A few years a go I wrote a blog called How To Be Happy With Less. It was the start of a long process of simplifying my life. Although massive strides have been made I still have a way to go. My life was incredibly cluttered physically, emotionally mentally and spiritually; there’s a lot of letting go to be done.
Here is a post I wrote back then about what was happening as I simplified my relationship with emails. It still feels relevant today as I often hear people talking about how stressed they are by all the pinging in their in-boxes.
“I do want to be happy with less, and whilst I wouldn’t say I am unhappy it can be a challenge at times to find the contentment in the giving up of things; first I often have to face grief, frustration, and the THE VOID!
The trick is to move through these to a place where a sense of peace is reached regardless of what others are doing, what the societal norms are or what is considered “good” or “successful”.
One of my wrestles at the moment concerns the amount of email I receive in a day, which is hardly any now. That should be good right?
My discomfort lies with the withdrawal I have had as my emails reduced and declined in number. It is all of my own making and what I truly desire but nonetheless I have had to run the gambit of my emotions to get to the place where a handful a day is plenty.
Well, although I, along with so many others, complained about the amount of email I had to deal with, I was also very attached to them. It was a sort of status thing, telling me I’m important because I’ve got X emails dropping in my inbox a day or whatever, I must be SO IMPORTANT, SO INTERESTING, SO NEEDED, SO UP-TO-DATE and so on. Look at how BUSY I am!
The other thing is the fear of it letting go, the “what if” dis-ease. What if I miss out on something because I’m not connected all over the planet, not receiving all this information most of which I don’t even read.
What if……………………………….fill in the blank, there are many.
Thankfully my desire is to move to a place where I value myself for who I am not what I have, what I do, who I know and what I know. A place where I have the time and space to be with what really matters to me.
Giving a posive meaning or value to things that make my life difficult is crazy, and yet I understand this is something we humans do because there will be some positive intent muddled up in there, an attachment to something. The pay-offs With email flooding in, even things I didn’t read or really care about, I could delude myself into thinking I was connected, important, up-to-date, current or whatever it is.
I could also avoid the void.
I don’t want to be there anymore, the pay-off has stopped working and I have to pass through the email withdrawal hell, the void.
I’m afraid of the VOID, the place that is left, the place to be filled. I fear I might fill it with the “wrong” things and find myself back at square one. Am I up to the job of filling it?
Am I up to the job of allowing and trusting that it will be filled, and to allowing what will be, to arrive?
So, my cry is unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe! “
Can you face the void, the place that opens if you unsubscribe, if you unfollow, if you turn off notifications or even delete altogether?
What happens there? Do you immediately fill it?
What do you fill it with, more of the same?
Do you feel unsettled, a little ruffled, like something is missing?
Can you sit with that feeling and allow it?
What is your fear?
What is the pay-off to avoiding the void?
Changing our relationship with modern technology is a choice of course, something many do not even see the need for. But if you do then be brave, be courageous and do it.
I am currently working on my own relationship with Facebook as I know it’s not always healthy. I love some of the connections I have made, the interesting and supportive groups I am part of, but I also recognise how easily I drift into the nether regions, lost in other people’s stuff. Some of it is interesting, some of it challenging and some of boring piffle. But most importantly for me to remember is that the majority of it is of lower value than other things I want to be doing in my life, so I need to deal with it.
What about you?
“The difference between technology and slavery is that slaves are fully aware that they are not free”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb