By Bárbara from Offline Portugal
When was the last time you spent a week without your phone?
That´s it. This is why we do it.
Offline is not just leaving your phone in a locker for a week. In the days we live in, leaving your phone behind means leaving your comfort zone.
Let's talk about your comfort zone, how would we describe this area of your life? It is everything that your mind is used to it - your habits, your routine, everything that is familiar to you.
Here's another way of describing it: Your body is like a computer where your brain relates to the hardware. Since you were actually conceived in your mom´s belly you are receiving different codes and software in your computer ....until NOW. Everyday our mind gets different information: from work, relationships, family, travels, news, social media and so on.
These days it turns out that most of the information our computer receives is driven by the EGO - which is a sort of software that is run actually by others, not exactly what you ARE. The Ego is whatever is driven by what other people expect from you, or what it perceives as "normal" or fitting into society's model we live in.
So...if everyone goes on Tinder, why can't I? If everyone picks up a phone call from work at 11pm then so should I otherwise I will let people down.
The constant rhythm that we live these days - and by that I mean not only the working hours but also the restless minds we have - gets our computer full of viruses, things that we don´t really identify with but it´s there because we grew up WITH THOSE INPUTS. The only way we can reset the computer is BY STOPPING. DISCONNECTING.
That is what our offline experiences promote: for you to stop, breathe and give your mind (hardware) a reset. The same way you train your body for a marathon, you also need to train your mind to actually STOP.
In my point of view, the smartphone is one of the biggest distractions of our mind taking away your freedom to actually do what you want, anywhere, anytime. It takes away your attention and awareness to be fully present in any situation, anywhere, anytime. It takes away that PEACE of mind.
It affects you on a social, professional but most of all on your own personal level.
For example: when you are having a coffee with your friend/partner and you hear or pick up your phone you drive your attention to another reality - not the one you are having with your friend. Also, takes away your freedom to actually reply whenever you are available to do it and that leads to judgements of the others of “why is he/she not responding?”- Where is our freedom after all?
Communication issues and dealing with emotions are the main challenge for psychotherapists these days...
On a professional level, you are not absolutely free anymore since the work e-mails and Messenger is interfering with your non-office hours. Can you actually go on a holiday without checking in with work? It´s not by chance that burn-outs are dramatically increasing, even in 25 year old adults.
These are only a few examples of the way the smartphone can control your lifestyle unless you are able to control its usage. That´s our main goal: for you to be able to be in control of that tool so it doesn't take away your power.
Want more reasons to actually disconnect?
What are the benefits of disconnecting? Well, most of us suffer from anxiety or some type of stress. And that is really only because our minds are always in a non-present mode. The only thing that is real is each and every moment we have in the present moment.
If you stop, you train your mind to breathe and be present.
Plenty of studies are been done regarding the percentage of time we spend online and how it affect our mental health, and these sum up what we all feel in our daily lives yet it´s nothing but habits that we have created – from the people who actually invented these technology to our own personal consciousness and choices.
So, do me a favour now - after reading this - switch off your phone for one hour and do something that really pleases you: maybe a favourite indulgence or something that you have never done before. Then come back later and comment below.
Love and blessings,
Bárbara is the Offline founder, spiritual teacher & lightworker
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