What I Learned from Fasting the Internet for 31 Days

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SEEKING EVE MONDAY

Sometimes seeking + finding requires stepping out of the game.

By Christina Crook

___________________________

We are little gods on the internet.

Crafting and controlling our image on the world wide web. My sister and I joke that we should start a site called realmom.com where we do weekly photo challenges like: “Go take a picture of your toilet seat. RIGHT NOW.”

It wouldn’t be pretty.

And much of life isn’t. But it is real.

And, like our friend Pam Hogeweide recently reminded us, as followers of Jesus, we should be the most human humans of all.

In an attempt to put things in perspective I felt prompted to take myself out of the online game.

For 31 days I fasted the interwebs in all its forms. No google mapping. No email. No blogging, online news or Facebook. Each day I type-wrote a letter to my friend, Marisa, chronicling the journey.

I was seeking to …

  • enliven my real relationships and filter out the extra
  • open my ears to God’s voice and my eyes wide to the world around me, while the hum of my online life fell quiet
  • remove my go-to time-fillers: contextless information via newsfeeds, Facebook and Google Reader
  • challenge me to engage with new ideas, books, conversations, I’d tend to miss otherwise

Here’s what I learned in 31 days off-line:

There is something about the immediacy, the therapeutic clickity-clack of the typewriter that allows for a different kind of writing. The kind that spills from the heart rather than the head. The kind that’s intended for a single, known reader than a large, unknown audience.

Stepping off-line for 31 days got my hands moving, disciplined me to write every single day with or without a four-month-old and a two-year-old clambering about my knees. It was a luxury I could afford, being home with the kids and not bound to online work through an out-of-house job. But it was a sacrifice.

I had to say goodbye to my online comforts.

It made me feel small. It showed me I am small.

It taught me how to trust, that the world keeps on turning without my words, without my likes and dislikes.

It revealed the beauty of unplanned moments, reminding me that chance encounters beat out an online connection any day.

I learned that the smartphone check-ins I make multiple times a day are not actual time-savers but time-suckers. That if I, as a mama-of-two, want to engage with new ideas, read books, study, create — then I have to save up all of those two-minute, one-minute, ten-minute windows and bank them for things I really want to do. Like write poetry. Phone my Grandma. Skype my sister. Read The New Yorker.

I remembered that my children are watching and practicing every move I make. Word and deed. For better or worse.

I discovered the peace, the quietness of mind, I had been hungering for.

And I learned that snail mail gets people’s attention.

______________

About Christina: 

Christina is a Toronto-based writer whose articles on culture, religion and technology have appeared in Vancouver, UPPERCASE and Geez magazine. She, her husband and two young children attend Grace Toronto Church.

Christina Crook is founder of SeekingEve.ca and author of Letters from a Luddite: What I learned in 31 days off-line, now available at Blurb.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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