Intentional Rhythms of Disconnection
Connectivity is absolutely essential to our quality of life. It has been shown time and time again that without significant interpersonal connections our minds, emotions, and even our bodies, begin to go awry (e.g., the more lonely and isolated humans are, the shorter their life expectancy).
At the same time, hyperconnectivity – our experience of being always-on via the Internet and our mobile technology – is a very different animal. Hyperconnectivity is necessary for much of the work and socializing available in our 2010 world, yet it does not (with perhaps a few exceptions – Farmville, obviously) meet the same intellectual, emotional, and physical criteria our human minds, hearts, and bodies require in order to thrive.
As a result, it is becoming necessary to reconsider what I call “intentional rhythms of disconnection,” that is, the need to unplug/go offline/disconnect from hyperconnectivity for brief, regular periods of time. Humans have always built in such rhythms throughout their history – Sabbath, weekends, days off, holidays, days of rememberence, Black Friday (ok, bad example). This is easy to forget in an always-on world that does not honor these rhythms with the fervency of those who have gone before us. It may even be frowned upon or laughed at.
However, this weekend (a break in the routine) might be a good opportunity to practice some intentional rhythms of disconnection. It might mean a break from Facebook, an hour with the cell phone off, a long walk in the woods. It may even mean a break from studies, working at home, time with friends, a Sunday away from church. Experiment playfully and creatively with this idea of intentional disconnection and take note of what it does to your thoughts, feelings, and body rhythms. Share your experience with someone else (and feel free to post it in the comments below) in order to help solidify your experiment.