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Why Unplug and Recharge Your Relationships?

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Unplug. That's easy, or is it? Decide to do it, and do it.

Recharge -- what does that mean for you?

Changing habits. By all accounts we do not find that so easy. We are creatures of habit and that's no bad thing. Imagine having to think every time you needed to ride a bicycle, drive a car, type, follow a certain route to work or speak a language. Some habits really serve us. Others do not, or maybe only up to a point.

Partly what is exciting about being human is that you have the freedom to choose what works for you. You have the gift of conscious awareness to help you to make decisions about what you do. You have a knowing spirit within you.

It is a habit I am learning: to check inwardly about whether a choice I am making about what to do is true and appropriate for me, at that moment. There is a whole field of freedom, which I believe we are only beginning to realize and fulfil for ourselves.

We can potentially choose to be plugged in or to unplug ourselves. When does being plugged in cease to be an asset and become an addiction, or a liability?

The beauty of any issue we may face is that it has within it new seeds of creative possibility. What do I mean by that? Clearly, being plugged in constantly to stimulation from outside of ourselves by mobile phones, computers with internet access, emails and the rest has a value up to a certain point. We were not born with plugs on us so that we might forever be tapped in to airwaves -- not always relevant for our needs and well-being.

What is the creative possibility? I see it as becoming more mindful of how we are using our time and attention. Is what you are doing serving the intention you hold for yourself, for example? When does being plugged in serve a purpose, and when does it become devitalizing?

As with almost any addiction I know, relentless plugging in may be, in part, driven by fear of the space left by switching off, and part a sense of feeling in control. After all, we have our fingers on the switches, so we are in control. But do we retain awareness about when to switch off?

As to the fear, the absence of distraction may leave us feeling open and vulnerable. Why? When we keep busy, we avoid having to deal with, or look at, what may be uncomfortable for us. or we have to re-evaluate what we are doing or the direction in which we are heading to face some inconvenient truth. Usually the fear of the unknown is much more distressing than the truth of the unknown.

Vulnerability may heighten your senses and give you a new look at aspects of your life that were hidden by your busy-ness. You may surrender in the present moment and find your perspective opening up to fresh insight.

A temporary sense of disorientation leads to new awareness because you move outside of your comfortable box of the familiar and safe. Pattern interrupts can be very productive. Recently, I had the experience of being unplugged -- by choice. For a while I felt weird. Once I accepted and embraced the feelings, I was fine. In fact, I grew to enjoy the energy that had been released by detaching. I felt freer.

What about awakening to greater conscious awareness -- becoming more aware of what is right and proper for you in the moment? How could you be more switched on to yourself, less plugged in to electronic gear, or only when it serves you? It involves becoming more masterful, so that you are less a victim of unconscious drives and apparent needs, and more in tune with your intuitive understanding and wisdom.

The new UK government is taking unplugging on board.

Mobile Phones and Blackberries are banned in UK Cabinet meetings.

The opportunity of learning to unplug and recharge is that of awakening more fully to the enormity of the human spirit within you. It is that innate loving spirit that will guide you to improve the quality of your life, and the lives of those important others around you.

Why and how to recharge your relationships? Here are a few tips:

1. YOURSELF

The relationship with anyone else starts with the relationship you have with yourself. How can you recharge yourself?

Having half hour "check ins" is a good way to stand back from a computer screen, and if necessary do something different for say five, 10 or 15 minutes to regain some perspective.

Go for a walk or swim and nurture your mind with affirmative statements. For example, recently I walked for half an hour chanting the Peace Prayer: God bless you, I love you, Peace, Be still. I returned to my computer relaxed and alert.

Sometimes, I will stretch out and do some deep breathing. Breathing in, I may focus on one word like Joy or Happy or Fun or Receive. Simply letting go as I breathe out.

Try doing repetitive chores around the house and garden for a mental freshening up. Ironing, pulling up weeds, re-potting plants, browsing through and clearing a cabinet, closet or set of shelves can help to clear and freshen the mind.

2. INTIMATES

Your nearest and dearest may be the ones who most miss you when you are plugged in.

In retirement, it becomes too easy to share a house but not share a life when one partner is forever plugged in. Children also need to learn self-discipline with their electronic gadgets. They will learn more from your actions than your words.

Make time for your loved ones. Create dates to do things together you really enjoy. Mealtimes can be recharging by creating conversation topics that stimulate and entertain you; sharing funny moments, times of gratitude, adventures, mishaps and triumphs.

3. OTHERS

As good as skype or Facebook are to stay in touch with others, there is absolutely no substitute for spending time face to face, being with a group of friends, making contact in person, sharing a hug, gathering the subtle nuances of human beingness that simply do not communicate electronically.

"Shooting the breeze" over tea or coffee, letting your thoughts exchange and develop with a good friend can be very productive and enjoyable. Recharge your senses by getting out in the world, to be in nature, listen to live music, view paintings in an exhibition and sharing these moments with others, will enrich your life.

Do you find it difficult to unplug? If so, what is difficult for you about that? How do you creatively recharge yourself when your batteries have gone flat? I would love to hear from you.

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at anne@annenaylor.com

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