I was reflecting on life before cell phones and remembering one of my past experiences with using a pay phone. The idea of a pay phone seems so old fashion nowadays. It was November 1, 2000, and I was at the car wash. I was very pregnant and on my way to my doctor’s appointment. I decided to wash my car before the appointment in case the doctor told me it was time to go to the hospital and have my baby. I was scheduled to be induced the following day but some thing was telling me the baby was not going to wait till tomorrow.
I paid for my car to be washed and went to the restroom. When I walked out of the restroom my water broke and I realized I was going into labor at the car wash. In a panic, I went to the pay phone and tried to call the doctor’s office. I was so nervous I could not dial the number properly. After a couple of frantic tries to dial the number I gave up and went to the front counter at the car wash and asked to use their phone. I remember there were many men at the counter paying to get their car washed as I announced that I was in labor and desperately needed to use their phone. I did make it to the hospital just in time for my son to be born.
Shortly after he was born I got my first cell phone, never to be in a situation again that I could not call my doctor or anyone else in a pinch. I have now been a proud owner of many cell phones for the last 17 years and realized with the tremendous convenience it has given me it has also had a huge impact on my life and how I operate in life.
I have just come home from a 5-day digital detox in the beautiful Navajo desert lands of Flag Staff Arizona. My dear friend Caroline Jones created this transformational experience for people to disconnect from technology and reconnect with themselves, others and the land. Words do not express properly the profound experience of being on this sacred land and choosing to leave behind the modern ways of communicating for a short time and the impact it has had for me. I wanted to share some of what I have learned and experienced in hopes that it also resonates with you and provides some ideas of how to embrace and limit the gift of technology.
1. It was easier than I thought: I realized on this trip it was easier than I thought to put away my phone. Once the phone was off it was not calling to me like I thought it would. I did have to set the intention to keep my phone off and hold myself to that commitment. I did not miss Facebook or keeping up to date with the world.
2. Conversations were much deeper: and by all of us turning off our phones and creating that peaceful space for each other our conversation flowed and was so rich. No one was looking at their phone. We were able to be fully involved in our conversations and present. I realized how disconnected I have been with those who matter most to me in my life without realizing it.
3. I gave myself time to check-in with myself: This magical time to be away from daily life, I spent the mornings watching the sunrise with nothing else to do and no distractions and be present with myself. Slowing down is not a usual way of life for me. I like to be busy, lol. Anyone else relate to that?
4. I slept better: usually at home, I will scroll through Facebook before I go to bed. Here that option did not exist and I rather enjoyed not ending my night with a screen in my hand. I ended my nights with conversations with my friends and looking at the stars. When my head hit the pillow I was out.
5. I learned that I want to create boundaries with my technology: In coming home I want to bring what I felt into my daily life. I am committed to reducing my use of my phone some of the steps I am taking are:
• Turning off my phone 30 minutes before bedtime ( I may stretch this to an hour)
• Leaving my phone in my living room at night instead of my bedroom
• Giving myself 30 minutes in the morning to be cell phone free
• Turning off my phone with setting it aside when I am having meals or conversations with family and friends.
I am writing this in part to keep me accountable to following through on these action steps. I hope there is something useful in this for you personally and if you have not had a chance to go away and turn off your phone for a few days, I highly recommend it. I would not have seen the value of limiting my exposure to my phone without this experience.
Here’s to small steps each day to creating the life you love!!!!
Here are some pictures of my home away from for home for 5 days on this beautiful land.
Sunrise yesterday ( is the 3rd picture)
Caroline and I. Caroline created Restival– named the #1 retreat in the US