Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Sunset to Sunset, This is What My Typical "Sabbath" Looks Like:

I drink beer like a college student on Saturday night

I go to yoga on Sunday morning

Followed by watering the greenhouse at Perkins

And then eating tons of pancakes

With a little lounging on the couch with my Fannefur
And making a nice dinner at home

And that about sums it up. Off to bed early tonight though, wishing a happy and relaxing Sunday evening to all...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Sabbath Manifesto

One thing I haven't written too much about this month is the weekly day of rest that I've been observing inspired by the The Sabbath Manifesto, an awesome project I stumbled upon a few years ago. An excerpt from their site explaining what they're all about:

Way back when, God said, “On the seventh day thou shalt rest.”  The meaning behind it was simple: Take a break. Call a timeout. Find some balance. Recharge.

Somewhere along the line, however, this mantra for living faded from modern consciousness. The idea of unplugging every seventh day now feels tragically close to impossible. Who has time to take time off? We need eight days a week to get tasks accomplished, not six.

The Sabbath Manifesto was developed in the same spirit as the Slow Movement, slow food, slow living, by a small group of artists, writers, filmmakers and media professionals who, while not particularly religious, felt a collective need to fight back against our increasingly fast-paced way of living. The idea is to take time off, deadlines and paperwork be damned.

In the Manifesto, we’ve adapted our ancestors’ rituals by carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and get with loved ones. The ten principles are to be observed one day per week, from sunset to sunset. We invite you to practice, challenge and/or help shape what we’re creating.

So, in the spirit of the Sabbath Manifesto, one day of the week (typically Sundays, how Catholic of me), I've been avoiding technology 100%. No Gmail, no Facebook, no Macbook, no iPhone, no exceptions. It's awesome.

Not only do I legitimately feel rested by the end of the day, but I've found some pretty funny, tech-free ways to entertain myself. For instance, last Sunday night when Dan and I made up a great new version of "Go Fish" we're calling "Gefilte Fish" when we couldn't remember the real rules of the game (that's right, we couldn't remember the rules to Go Fish—our parents sure got a laugh out of that phone call). You get my drift though, right? You might think your imagination disappeared with childhood, but it's still there. It's just hidden under layers of unchecked emails and to-do lists.

But since it's almost sunset now, I'm signing off until sunset tomorrow. Off for some analog fun with friends...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Should I Check Email Flowchart

See, it's not just me. An image a friend sent over the other day:

Image courtesy of Wendy MacNaughton for DELL


Monday, April 23, 2012

This Week's Revelations

Typically when I give something up for one of my "Lents", it takes me a little time to adjust. The first few days are full of cravings and fighting my knee-jerk reactions until I've gone through the initial withdrawal and adapted to my new way of life. This month has been different though. I adjusted to my tech-limited Lent almost instantly, and there isn't one teeny, tiny part of me that misses checking my email more than twice a day or knowing that I've read every single status update in my news feed.

In all honestly, I feel like I'm on vacation (and that's saying a lot considering that I'm still working full-time and that we're in the middle of a rainy New England spring). Best. Lent. Ever.

A Few of This Week's Tech-Detox Revelations

1. The incessant busyness that used to consume all of my waking hours was entirely an illusion. Being online all day makes you feel busy–even if you're just looking at pretty pictures and sending links of stupid videos to your friends. Limiting my tech time has made my schedule feel a lot more open and my time (not to mention my mind) a lot more free.

2. You are only as available and as busy as you allow yourself to be. Learn to say no to other people, and to yourself for that matter. Most emails can wait a few hours for a response. Most things can wait until until business hours resume to take care of.

3. A relaxed mind is a creative mind (thanks to my Yogi Tea for this one) . When you limit distractions and allow yourself to just be is when the ideas begin to flow naturally. Ever wonder why the best ideas come to you in the shower? It's all over when they come out with a waterproof iPhone…

Definitely unlike last month's challenge when I was chomping at the bits (almost literally) for the month to be over, I'm a little sad that there's only a week left of my technology detox. Who's ever really ready for "vacation" to be over though? Sigh...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What "Unbusy" Looks Like

I was lucky enough to grow up in a place where this is only 5 minutes away...

