss so much of the present moment. Thanks for commenting.

  23. Val says:

    Unfortunately the bit of me that hasn’t changed in years (read ‘forever’) is the ocd bit and when I hit a patch of it I am online or in front of a pc screen for too many hours in a day. My eyes have stopped me doing this as much as I used to but I still do overuse pcs and tablet. I don’t have a mobile/cell phone and our land lines are not affected by power failures, but I do know what you mean. However, since I’ve had a tablet I find that the time it needs to recharge actually gives me rest time as well.

    Our electricity was turned off for half a day last week and I said to my husband, after few hours “I suppose I could set my tablet to ‘roaming’ and see if there’s a connection other than our own?” He gave me a look. I said, “don’t suppose it’s worth it, is it?” “Nope,” he said. So we both just continued to enjoy the view and our visiting wild birds. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Val, I know what you mean–it can be so easy to overuse our computers and tablets. And I can see how your eye problems would inspire you to perhaps find other things to do. You do so seem to enjoy your wild birds and creatures and nature. Thank goodness for that balance in our lives. Speaking of eyes, another family member now needs cataract surgery as he’s starting to even lose his ability to distinguish colors. Never thought about that before…

      • Val says:

        Oh yes, that’s another symptom of cataracts. As they thicken,the lenses get yellow. As far as I know it’s blues and purples that go first – my fave colours, of course!
        I wouldn’t be without birds. 🙂

  24. Debbie M. says:

    Reading your post today was timely as I was just plugged back in after storms that took out our power for 10 hours. (We are on county water with a gas water heater so we did have the modern convenience of toilets and running water!)

    Let’s see… I caught up on reading the newspaper (print held in my hands) and walked the neighborhood, meeting some neighbors for the first time. (People were outside cleaning up from the storms and/or doing the same thing I was by surveying the damage.)

    It takes self-control to completely unplug. I don’t do it often enough!

    • Kathy says:

      Glad to hear you had water to flush, Debbie! That can be challenging…and ten hours is certainly enough. It’s interesting how people say they often speak to their neighbors and engage with the community when there’s a power outage. You hear of this happening after all sorts of disasters, too. Thanks for reading and commenting, as always.

  25. Karen says:

    Unplugging from the world when you want to is one thing. Forcibly being made to do it is another. We lived through hurricane Andrew where there was no power in the Florida Keys for six weeks. Thankfully, our new home and the one we had in New Hampshire have generators. Life can go on in comfort although you don’t know what is happening in the rest of the world. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Karen, I can not imagine how people without generators survived those six weeks. What an experience that must have been. You are so lucky that you had a backup generator. We have one of sorts, but it is not very up-to-date and would take some work to use it again. My mom loves her generator and it’s such a comfort when the power goes out for her.

  26. This may sound sacrilegious, but I think it would be a grace from the spirit world to cut us off, turn off all the outside power, for an hour a day. Just so we could all tap into the inside power – the immense power within us that is so hidden by those mechanical and wireless plugs. Or, barring that, if everyone suddenly had an urgent desire to walk outside for an hour every day, unplugged, breathing in what’s real, finding out what’s inside. Then real power would generate great change in our world. (Sorry – you got me on a roll here!!!)

    • Kathy says:

      I am wondering now just how much clout you have with the spirit world? lol! But I know and agree with your heart-felt words. To breathe in what’s real….ahhhh!…I am breathing so deeply it may be time to turn off the computer for a while and take that walk! (OK, in a few minutes, anyway.)

      • I told a CA friend (was just visiting there) about your unplugged post and my suggestion. She paled as if I had the power and said, “A WHOLE HOUR?!” Jeez. This shows how much we need to be more unplugged!

  27. I Wilkerson says:

    I find it funny that I get really nervous if I go somewhere without my cellphone–even though for the majority of my life they didn’t exist and I survived just fine! I remember enjoying short outages and waiting out tornado warnings in the basement as a kid… Now we routinely fill a bathtub for toilet flushing in bad weather (after the experience of being out for 48 hours, see: http://artofnaturalliving.com/2011/10/13/ready-or-not-not/ ) but that wouldn’t help in your case!

