Intense. Strange. Overwhelming. Larger Than Life. Chaotic. Overly Dramatic. Extreme. Over The Top. Violent. Sexualized. Disturbing. Undermining. Noisy. Fast-Paced. Exhausting. And lots more of the same.
These are the words that come to my mind as someone who was recently watching TV, while being that same someone who has lived within our home without TV for many years. These are the words and feelings of someone not used to this experience anymore. This is what I go through though each and every time I get back in front of it again; which I usually do several times a year, with the most recent experience being to watch the Patriots in a playoff game.
Each and every time I get back in front of it again, I have the same thought: What is happening to us? More to the point, what is happening for those of us who never get a break from this? Those of us left to base our thoughts and wants and beliefs on the all too often very strange images coming across a screen?
Most importantly of all, what is happening to the ones growing up now with so much intensity? The ones who will never know anything else but this. The ones believing that this is normal. And maybe even the best that they can hope for around how to spend their lives.
Contrast this to a woman I recently spoke with who keeps the Sabbath. For her this means no electronics for an entire day as part of her observances. And then there is another woman I know who is writing a book on keeping the Sabbath as an approach to living; a way to bring the mindset and practices of this sacred day into the day to day.
Sabbath is defined as a time of rest. And rest is defined as peace of mind and spirit. Is this not what we are all really looking for? More than anything else even? More than even what the almighty screens have to offer?
So how about it? What would it be like to designate a day? Or part of a day to going screen-free. You will need to give yourself enough time to stop feeling as though you are missing out on something. You will need to give yourself enough time to settle in, settle down, and forget about it. To watch how long this takes is, in and of itself, some truly valuable information. Not as a way to scold yourself, or feel bad about your choices. But instead, as an opportunity to see clearly the hold that it has on you, and then to go on to decide whether or not this is OK for you.
Get creative. Maybe your Screen Sabbath means not being in front of anything when you are with friends or loved ones. Maybe it means nothing right before bed or upon awakening. Maybe it means a TV-free night. Maybe it means you leave the emails at work for one or two designated times, and spend the rest of your day, well, working.
Any way you do it, could you imagine creating that all-important old school boundary referred to by some as the Sabbath? A regular time and space in your life when only certain things are allowed in? And as importantly, a time when many things are given no admission at all. Not because they are bad, but because every human being seeks peace of mind and spirit. And because tradition would tell us that one of the ways that we get there is to draw some very clearly defined lines in our lives around the technologies as the royal road to our own version of keeping the Sabbath.