Disconnecting to connect

Yesterday, my boss sent me the following video, and it paused me. Simon Sinek speaks about how relationships are formed by small conversations, that a culture is built one person at a time. As much as he’s not speaking about mindfulness, boy is he.


So, beginning Saturday, December 31st, I’ll be taking a two week phone break. I’m calling it my “Mindful Media Cleanse” but it’s more than that.

I have the privilege of teaching mindfulness to all students in the WCSD, K-12. I have the honor of owning and leading a community of people in yoga. And, yet, I can not put my phone down. I am so interested in how many likes the studio’s posts get, not to mention how many comments my personal Facebook page photos get. Retweets? Love them! What about ❤️’s on Instagram? Don’t even get me started! I have prided myself on how quickly I can reply to a text, and, just email me — I’ll reply to you in less than five minutes.

Here’s a great story. Last night, at 11:00 p.m., I had two missed calls from somewhere in northern Virginia. I listened to the voicemails only to hear the voice of a very southern, disgruntled woman who had been the victim of a “credit card scam” via our studio. And, our, “institution,” as she put it, was, well blasphemous. I knew it was incorrect- a complete misconception. But, I forwarded the voicemail to Heidi and Dom. Heidi cleared up the issue within moments (mainly because it’s what she does) but Dom didn’t see it until he woke up at 3:00 a.m. He was then up trying to figure this out until I texted him at 5:00 a.m. that all of this was over an incorrectly typed email address. I had him in a total frenzy over a very simple error.

I thought back to the video and realized, It’s time to take a break.

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m giving my phone to Mary Judge for two weeks. I’m not going to post to, or check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I’m going to change my voicemail so that all calls will go to Heidi. I’m buying a flip phone to keep in my car (this was Mary’s idea and based on an article she read). A handful of people will have that number. I will answer work emails during work hours. Oh, here’s my work number: (585) 216-0028. Here’s my home landline, if you need it: (585) 969-8040, or, you can always email me. I might buy a map, but I’m pretty sure I know my way around. I have an iPod for music (or I can dig up a walkman, don’t put it past me). I’ll access the internet if I need to, but I don’t plan on spending too much time on my computer. I’m going to journal about this and share my thoughts with Dom to share with you.

I’m tethered to my phone. So much, so that it’s getting in the way of connecting with others. I’m teaching mindfulness, speaking about being present, and I’m not. I want to be able to speak, from experience, to my students and colleagues about this. I want to encourage them to try this. I’m scared and that’s reason enough, right? We lived without these things forever, so what’s two weeks?

I’m doing this because I need to be present to the life I’m living so that I can truly live it. This phone, is an often distracting, addictive band-aid and it’s time to see what discomfort it’s been keeping me from.

Talk with you soon. In person, of course. 😌


Written by Erica Denman