I Like to Be Creative, Too.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.29.09 PM

{the screenshot is from the blog article "why i don't have a cell phone"}

I just read a beautiful, simple article reflecting some of my own desires and choices over the past four years as it relates to technology and specifically my phone.  I do have a cell phone, though I have rarely used it until I "updgraded" to a new phone (as in "new" a year or two ago).  I kept mine and chose to upgrade because I am a pedestrian, living in a very urban environment (so emergencies do happen--I've called the cops or 911 a handful of times over the years when I've stumbled upon crazy scenarios either here in SF or in Oxford a few years back), and I am a female who gets harassed on the street.  The article is written by a person of the opposite gender as me who may have a car...and isn't privy to street narratives throughout the day...or perhaps lives in the suburbs where I live in an urban environment.  Regardless...

I decided to keep my phone (but a real dilemma; ask the Gent) and upgrade about a month ago.  Because Scotland may be on the horizon for PhD studies, and because he would be based in SF, we thought it was also a good idea to hold on to our mobile phones.  All that to say, I have one with a plan rather than one simply for emergencies.  I remember when I first got the new phone a month ago, the new operating system jarred me.  I felt this way for a few days, I didn't like picking up my phone because it caused my brain to feel alarmed and jittery.  Everything moved, it seemed to "awaken" my senses but it actually now feels like something has been taken away.  My peace.  The inducing stimuli, I am noticing, is having an effect on me:  I want to check my gadget every few minutes.  While this may come from having a few down moments here and there and desiring to "multi-task" and "save" time, I strongly wonder if it is more of a mild form of induced addiction--where my brain actually needs to the boost and needs more of it over time because the previous affects are no longer felt.  I don't seem to notice the stimuli anymore, and when I check my old phone, everything seems eerily still.  I almost don't like it anymore which is a strange feeling to feel.  (And I don't just think this is due to a more advanced, designed looking phone like clothes can look to our eyes and we can begin to distinguish what looks "out of date".)

I used to have a rule that I could only check email once a day (and it was on my computer since my old phone had cracked pieces of glass everywhere...and it was all too easy to slice my thumb in a swiping action).  I thought about it this way:  I wouldn't be spending my day next to the mailbox on the street, waiting for the postman; I would be out and about.  While times have changed, my point in saying this is that I find it is very hard to put this discipline into current practice (and perhaps especially when I am tired and not actively thinking how to counteract my surroundings like right now).  It feels like this new phone is somehow, seemingly, a bit of a stimuli-addicting device.  What is more, I also used to have a rule of not checking my email or phone in the morning--and taking space to have contemplative moments and then choose to engage with email when I could sit down and respond right away.  Now, in the morning, I "can't wait" to use my phone.  It feels so odd and a bit like I am controlled by something if I'm honest.  So this practice has also gone out the window in the past weeks.  I have a bunch of other technology-free disciplines I keep or try to keep, like resting one day a week from all gadgets, internets, and devices, and perhaps I'll write about these in coming months as well as this current experience and change I am noticing and "feeling" in myself.  For now, I simply wanted to share that I have been living in a space over the past almost 4 years where I was probably on my phone once a week, on my computer perhaps a couple of times a week, and had an abundant amount of time to think and be (and not just in my recent season).  A further reflection:  this also coincided when I nixed my Facebook account.  It's been almost four years and it has felt amazing.  I know that I am not built to have 400 friends.

All this to say, I cannot tell you how many epiphanies have come to me over the years as I chose to say "no" to say "yes" to something better.  I was able to be mindful in my present space, think, ask questions, ponder, explore, play, be, observe, write, think, engage, and live.  Read real books, have conversations in real time with real people and appreciate the stillness in the quietness and uninterrupted moments of life.  And also be okay letting go and shedding...  I believe that when I began to live like this as well as focus on my emotional and spiritual health, my creativity flourished.  I like to be creative too, and I'm grateful I know what that has felt like to be inspired to practice these disciplines again.