The Usefulness of Unplugging

and my experience with a week of media deprivation

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.

~ Nikola Tesla

Hello Sunshine,

I’m experimenting with some changes to action potential. I’m also having some problems with the P key on my laptop, so you may see more typos than usual. I don’t know why. There’s probably some vegan cheeze dust down there from my Hippeas.

Anyway, I think it’d be fun to structure this newsletter by including recurrent segments, like starting off with a quote and ending with a section on things I currently love/loathe.

I’m one of those left-brain-dominant people who thrive in a good, solid structure.

I like to know the rules, even if I only intend to break them. More likely, I’ll nag others for breaking the rules like the Lisa Simpson I truly am.

Because life is short and so are attention spans, I figured I’d kick things off with my favorite quote. I love this one for so many reasons, mainly because it’s a reminder that everything is vital energy. Always dynamic, always flowing.

When I feel the stress of overwhelm coming on, I think of this quote.

It also reminds me of something I heard about atoms. If an atom was the size of a football stadium, the nucleus of an atom is about the size of a pea. Everything else is empty space.

My point is, we’re mostly blank space. Everything is mostly blank space.

When I start feeling tense, tight, or restricted in any way, it always helps to take a few deep breaths and remember this fact.

Let’s get into the core subject, shall we? If you want better sleep, less stress, and more free time, then read on…

The usefulness of unplugging

Our brains are like computers. If we don’t shut them down every so often, they fail to perform optimally.

They crash.

I just used that computer analogy in a conversation with my friend this week. We were talking about the need to take some downtime for yourself, especially during times of personal/spiritual growth and change. I brought up how you can’t use a device while it’s installing software updates. All it does is sit quietly and install the updates, then, when it’s ready, it restarts.

Humans, on the other hand, tend to continue demanding more and more of ourselves, regardless of what’s happening internally or externally.

The broken system we exist in praises overwork and rewards people for prioritizing productivity over their health and well-being.

I know that not everyone has the option to take time off when needed. That’s why I say the system is broken and not the people within it.

Affordable healthcare, paid sick leave, and guaranteed living wages are essential to making health and wellness a right and not a privilege.

Major policy changes aside, there are steps we can all take to improve our mental and physical health. Dedicating at least one hour of time every day away from devices like TVs, computers, and phones is a good start. It sounds basic, but if you start paying attention to how often you grab your phone out of habit, or boredom, you’d be surprised how quickly that hour of unplugging diminishes.

Personally, I use my phone for a meditation timer and usually have it on me for safety when I go for a walk. To reduce the temptation of getting sucked into scrolling my day away or answering texts that aren’t that important, I enable the do not disturb function.

I’ve also turned off most notifications, completely closed my Facebook account, and occasionally delete the Twitter and Instagram apps for a few days just to give my head a refresh. When I reinstall the apps, I just check the time usage on my iPhone screen to make sure I keep it under 15 minutes a day.

This week, I’m not on Instagram at all. Not because I’m on another social media detox, but because I’m on week four of The Artist’s Way, which calls for media deprivation.

That means no reading, (which is why there aren’t any articles linked in this newsletter).

No reading.

No news app, no social media, no audiobooks, no podcasts, not even real, solid books printed on paper.

For me, that’s scary!

I start and end my day reading.

There’s a rotating stack of nonfiction while I drink my morning coffee and Harry Potter novels on my Kindle at bedtime.

Even though I knew this was coming (because I’ve read The Artist’s Way before), I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure how I was going to fall asleep at night or prime my brain for the day each morning without it.

But I figured it out.

Now, instead of reading in the morning, I grab my laptop and write for 30-40 minutes. I always start the day writing morning pages longhand, but this is different. I work on various projects, like this newsletter for example, and it feels really good to accomplish something creative first thing in the morning.

As for bedtime, it hasn’t been an issue. My first night into it, I worked until I felt tired enough to fall asleep. After a full 24 hours without news and social media assaulting my nervous system, I started to relax and unwind at a deep level.

Sleep came easily.

Honestly, I’ve been going to bed around 8pm the past few nights and it’s been glorious! We get up at 4:45 five days a week, so this is a totally reasonable amount of sleep.

I’ll admit, I accidentally opened Twitter for about five seconds (I mistook the blue icon for a different app) and immediately purchased a shitton of Dogecoin as a result.

Speaking of social media... because I’m not posting Instagram stories this week, here’s a cute pic of my dog Bruce using my butt as a pillow.

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Back to business-

One of the best things about media deprivation is the time it frees up. I’ve been spending this time organizing and updating my wardrobe (thanks, ThredUP!), experimenting with new a new skincare routine, discovering music (love Jon Batiste), finally knocking items off the massive to-do list I made at the beginning of the year, and, of course, spending more quality time with my doggos.

My media deprivation ends at sundown Tuesday, which also wraps up Imbolc, the Celtic festival marking the beginning of Spring. Americans celebrate Groundhog Day, which means six more weeks of winter, or six weeks left til spring.

I’ve been leaning hard into my Irish roots and learning more about Celtic traditions. One of the interesting tidbits I read (last week) was about how they celebrated the beginning of a new season at the end of the previous one. They also considered sundown to be the start of a new day instead of the end of one. I like the optimism.

Even though we’re experiencing the coldest temperatures and preparing for a big winter storm, I notice the sun rising earlier and setting later every day.

I’m planning to honor Imbolc with some deep spring cleaning, garden planning, seed ordering, and maybe a bonfire to burn our Christmas tree and the giant wreathe my husband made.

Anyway, this feels like a good time to introduce my new closing segment(s), 

Lauren Loves/Loathes

Each week, I’ll finish the newsletter by sharing something I love or loathe, or maybe both.

I’m starting off with a loather.

Before I stopped watching YouTube, I saw this video of Stephen Colbert talking about water as a commodity:

As much as I loathe this topic and what it means for water rights, I love the fact that someone with such a wide audience is covering it.

I’ve been following water privatization Google alerts for the past five years or so. In my journalism heyday, I pitched the subject to dozens of news outlets in an effort to get more people to pay attention as well.

They all turned me down. Maybe I was four years too early?

Either way, this is happening and I want you to be aware of it.

Please don’t take your water for granted. Please pay attention to what’s going on with water privatization all over the world.

Because I don’t want to leave you with a scary, I’m inviting my friends and loved ones who live in cities to take refuge at my homestead in Maine in case food and water become scarce.

I’m not a prepper, but I’ve seen Mad Max, and I don’t think we’re too far off.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, each other, and the planet!