A Few Articles

In my limited online time this month, I've been poking around to see what other people have to say about the tech-heavy, ever-busy, "inspiration"-obsessed (Read: Pinterest) culture that we're a part of. Here are a few interesting articles that I've come across in the past few days:

About how we are the ones choosing to be so busy in the first place: The Silliness of Busyness from Zen Habits

"Becoming less busy was not an accident, but a decision I made on purpose. I made the decision that a busy life wasn’t a life for me."

About how sites like Pinterest often just make us feel inadequate: Your Children Want YOU from The Power of Moms

"There’s this crazy phenomenon going on right now. Good, devoted mothers get on Pinterest . . . and blogs . . . and Facebook . . . and Twitter . . . and then they flip through parenting magazines and TV channels (full of advertisements and media hype) . . . and they’re convinced they’re not enough."

A more lengthy article about busyness syndrome from Yoga Journal: Busyness Plan from Yoga Journal

"Even we yogis, who supposedly have our eyes on the inner depths of life, often find ourselves living by the basic capitalist assumption that what we do needs to yield a quantifiable result."

And with that I'm off to the Cape to spend some time being "unbusy" with family and friends. Ahhhh...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Leaving Things Undone

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone." -Lin Yutan, 1937

That being said, I'll leave my lengthy rant about the "myth of busyness" for another day, I'll put my iPhone in its new sleeping bag (it just came in the mail today, best unnecessary purchase ever) and I'll spend the remainder of the afternoon reading on the front porch.

If there's one thing I've learned so far this month, it's that most things can wait.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Week 1 Revelations

Just like I desperately needed a dietary detox last month, my eagerness and excitement to embark on this month's Lent have lead me to believe that this technology detox is exactly what I needed right now. It's been such a relief to have an excuse (I don't know why I think I need an excuse to do these things) to limit my media consumption and I can honestly say that I felt a huge weight lift almost instantly after I started.

A Few of My Week 1 Technology Detox Revelations

1. Contrary to my previous belief, only checking my email twice a day is plenty—maybe even more than enough. The only thing I'm missing out on by skipping those other 12 emails checks is staying up to date on all of the various newsletters that I subscribe to, and not being able to respond instantly to emails that don't require an instant response.

2. I feel like my day is just that now—my day. Every time you check your phone, or email, or Facebook, you're leasing out a little bit of your time to someone else, whether it be to that random person from high school whose status update you're reading, or a company whose only intention is to sell you things you probably don't even want in the first place. Time is the most precious resource we have and we should all be more wise in choosing whom we give ours away to.

3. No technology after 10 has been tough (mainly because I often work night shifts), but when you limit your tech time at night, something magical happens: you go to sleep much earlier. No TV + No Computer = In bed by 10 and asleep by 11 = Awesome.

My tech time for the morning is running out though, so I'm off to spend an analog afternoon doing things like going for a run, reading, taking a drive out to the beach, and of course, eating some jellybeans.

Amen to the end of Lent...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Technology Tally

For the few days leading up to the start of my technology detox, I decided to keep a "technology tally", a little list noting every time I interacted with the internet or some sort of media device. It's kind of embarrassing to share my results with the world (although I'm sure most of my friends would have similar counts…right guys?) but here goes:

Danne's Technology Tally—The Results

Email: On average, I check my email (gulp) 14 times a day and spend about 68 minutes reading and writing emails.

Facebook: I check Facebook about 10 times a day and spend around 28 minutes poking around on the site.

Phone: On average I send 11 text message and receive 9 per day. Not terrible, but this one's pretty bad: I check my phone, i.e., pick it up to see if I've received some sort of notification…23 times a day. Really?

So um, there's a lot to improve on. I wasn't so upset with the amount of time I was spending checking these things, but I was at the frequency. There's really no need for me to check my email every half an hour, and picking up the phone every 10 minutes to see if someone's trying to get in touch with me is totally unnecessary (especially because 9 times out of 10 there was no message or missed call).

Onwards and upwards though, and I'm super excited for my first weekly "Sabbath" tomorrow where I'll go 100% technology free for the entire day (it certainly helps that it's a holiday and I won't be home for most of the day, baby steps though, baby steps).

and p.s. Real Lent officially ends tomorrow so expect a photo of me swimming in a pool of Gowell's jelly beans first thing Monday morning. YES.

Wishing a Happy Easter and Passover to all.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Unplugged

After last month's dietary detox, I thought I'd keep with the detox theme and give another kind of detox a try: a technology detox. Between my MacBook and my iPhone, my Gmail accounts, and my Facebook page (just to name a few), my day somehow always becomes consumed by keeping up with technology, technology that I willingly subscribe to, mind you.

