Tuesday, February 28, 2012
"Shut Out The World Day"
I'm proposing a new floating holiday.
It will have no calendar designation; just whatever day you choose. I'm calling it "Shut Out The World Day", but if you want to romanticize it a bit, you could call it "Solitude Day".
Part of the problem I have with focus, and you probably do, too, is that there is too much external stimuli that we contend with on a day-to-day basis.
Too much noise; too much cacophony. Part of it is the TV, although I like to turn that off as much as possible. A BIG part of it is THE INTERNET, at least for me.
I have ten sites pinned as app tabs on Firefox. Ten. Apparently, these are the sites that I could not function without on any given day. Let's see...I have two email accounts, I have Amazon (I guess in case I need to order something REALLY QUICKLY), I have my bank's site (okay, that's rather mundane, but necessary), Entertainment Weekly, in order to get that up-to-date entertainment "news"; one actual news site, Google (okay, THAT I use a LOT); YouTube; Blogger (duh), and one Facebook game for when I really don't feel like doing anything productive.
These, of course, are not the only sites I visit. These are just the ones I want to keep REALLY HANDY, in case of emergency?
There are other distractions besides the TV and the net, though. You guys who are attached to your phones, well, there's another one....a big one, apparently, because I see people whipping those out all the time; at work, for example....for texting and for who knows what they are not supposed to be doing, but do anyway.
Open your window. Unless you live in the country (ahhh), you will be distracted by the noise of your neighbors that you don't even care to know about, but are forced to hear anyway. For instance, now, my next-door neighbor is apparently moving (!), and he's hammering away on something. In fact, for about the past six hours, he's been hammering. I guess maybe he has a lot of things to disassemble.
The radio, maybe? I listen to the radio at work, to try to drown out all the other extraneous noise. But, in the end, it's all just noise. Some of it is better than other noise, but still.
Well, you get my drift. You probably have other things that distract you. Everybody is unique.
For me, the big thing is the internet. I don't even know why I'm glued to it, but it's absolutely counter-productive.
I can waste HOURS reading stuff. Stuff that I don't even care about, really. It's just there. It's a handy excuse not to do other things.
"Oh, let me just check to see if anything blew up today, or if it might snow, or if somebody said something that everybody else will be talking about, and if I don't know about it, then I'm going to look stupid, so I'd better check and make sure, so, come Monday at work, I will be one of the cool people who knows about whatever it is that somebody said or blew up, and I can scoff at the ignorant uninformed people who don't know what was blown up or said."
So, what I propose, in light of this, is that we take ONE DAY; you choose the day; one day of solitude.
Turn off the TV, if you haven't already. Shut down (gasp!) your computer. Curl up on the sofa with a book (either on Kindle or the dinosaur-type; your choice); rest your head on a pillow.
Or grab a blank notebook and a pen. Start writing stuff. Or drawing stuff. Whatever you feel like doing in the moment.
Listen to your voice.
If you want to listen to music, you have to be precise. Don't put your ipod on shuffle. Because you know what will happen. You'll just be in a soft, meditative state, and suddenly THE WHO comes on, and you are suddenly JARRED out of your reverie.
It kills the mood. So, be selective in your music. I would say, keep it soft, unobtrusive. Because what you're really trying to accomplish here on "Shut Out The World Day" is to listen to yourself. Not somebody pounding on your door, even if it is the Who, demanding to be let in.
I would also advise that you choose a day when you know you can be alone. I know; we all love our loved ones. We love them so much that it seems like they're always RIGHT THERE. And that's nice, most of the time. But on your solitude day, you need to just be with you. Otherwise, it's not solitude, is it?
So, scan your calendar. Pick the optimum day for you. Buy yourself some candles or, if you're like me, some nice chocolate cookies; make sure your pen still writes. Grab that notebook, preferably the non-spiral type, because the spiral ones just butt up against your hand when you're trying to write (oh, maybe that just happens to left-handed people, like me), and already you're irritable. Or grab that book (or your Kindle, which is really much more convenient, because if you don't like the book you've chosen, just click on a different one). Make sure you have a nice, fluffy pillow.
Now, doesn't that feel better already?
Oh, and turn off your phone.
I'm thinking, myself, of a day in May. A weekday. Most people have gone to work, so I can open my window, and let the warmish fresh air waft through, and not have to listen to everybody's various noises.
I'll be able to smell the spring air. I'll maybe even pick up my guitar and start strumming a bit, and enjoy the sound of my own voice, unselfconsciously, for a change.
Here it is, still February, and I'm longing for that day in May.
I really think I'm on to something here.
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