    • Kathy says:

      Inger, I really enjoyed reading your blog post about your power outage. We don’t fill our bathtub, but we do try to remember and fill a bucket or two. I also remember those tornado warnings as kids, hiding in our “outside entrance” or basement. Here in the U.P. we don’t get too many tornado warnings but downstate in the Thumb we had a lot.

  28. I love this post Kathy, you always speak the truth . I have tried and I can say I have accomplished limiting my plugged in time. I think I learned how when we lived up in the U.P. Although being UP there in such a remote setting I did panic a little whenever our internet went down, it was after all our only connection to family and friends and the outside world. We had no land line and our cell phones didn’t work at the cabin, we had to hike or drive down the road quite a ways to get a decent connection. Phone calls with kids and parents were on a timed schedule, and the rest of the time it was blissfully quite. I do miss it, now my husbands phone (more than mine) rings in the middle of dinner or naps or good conversations. Although it is nice knowing we are just a phone call away from the needs of family and friends……. I do make a point now to limit my computer time, my smart phone texting etc. and even that dreadful TV is turned off unless there is a good reason for it to be on. It’s hard for us to enjoy that stillness sometimes, to get alone with God and with ourselves, but it’s so very important, to look around, to breathe in the moment, to reflect, create, pray and to just be……….it calms the soul, it nourishes the mind and the body, our busy, noisy, plugged in world does just the opposite doesn’t it? But we do have to make ourselves unplug, it is so very easy to get caught up in all the goings on in other people’s lives instead of living our own.
    Blessings! Gay

    • Kathy says:

      Gay, I am glad you enjoyed this. It does sound like you lived in a bit more remote setting than we do here in the UP. We have a land line, mostly because there’s no cell service (except maybe texting if you set the phone just so on top of one framed picture). There is something special in knowing we can be so close to family and friends via phone. Don’t know what I’d do without those special connections throughout the day. We haven’t had a working TV in many years, and I appreciate that you don’t need to be watching all the time, either. I love what you said about just being alone with God and ourselves. You express yourself so well, I like when you stop by and share your thoughts!

  29. Sheryl says:

    I try to use technology on my own terms. It’s murky, but in general, if it’s helpful I use it; if not, I don’t.

  30. sherrysescape says:

    You express things so well, Kathy. Thank-you.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Sherry, hope you had a good trip. Since childhood, I have always loved expressing thoughts in writing. This felt truer than in talking. However, it feels that’s been changing and sometimes the spoken word comes out halfway true, hopefully. Were you also more comfortable writing when you were younger? Thanks for commenting.

      • sherrysescape says:

        I realized not long ago when I was going through boxes full of ages old correspondence from my youth (given back to me by Mom and Dad when they were cleaning out their attic) that I wrote voraciously when I was young – not so much to myself, but I wrote tons of letters to my friends. So, I guess I would have to say, yes. I was very comfortable writing as a child – more than now? Maybe so.

  31. Janet says:

    Hubby and I just returned from a cruise to Alaska where I (not he) was unplugged for ten glorious days. It was hard to watch him checking messages, Facebook and whatever else at each port instead of absorbing the beauty around him. To be fair, he eventually put the phone down.

    • Kathy says:

      Alaska! A cruise! Janet, I am delighted to hear that. I wouldn’t mind going on a cruise one of these years. And, it is good that your husband eventually unplugged so he didn’t miss all that beauty.

  32. sonali says:

    But I like when you are plugged in, dear Kathy! 💖

    • Kathy says:

      That is so sweet to say, Sonali. I hope all is well with you these days. It seems very hard for me to write anything at all lately. Even a few sentences to reply to a comment or say something on Facebook. It can be very challenging. However, in “physical reality” meeting people face-to-face it still is very easy to chat and connect. Who knows what will happen next? Even though it can be hard at times to not know what will happen next. Plugged in or not? I used to think it was up to me. Now I know it’s up to the Universe. 🙂

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