On Going Under

     There are two times in my life that I have thought about the literal and metaphorical idea of going under a wave to avoid being swept away: first, while learning to swim, panicking as a frothy wall of water billowed toward me, until my father convinced me to take a deep breath and plunge into the calmer water below. The second was that metaphor applied to the strong contractions that rolled over me as I gave birth to my three children; each time I found that point where I could give in to the power and let it take its course.
     I am now suggesting a new application. There is a tidal wave of information rolling through our lives at every second. Phones, meetings, seminars, webinars, products, diets, health fads– and news of atrocities we can’t prevent, wrongs we can’t put right, endless cute, funny, alarming and terrifying information that assails us at every beep and ping. We need to go under the waves, to the quiet depths, for part of each day. Cook without distraction, walk without headphones, talk without phones or screens nearby, and create your art in a quiet studio.
     My commitment to myself for 2018 is that I will expand the silent practice I have begun. I have no wifi in my studio. My phone knows when I am driving and stops all alerts. I sleep with my phone turned off. Disconnecting is not a punishment. It’s not a diet. It’s clearing an obstacle and creating an open channel that funnels in the big wide world, and lets you hear your own thoughts. I will always connect intentionally, but I will no longer be a receptacle for the digital detritus barreling towards me. I will spend hours in the quiet depths, listening to myself.

Connect

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