Just “Say No to Saying No!”

I was getting my nails done and my friend Jamie asked me if I had written a blog story lately.  I sighed and said, “Nope.”

I don’t feel particularly creative or thoughtful. I thought to myself, “Why is this? Has my addiction to electronics zapped any creative thought? Is it possible I am over-stimulated?”

At work on Saturday morning I was determined to make a change.

My first inkling of how to rectify this behavior had me considering taking a vow of silence for the rest of the weekend. You know, like a Benedictine Monk… or so I thought. I really don’t know anything about vows of silence or monks. So, I asked a co-worker what he thought. Does a vow of silence mean only no speaking? Or, do you have to be surrounded by silence? As in, no music, TV, phones, internet. No electronics.  We were busy so we didn’t have time to think about it.  I said “If you need me call my Mom… do you have my Mom’s number?” He does, but said he won’t phone me anyway and good luck. He said the thought of taking a vow of silence made his arm hair stand on end.

So, I immediately posted on Facebook that I was going off the grid (no electronics) until Monday. I actually got a few likes. Thanks, friends.

The first thing I did was turn off the radio in my car. I found myself continuously pressing the controls on the wheel to turn up the volume…when it wasn’t even on. I got home and read a real book for one whole hour. Then I fell asleep for two whole hours. Then I got up, had nothing to do so I vacuumed the basement which had a whole bunch of spider webs. I even did the stairs. Then I was carrying the vacuum up the stairs and managed to smack the vacuum into my ankle bone. I howled. I scared the dog. I wanted to take a picture of my bruised and swollen ankle bone but I couldn’t because my phone was off. So I hobbled upstairs. I have got to admit, I was getting a little grumpy.

When things aren’t going as planned, it is time to re-negotiate. For the big stuff this occurs with God, but for this little experiment it was with myself. I am a reasonable person. So, I decided that no electronics was a bit extreme.

I figured no soul should be without music.

So, I went into the supply closet and dug around and found an old “boom” box covered with dust and paint splatters. I plugged it in and inserted an Eric Clapton CD.  Nothing happened. Shoot. The CD player doesn’t work. On to the radio. That actually did work and I spun the dial around looking for some good tunes. I found the pre-season Packers vs. St. Louis game. Great! Except, you know, it’s kind of better to watch instead of listen to it. So, I decided that TV is a useful tool for watching sports.  So, I turned on the game. It is a slippery slope. It starts with a radio and then all hell breaks loose.

I made a little detour to go visit my Mom and one of the Sisters. They asked how my experiment was going. I said, “I flunked out already. I only made it 3 hours.”  I still hadn’t caved in to the internet or phone yet. I told them about the vow of silence idea and my sister looked it up on her tablet. It would seem that Benedictine Monks aren’t necessarily silent. Silence though, it would seem is a big topic in lots of religions and meditation and overall well-being situations. It’s just so difficult! Sheesh. Who knew?

Then I went to bed. Then I woke up at 6am. It would appear that no electronics leads to a well-rested person and a clean house. By noon the laundry was done, the dishes were done, the ribs I am making for dinner are all dry-rubbed and ready to be slow cooked. The doggies and Sisters have been walked. We had a few laughs. 

It looked like it was going to be a very long day. So, I re-negotiated again. It is kind of like when pharmaceutical companies decide to stop a drug trial because all of the patients are dying…well, that is what happened. Experiment over.

It was a good experiment. I think what I learned from it is this….

Restrictions suck.

I think that most of the time moderation is the way to go.  This applies to just about everything, including electronics. That is my story and I am sticking to it. Carry on friends, and have a good day.

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