Digital fast

I spent the month of April 2016 in Bali. Many of my friends had travelled there and they all had experienced massive internal changes. They told me how the energies in Bali had put them in deep empowering, cleansing and transformative processes. It apparently has its own saying, called the Bali Magic. One friend of mine said that Mama Bali is going to force you into change with motherly gentleness. I thought, is that so?

The 19.5 hour flight went pretty well. I slept a little and the rest of the time I watched movies and TV series from my laptop. After arrival I first went to visit my friend Varpu in Changgu. The day after my arrival, I went to my laptop to watch a movie before going to bed. Unexpectedly it didn’t open. I was surprised as it had worked fine on the flight. I thought that it will be fine tomorrow. Next morning I didn’t check it, as we had an early breakfast and went cruising around Changgu. In the evening I tried again, and it didn’t open. I got a bit anxious.

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Since I was a little girl I’ve gotten used to watching movies and TV shows in the evening. It’s been my habit also to watch movies whilst eating dinner. This activity has been a way to calm myself and also a way to escape my feelings and my loneliness. In the following week I became aware that being without my laptop in the evenings wasn’t going to be my only challenge in this trip. After spending a few days with Varpu in Changgu, I left to Ubud to join a week long sound healing study retreat.

I’ve been writing everyday for at least 17 years, usually first thing in the morning. I can say that I write a lot, sometimes for hours. I started to write daily after reading Julia Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way, which is a 12 week process to activate your creativity. Through the whole 12 weeks you write the morning pages, which are this kind of consciousness writing that brings you back in connection with yourself. I really recommend the book. It’s a fantastic, liberating and enlightening process into the self. When I started to write this blog a few years ago, I got accustomed to writing with the computer instead of pen and paper. Now that my laptop wouldn’t open, I didn’t wake up to write in the mornings.

During the next week I noticed that I felt some what misplaced within myself. I realised that writing had become a way to connect to myself and now that I wasn’t doing it I felt like I couldn’t fully ground. It was a bit disturbing to realise that I felt like I needed a tool for that. Another habit (or I guess we can call this one addiction) me and a lot of people have is hanging out in social media. My hooks are Facebook and Instagram. Normally I visit those sites many times a day, but now I couldn’t because of this annoying fact which is age-related vision changes. I hadn’t taken it seriously and now to my surprise my specks didn’t have enough strength, so I couldn’t read writing that small. Because I couldn’t see well, I had no interest in fiddling with my phone.

A week and a half later, that misplaced feeling I had was gone and I felt good and connected without my morning writing spree. I seriously don’t remember when was the last time I had been this long without my devices. But days seemed to go well enough without them. In the morning I woke up, brushed my teeth, stretched and meditated instead of writing. Then I sat on the porch, had a cup of tea and watched people doing their things. Then at some point I went to have breakfast and usually I would meet someone by chance or I would meet my friends. Days had this beautiful flow to them and I felt there was enough to do. It was like those empty moments that I normally use my phone to fill, were gone. Maybe you know those moments:

  • When you are having coffee with your friend and he or she goes to the toilet.
  • When you are alone in a restaurant.
  • When you wait for a bus or you are just waiting in general.
  • When nothing special is happening.
  • When you feel bored.
  • When you’re watching Netflix and there is an overly violent or boring scene.
  • When your phone just draws you to scroll itself without any particular reason.
  • When you just feel the need to check what’s going on in there.
  • When you want to check who and how many likes your recent post got.

Now those empty moments were gone. I was social, more social than back home in Finland. I took contact to the people around me as I didn’t have a place to hide in, because my phone was unusable in a way. One night I was laying in my cute little room and just taking it easy after dinner. Me taking it easy without any sort of activity…?! Mind blowing! I realised then and there, that I had no need to watch a movie or to fill the moment with anything, I didn’t even want to read a book. Also for many days now I hadn’t checked for the millionth time if my laptop would open. Whilst laying there I had this weird feeling. This feeling was that my restlessness was gone. Restlessness that had been with me always, that little nervous wavering in my tummy and my chest was gone.

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With my friend Johanna enjoying this gorgeous view of the rice fields in Ubud, Bali

The next day my friend Chuck, who had been with me in the retreat and to whom I had poured my anxiety over my laptop to, sent me a message. He suggested I should try to open my computer now and said that he had this feeling that it would be time for me to possibly write something. I laughed and said to him, no way and that I had given up hope. He continued to persist, so I got up, got my laptop and tried and it opened. My mind was blown.

I ended up not writing in Bali, nor did I open my laptop for any of the previous reasons I mentioned, I didn’t feel the need. Life felt exciting and full enough without. Back home in Helsinki in my old environment I noticed even clearer and stronger how grounded and in my body I was. It felt really good to just be. I understood how Mama Bali had done its magic on me, helped, taught and changed me in the most unexpected way. My laptop opened when the lesson was done, after I got the much needed awareness.

I sat on my couch at home and fully enjoyed this feeling of peace and satisfaction that was emanating from my body. It was rising from presence. Whilst enjoying this amazing lightness of being I understood how I subconsciously use social media, my phone, movies and TV series to sabotage the connection to myself.

These devices can have enourmous negative affect if used without awareness. They are highly addictive and when used continually they make a person nervous and unsatisfied. This is sad and especially so because everybody everywhere does this all the time without awareness. Instead of connecting to the self, people choose to connect to something that does not bring wanted peace or satisfaction. Its like you want to feel good and have some ease, so you connect with your phone or watch TV, but this behaviour is an endless loop, an illusion that will never bring the peace you want. Unfortunately this behaviour has become natural and a normal part of everyday life for a lot of people in our society.

What’s great is that it took only one month of “forced” digital fasting and I was already used to a different kind of habit. It really didn’t take much of an effort. I don’t remember exactly how long I endured this new habit, but not long enough, so that it would have become a routine in my home environment. In the end I went back to flicking through my phone and spending evenings in front of the TV. I didn’t eat in front of the TV anymore, that I did quit fully. It was hard to protect and keep up with my vulnerable new found treasures in an environment where old unhealthy habits were an everyday thing, but that’s ok. Back and forward movement is part of development and growth.

I wrote about this subject now, because I am back in these old habits of mine and I am quite fed up with them. Not at all in this angry or self blaming kind of a way, but I’m just aware of what I am doing. I miss my body and the connection to myself more than the need to sabotage it.

So it’s time for a new fast, I recommend. I’ll do it a little differently than last spring. I don’t have the need to be super strict, instead I’ll allow the light of my awareness shine and penetrate through this behaviour and I’ll see what happens.

Have an awesome day!

With ❤️ Amira

 

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1 Comment

  1. I take digital fasts for a month or two every year. It’s crazy how I feel at peace when I’m digitally unavailable and I end feel sad when the day of the fast period comes. I know it’s back to the same old looking at other people’s lives (that I don’t enjoy and don’t enjoy participating in..). But I practice compassion and I know there will come a day that I no longer feel the need to fill in the gap, the day where I love and embrace the peace more. Thanks for sharing Amira.

    Like

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