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The Magic of Untethering from My Cell Phone

Earlier this year, I decided to untether from my cell phone. I have a feeling this will rank among a few of the best decisions of my life when my time here is up.

Why untether? Primarily because on careful reflection, I concluded that having my iPhone on me for most of my waking hours was hurting my quality of life in a significant way. In constantly being available for the world to put me into reactive mode, spending my energy on issues that don't need my immediate attention right now or ever, I have far less capacity to be fully present in the moment.

Being tethered hurts my ability to create value for others. When my attention and thoughts are suddenly washed away by a call, text, or notification, I might as well be punched in the face - such is the loss of power, purpose, and engagement that can occur.

The extreme danger of being tethered is distraction that leads to death of oneself or others. Or serious injury with lifelong consequences. Rates of death and injury attributed to distraction by a cell phone are only going up.

I fully recognize and am grateful for the many ways in which smart phones can improve quality of life. But in my experience, there is a point at which being connected for too many hours a day leaves me diminished.

When I’m on my cell phone, I want to be fascinated. I want to learn. I want to empower myself with knowledge, skills, and ideas. I am grateful to use my phone to connect with loved ones. I'm equally thankful for the opportunities that my phone gives me to be helpful to people and causes that are in alignment with values and principles that I hold dear.

What I want to guard against is having my mind and time hijacked by people who push me toward undesirable states like pettiness, jealousy, greed, hatred, exhaustion, hopelessness, and depression.

How did I untether from my iPhone? It began with coming to a point where I knew doing so was absolutely better for my life. I knew with certainty that I wanted to liberate myself in this way.

I committed to not using my phone for the first hour of the day, and when working or spending time with others, not having my phone in sight. That's how I started, and today, it's nothing unusual for my phone to stay on a dresser, face down, volume off whenever I am at home. Those who really need to reach me know they can e-mail and that I will always respond within a day. Those who might need to call me in the event of a true emergency know how to get a hold of me. When I want to use social media or turn to something on YouTube or Netflix for entertainment or inspiration, I use my laptop or iPad, and as you might imagine, I keep notifications for just about everything disabled.

My life and health are better this way, and not just by a thin margin. The quality of my closest relationships has improved, and they were pretty strong to begin with. I am discovering new things that fascinate me. I am soaking in new knowledge. I am developing new skills. I feel I am more helpful to others. I sleep better. I am more productive. I notice more things to smile or laugh about. I am more loving.

That is all for now. Sending my best wishes to all.

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Comments

It sounds like you have not also untethered from the computer/iPad, etc. So may I suggest that being in front of them for long periods hinders the health of the eyes by not only with blue light but also by forgetting to change the focus at different distances to keep the accommodation flexibile. Looking and touching with light attention - something at different distances which can be from looking at the lines on your hand and the next time at make contact with something in the room, and another time looking at something out of the window before coming back to the screen. Also check that you have a light blink every 2 or 3 seconds to help keep the eyes lubricated and that the jaw isn't tight and the breathing is stopped while concentrating. (Sorry to preach - I am a Bates Method teacher - but most of my clients misuse their eyes while using the computer)

I absolutely agree, Devices have literally taken over people's lives. They look at a screen instead of having a real conversation or in person relationship. Why does EVERYTHING have to be so "instant?" now, like 24 hour news broadcasts. Silence is golden when we allow it. I have a simple phone without internet access on it and i love it. namaste', rachel