This past weekend my wife, her friend’s family, and I went to a cabin in Pennsylvania. We were in the middle of nowhere with no internet. I repeat, no internet. We were completely disconnected from everything, but somehow felt more connected than ever. By disconnecting from the world we were able to connect with each other and ourselves. I think there’s something we can learn from this. When it comes to our careers, we can get so caught up on the day to day life. Sometimes we just need to go away from it all so that we can step back and reflect on everything that is going on.
Connecting with each other
One thing I love to do is talk to people that are far from my field. People who aren’t in creative, tech, or entrepreneurial fields. This allows me to hear perspectives outside of the ones I’m use to hearing everyday. Without the distractions of internet, there was a lot of talking. The drive to the cabin started off with everyone telling stories, when we got around the camp fire we talked about life, and when it died down we went inside and exchanged jokes.
Hearing other people’s experiences, and attempting to understand their point of views on life is a great way to step away from our one sided thoughts and open our minds. There is no better way to do this but real life, undisrupted connections with others. With social media we hear thousands of thoughts from people but don’t really make a connection. With only 140 characters, it’s impossible to actually step into the shoes of the person sharing the message. In addition to that, words on a screen don’t relay the emotion, tone, and mood that the person is thinking in. Disconnecting from the world allowed us all to connect with each other and have meaningful conversations.
Connecting with ourselves
Noise, noise, so much noise. Make the noise stop! We consume and consume and consume. We connect so many things that we tend to disconnect from ourselves. Even if we were to turn everything off, the first few moments are filled with recent things we’ve consumed. It takes a while for the noise to stop and original thoughts to begin flowing. This is when we have our purest thoughts, this is who we are. Our imagination here is untainted with the input of the outside world. This form of self reflection allows us to be creative and find out how we actually feel about the things going on in our lives.
The first few hours of having no service were wierd. I found myself reaching for my phone, forgetting that there was no internet. How horrible is this? My reaction to silence was to fill it up with noise. I ended up putting my phone away and began to let my mind empty out all the thoughts of the world, and my own began coming in. I reflected on this blog and what I wanted to do with it. Thoughts about work, life, faith, all exposed me to things that I didn’t even realize were going on. By disconnecting from the world, we went through a mental detox that allows us to connect with ourselves.
Ironically enough, the place we were in was actually called Reflection Lake. This was exactly what this weekend was about. Through disconnection we were able to make a stronger more meaningful connection with tangible things that matter. Building fires, cooking, going on walks, these were the things that Reflection Lake gave to us, and I give endless thanks. I believe that we all have to make time in our busy schedules to disconnect for a weekend, and reflect. You’d be surprised with the things you learn from others and even more so yourself.