My morning routine to prepare to write goes like this: Coffee and breakfast, read news headlines, but no stories, read Elephant Journal (a great place for mindfulness and mindless advice, plus some on writing), write in quotes from my reading the night before that help with describing people, places, things, emotions, etc., read three or for poems, and then begin writing only to be interrupted by a text, email, phone call, or teenager just waking up.
Oh how hard I try for calm and peace.
Parallel to all of this, I am in a pitched battle with my teenage daughter over removing her iPhone (I hat Apple for many reasons, but this is one) from her room at night so she has a better chance of sleeping. I am amazed that this is as difficult as it is and is the equivalent of wrestling a bottle of vodka from an alcoholic. She becomes incredibly angry and hostile.
Her main anxiety, and one that I am learning is common to all teenagers with cellphone addiction (probably all teenagers) is the fear of disconnecting from the world of the Internet and her friends. "What if X is having a panic attack at three in the morning? She needs me," says my incomprehensibly overtired teenage daughter.
But wait, I have a fully formed amygdala (the part of the brain at the front that handles emotions, decision making and memory) and yet I'm falling prey to the same idiotic piece of technology and anxiety. Fuck me!
Then I found this lovely quote in a story on Elephant Journal:
"It’s okay to turn off your phone and recharge your own emotional batteries.
At first, turning off my phone caused me anxiety. I immediately would think of all the people who would get upset with me for taking time to process and work. However, I ended up learning that if you set your boundaries, you will end up feeling more energized and rested—which will not only benefit you, but everyone in your life. Remember what our rights are—we have the right to say “yes” when we can expand energy, and we have the right to say “no” when we need to recharge."
Yes, I and my daughter have a right to disconnect. We have a right to not be available to our friends at three in the morning or to not be available to anyone at any time. I have the right to write in peace and my daughter has the right to sleep so she can function and care for her friend properly (of course, she's probably full of crap and just wants to chat or go online and watch Phil and Dave or whoever the next YouTube thing is).
And this has got me thinking of a total technology holiday. Not just turning stuff off for a day or two at the house, but go somewhere where connecting with the outside world is impossible, where you can only connect with the people you are with and your own lovely self.
Maybe there's a business in this somewhere?