Thursday, October 9, 2008

Extricating Myself from the Web

This may be incredibly obvious to y'all but it was a bit of a light-bulb thing for me:
I check my email frequently. Like, probably every two hours or so. I also read the headlines every 3-4 hours, do a crossword type word puzzle with breakfast and usually checkout what's going on at a couple of politically liberal websites and read new posts on a couple of blogs I follow closely (jeez, writing that makes it seem like I'm on-line a LOT which it doesn't feel like I am but then, when I'm conducting the social survey that I've done 4 times, one of the questions is how much TV people watch and invariably, people say "hardly any" when it turns out they usually watch at least 2 and oftentimes 4 hours a day! I feel tremendously superior because I don't watch TV at all-well, I have watched the debates but that's all. But now, seeing it in writing, I see that I waste as much time just in a different way). I'm an habitual multi-tasker; as I last posted, I get bored really quickly: I feel I need constant stimulation. One thing I've done for a long time is to have a game of "spider solitaire" going all the time on the computer so when I'm waiting for a website to load, I always click on the game to keep me occupied. I also often wind up playing to the end of the game and maybe another one each time I get off-line, thus wasting a great amount of time collectively. Yesterday, after I did my 30 seconds of actual meditation, I thought about how I can live my life as a prayer. Hmmmm. I thought about what it would take for me to make that leap and had the idea that I could just try to ask myself where God is in the moment, each time I have the momentary awareness of God. But, there's not really that much time in which I am aware. And I started thinking about what I do everyday-that makes me more aware of God's presence in my life and what makes me oblivious to God. The Chihuahua needing constant entertaining definitely keeps me heedless of God; you might say the Chihuahua is Satan, if you're inclined to think that way (which I'm not, although I do see my own ego and love of constant stimulation as being a major sin of mine). So, I thought that I'd do just one thing less to keep the Chihuahua entertained and, duh-the lightbulb, decided to try to live without spider solitaire for a day. And you know, although I found myself habitually opening it up, I was able to stop, close it and each time I did, I was also able to ask myself where God was in the action I was taking. Like, where is God in my response to this email? Where is God in me learning more things to dislike about Sarah Palan? Where is God in reading the blog of my dear friend who has cancer? Where is God in me playing this word game? It was a very centering practice. I did it again today, not to as good effect because I was really busy with work all day and very distracted by my schedule when I checked my emails (I actually wouldn't have checked email at all except that I'm in the middle of organizing a couple of group activities which I've messed the dates up on and am trying to get the mess I've made straightened out).

I've got four interviews to conduct before noon tomorrow, do a bunch of paperwork and then have to pack up my laptop and all my work project related stuff to take to FedEx and pack all my stuff and be to the meetinghouse by 4:00 tomorrow so I can drive a vanfull of teens to the SAYF retreat in Asheville for the weekend. It's gonna be CRAZY. The good thing is that D and Z are out of school tomorrow so they can help with Carmac. I'm not really in the frame of mind to go on a retreat; I've been running on Chihuahua adrenaline for the last week or so. I think, though, that the wonderful Quaker young people will demonstrate for me how to be in the moment. I love just sitting back and watching them interact with one another.


Jennifer said...

I wrestle with a technology addiction as well. Like you, I watch no tv... well, except for the debates. :) But I am online during any spare moment. Your centering practice thoughts are very timely for me. As a homeschooler, I don't know what I would do without the web and my computer and my pda, but at the same time, I am giving so much of my life to this type of activity. I have somewhat broken my daytime habit, getting online only at night, but I still sneak peaks at my email on my phone (what if a friend invites us to the nature center for a picnic?). And where is God in any of that? Good question.

naturalmom said...

Me three. I feel like I get too much value out of the internet to completely abandon it. But finding the balance has been challenging indeed. I think I'll put a sticky note on my monitor: "Where is God?" Thanks for the thoughts about this.