Technology Shabbat

This past weekend I experienced a profound twenty four hours while participating in a Technology Shabbat.

In the Jewish culture Shabbat is a holy day “of rest and spiritual enrichment” beginning at sundown on Friday until sundown Saturday. Although I am not religious, I grew up unplugged. My mother restricted my technology use to several hours per week. This led to a childhood spent reading the works of great authors, playing with my siblings, acting out adventure stories and writing stories of my own. For hours on end I daydreamed at the top of my favorite Poplar tree, connecting with the earth, the wind and my inner self. My family began a running joke that if they couldn’t find me all they had to do was “go outside and look up”. This engagement with the present was my normal.

 

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Since those days swaying in the upper branches of that Poplar tree, I have only experienced snippets of that intimate connection to the present. With my ‘To Do’ list as cursed as the heads of Hydra, my mind is constantly engaged in how I can be productive. Tweeting, emailing and blogging consume my moments. So when I heard of Tiffany Shlain’s weekly technology shabbat, I was keen to give it a go. And so Friday, at the grey of twilight, I turned off my gadgets and put them out of sight. In that moment, the cacophony had been silenced and the vastness of space rose to my awareness. I had room to dream, think and create.

The next twenty four hours were a delicious treat. I was present in the moment. I was renewed body, mind and soul. Sun down on Saturday rolled around and I was eager to reengage with technology, but for a different reason than before. I wanted to enjoy rather than be productive. How enriching it is to simply enjoy! And for these benefits, I plan to continue the Technology Shabbat each week. I want space to think, I want to sit in silence; I want to once again daydream in that Poplar tree.

 

Are you ready for a weekly unplug?

Tiffany Shlain is a mother, wife and filmmaker. Founder of the Webby Awards, The Moxie Institute and the force behind the AOL Originals series “The Future Starts Here“, Tiffany is an inspiration.