Why Unplug?

Natural Fountain Laity Lodge

This week I am semi-uplugged. Teaching half days, every day. About spiritual practice. Using Ruth Haley Barton's book Sacred Rhythms.

Actually, teaching is probably not the best term. What I am doing is trying to make space for spiritual practices. Space in time and place, for a small group to experience what it is like to sit in solitude, read scripture using Lectio Divina, pray, develop a of rule of life, uncover life desires.

Today we looked at solitude. Many things resonated with me, but this surpassed them all— a quote from Barton...

Exhaustion sets in when we are too accessible too much of the time. A soul-numbing sadness comes when we realize that a certain quality of life and presence is slipping away as a result of too much "convenience." Breaks in the day that used to be small windows of replenishment for body and soul— like driving in a car, going for a walk, having lunch with a friend— are now filled with noise, interruption and multi-tasking. What feels like being available and accessible is really a boundaryless existence that offers no protection for those things that are most precious to us. (p.35)

Reading this, my soul said yes. And I decided to get back to my afternoon practice of outdoor solitude (something I committed to do for a year, and did, but have since let drift away). Having recently gone to Laity Lodge Retreat Center, where I discovered I really was exhausted in many ways, this invitation seems especially apt.

So. This afternoon, I shall take my cup of tea. Go where there are no outlets, no screens. And just be.

[btw, this post helps explain my comment on Are You Ready for Life Streaming?]

Quiet Waters at Laity Lodge photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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Blogger Sarah said...

I love unplugging. I used to be so much better at it than I have been lately, but I love it. I love having space. It's like a buffer between me and the rest of the world

4:35 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Sarah... and, oddly, it can make us more able to be with the rest of the world, as we come to our senses and find a place of fullness.

I love unplugging too. It raises the question of why we don't do it more often.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

I agree with Sarah. Unplugging is important because it gives us time to reflect on what's important.

Ironically, my blog is a place where I process and reflect. But if I'm not careful I get attached to the community side of having my reflections endorsed by comments and friends.

It's sick. Like I'm codependent on other people's approval of my self-reflection!

Stop! Unplug!

12:58 PM  
Anonymous SteamboatEcoBroker said...

Enjoy the quiet and peace. I just got a new puppy and she forces me to take those breaks we all need. We hike every day and I stop to relax for a little bit.


2:34 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Mark... that's exactly it. The reflection piece. I felt very keenly this week the need to get back to reflecting. Sometimes I don't like what comes when I take time in solitude. But sometimes... sometimes I am completely taken with the comfort of sudden truth and a vision for how to reach into it.

Steamboat... Welcome to Green Inventions. Puppies for solitude. Sounds like a cool slogan. : )

5:36 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I love my moments of solitude and quiet away from all things electric.To just sit somewhere out in creation with no radio,t.v. or computer is so necessary for me from time to time.Loved this post.~Sharon G.

10:07 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

The group was great. I'm sorry I wasn't there the last 2 days.
I also think, as an "introvert", the need is greater to unplug because the risk of "too much" overstimulation." is greater.
What do you think?

8:57 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... yup. :)

1:26 PM  
Blogger Joelle said...

Can I come, too? I don't mean bring my cup of tea and a chair right next to yours. But come to the solitude, the slowness, the silence. Why do I need to ask permission? Who do I think needs to grant it? What gets in my way? (Obviously not questions for another to answer for me. Please do. :) )

6:52 PM  

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