“Things work better when they are unplugged and plugged back in again.” Attributed to Anne LaMott
How many times have the words of Anne LaMott proven to be true for “fixing” problems with your computer, phone, tablet, or TV? We all know that anything electronic frequently only needs a “restart” or “turn off and back on again” as the means to repair troublesome issues.
The Human Machine
As I am sure, you are already aware that unplugging is also essential for the human machine. It, too, needs to be shut down and recharged so that it can perform at its highest potential. Although most everyone already knows this, very few practice it. We seem to be all-too consumed by our unconscious need for external validation and approval, both of which largely depend on personal productivity.
The practical truth is that we cannot be productive without intentional and scheduled time for rest and for what we know in industry as preventative maintenance. That is, solving a problem before it becomes a problem.
Unplug and Then What?
For nearly two years my late medieval mentors—the Christian mystics—have unanimously demanded, not just weekly, but a daily discipline of retreat, of unplugging from the chaos of my day. Unplugging includes a regular time of silence, solitude, and meditative contemplation. (As a retired person, I am blessed with the freedom to make my own schedule.)
But, my meditation app only requires 20 minutes. Inspirational reading is the reading of one or two simple paragraphs. If you could only find 30 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night before bed, a greater sense of peace and purpose and direction will certainly follow. Not a “life-change,” but only a modest “life-enhancement.”
The Freedom of Discipline
Author, speaker, and former Navy Seal, Jocko Willink, echoes this timeless truth in his book, Discipline Equals Freedom. But finding the time to be disciplined enough to re-energize with fresh perspectives is not such an easy thing to do. Especially, when there is frequently no immediate ROI. Or, THERE IS immediate ROI, but it doesn’t feel sustainable after a few days or weeks or months.
Yes, finding the discipline to rest is a most vexing challenge. For discipline requires discipline. Sometimes such circular reasoning is the only way I know to access troubling truths.
Time to ReConnect
Unplugging may be the very most personally impacting discipline you will ever attempt. That is because the plugging back in naturally re-connects you with True Source, with God, with that higher self that dwells deep within the inner you. People of faith refer to it as prayer, while people of some other traditions call it meditation.
It will become that very special time, your time, devoted to uniting yourself with this world and the other world and with that ultimate Source I call God.
Unplug. Rest. And, unhurriedly plug back in. Then wait for all systems to charge up to “Go.”
Photo courtesy of bestdesigns at istockphoto