Take Time to Power Down with “Reset Sundays”
Ten years years ago, on the weekend on September 11th, we had a massive blackout throughout Southern California. We all had just come off a “heat wave” and I think most people that live in this area were over it. At least I know I was. I had the air conditioning on high and was juicing and making dinner simultaneously while the kids played. It was a sweet afternoon, and then just as I decided it was too darned hot in the house & went to crank up the A/C our power surged in the house. Our clocks went black. The juicer stopped. I thought, OMG, I’ve blown out the fuse because I selfishly wanted it cooler in our small condo. I was mad at myself immediately for feeling entitled to more cool air and embarrassed when I sent a text to my husband that I’d “Blown the fuse.” As I went outside to check the breaker I realized that 2 of my neighbors were in their driveways talking with flashlights in hand. This seemed strange. At the time we lived in a cul de sac and although these 6 homes are all pretty much facing one another in a circle we rarely spoke or interracted with our neighbors. Don’t get me wrong, we’re friendly, we say hello, our daughters play sometimes, but most of the time we’re quite busy with life, our comings and goings. We just didn't say much. I can't tell you why.
Very quickly I realized that something was up. This wasn’t just our house that was affected, it was our neighborhood. As the day went on I would later learn that it was a significant power outage that left 1.5 Million people in California, Arizona & Mexico without power for the next 12-24 hours depending on where you lived. I heard the neighbors radio playing and so I grabbed the kids and we let them play outside and have fun while we listened intently. Because of the Anniversary of 9/11 many of us were on edge and wondering what was really going on or if it was just a fluke. As people were sent home from their powerless offices, the roadways became clogged, cell phone service was jammed and all of us simultaneously went “offline.” It was kind of scary not being able to communicate with the outside world. But the best part about it the day was that I got to meet my neighbors, really and truly. I had an opportunity to talk with them at length about the important things in life. And I never really ever thought that something as simple as a power outage could have such a profound ripple in my life.
And now, more often than not I find myself at times fantasizing about going “offline” for a vacation, just a day or two, maybe 3, where I’m unreachable. In this “fantasy,” really, I am with my husband and children. We spend all day together playing games, reading books, and doing things outside. We take naps when we are tired and eat when we are hungry. We let our true needs surface and face to face communication is the order of the day. And it’s so nice to have that “button” turned off so that you can simply be completely present in life. Connected to one another by presence. Not by interruption.
It's like taking the way you are currently making a cake and turning the recipe upside down. It makes you feel a little uncomfortable, but then you realize you're eating the frosting first, and it's rather addicting.
The truth is, I love this fantasy. And while I’ve thought about it before, I’m ready to make it a reality. I believe that many, many people could benefit from putting down the technology for a few hours, an afternoon, or evening. Maybe you have to work up to a whole day in blocks of time that would suit your schedule. On the 7th day, God rested. If we are to be in his image should we not rest as well?
With more and more instant "feeds" of technology springing directly from our palms, tablets, ipads and smart phones and into our brains, texting, emails, social networks and plugins just keep coming. It doesn't stop, unless you tell it to. AI doesn't take a break. Us humans though, we’re a tricky breed. All work and no play is not a healthy way to live. I think it’s time we put our foot down. Stop the “electric brain” that so many of us are having these days, it’s like our cell phone is glued to our hand. Radiating satellite frequencies and scrambling our personal signals. To be able to disconnect, may just truly give us an opportunity to look our loved ones in the eyes and communicate organically. Even if it’s just an hour of turning off your device or iPhone wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about what all is going on in THE world, let alone YOURS for just a little while? To take a break from the bill pay reminders, the Facebook comments, the emails and updates and just be present? Maybe in this hour you begin with a nap, or meditation, playing with your children, or going outside for a walk, a paddle, a ride, or sometimes just lay in the driveway and look at the clouds. Being present, in the moment is sometimes the most valuable asset you have and can give. The best part of it is you just may find out where you really are without having to “check in" and the people that REALLY need to know where you are, are right there with you.
How to #ResetSunday
1. Silence your phone. Step away from it completely if possible.
2. Turn off your television, computer, ipad, kindle, etc.
3. Abstain from laundry or using the dishwasher if possible. Keep your appliances off to conserve energy and water. Do your washing ahead of time or in off-peak hours.
4. Practice active participation in family activities or active alone time.
5. Get outside. Go for a walk around the block or a hike in the nearest canyon.
6. Abstain from driving if possible. Lowering your greenhouse emissions by just 1 day a week cuts the negative global impact and benefits the environment AND your wallet.
7. Make a home cooked meal (using as little appliances as possible).
8. Take care of yourself and rest.
9. Use candlelight after the sun goes down - it's also a vibe changer helps the world feel slower in a good way.
10. Unplug appliances that aren’t being used, like the toaster, blender, or juicer.
11. Camp out! Make a fire, pitch a tent, grab a flash light or glow stick. Use your imagination to enjoy your evening!
A CALL TO ACTION:
By “Reset Sunday” we aim to go “black out style.” We are conserving all expendable resources. And therefore this will make a huge global impact. By turning off the cell phone, the TV, the washing machine, and any other “plugged in” electrical devices we’re going to help the world save a great deal of energy.
By going without electricity for 1 full 12 hour period you will save somewhere around 32 kWh which is the average daily consumption. By not showering you’re saving 80-100 gallons of water per individual. The average family of 4 uses about 400 gallons daily in the United States. If you just made sure no one showered just on Reset Sunday’s your family alone would be allowing 400 more gallons to be saved. That’s amazing! Hi efficiency washing machines use approximately 27 gallons of water per load-by taking the day off & not doing laundry, again a huge opportunity to conserve resources.
Translate that into energy (see graphic below) and NOW youre talking making a difference. 1 person, 1 household, 1 Sunday at a time. Making a difference and reconnecting people.
Aside from actively participating in the noble cause of lessening your individual or family carbon footprint. More importantly you’re taking an opportunity connect with those you care about most, or maybe even just yourself, and there is nothing wrong with hopping off the grid for a little while to be able to appreciate those things were often move to fast to see-each other. The loves in our life, big and little will flourish, and I believe a deeper sense of simplicity and calmness will come over ourselves. Disconnecting in efforts to reconnect-to the things we care more about, each other. We hope you’re as excited about #resetsundays as we are. We can’t wait to see what you’re up to in preparation, and success stories! Let the fun begin!