While I'm not that bad (my brother's generation definitely needs an intervention), the constant reminder that I'm missing out on something in the online world doesn't sit well with my Type-A, To-Do-List-Loving, I-Need-To-Be-On-Top-Of-Everything personality. Those annoying little red circles on my iPhone taunt me, always pushing me to make sure I'm updated and informed, on top of everything and in the know.

In reality though, it stresses me out more than it helps me out and it's time to rein myself in. This month is all about unplugging a bit and limiting how much control I allow technology to have in my life. I'm not totally going off the grid here (I have responsibilities, personally and for work, that require me to be somewhat connected) but I do have some rules to go by:

April Unplugged—The Rules

1. I can only check Email and Facebook twice a day (when I reveal the technology tally that I've been keeping for the past few days you'll see what a drastic cutback this is).

2. I have 1 hour of non-work related screen time a day (this includes checking Email & FB, and anytime spent watching TV).

3. The bedroom and the dinner table (and breakfast table and lunch table) are media-free zones.

4. No multi-tasking with technology (ie. checking my phone at stop lights, on the bus, while walking to my car, and etc.). All interactions with technology will have a purpose that's more than just passing time.

5. No technology (work-related or not) after 10pm.

6. One day a week I'll go totally technology-free, taking a cue from The Sabbath Manifesto. No computer time, no TV time, no texting, nothing. I will however keep my phone on for emergencies.

So, if you need me this month, I'd suggest giving me a call. The internet and I are on a trial separation.

p.s. I'm aware that it's after 10 and I'm posting this. Cheating already, tisk tisk...
p.p.s. I"ll have a new April Unplugged header up by tomorrow, promise!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Love Nashville

I'm back! I've got a little tan from the southern sun (it was in the 80's the whole time we were there), a little twang in my voice (don't I wish), and the song that Dan recorded permanently implanted in my brain (in the best way possible, of course). I'll sum up the trip in 3 words for you: I Love Nashville.

But if you're looking for a little bit more, here's a collection of some of my favorite "Polaroid" shots that I took with my iPhone.

Be warned—I had an impossible time narrowing this down to a reasonable number of photos so get ready to scroll...

En route to Nashville. Being on the other side of the clouds is still a little amazing to me...

Night 1: We got right to it and hit up Broadway's famed Honkey Tonks. You quickly find out why they call Nashville Music City, every bar, every day of the week, every time of day, has live music.

There's an incredible amount of neon signs. I love this one for Ernest Tub Record Shop.

An awesome cardboard cutout of Ernest inside the store...

I bought my first pair of cowboy boots here at Boot Country when I was 18 and on a road trip with my friend Suzanne.

I made Dan try on a pair. When in Rome...

I stopped by to visit my fellow lulu ladies at the Hillsboro Pike store.

Through a funny chain of events (Read: Our original hotel reservation magically disappearing on a weekend where practically every place in the entire city was booked) we ended up here, at the Gaylord Hotels and Convention Center, the largest resort outside of Vegas haha.

The hotel was literally the largest building I've ever seen in my life. This is the indoor rainforest with restaurants and bars nestled inside of it.

A shot of the band at The Family Wash, a cozy little bar/restaurant in East Nashville.

Always a sucker for shots like this...

Best name ever, best bagels ever. Well, outside of Long Island at least.

An overhead shot of a corner of the recording studio.

I couldn't stop photographing all of the eclectic objects all over this place.

Gotta love the south...

The boys at work...

Matthew and Dan

Don't forget aboutawagis!

Lunch break!

and I'm also a sucker for shots like this...


Studio essentials...

I managed to fit in a yoga class at this lovely Nashville studio, Steadfast and True Yoga.

Nashville, Tennessee: Home to the world's only full scale replica of The Parthenon. What?

Welcome to states where Happy Hour isn't illegal.

Oops, I cheated on lent. Again.

Well worth waiting in the line that wrapped around the block...

Walls and walls of gold records at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Historic Hatch Show Print

A glimpse into the shop...

You know these posters...

Enough said.

Last minute stop for some BBQ

This whole plate of food was gone about 23 seconds later.

One of the most fun streets in America.

And we're off...

I'll be sure to post a link to Dan's song (it still needs to be mixed and mastered) and the little documentary that we're making once everything is all done.

Tomorrow I'll unveil my next lent: April Unplugged.