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The Right to Disconnect

Mar 032017

It’s beautiful to be connected.  To have honest, real human contact, to appreciate the joys of life.  And these days, it’s easier to be connected than ever, with social media and email accessible right from our phones.  We can be reached anytime, anywhere.  But how connected are we, really?

These days, one of the biggest issues we face is work-life balance.  It’s become the norm to answer work emails, take care of invoices, and communicate with employers or clients during our personal time.  And it’s all too easy to feel pressured to do this, to feel that we won’t keep our jobs unless we “live” them.  How much room is there for the “life” part of the equation?

Once upon a time, there was a clearer delineation between work and life.  We went to work and made money so that we could go home and live.  So that we could enjoy life, interact with family and friends, experience things and cultivate rich and meaningful connections.  In order to do that, we have to disconnect from work when the work day is over.  Put the email on hold, maybe even hide the phone altogether.  Set aside a time to be human and take pleasure in our lives.

Take some time to consider it.  Are you working to live or living to work? It’s an important question.  Are you enjoying this precious gift of life, or just waiting for retirement?  The choice is always ours.  We can give ourselves permission to put the job down and enjoy the time we have.

Our world is framed by narrative, by stories that we have absorbed along the way, often without ever realising it.  One of these narratives is security.  It’s that feeling that we have to push, struggle, exhaust ourselves, and do things that we don’t really want to do.  Just so that we have enough money to pay the bills and come back for the next week of struggle.  The funny thing is that security is an illusion; a carrot on a stick if you will, that can keep us running for decades, if we don’t stop to consider the alternatives.  And it’s a bottomless pit, a need that can’t be filled by any amount of money, power, or possessions.

All that we have, when it comes right down to it, is our experience.  Our present moment.  But we can’t enjoy the present moment if we’re living with an “until then” mindset.  I’ll be happy when I get that next promotion.  When I can finally take that vacation.  When I pay off the mortgage.  When the kids grow up.  But life is happening right here, right now.  And it can slip right through our fingers if we don’t stop to smell the roses.  Life is for living, loving, laughing, for being present to the juicy, delicious moments, feelings, experiences, and connections that surround us and knock on the door, just waiting to be let in.

Are you enjoying yourself?  Really soaking in the beauty around you?  Feeling your body?  Having amazing and meaningful connections with the people in your life?  That’s what it’s all about, really.  And it’s a gift that each of us can give ourselves, whenever and wherever we are.

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