I don’t need a piece of wood to whittle, but I do need some space. As I’ve worked to get my technology habit under control, I found myself slipping ‘off the wagon’ this summer. It wasn’t pretty. I was checking my phone before bed, in bed, while PIC was trying to have a conversation with me, and at 100 other inappropriate times.
I was reading an article and incidentally, it started around the same time that I started swimming. I really enjoy swimming and luckily, the weather here has not let me down, it’s flaming hot. What’s nice about swimming is that while it’s not the act of doing nothing, it’s an activity that mandates there is no technology involved to distract me. Yoga is much the same way. The meditative state has become a luxury when it should be a priority in life.
So, I had faith in the Internet and took their advice. I made an iced coffee, left everything in my life inside of the house and went and sat outside. It was barely 9 a.m. so it was still relatively cool, the sun was not shining on the patio, and I had a giant iced coffee. And nothing but my thoughts…..
It was not hard to sit outside and enjoy the delightful morning. I took the time to notice that mowers were busy in the distance, a back up sound was being made in the distance, and that I could hear people going through their morning routines as well. I could smell oatmeal, hear spoons hitting bowls, and hear a vacuum running. I rent a townhouse with PIC in town to be close to the action and my townhouse row backs up to another living community, hence all of the extra people noise. In my previous life, I rented a house on the top of a mountain (really) and it was pretty silent. I had a huge “L” shaped porch where I did spend a lot of time on the swing sipping drinks and enjoying the peace and quiet. I hope to return to that state of living sooner than later and will happily sacrifice living 2.3 miles from my office for some more quiet. When I lived in the ‘motherland’ I owned a home and would often find myself out in my gardens first thing in the morning. Weeding, picking, harvesting, and general maintenance was soothing to me. Taking a half hour to sit with myself without distractions led me to a realization: it seems I have got myself stuck without any space.
It’s a start. Carving out some time to just sit with myself. No technology, no distractions. Yoga helps because they treat it like life should be treated. With ease. There is no rush in yoga, there is only the mind to contend with. You recognize your thoughts and then allow them to enter and exit without too much worry. All of the instructors I have ever had all say something similar during class, “watch your thoughts, see them come in, acknowledge that they are there, and then let them go.” Why can’t all of my days be like that?
I know the answer, but it seems like we could train ourselves to be content from time-to-time. The over-stimulation of technology has made us all a little grumpy with ourselves and each other. Maybe it’s the election year or the awful shooting in CO, but people are getting downright nasty. Abrasive, aggressive, combative, with that train of thought that one tiny statement identifies a whole culture. It’s too much.
I did take a few drastic measures recently to help with this journey. I shut down my facebook account. With all of those ‘friends’ it had really made me quite grumpy about social media. I have a second fb account, a much smaller friend list account and started a page for my blogging escapades. Please hit me up if you choose to and give me one of those “likes” at Domesticated Academic. I’ll still be cooking, taking photos, and thinking about education, but I hope to not get annoyed with myself or anyone else as a result of social media. I’m taking a one month hiatus from the ‘large friend’ account. Let’s see how it goes!
So, as I slide into a little down time B.S. (before students) I’m going to do the followings things:
- spend some time with my bad self–the good, the bad, and the morning breath ugly
- unplug more–quite frankly, i’m becoming pretty disenchanted with social media and could use a break
- focus more on creating my own space–swimming, coffee, laying in a pile somewhere, i have to find it
- work on my summer reading list. three books down, one to go.
As a new faculty, what do you do to try and create some space in your own head while managing all of the other voices pulling you?