I have been on the computer a lot lately – for work, to create, for year end accounting madness, new year communications connections and more. I have a lap top and a desktop. I have a new smart phone with all the communication treats I had previously avoided (text message, internet access to email, as well as voice mail and usual phone calls.) I am now able to check multiple devices on multiple platforms to conduct my business and to see if anyone still loves me (replies or communicates with me)ie FB, Text, VM, email – multiple accounts- and so on. Are people getting back to me? Are they initiating new information streams, is it funny? is it necessary? Do I need to respond? Am I in the loop with the funny stories, necessary communications, general info or just a BCC for goodness knows why? And on and on – checking and re-checking the devices.
Now to the breath,in addition to getting “chair behind”, I am also aware of my inconsistent breathing. A year or so ago I hear about this as a phenomenon from bloger Linda Stone. She wrote about”email apnea” in 2009 and again in 2010. Well I have the full syndrome: I experience “computer induced apnea” . I have been finding myself holding my breath from time to time as I wait for a page to load or a program to launch. I held my breath as I scrolled through lists and scanned articles for “salient points” that would invite me to read them. I suspended my breath looking at my own writing – proofing it for grammar and spelling. Any time I was looking at a screen – my breathing would become erratic! I would hold my breath at the computer, phone or laptop. It was time for a change.
As I became aware of this I realized I needed to be more present, become more patient at the keyboard, and to breath with mindfulness. To help that process I am cutting down on the “opportunities” to go astray. I have reduced the length of time I am before a screen. I limit the number of inputs at a time (turn off FB when I am answering email, close the internet when I am writing, and turn off the phone when I am focusing.) So far (even in this moment) I am able to stay aware and I mindfully invite myself to breathe fully. And feel better. To further assist me I am learning to let go of the electronics when I am with others. I am comfortable leaving my phone off. I dislike the interruption it makes when I am with someone, even the vibration on a table or in a pocket removes both (or all) of our attentions to the “will she answer it or ignore it?” question – I feel we abandon one another until the answer becomes clear. (Of course if I am waiting for a time sensitive response to something I let the person know and handle it that way.) For my brain and body, and in consideration of others I am practicing simplicity. Kindness even in the electronic age.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is a yoga instructor specializing in teaching yoga to people in recovery and the creator of the SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) certification program. Find more about her and the SOAR(tm) program at www.yogarecovery.com.