So, here we are at the other end of Screen Free week. I would love to hear from you - how did it go for you and your family?
I know for us, it was a bit challenging. I also found it very helpful - I was really able to see and lean into the feelings that lead me to want to be online and spaced out, to disconnect. Feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion, boredom, loneliness. It was so helpful to touch those and just lean into them, letting them dissipate, rather than covering them up or pushing them away with a screen. So much more space seemed to open up.
It was hard for my toddler to not watch his daily video. And it was hard for me to be with how hard it was for him. I felt guilty for having allowed him to develop this habit of tuning out. And I also noticed just how hard it is for me to just be with my children when they are unhappy, rather than trying to make it all better. That was very sparky and rich for me to notice. Why can't I just be with him when he is screaming for a video? Why can't I open to that? Why do I just want to either run away from that or somehow, anyhow make it go away?
And on Saturday, during our big buddhist easter party, I actually let him watch some Maisy Mouse. We were supposed to have an easter egg hunt outside, but the weather was rainy and very cold, so we were all indoors instead. He was stressed out from all the children and grown ups in our apartment and needed his space. I would usually never allow him to watch a video while others were here, and I did remember we were still supposed to be screen free, but in this case, it actually felt like the right, nurturing thing to do. He needed to sit in his little chair and get some distance from the proceedings in order to feel ok. He ended up ultimately going into our bedroom with me and nursing and sleeping for the rest of the party, after repeating to me that he only wants "two friends" over from now on. Ahem. Mama overdid it in the party planning. Good to notice that, as well.
Like with most things, we can use our screens mindfully, in conscious ways. The challenge is in the insidious creep of it all, the magnetizing energy that keeps us attached to our videos, status updates, 4square locations, youtube, etc. and threatens to completely draw us and our children in. It was amazing to me to notice just how many times a day I really felt drawn to the computer, really wanting to just pop online to check my email...or the weather...or that recipe I could use...or to see how that blog I read is doing ...I held back, but sometimes, it was really, really hard! So similar to our thoughts in sitting meditation, and how fascinated we can get by them, completely forgetting the present moment. Our unwillingness to just be here, right now, is so interesting, so exhausting, and so sad sometimes. It causes us so much sorrow.
It helped when I noticed how much more energized I felt during the day and night, having not spent those countless little moments tuning in and tuning out. I never spend huge blocks of time online, but those little moments really add up! My aspiration now is to continue to use media more mindfully, more consciously, and not just go with the impulse to go online. It's like an itch that I don't necessarily need to scratch right away, or at all.
So, how did it go for you?