July 4th lights and sound explode outside my window. However, I choose the meaning of my holidays. This one has been largely for silent contemplation and writing.
We have the most control over exercising creative and self-generated intentions when we are not in direct contact with others.
Right before bed and right after awakening are treasured times for me. I leave my phone off (I do understand that I’ve become one of those few I know who even turn their phone off at all…who can go for periods of time without the constant communication, validation, and stimulation that comes from being plugged into the Matrix that the mindless text-reaction/Interneting-complex can sometimes be for people…usually I turn my phone off when going to begin my sleep routine, and then on airplane while I’m working at CAS) and do things like cleaning my house (which I did this morning with aplomb), meditation, writing and study…I’ve got complete control over where I place my attention, I’m usually the highest-energy and clearest, and there’s this incredible joy in the solitude. A slowness and a gentleness. It’s revitalizing and it always leaves me eager, open, and willing to connect more generously and more intensely when I return to the world of people. Indeed, it fits with Tim Ferris’s suggestion to check your email twice a day that I “batch out” my texts to whenever I turn my phone back on…there’s something fun about getting a flood of texts at once, and also some minimizing of the impact of the sudden novelty and distraction of texts streaming in individually throughout the day, when you do this.
Realize that your plunge into the sea of influenced, chaotic, colorful beauty that is the massive throng of humanity ever more Borgified by their melding with technology, ever more unconscious by their un-reflective march into the stream of up-to-the-minute content and activity is something you can choose to consent to and activate – or turn off – at will.
I’m reminded of Crowley: “The majority of the people in this world are ataxic; they cannot coordinate their mental muscles to make a purposed movement. They have no real will, only a set of wishes, many of which contradict others. The victim wobbles from one to the other (and it is no less wobbling because the movements may occasionally be very violent) and at the end of life the movements cancel each other out. Nothing has been achieved; except the one thing of which the victim is not conscious: the destruction of his own character, the confirming of indecision” (Book Four, Part Two, The Wand). How little he knew that the strings of the marionette, in the wobbling, would eventually be pulled by technology.
(Yes, I’m on a computer. But the insistence of it is different. It sits here, notifications turned as off as those on my phone when it is active, idly waiting like the tool for expression and intention that it should be).
Meanwhile, seize the time, carpe temporem.
Recipe for productivity #4: Turn your phone off and enforce the creation of time for yourself.