a week without [part two].

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
― A.A. Milne

This is really a gift that I feel has been stolen by technology, particularly smartphones, these days. And it’s one that I feel like I can reclaim a little bit.

It has now definitely been more than “a week without” – it’s been almost 3 weeks! But it took one week without for me to sober up, and I’ve been on a roll since then. Life is normal. Pulling out my flip phone is no longer dramatic. Shame is gone, and little bit of pride has even crept in.

There are certain conveniences that I miss. I used the Weather app a lot before, I occasionally need directions, I’d like to see if a store is open or closed, etc. But it is not too hard to be a bit more planned, look things up before I go run errands, or make a phone call if I need something.

Strangely, the thing I was most sad to give up – Instagram – is no longer on my radar. When I sneak a peak at my husband’s phone, I scroll through quickly, finding myself oddly detached. But that is just what I wanted – to be delightfully detached.

The big things I hoped for are still coming. There are indefinitely more changes needed in my life until the things that hinder me are thrown off. But there are some gifts that I’ve been able to experience through this one change, and one of these is the gift of Doing Nothing. Of not feeling so connected to everyone and everything at all times. Of letting my mind wander. Of just being. It is truly a gift that I’m thankful for. Because it is in those quiet moments where One can whisper calmness and peace into the chaos. And if all that can come from one small change, I can safely say I don’t have a need to trade it up for a few small conveniences.

a week without [part one].

day 1: First things first, my morning routine has really been shaken up! Different alarm, no social media to check in bed – I actually have to wake up and live my life! When I got to school I was trying to text co-workers to get things sorted out for the day, and I couldn’t figure out how to text quickly/efficiently! I forgot how to use T9! It was laughably overwhelming.

All throughout the day, I had the urge to pull out my phone – just to check. Check what? I’m not sure – that’s how stupid it was/is. I sat down to lunch before my co-workers came into the room, and I didn’t have social media to surf through. But why couldn’t I just let my brain be quiet for a few minutes? Why do I feel the need for some sort of stimuli, even the “time-killing” kind, at all times?

I went to a concert, and I found myself jealous! Jealous that I couldn’t take out my phone with a nicer camera to take a picture. But why the heck did I need a picture? I would never go back and look at that picture of the soundboard I was sitting next to, or the fun background lights on the stage. I would take the picture to put on Instagram and then obsess over the number of “likes” it got. Why do I persist with this culture of comparing and hoping people think my life is exciting or intriguing or (fill in the blank).

All in all, I’m ashamed of my stupid emotions and how attached I really felt to my phone and how dramatic of a change it seemed. But I guess day 1 still qualifies as the detox stage. I didn’t get the shakes, but I sure didn’t feel good!

day 2: Things came with a bit more ease. I’m really started getting the T9 down (although I couldn’t figure out how to add a word that isn’t in the system … ). There was less of a need to check my phone all the time, although I was wishing for more texts to come through so I did have something to check.

The one emotion I felt was shame. I was with some seventh grade girls and pulled out my phone, and they looked at me with shock and said, “Is that your phone??” As a younger teacher students usually think I’m cool and relatable, with many requests to follow my Instagram. And this felt like a total knock! So I tried to explain a bit of my reasoning, but they felt that they could never do that! Hopefully my influence will do something in them, and hopefully my pride doesn’t depend on a 12-year-old’s opinion of me.

day 3: Saturday morning without social media was sad, but OK. I could enjoy a few extra minutes of sleep and let my brain rest a little bit longer. I did miss my Weather app convenience, trying to figure out what kind of Saturday run I would have (FYI – it would be a smartwools and headband run … ugh).

The major conveniences I missed involved communication. I had people trying to send me pictures or “contact cards” that I couldn’t see! Rather annoying to respond with, “My awesome new flip phone doesn’t show me that, so please email me or tell me what you’re trying to say.” But then I wonder if the conveniences of communication are worth $40/month. Maybe??

