Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain - long distance walking chelates the chemicals that trigger my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Walking the Camino - and Life - Unplugged


Recently, I've been attempting to unplug more, 

as this ad suggests.

I think other folks are on the same page, 

because this morning there were several posts on Facebook 
addressing this issue. 

 Gabrielle Reece said, 
TURNING OFF has become a major challenge for us, with cellphones and laptops giving us constant access to the world -- current research says that 75% of us use an electronic device within an hour of sleeping. The same research says that our habits with those devices are negatively affecting our sleep, which can have significant health repercussions down the road.

How do YOU sleep these days???


Then there was the awesome video post by Prince Ea:




It's not easy. 
Electronics have become addictive. 

I've attempted to unplug
 - at one time I had 3 Facebook accounts. 
Why three? 
Well, there's so much politics on FB,
 I wanted to avoid arguments. 
 I had one account for my Christian right-wing friends, 
one account for my pagan left-wing friends, 
and one account for my felting and Camino friends. 
It got crazy, the amount of time I was spending online.
 So I cut out the two right-wing/left-wing accounts and kept the third.
 But still, I'd catch myself checking FB before sleeping,
or checking Facebook before I'd even get out of bed. 


I tried making a rule. 
 I'd check Facebook and email only twice a day; 
once in the morning and once before bed. 
It worked about 2 days. 
I continue to work on this issue.

The easiest way for me to begin unplugging
 has been to not carry my cell-phone around. 
I leave it in my bedroom unless I'm driving someplace. 
If it rings and I'm busy, I don't answer. 
If it's important, people will leave a message.
 If it's an immediate family member, 
like my mother or one of my sons, I do call back. 
But more often than not, it's just someone wanting to chat. 
And if I'm felting, which is my work, 
it can wait until I take a break or have the time. 
When I drive somewhere, I do take the phone,
 but never answer it. 
I take it in case I get stuck at the side of the road,
 or leave my keys in my car, as I did recently. 

Lately, instead of rolling over 
and checking my Facebook on my iPad when I wake up, 
I've begun grabbing a cup of coffee and reading,
 either Rumi or Esther Hicks or the Bible 
or something that might give me inspiration for the day. 
Some mornings, when I don't feel like reading,
 I'll take my coffee out into the back yard 
and just study nature for 15-20 minutes
 - just be thankful for waking up alive. 



Which brings me to the Camino and walking unplugged.

I have walked various Camino routes around a dozen times. 
It has only been the ones where I led a group 
that I felt I needed to carry a cell phone. 
People are just more comfortable 
when they know they can reach me. 
However, when I walk alone, the phone is OFF. 

Nor do I listen to a musical device. 
Instead, I enjoy the sounds of the Camino
and use my iPhone to record them.
(Do I sense a conflict here? I'll have to mull this over.)

If I had an iPod, I would have missed the cow bells

video


I would have missed the frogs croaking in the ponds on the Camino Madrid.
video

I would have missed the cuckoo in the distance,
the wind rustling the leaves in the trees, 
and the rushing water in the river.

If I'd been wearing a iPod,
I would have missed being awakened by this men's chorus
in Puente la Reina
video

Instead of being distracted by electronics,
I savor the smells, 
bread baking in an oven, 
freshly squeezed orange juice,
 the smell of the upturned soil.

I walk with my eyes wide open for color - 
the green of the forests and fields, 
purple and red bunches of grapes hanging on the vine, 
colored sheets hanging on a line,  
or the diverse colors and shapes
 of the wildflowers sprinkled along the route. 

I look into the eyes of the pilgrims I pass.
There's much diversity there to enjoy.

I close my eyes and really SEE, SMELL, and TASTE the caldo, 
the tortilla, 
the gazpacho, 
the grilled peppers,
feeling my tastebuds dance 
as the various flavors tickle each one. 



I want to be distracted by the CAMINO! 
By the sights, sounds, and smells 
of the wonderful exotic country I'm visiting. 

I can't tell you how many times 
I've passed a pilgrim wearing earbuds,
 totally engrossed in their own little world. 
While it's true, they ARE walking THEIR Camino, 
I can't help but feel a little sad for them. 
They missed the opportunity
 to share words, ideas, laughter,
with someone from another country,
 another culture. 


Why go to Spain at all?
Why not just walk in their own neighborhood 
listening to their iPod? 
Why spend their life savings to come to Spain 
to do what they could do at home?

I'd like to encourage you to unplug, 
at home 
and on the Camino.
Try spending a day,
in fact, try walking the Camino
 WITHOUT a phone, iPod, iPad.
Every other pilgrim will have one, if you need help.
Nearly every albergue and hotel is plugged in.
You can use provided computers
to email your folks to let them know you're ok.

Try leaving the electronic security blankets at home.

After all, until about five years ago, 
thousands of pilgrims walked the route unplugged.
They made it to Santiago.

You will too.

And though the Cathedral is lovely,
and they say your sins will be forgiven if you reach it,
I believe the Camino is about the journey, 
not the destination.
Try immersing yourself in the experience.
Unplug.
You won't regret it.






2 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Annie. I'm in total agreement. I need more quiet times...it's so easy to get caught up in the technology. Patricia W

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  2. I'm guilty of much of the same; the main reason for FB is to stay connected with what my kids are doing more than anything else, since both of them live in other parts of the country; been debating about the same ideas and you've got more courage than I however, my plan next summer will be to definitely unplug from musical distractions and try to 'be one' with my Camino universe!

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