Twenty years ago when I opened a Hotmail account, I wrote my first email to my grandmother from Mysore, India. Toppy and I had exchanged letters regularly since I was a child, and I was thrilled by this magical device that let me see her letters in a matter of hours, rather than weeks. Fast forward 25 years, and my fascination with email has waned, to say the least. So I’ve devised a simple tool for sanity and self help that has been life changing.
Ironic isn’t it how one small shift can completely transform your life? The invention that connects so many people in real-time can also leave us feeling so disconnected.
One Small Shift Can Be Life Changing
Many of us no longer sit quietly to watch a sunset, or sit in a sidewalk cafe simply to observe the flow of life, or open a hardback book to read–much less compose a hand-written letter. These are precious gifts, and habits I developed early in my life. I would hate to imagine life without them. We wouldn’t dream of getting on an airplane to India without having a hotel reservation, or without even knowing if the teacher you are going to study with is in town! (He wasn’t, at first.)
We can see how this simple shift —access to internet—has transformed our world, and our lives. One small daily shift and BAM our lives took a different turn. Habits matter. So it is worth looking at the habits we have developed.
Best Self Help Advice: Disconnect Daily
Just as our internet usage started with one simple choice, so we can choose to undo habits that no longer serve.
When you change your daily habits without awareness—you start eating more cake, having that extra glass of wine in the evening, or start the morning with email instead of a walk or a yoga practice or picking up your pen or paintbrush—then the tone of your day is set. Combine a string of days, and the tone of your life is set. Self help is nothing more than taking care of yourself.
Transformation happens when you take time out from the daily onslaught of trivia. When you shift your awareness from external to internal reference points, you reaffirm the connection with your inner wisdom. This relationship is like any other–it thrives when we make it a priority.
Adopt One Life Changing Habit To Invite Transformation
It is as simple as changing our daily habits. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Start small. Notice habits that nourish you and those that don’t. Your body knows. Then make one small change and set a boundary around your internet use.
Here are some ideas:
- Turn off your internet at night. Don’t turn it on until after your morning practice.
- Put your phone in a drawer on Sundays and don’t open it until Monday.
- Get an alarm clock. Keep your smart phone out of your bedroom.
- Use an autoresponder to let people know you received their message and will get back to them–when it is convenient for you. Get comfortable with the feeling of letting people wait to hear back from you.
- Delay checking email until after breakfast
- Close up shop and your devices after dinner
- Leave your phone at home when you go for a walk
I know for some people this may seem radical or unreasonable. But even just setting an intention to reduce online time has huge results. Start small and experiment.
The past few weeks I’ve had to focus on meeting a deadline so was forced to set limits and focus on my project. I have been amazed how how much more peaceful I feel when I limit internet usage.
Connect to the space of your mind instead! You will be happy you did.