Work-Life 9/3/2015

Getting Off The Grid And Reconnecting with Yourself by Leslie Juvin-Acker

Getting off the grid. It can mean anything to anybody. But really, what does it really mean? Does getting off the grid imply some negative image? That, somehow, it implies total isolation and disconnection from everyone and everything? Believe it or not, “getting off the grid” can mean something else entirely, and can, in effect, make more meaningful and clearer connections with the world around us possible.

For the longest time, when someone said the phrase “getting off the grid” I had this image of an old man, living in the mountains on some acreage, salty as all get go, and paranoid about the government getting ahold of his private information in some grand conspiracy theory. Sounds kooky and stressful and yet, I actually know someone like this, but that’s besides the point. There are other ways of getting off the grid in a more wholesome and relaxing way. The benefits of getting off the grid, even for only a day, are astounding when certain aspects of disconnecting allow us to connect in more stronger ways.

After feeling that initial sense of overwhelm we must now ask ourselves, “Why do I need to get off the grid in the first place? Usually, when we need to disconnect, it’s because there is a strong overwhelm of information or energy that isn’t being channeled or processed properly. This could be because of burnout from work (too much work, not enough rest or energizers), too much information and not enough quiet time to process it all, or stressful situations that happen back to back without much downtime to get a fresh perspective. These are just a few signs as to why it’s important to disconnect and get off the grid for a while. But it’s not enough to know that the need is real, but to also understand why we have to do so.

Getting off the grid is an opportunity to step back and nurture ourselves. Take a moment and imagine a time and place where you pulled all your energy back that you’ve sent out into the world and recentered yourself. That’s what getting off the grid is: It’s disconnecting our emotional, mental, and physical energy and bringing it back to us in order to reconnect with ourselves. Ever heard someone say, “Awe, man, I’m just all over the place!” This is one of those signs that it’s time to get off the grid and reconnect with ourselves. And, fortunately, there are so many ways (besides disconnecting from our mobile devices) that’ll help us do just that.

That overwhelmed feeling that we’re all over the place and disjointed makes for the perfect situational asset that can teach us about our behaviors and choices at work and in life. It says, let’s reverse engineer this situation in order to figure why and how we’ve got here. Because, let’s face it, our mobile devices aren’t glued to our hands - there’s an underlying reason why we feel addicted to looking at it all of the time. And while, maybe cutting off cold turkey the habit of constantly looking at emails or Instagram may stop that behavior, it certainly won’t eliminate the feeling that caused us to do it in the first place.

Getting off the grid is the perfect opportunity for taking a retreat to mindfully examine our unhealthy habits while in a restful and contemplative state. Whether by surfing, camping in the wilderness, spending the summer in Europe, or just taking a few hours or a day to just get recentered - these are just a few of the perfect ways to reconnect with our most authentic and healthy selves. Getting off the grid certainly does not have to mean disconnecting from the world and forgoing our jobs, responsibilities, and loved ones while we figure out ourselves. For most of us, our lives aren’t like the novel Into The Wild. Although, if that’s what you need to reconnect with yourself, then no shade. Just saying, because my clients are people with families, full lives, and a network of people who rely on their commitments and rely on disconnecting for a little while to go back and fully enjoy and connect with their lives.

We truly know what is best for us and getting a chance to reconnect with our own inner truth and wisdom by, even temporarily, disconnecting from distractions and overwhelming feelings can give us the clarity and silence we need to listen to that still small voice. It’ll tell us why we do the things we do, what we get out of whatever unhealthy behavior or old attitude we carry with us into new situations, and more importantly, what we can do about it. Getting off the grid is a chance to be gentle with ourselves without a harsh, critical eye to find out what’s best for us and to take that wisdom back into our everyday, vastly connected life. Having created a safe, non-critical environment, it’s the perfect space to come up with fresh insights and new ways for living and working.

So, by getting off the grid - shutting ourselves off into a quiet place, turning off the boob-tube, or switching off the wifi, temporarily escaping somewhere - can actually be a healthy activity and way to create a sense of wholeness for our personal well-being. Essentially, it doesn’t have to be about becoming salty anti-social hermits to avoid getting caught up in overwhelming dramas and general B.S.. By employing the situational assets of stressful situations to indicate that it’s time to pull back and look inside instead of outside of ourselves, we’re cutting down the noise and increasing the pure sound of our own inner truth. Never know, you might just like what you hear.