Connecting by Disconnecting

Makai 7th hole.jpg

What can happen when we choose to not answer emails, respond to text messages, return phone calls, or schedule anything?  I don’t know what can happen because I’m still doing all of those things that I said I wouldn’t do.

My plan for this trip to Hawaii was to go into a black hole for 8 days. I even did my best to manage the expectations of others by turning on the auto-reply letting people know I was on vacation for 9 days with an intent to not read or respond to any messages. The week leading up to vacation was filled with crazy long days as I crammed everything in so that there would be nothing left on my to-do list when I got on the plane. I was prepared, so now that I’m here why is it so hard for me to just relax and be where I am?  My goal was to disconnect with my regular Minnesota life in hopes that I could reconnect with myself and my husband… and for me, it’s really hard to do that. Perhaps my expectations are too lofty. Perhaps I’ve had some small wins. I thought maybe I would feel better tonight if I spent some time reflecting on what has been different over the last 5 days.

When I go to the pool, I don’t take my phone with me. I only bring books to read that are actual books and don’t involve looking at a screen.

When we’ve gone to dinner at night, I’ve left my phone at home so that I can focus on being in conversation with the people at dinner.

I’ve taken walks and just listened to music – no podcasts – no business books – just music that makes me happy and pumped up about being able to be in this beautiful place.

The only phone call I made was to check on how our puppy dogs are doing at the kennel, and that only took 90 seconds.

I have not turned on a TV, checked any scores or seen any news headlines.

I’ve played games with friends for 4 nights in a row.

I got up early to watch the sun rise.

I’ve spent time thinking about what makes me feel good about myself and life.

I’ve realized that while I love the slow pace, the sound of the ocean waves, the fresh pineapple, and living in shorts that I would not want this for an extended amount of time.  I could maybe handle 2 weeks of vacation and then I need to feel as if I am doing something meaningful and productive. I am only in love with the idea of the relaxing life – in actuality, I mostly love my current life. What I really want is to infuse a little more disconnect into my everyday life – not work like crazy for 50 weeks so I can spend 2 weeks doing nothing. I believe if I can successfully do that, I will feel more connected to who I am at my core – not who everyone else needs or wants me to be. I think it’s about moments – a consistent flow of daily moments.

I don’t have a plan for how to do that yet, but I am going to practice disconnecting so I can feel more connected. I can have a full life – a busy life – a successful life and still have a disconnected life. Life is short and moving really fast and I don’t want to miss a moment of the ordinary, everyday moments because I am focused on the unimportant things. As my buddy said today on the golf course, “I need to remember to look up today. If I’m not careful, I will get heads down into this golf game and forget to notice my beautiful surroundings.  At that point, it just becomes another game of golf.”  I want to make sure that I remember to look up – look behind – look forward –  look to my side - look somewhere besides down at the same old patterns and structures and schedules that can keep me busy but don’t connect me to what is important.

Time to get off this device and read a book while I listen to the waves pounding the shore … and ponder what it is about the sound of crashing waves that soothes me …