A Digital Sabbath may sound like a quirky experiment or maybe even a weird way to spend a day, but there’s more going on.
What you’re really doing is training your mind.
Instead of letting impulse dictate your actions, you’re consciously deciding where to place your attention. The ramifications of this skill building is huge in the departments of focus, resisting distraction, and staying on-track with what’s important.
So… ready to disrupt some obsessive and addictive patterns? Sweet!
Let’s push back the pervasive force of Kronos and invite Kairos back on the scene!
(To understand what this Kronos and Kairos thing is about, check out the last post.)
What sets the stage for a successful Digital Sabbath is P&P.
Digital Sabbath = a digital-free day. I didn’t make it up. I heard about it in a talk a while ago by some folks who have banded together and set forth 10 guiding principles at Sabbath Manifesto. Plus, my friends Warren and Betsy just did a full digi-free week! And my friend Megan offers a Digital Detox. So you see, it’s a thing. Go with it.
P&P = Plan and Prep
P&P makes sure you always have olive oil and chocolate in the kitchen when you want them, gets you to the party before the good appetizers are gone, and ensures that your favorite dress is clean on your birthday.
The reason I put this little guide together is to
- call your attention to some of the challenges you may face,
- provide ideas for how to approach your digital sabbath, and
- to remove some of the obstacles that may attempt to persuade you that it’s not a good idea for you right now.
Provide Yourself Some Light Scheduling
Scheduling is rather paradoxical for a digital sabbath, right? To be totally in Kairos mode, you’d go with how you were feeling each moment, i.e. No scheduling.
And… my experience is that I’m so habituated to doing and following my schedule, that when I have a full day of non-scheduled R&R, I don’t know what to do with myself. From traveling, I’ve observed that it takes at least a few days to detach from Kronos time.
Thus, my preference is “light” scheduling that is flexible and that I commit to not being attached to. If at any point, something comes up that feels more engaging, the rule is: go for it. No times, just ideas for things that I’d enjoy doing that are aligned with the intention of personal R&R.
I had an awesome experience of this at Burningman one year and talk about it on this podcast episode.
It’s also helpful to brainstorm ahead of time so you don’t have to come up with ideas on the spot (this is a big challenge for me).
For ex. (this goes along with a solo-retreat intention)
- Morning routine (a combo of yoga, meditation/quiet, journaling).
- Inspirational reading.
- Make delish breakfast.
- Go for walk or hike.
- Make yummy food, enjoy with friends.
Set an Intention
In case you’re thinking that this is a taking (your digital toys) away activity, set intention for what you’d like to invite in. Remember that Kairos is an experience of the moment, an invitation to sync your inner world with the situation at hand.
Maybe it’s to give more attention to listening to communications from your body. Maybe it’s to invite activities that support your well-being. Maybe it’s to spend quality time with friends and family. Maybe it’s to give some extra TLC to your spiritual life. Maybe it’s to let yourself be in Big Picture envisioning mode. Maybe it’s to just do nothing at all.
Prep for discomfort
Be willing to hang with the possible discomfort of not being constantly distracted. That’s real. Acting contrary to addictive behavior can be kinda like David going after Goliath. How will you handle this should it arise?
Maybe have pen and paper with you to jot down the feelings and thoughts going through your head (noting these thoughts can be quite informative re: what kind of unconscious beliefs are propelling you through your day).
Your mind will likely have all kinds of Very Important Reasons for why you should break your Sabbath immediately. Things like:
“It won’t change anything.”
“You’re not addicted in the first place.”
“That one little email won’t affect the whole intention of the day.”
“Sending that one photo to your friend Jenny would just make her day, and that’s more important than you taking a digi-free day.”
Etc etc etc.
Afraid to break it to ya, but those justifications are all bullshit.
Accept that it might be hard and remove temptation to make it easier on yourself.
- Leave the house and put physical distance between you and your gadgets.
- Power your phone down and leave it at home.
- Commit to observing the sensations in your body when feeling the urge to check-in with your phone.
- Get friends/family on board so that you can support each other.
Your Digital Sabbath Game Plan
It’s pretty simple. The prompts suggest a bit of forethought, to help your dedicated day go more smoothly.
- Print out
- Fill in
Moral of the story: have FUN with it (dang it!)
And then I invite you to share your experience on our FB Page.
P.S. If this is something you get really passionate about, you can hook up with the National Day of Unplugging which is coming up on March 4-5, 2016.
Just think, your doing it now puts you WAY ahead of the curve!