What I regained from a digital detox.

I had been offered the privilege of spending two weeks in a Naturopathy Detox Spa. I needed it desperately for mind and body, yet even so, I sent frantic messages before accepting, will there be WiFi? You see the state of my mind? It’s all we seem bothered about these days. To be fair, it was more for keeping on top of work that my concern arose but there is that thought that if we can’t instantly post (boast) on FB, our lives seem worthless. Having been assured that there was WiFi, I made plans and duly arrived at the spa. It was all about naturopathy, something that I’d only heard about and this provided mw with a wonderful opportunity to learn something new and get myself back on track.

The daily schedules were quite hectic and in-between trying to be on time for all the treatments, yoga sessions (4 a day!) and learning about naturopathy, I would rush back to my room, any excuse to get back to my phone; a nicely presented raw food meal needed photographing, the arrival of the monsoon needed sharing on all forms of social media, clients needed answers to WhatsApp messages, it was all go go go. Yet, what was I doing? Here I was, being offered a chance of a life time to detox and shed some kgs and all I was bothered about was my phone. One of the reasons I had come was to find some clear headspace from the chaos of the modern world. I wasn’t taking advantage of it at all. So, on day 5, the phone got ditched, and here is what I rediscovered now that I was no longer frantically posting, commenting and counting ‘Likes’:

1. The art of conversation. Engaging with the staff and doctors, yes, the people I was here to learn from and of course, my fellow inmates. However, it wasn’t just conversation that was rediscovered but fully focused, uninterrupted conversation. How often do we allow or are we allowed the courtesy of that these days? Not only that but the power of description, having to use adjectives to describe something rather than showing a photo stored in the phone. All in all, a most satisfying experience indeed!

2. The pleasure of delving into a good novel (actually 2). Since owning a smart phone, I have stopped reading. I used to read a book a week but the smart phone took over. How could I have been so foolish to think that grabbing the phone and faffing on FB, Instagram, comments, jumping crazily from one topic to the next, divesting people’s vitriol and unsubstantiated opinions, could be any form of replacement for the pleasure of diving into a good book. Losing one’s self in a story, learning about each character and their nuances, loving or hating them as you go, feeling their misery and triumphs. The relaxation and escapism this brings. I should never have abandoned reading!

3. A good night’s sleep. The end of the day at the spa was at 2000, I would go to bed, read for an hour and then lights out and sleep. Waking up in the night, with no phone in sight, I would roll over and immediately go back to sleep. A far cry going to bed, phone in hand, frantic communication, checking how many likes in Instagram etc., trawling crap, for the sake of trawling, until the wee small hours. Note to self, buy an alarm clock and leave the phone in another room, a good 2 hours before bedtime too. For the first time in years I’ve been having eight hours sleep.

4. The art of letter writing. Yes, with one book finished and then the monsoon in full spate, rendering attempts at walking or sitting outside futile, I noticed the hotel’s letterhead, grabbed my fountain pen and wrote my dad a good old fashioned letter. No matter that there is a postal strike in Kerala and I will see him long before it arrives. It was fun! And, actually the thought that went into this long-gone art form, where there is no backspace or delete button! I had forgotten all about this!

5. The pleasure of anticipation. Only discovering what was going on in the outside world by the daily delivery of a newspaper. Then choosing either to read it leisurely, over breakfast, with no one’s opinions to consider, except one’s own, though it did often result in point 1, or disregard it and remain in wonderful, blissful ignorance for the entire day.

6. Perhaps the most important is this one, the lost art of daydreaming. How often do we just allow, in spare moments, our attention to wander these days? How often do we just sit and think and ponder and let the imagination play?

7. Dancing Dragonflies! I spent quite some time watching them around the resort. It then occured to me, that we have lost our ability to observe. We are so desperate to photograph and share things in an instant, we no longer sit and watch, we no longer allow ourselves to be in the moment for ourselves, to enjoy the moment, live the moment and commit it to memory.

8. Journal writing, the pleasure of jotting down thoughts and musings for nobody but yourself. Imagine such a thing!

9. Re discovering the art of being able to occupy one’s self (See points 1-8).

Being without a phone has been an utter pleasure. It has allowed for so many old pleasures to be revived, allowed life to be put in perspective and, most importantly, it allowed the clarity of thought, inspiration in day dreams, and plans to be made with a clear mind which is, after all, was what I had come for. From this point on, the phone is being relegated to essentials only. I have regained my life and I intend to keep it that way.

Thank you to the team at CGH-Earth Experience Hotels for helping me regain my sanity! http://www.cghearth.com/

 

 

 

 

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