“ It’s only by keeping a distance from the world that I can begin to see its proportions and begin to try to sift the essential from the fleeting. I feel that so many of us now have the sensation of standing about two inches away from this very crowded, noisy, constantly shifting big screen, and that screen is our lives. It’s only by stepping back that we can see what the screen is communicating.” - Pico Iyer, on his TedTalk "The Art of Stillness.”
This past Sunday, we tried something new. From sunup to sundown, we treated our iPhones as, well, just phones and nothing else. We did not check email, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or browse the Internet.
At first, it felt a little strange not to wake up in the morning, check email, check the news, check the weather, and check social media. As the morning wore on, we both felt the urge to unlock our iPhones and “connect” with the digital world out there.
But then, something unexpected happened. As the day continued, our desire to check our iPhones began to fade. We felt liberated from being plugged in. We didn’t sneak away to check email, monitor new orders coming in, or see what’s happening politically.
At the end of the day, I suspected that I would be excited to catch up on the day’s news and reengage in social media. But truth be told, my urge to plug back-in diminished as nighttime approached.
In our own small way, we practiced what Pico Iyer would call the “art of stillness,” helping us to re-focus our attention and re-establish our intentions by taking a break. We chatted with friends after church while our kids played on the playground; we sat around a gathered table as a family to enjoy a good meal; and we just slowed down—a refresh we needed as we headed into the week.
Importantly, we discovered that just one day is enough to start disrupting unconscious habits and impulses to check our phones. As a small business, we rely upon technology—and heavily on our iPhones—to connect with mamas and papas around the world. We are grateful for this digital community, which has even blossomed into friendships outside the digital realm.
We do not want to disengage from technology. Rather, we want to engage in our digital lives more deliberately. To us, it’s just as important to step back, if only for a day, to help us re-focus on the truth, beauty, and goodness all around us.