The emotion of the day was annoyed. Annoyed that communication was more difficult. Annoyed that I couldn’t quickly look up an address that I was trying to find. But I’m still a bit resolved that my annoyance was coming from the fact that I’ve been so adjusted to this convenient life, and convenience is just that – convenience, but not necessary.

 

why I’m giving up my smartphone.

This has been a long time coming for me. I have felt the nudge for quite some time, but more recently I haven’t been able to let it go. My sister and I often discuss the idea of giving up our phones, especially in light of her little babe who is 8 months old and can’t help but stare at a smartphone that is within sight. My friend is a high school teacher who challenged her students and herself to fight consumerism in a variety of ways, one of which was “unplugging.” I was appalled when I heard that in China, on the day of the release of the iPhone 6, there were tailors at the Apple store to alter pocket sizes for people so the phone with fit in their pockets! And most recently I attended a conference in which the pastor spoke about letting go of the things that hinder, living “delightfully detached” in the world. That was the final nudge for me.

Now I don’t really think I am addicted to my phone. But I certainly spend way more time on it than necessary. It is not necessary to wake up and immediately check all of my social media and emails, even before getting out of bed. It is not necessary to scroll through my phone instead of looking up and smiling at the people in the check-out line with me. It is not necessary to check my Instagram every five minutes, just in case one more picture has been put up. And it is ridiculously unnecessary to feel the need to surf through Pinterest and the internet while I watch TV, an already a mindless and consuming activity. It is not necessary. (I might also note that I don’t use my phone for email or the calendar or any other really useful tools that most people use so often! So, no, it is really is not necessary.)

Again, I don’t think I am truly addicted to my phone. I must admit, though, that I was stupidly nervous about giving it up (but had to quickly let that go when the song “Addicted” was playing in the Verizon store when I went to make the switch – it was like a smack in the face). And I do not think that it is an evil tool by any means. However, I can’t deny the fact that I fear what the gross overuse of this little device is doing to our brains. Babies are immediately drawn to them in a rather scary way. Kids’ brains are developing differently, and we would be foolish to overlook or ignore the correlation with the increase in technology and screens. I am, however, just a judgmental simpleton – no scientist, by any means – so take my judgments for what they are … just judgments. (But this article gives a quick look at what is happening with kids! :))

I don’t think this step is for everyone. I think smartphones are amazing and open us up to an incredible world. For some people the technology allows them to access the world in a way that they never could before. It is truly amazing.

But for me, I want to let go of the things that hinder, the things that I don’t need. I desire to be more friendly to the strangers around me, to admire and appreciate creation without feeling the need to take a picture of it, and to let my little brain wonder about things before needing to look up the answers.

I don’t know that all of these things will happen. But I pray that this small step will in a different way open me back up to the world around me and to look to the only thing (Person) who is necessary. (And I hope I don’t eat my words in a few weeks :))

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(here is the new beauty!)

sugar scrub.

I have lately taken a simpler approach to facial care.

Each night I use my coconut oil mix to remove makeup, followed by a hot towel.

For spots that I’d like gone, I use a drop of melaleuca (tea tree oil).

For a cleanser in the shower, I use a squirt of my body wash.

But I needed a little exfoliant. Sugar scrub to the rescue!

I used an extremely simple recipe … brown sugar and raw honey. Brown sugar is a little softer than white, so that was a better option for me. Raw honey has some amazing properties to it that made me feel good about using it on my skin. Raw honey, when compared to pasteurized honey, has not been heated and processed, so it retains its bee pollen and all that makes it amazing. Similar to many essential oils, it has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is an antioxidant and promotes skin healing. There are so many uses for raw honey, both when used on skin and taken internally. Read about them! 🙂

For my sugar scrub, I used a 1:1 ratio, adding an extra scoop of sugar for the extra “grit” that I wanted. Mixing the ingredients right in my mason jar, this took me all of 3 minutes!

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Brown Sugar & Honey Scrub
1/4 cup + 1 T of brown sugar (can use raw sugar if you’d like)
1/4 cup raw honey

Combine and use on your face or body!

Enjoy!

*note: the ingredients will separate, so you’ll need to quickly mix them before using