Unplugged is a live album recorded in 1992 by Eric Clapton. At the time, the title seemed odd to me. I had to listen to the music several times to get the true meaning from this incredible artist. He disconnected from his traditional guitar to let his true self emerge in this acoustical masterpiece.
One of the many great features of walking on the Camino de Santiago is to disconnect from life. Each day begins at dawn by waking up and loading all possessions into a small backpack. Some toast with jam and coffee provides the nutrition. The rest of the day is spent doing physical activity, interacting with people, and enjoying nature. Serenity becomes a magnetic friend as the day progresses into a state of bliss.
Compare that to the plugged-in world that we inhabit today. Time Magazine reports that 84% of people claim that they could not make it through a single day without their phones. Most people check them every 30 minutes. Can you imagine a space alien visiting our lives and witnessing such lunacy? The world was spinning long before we arrived and will likely continue to spin without our next text, comment, or cable news story.
I was 95% disconnected for a total of 35 days during my walk in 2012. Every few days, I did send an update to friends and family. I did not have a phone and used public internet computers to communicate. During the rest of the time, I listened to stories from strangers, dug deep into my own psyche, and was inspired to write a book. I had never really slowed down in life to realize that is can be enjoyed at a slower pace. It was off the treadmill and into the steam room for relaxation.
Balance is the key to everything. At the time, I had been alive for roughly 18,500 days (48 years). I spent 35 days or .19% of my life unplugged. It forever changed my life by allowing me to see the proverbial forest. Going forward, I plan to spend much more time on the unplugged side of the ledger.
Try to connect with your life by disconnecting the phone this weekend.