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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

Digital Sabbath and What the Spirit Reaches For…

First, a little Mary Oliver to begin with on a rainy Thursday morning…

I Have Decided

I have decided to find myself a home in the mountains, somewhere high up where one learns to live peacefully in cold and silence. It’s said that in such a place, certain revelations can be discovered. That what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m not talking about a vacation.

Of course at the same time I mean to stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

To me, this is a beautiful koan of a poem. An open, unanswerable question that bears great fruit in the asking. Is it possible for me to stay right where I am, in my life as it is, with inner access to the stillness and silence of the mountaintop?

One surprising access point I have discovered has been in our recent family experiment of a Sunday Sabbath from cell-phones and the internet. It is surprising because it is essentially a return to how life was 15 years ago, and yet the freedom and spaciousness that comes from unplugging for one day is remarkable. We are certainly not tech junkies, have not had a TV for 20 years, and still, that slight shift for a day makes a significant difference in our sense of time and space, and in our quality of connection.

I would notice, for example, as I walked through our office toward the bathroom, a kind of tractor beam around the Mac, inviting me for a “quick check” on Facebook or NBA scores etc…Same with the cell phone, to go out with Mesa for an adventure with no camera, no way to call, no way to exit the moment…

I appreciate so much around technology. I love that an idea that is ripe in the field can suddenly blossom into a movement- just looking at Brene Brown, or Charles Eisentein or even Russell Brand’s revolution- there is amazing potential in the transmission that can come through technology. I also resonate with Moshe Feldenkrais’ view, that it is often not the activity that is a problem, but rather the level of compulsion that goes with it. With technology, we have all picked up quite a few invisible compulsions and habits, as is evidenced in this two-minute video here.

We were speaking in our Tuesday night class about how easily the natural pauses, the natural spaces that occur in life – such as a red light, a gap between activities can be filled in with a quick email check, a text, and etc.

And how different 30 seconds feels when sensing the ground, returning to the breath, taking in the moment compared to scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed.

May your day be filled with pauses where, in Mary’s words, what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood.

Best,
Carl

p.s. Erin still has two spaces open in her Women Embodied 2014 class, and 3 spots for her Restorative Retreat on Sunday. Please contact her if you are interested.

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