Life has rhythms that make sense to follow. There's the daily rhythm shaped around night and day. There's the weekly rhythm, the monthly rhythm. There are seasonal rhythms too. Schools shape our rhythms. So do business cycles. But sometimes these rhythms get blurred. The electric lightbulb has made it possible for people to ignore the enforced rhythm night once brought upon us. We can now work 24/7. And while seasonal rhythms still affect us, heating and air-conditioning have made it so that we feel these changes less than our great grandparents once did. Not having to go to bed at dusk because there's nothing else you can do comes with great benefits. You can read a book, post something on Facebook, see a movie, drive a car. And who among us wants to feel the lethargy or even danger we'd feel if we could find no air-conditioned break from a stretch of 108 degree August weather?
But I wonder if we've not lost something important about being human when we find ourselves distanced from the natural rhythms that would shape our lives if we had no modern technology.
Look, I'm not suggesting we become Luddites--those nineteenth century British textile artisans, who, sensing the massive changes coming toward them at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, destroyed the new power looms that were displacing skilled human labor with time saving machinery. No, I have great affection for so much that technology brings into our lives to join them.
I am wondering, though, if learning to create some space between ourselves and our devices might bring more balance, pleasure, and beauty into our over-crowded, overly stressed lives. When you've got virtually instant access to a vast global library of everything under the sun, and when you are accessible through your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, 24/7, to anyone wanting to text you, email you, or instant chat from anywhere in the world, something's got to happen to your soul. You lack the natural rhythms that create healthful boundaries and structures for human life.
Intention: Today, I'll take a more critical and suspicious posture to my devices. Grateful for them in so many ways, I won't let them blind me to the fact that they can use me rather than me using them. I'll create some period during the day when I'm not accessible to anyone or anything that's not actually in front of me. I'll unplug and begin to regain the more natural rhythms that can heal my soul.