Last night we had Earth Hour.
At 8:25 pm local time I went around the house turning off all lights and I actually turned off my phone – Something I rarely do these days, even on airplanes (airplane safe mode). I realised I changed my attitude towards my phone once the kids were in school. Before that moment I rarely used it, but it suddenly became a vital requirement for parents to be reachable at all times, whether in a meeting or in the cinema, or in the air… Just incase…
Which also meant that I inevitably developed a Pavlovian response to it ringing; I can now notice a surge in adrenalin every time the thing vibrates or dings or even dies from low battery! Everything about the phone is anxiety inducing… Like any dependency I suppose.
So last night, with girls safely in their beds, I turned off the phone.
The computer however, was merely sleeping. I dared not wake it (in order to shut down) least I be bombarded by a deluge of pop up dialogue boxes asking me whether I wanted to save changes… and whether I was entirely 100% sure about this. I knew I would be drawn into a vortex of distraction and before I knew it, Earth Hour would be over and I would be stressed out and confused.
So I let the desktop sleep.
The fridge, obviously, would stay on too. However, apart from these two items, there would be no electrical current coursing through our walls. I lit two of my handmade candles (soya wax and essential oils) and retired to my room accompanied by a warm flickering glow.
The rain pulsated on the roof to cumbersome tempo. The sky thick with cloud, impenetrable by light, neither from moon nor stars. I was cocooned and somewhat marooned. Isolated from the goings on across the world, unable to reach out in a virtual world. My forefinger outstretched like Michael Angelo’s creation of Adam, until I realised that I would have to endure a whole hour, with no distraction. This sacred hour that I long for during the day. The one where I get to be by myself, without constant imploring from neglected children. A time usually spent watching YouTube clips of SNL or Samantha Bee and the likes. This night however, I was in the dark. Too dark to write, too dark to read. Just me, alone in the universe.
I watched the flickering of the tiny flames, wicks slowly shrinking, consumed in fire. I listened out for the lowly growl of thunder, an interlude from the rhythmic, shamanesque drumming happening above my head. With the faintest aroma of essential oils hanging in the air, the effect was quite hypnotic and before long I could feel my eye lids sag. I gave up the fight and snuffed out the little lights, before drifting off.
It would be romantic to assume, that without electrical distraction and by the power of natural rhythms, I slept better than I have in decades, however, this was not the case. I slept pretty well, but I was nevertheless, woken up far too early by children and as a result, grumpy.
No changes in that ritual.
But the sun had reappeared through the skylight and I was happy to indulge in the sensual experience of closing my eyes and having my vision flooded with crimson brilliance behind my lids. With a face full of sunlight, I plucked up the courage to pull myself out of bed and made breakfast for girls.
Perhaps inspired by the recent, if brief, electrical detox, I felt like taking the plunge into deeper waters.
I ran myself a bath.
Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils (today was patchouli and geranium, my usual go-to blend is orange, lavender and black pepper, inspired by summers spent in the stately homes of Provence). A scattering of dried rose petals.
I mixed some Rhassoul clay with rose water and a splash of Argan oil to make soap/shampoo.
I lit another candle and placed it next to my amethyst cluster by the bath.
I turned off the lights.
The real revelation is how great this homemade shampoo is. It’s quite the conditioner! My brush glided through my wiry mane without a glitch.
Next on the list of detoxification was the apartment. Well that was impossible…
After hours of sweeping and loading washing machines and dishwashers and pleading with kids to help/stop making more mess; the apartment is still an unsightly jumble of clashing textures and shapes. So unharmonious.
Which, I suppose really highlights yet another symptom of modern day life – Clutter.
Cheap disposable plastic mouldings that invade every hour of your waking life, while you try to detangle yourself from this toxic web of packaging and pamphlets and ‘toys’. Wires hanging everywhere, feeding hungry appliances. So much of it unnecessary, so much of it uninvited.
Detoxing or cleansing is hard work. It requires determination and focus, and I can’t say I have enough of either to do it properly.
I am aware my addiction to data is resembling a kind of alcoholism. The appeal is easy to explain, like alcohol, the first few sips bring about a nice warm fuzzy feeling. It’s enjoyable to reach out to friends from all over and in small doses I believe it’s actually pretty healthy (a glass of red wine a day, they say).
However, with the increase of notifications, suggested posts, fake news, trolls, political drama everywhere… and so much clutter, I find the experience is becoming less and less enjoyable – the effect akin to a constant hangover.
I cannot save every polar bear and bee, I cannot save you from the war in your country that my government has endorsed. I don’t want to see pictures of animal torture and I don’t want to engage with haters every time I read a comments section. I want to do something proactive and productive… but I have this hang-over you see?
As mentioned before I am not great a detoxes. I am better at not getting addicted in the first place. I feel like I depend on facebook for my sanity. It’s a place for me to share experiences, my own and those of my friends. I feel lucky that I am of the generation that the selfie-thing is not a thing. The narcissistic need for constant attention, only briefly satisfied by a like or a love. I have not grown up with this toxicity in my veins so perhaps my immunity can still put up a fight? But for how long?
Every time I facebook, I retreat in horror at the graphic extremes in human behaviour. It’s too much for me. It’s like I came for a pleasant glass of wine, and I was waterboarded with 3 bottles of vodka!
I think I need to find a new bar, this place has gotten kinda anti-social.
So here you go facebook! Please click and like my post, or else I will be sad and drink too much alcohol.