Read the full, original article here on Elephant.
The number one lesson I learned from spending the month of February without a phone is this:
Phones are not necessary to our survival. Living without them, or at least using them significantly less, is better for our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Once you get used to it, it’s fun to pretend like it’s 1993 and read actual books. Or sit and gaze at the clouds drifting lazily across the sky, interjecting more simple meditative moments into the day.
All those times when you pull out your phone for no real reason? Waiting rooms, idle moments of boredom, after finishing a class, or ending a shift at work… Imagine that you can no longer default to this common activity.
This helps bring us into the present and release our grip on planning for the unknown future. It releases us from feeling the pseudo-urgent need to act on our every impulse to pick up the phone and send a message, or reread one, or Google how to make natural dish soap, or whatever.
And yet, I did buy myself another phone last week. Why? It’s a tool for my work as a freelance writer and consultant. Does it mean I need to be constantly connected? No.
I intend to use it less, to leave it behind more, to take advantage of do-not-disturb mode, to not let myself spend too many minutes staring at the screen every day, and to not check it every hour—just because.
This is nearly impossible though. As we all know, these things are quite handy and also super addictive.
I’ve found the only way to use a smartphone as a tool rather than a toy is to disconnect from it more often. Not just on silent mode but completely turned all the way off.
I am so appalled by the rat-race lifestyle so many people are living… working 12 hour days, five-plus days a week, for what? To let their children be raised by day cares or nannies? To be forever waiting for the weekend, the next vacation, the next break from the endless conveyor belt of capitalism? Is this the American dream?
Living this way, the phone can give us the illusion of escape. It becomes a device of mindless entertainment, a means of taking selfies and photos of whatever mundane moment of a zombie life. Are we gonna wake up to this and take back our freedom from the dumb phone? It starts with me and you, making the choice to disconnect from the devices and reconnect with yourself, Mother Earth and your beloveds.