Connect More Meaningfully with Yourself and Others
by Danielle Sullo
When we hear the word “detox”, images of herbal tea, vegetables, enormous water bottles and green drinks may come to mind. In the traditional sense, these are our associations with the type of detox to which humans have been turning for ages; a detox to cleanse the body and potentially rid ourselves of that which is unwelcome in our lives. Unbeknownst to some, while the detox does result in a removal of sorts, embarking upon the process of detoxification begins a journey within: a journey of self-discovery, creativity and connection.
Due to the body’s holistic and symbiotic nature, a detox will not only cleanse and bring awareness to the body, but also cleanse the mind and spirit in the holistic way that honors our natural design. Along with the positive outcomes associated with detox: openness to what is welcome, levity in spirit and heightened awareness, oftentimes what is also related to detox is the very negative feeling of deprivation.
Detox, however, is meant to clear and leave us open to greater connection. Whether sifting through misguided food messages to better connect and nurture the body, or pausing before answering that email to keep family time sacred, the mindfulness that results from a detox is worth the potential discomfort. Detox is meant to free us from the distractions that get in the way of a more fulfilling and grounded life. Taking that second to pause, think and feel before picking up the fork or phone, may be just what you need to shift and grow into the next best version of yourself.
It is a fact that our relationship with technology can be just as mindless as our relationship with food, or any substance that is the result of a misfired connection to a feeling. Considering how technology has impacted our lives as of late, we may more greatly benefit metaphysically from a device-detox, than by a more traditionally defined detox of food or drink. Even the morphology of the word “device” cautions us to be aware that it is “of” “vice” (de-vice). For many, technology has become quite the vice indeed.
We only have so much energy to spend in one day, and a device detox may free up some psychic energy that may have gotten stuck in a loop of distraction. The device detox can easily release creative energy within, unstick positive energy that has been stuck, and open us to connect and create more meaningfully in moments that were previously trapped in device distraction.
The idea of device detox has grown from a practice to a movement. “Disconnect to Reconnect” is the slogan of Digital Detox LLC, an organization that guides people through a more deliberate use of technology, even sponsoring retreats to take a time-out from tech. In our busy world with stimuli and to-do lists at every corner, it seems that our technological progress brings us not to the peak of advancement, but sometimes to the pits of communication. Smart phones and computers have connected us globally, but sometimes disconnect us from those sitting directly across the kitchen table. Forbes Magazine published an article entitled “Try The 30-Day Digital Detox Challenge”, encouraging readers to reevaluate their relationship with tech, step away from the phone, tablet or computer and lead “saner” lives. Are we as humans so prone to imbalance that the latest distraction is just another easy way to throw off our souls’ already delicate equilibrium?
The digital detox can serve as a recalibration to gauge our level of connectedness—a way to deliberately pause, breathe, reflect and look around before engaging with technology. It does not require us to throw away our phones, delete our Facebook or unfollow our favorite Instagrammers. It is asking us to look around if we are in the company of our loved ones, or take an opportunity to create rather than consume. It is calling us to step outside and connect with the natural world, both alone and with loved ones. It is calling us to take a deep breath, put away the smartphone and find comfort in the nothingness while waiting in line, sitting on the train or anticipating a coffee date. Sometimes some of our best ideas are born from an empty, and thus available, mind.
The digital detox invites us to let our minds wander, daydream and find pause amid an overstimulated world. Notice who is around you, with whom you can converse and where there is an opportunity to make a human to human connection. We know we will have evolved from a place of distraction to that of heightened awareness when we acknowledge that the message from within, or from the human in front of us, is of greater importance than the alert from the phone in our pocket. Digital detox requires us to pause, reflect and get to the heart of the matter, without losing the heart in the distraction of our devices.
Danielle Sullo is an educator, therapeutic writing facilitator and freelance writer in central CT. Connect with her at [email protected]