A recent op ed piece in the New York Times, by consultant and author Tony Schwartz has struck a chord with many of us. In Addicted to Distraction, Schwartz describes how giving up sugar and alcohol was a breeze compared to withdrawing from the Internet.
In today’s constantly connected world, it is increasingly hard to stay focussed on one thing long enough for the mind to relax. We have become far too used to the dubious pleasure of skimming over the surface of a multitude of topics, occasionally diving in and then getting distracted by some other shiny object and going after that instead.
I remember how the festive season last year was an eye opener for me. A falling tree brought down the phone and internet and, being a village in rural Italy and the holiday period, it took two weeks to fix. I was offline for fourteen days, imagine it!
After the first horrific days, I began to enjoy the fact that I couldn’t go online, couldn’t check email, surf, go down rabbit holes or be contacted, that way at least. My mind calmed down. I began to read again, did some weaving, rediscovered the pleasures of life before the Internet. It was amazing and I resolved never to forget it, even though I have now been sucked in to the cyber giant’s mouth once more.
Perhaps this feeling of restlessness, always being contactable, never being able to relax is what has led to the new interest in crafts and coloring. We need to get hands on again, get lost in an activity, let our minds take a break from distraction and multi tasking, questioning and researching.
Coloring in a mandala sounds simple enough, and it is. But the real magic lies in the activity’s ability to switch us off. That is probably what we all want, isn’t it?