During a world religion class in college my professor talked about the difference between sacred and profane space, sacred and profane time, and how we as a society mark certain things, times, dates and locations as being sacred. I loved this concept and I remember becoming acutely aware of my own sacred space. Recently this idea has found its way back into my consciousness.
This past week our wireless internet connection got corrupted and I lost my internet access at home. At first this seemed dire, frustrating and desperate. However, by the end of the day I realized how much I had gotten done because I wasn’t distracted by the insignificant minutia that seems to constantly be demanding my attention on the internet. This led me to consider the idea of consciously disconnecting during certain times of the day or week. What would happen?
My first experiment came Saturday night. David and I were attending a “grown-up” party with alcohol and music and no children or even people who also had kids so there would be no swapping of kid stories. I turned my iPhone off and left it at home. Think about that people. I TURNED MY PHONE OFF AND LEFT IT AT HOME. I WENT SOMEWHERE WITHOUT MY PHONE. MY PHONE WAS NOT NEAR MY BODY. Do you recognize the enormity of this ? Do you recognize the sheer craziness of me making that decision? Well, I did it. I went a total of four hours without access to the internet, facebook, email or text messaging. And you know what happened? The world did not end and for once I wasn’t distracted by things that were peripheral to my activity but I was actually able to exist in the “now”. I made eye-contact, I talked with people, my mind settled and I focused on what I was doing.
This first experiment went so well that the next morning I decided to not bring my phone with me to church. Although at times I felt a small tug of disappointment that I couldn’t “check-in” with the world I overall was pleased at my ability to keep my attention on the people and things around me versus the “others”.
I like this idea of sacred space and have decided to start consciously marking sacred times in my life when I disconnect. I don’t want to be checking my email while I’m trying to spend time with my husband, or playing a board game with my kids. I don’t want to hear the chime of a text message while I’m trying to have a conversation with a good friend. Don’t get me wrong, I still am madly in love with my iPhone and I will not be giving it up any time soon. But I’ve decided to reclaim my sacred space. I’ve decided to try harder at living in the now and not the later.