It was quiet.
Now, before you think this is going to be a rally cry against media let me reassure you – it’s not. There is nothing wrong with media – facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, iphones, etc – in fact, they are a needed thing into today’s digitally saturated world. In fact, truthfully, I absolutely love them – they keep life connected, they provide me an outlet to write, and I’ve made great friends via them. This isn’t a cry to turn it off. This is, instead, some simple strategies to maintain balance in a media rich world that often is rarely quiet.
These are just five simple steps to cultivating times of quiet in a noisy world.
1. Turn it off. Ha. First advice was to turn it off. But not permanently, just intentionally every once in a while. No Pandora, no phone calls, no alerts, no checking facebook, no twitter, no nothing. Just for a bit – turn it off. I used to seek out flights that have go-go wi-fi (which I still love), but now I actually enjoy flying when there is no option for the internet – where I am forced to read, to rest, and to be quiet. And Pandora? I can go through the entire day listening to music – which is great – but not quiet. So I’ve had to work to remove the earbuds and to simply just listen to the world around me.
2. Pare down. There is so much information. I was looking through my facebook stream and there were multiple news articles, business tips, inspirational quotes, ads, links to blogs with articles on sunscreen, links to blogs that were inspirational, just links, activities for the summer, and more. There were pictures, status updates, political arguments (yeah, too many of those in my stream), promos, coupons, quirky updates, and more. It’s crazy busy. So adopt the less is more strategy with media as well. For instance, on my iphone I have only a couple photo apps – vsco, instagram, and afterlight – that’s it. I know, and trust me I know, that there are many fabulous apps. I just don’t have time, so I use these, and I try to use them well. I’ve adopted the less is more strategy with regards to apps, fb, etc… I need what I can manage.
3. Establish times of quiet. Just like turning off the media, it’s a great idea to cultivate spaces within your day or at least within your week that are quiet. It can be a walk around the block. Getting up early and watching the sunrise. Taking a nap (yes, this counts). Baking cookies with the kids (not quiet, but free from the constant social chatter). Just make a point of establishing moments of quiet in your day. It’s a great discipline to train your mind to see the little things in life, and sometimes the constant noise makes the little moments blur by and then they are missed.
4. Keep your perspective. Someone once told me that social media is like seeing the highlight reel of other people’s lives. It’s a collection of the best moments, the sweetest times, etc… Yes, I know there are those vents, but seriously, how often do you read them before you block that person? And so what’s often left is this continuing loop of everything that is good (or sometimes a loop of really hard things and tragedies). Keep your perspective. You and I both know that life is so far from the highlight reel most of the time. It’s full of messy moments, puke at 2am, relationship disasters, moms who are worn out and don’t care about doing some project on pinterest, and all of that. Perspective helps. Keep it.
5. Accept that there will always be noise. That’s the reality. Unless you decide to go off the grid or live in the north woods of Alaska or out on an island in the middle of the South Pacific. It’s just noisy now. Constant, constant, constant noises. Accept it. Don’t fight it. Somehow in the acknowledging of the noise we’re then not being controlled by the noise. You can turn it off. There’s the button on top of the iphone or the silence all or the pause on the radio. And you can keep it on. And they are both good. Yes, that’s the bottom line. They’re both good.
It’s a balance – living in a digital world and still needing those simple quiet moments. It’s possible. But, it’s also intentional. Purposeful. And well worth it.
What are your best strategies for maintaining quiet in a very noisy digital world?
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