Alarm Clocks are the New Friday

I realized a few months ago that I had spent sixteen hours that day on the internet, working.

This can happen, as a freelancer.

Your work is always at your fingertips.

I was flabbergasted when I did the math.

Sixteen hours.


I decided to take a week offline, completely unplugged.

But what about my alarm clock?

My iPhone has conveniently become not only my camera, message machine, laptop, calculator, note pad but also my alarm clock.

I dug through boxes in the basement of my cabin and came across a big blue dinosaur alarm clock that was dusty, beautiful and does just one thing—tell time.

It will wake you up when you ask it to, and sometimes let you sneak in a snooze but it doesn’t have your emails, Facebook, or Instagram attached.

It’s simple and sweet and laying around beside our CD players, DVD players, records and books.

I left my phone downstairs—far away from my fingers and set my alarm for the next morning.

This meant manually clicking the hours and minutes—it wasn’t instant, but it was necessary.

That night I fell asleep without skimming newsfeeds, without photographs of peoples supper, babies, dogs, Rumi quotes and lists on lists on lists.

I missed all of this—and read a book.

You know, one that you can hold in your hand?

That is old and smells musty and dusty, with round brown bottom of the coffee cup stains.

I was once told by a coach/healer who deals with insomnia that one should power down all electronics an hour before going to bed.

It allows us to avoid stimulating ourselves too deeply before bed and unwind.

This means TVs, this means Kindles, this means laptops, and yes--this means phones.

I think we reach for our phones, and scramble to check our notifications because it is tiny doses of endorphins, affection, brain high fives and stimulation.

Next time you are in an airport, waiting to board a plane—look around.

What do you see?

Everyone disconnected, face lit up by blue screen—zombies.

For when we are bored, or lack excitement in front of our very eyes we reach for stimulation.

Letting our brains decompress, process and let go of the days events is necessary and important.

Phones don’t always allow this space.

The next morning I woke up to the tree branches rustling against the windows of my cabin.

My alarm hadn’t quite decided to wake me up yet.

Waking up without an alarm clock is one of my favorite things.

Instead of checking if I had any text messages or missed calls I lay on my back in my bed, felt my white sheets curled around my body and looked out at the world—out there.

The sky was pink and purple and blue and beginning.  The moon was saying adios and kissing the sun good morning.

There were no roosters, but if there were they would have sung.

There was still dew hanging on each leaf of the trees surrounding my cabin.

I heard my neighbor whistling as he tromped through the woods to go to work.

I drank this in—I let the big, beautiful, alive world fill my eyes and ears.

I walked out to my balcony, heard the river running as fast as she could, the ocean glimmering in the darkness leaving and shouted “Good morning, world!”

I let a cotton shirt fall on my shoulders, put one foot slowly in front of the other and made my way downstairs into my kitchen and began my day grinding and pressing coffee.

I didn’t multitask, I didn’t do this all at once.

I was in each moment unraveling before me.

The emails—waited.

The text messages—waited.

The phone calls—waited

The notifications—were still there.

I picked up my phone an hour later and was not so quick to jump in.

I found something it doesn’t have an app for.

We forget sometimes that our phones are not in control.

That we are.

That our phones exist to be in service to us, not the other way around.

We do not need to hide from our phones—they are just buzzing pieces of metal with humans on the other side that we can communicate with, if we want to.

So my alarm clock stuck around for the week.

I woke up with the world, instead of a screen.

I let the sunshine, the coffee, the misty dewy mornings, the feeling of the shower beating hot against my neck wake me, instead.

 Coffee & view in Costa Rica

Coffee & view in Costa Rica

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