On Saturday night, I turned off my phone. I was itchy with anxiousness, inexplicably stressed and overwhelmed with my own addiction to phone-grabbing every five minutes. What did I hope to see? A text from a friend, any shred of drama to wrap myself into, comments on my Instagram . . . anything to distract me from the practices that make me feel the best. Ever since my 2-month Social Media Cleanse, I've awakened to my own sensitivities to outside opinions in the virtual world. I seek validation, encouragement and inspiration from external sources. It's a let down. I'm repeatedly disappointed with the inability of others to give me the approval I need to give myself.
In my beginning stages of personal development, coming off hard living and morally shaky choices, I felt like I needed to soak up any information that would make me a better person. I'd start my day with a "Positivity Party" - 20 minutes of ear-time with one motivational speaker or another - Les Brown, Brendon Burchard, Wayne Dyer. I filled my free time with YouTube tutorials and webinars about online business. I sucked the fun from my life, replacing it with worthy distractions.
After years of digesting everyone else's advice on how to live, I couldn't decide what to eat, how to have fun or which way to turn in my business. It scared me to think that no matter how well-intended the advice may be, it'll never be as pure as the guidance I could give myself. A little time away from social media was a convincing confirmation that I could trust myself. I wanted more access to the clean channel that was Me. I wanted more self-inspiration, more excitement and more creation that was 120% elyse.
So I turned off my phone on Saturday night and decided to go six full days without my sidekick. The first day, I did everything in silence. I didn't play music from my computer or listen to my usual inspirational fair. Just me and the symphony of voices in my head for a whole Earth's rotation. On day two, the guilt set in. My parents might be worried. What if my friend thinks I'm avoiding her? I have all those FB messages I haven't responded to! What if everyone thinks I'm a bitch for ignoring them?
It's day three, and I'm still a little in my head. But since the start of my phone-free week, I've finished writing another book chapter, produced multiple micro blogs, eaten much healthier, taken walks and started meditating again. I feel more creative and a little less internally stressed. My point of virtual cleansing is never to eradicate technology. I love the internet, social media, email, texting. It feels amazing to be able to live my dream with only an iPhone, MacBook Pro, some basic equipment and my soul. It's unreal what we can create with these resources~ what we can share throughout the magical connector of the interwebs. What I want from this Phone Detox is the space for more of my own ideas to shine through. I want to have more fun in my day-to-day life~ the life that's right in front of me, not on my phone. I want to feel fulfilled by acknowledging my own gifts, accomplishments and inherent worth. I'd love to become less reliant on others' feedback.
Any time we clear something from our default routine, a certain level of withdrawal sets in. What we're used to having right here right now, is unavailable, so we're encouraged to access our own ability to comfort, lead, support and inspire ourselves. If you're someone like me who, prior to these virtual cleanses, felt like I couldn't function without my devices, you'd be amazed by how easy it becomes after a few days. It's freeing to not respond right away. It's empowering to explore your own solutions. It's refreshing to rewire addictive habits. And you might even get a hell of a lot more done in a way that feels easier, too!
Virtual Cleansing is a gateway to trusting ourselves more, stressing less and accessing inspired ideas on the regular. Pretty sweet deal if ya ask me ;)