I recently returned from 4 blissful days in Zion National Park. Instead of the usual overwhelming hustle and bustle insanity of Los Angeles, I was inundated by the sound of the Virgin River flowing by my tent, smells of campfire and earth, towering red rocks, birds flying overhead, grassy meadows and cottonwood trees, sheer rocky cliffs met with blue skies filled with perfectly formed wispy clouds, it was heaven.
What I discovered on this trip is that my brain loves to be overwhelmed…. by beauty. When we give our brains a chance to slow down amazing things happen, we become inspired, excited by life, the space in our heads that is usually filled with anxiety is suddenly quiet and serene.
In these places, I’m in my element. I write poetry & meditations. I pray. I snuggle with my husband. I walk around barefoot and do yoga.
I feel connected to the earth all around me. The blanket of stars overhead makes me feel that the universe is a vast place. I love campgrounds filled with people, I love having conversations with travelers, all sharing the same experience but uniquely different. And I love being able to wear the same clothing for days if I feel like it, not worried about being looked down upon or treated unfairly if I don’t match.
Los Angeles is a beast of a city, and I admire her untamed ways. I love her late night ramen, dim sum brunches, and her cityscape. I also love that everything that you could ever imagine is right at your fingertips… if only you can fight through the sea of cars to get there.
It’s no secret that our brains are constantly overwhelmed with our modern day world. Even though our brains have evolved thousands of years to create our conscious minds, I believe that our brains have not yet evolved to incorporate the modern day technology overload insanity that is our modern day world.
Our primitive minds are programmed to scan the world for what is dangerous or out of the ordinary. Our minds then put it in the ‘important’ category to give more energy and attention. This makes sense, it’s how we kept safe from saber tooth tigers and other predatory animals and kept evolving. It’s the reason that we are here today, this evolution is the reason that I can be writing this article and connecting with you.
One challenge in our current lifestyle of constant technology is that our minds simply are not designed to handle the overload. The interesting thing is that we can handle it for short bursts and then our minds must return to peace, balance, and under-stimulation.
Imagine a rabbit in the wild. If rabbit sees an approaching wolf, rabbit becomes physically faster, stronger, and more motivated to run. As he’s running, he is way aware of his surroundings, finding a space to hide and be safe. As soon as he find that cactus, rabbit’s mind automatically shuts off and he knows he’s safe so he can go back to snacking on his lunch.
Now imagine rabbit in the middle of New York City. Yikes!
Smart phones, social media, traffic on the road, fast paced lifestyle… You know that feeling of checking your smart phone every second of the day, panic that you might miss something or someone even though logically it doesn’t make any sense. I feel it. It’s like a compulsive need to check my phone, rush of excitement, coupled with this overwhelming anxiety… it’s kind of a bizarre phenomenon.
I think it’s caused by the wires in our brain getting crossed. All at the same time. And then going into overload because the primitive parts of our minds thinks that this overwhelming amount of information means that we are getting attacked by a wild animal and searching for safety. In other words, all day long we are putting our minds in hyper-drive to “work harder” when in fact our minds are getting overloaded and blocking the one thing that we need in order to make life happen- space. Space to think, space to be creative, space to be connected.
This past weekend it felt amazing to shut off my phone and disconnect with social media in order to reboot my mind. To feel peace and serenity. To look at the flowing water and spacious blue sky. To reconnect with who I truly am, and honor that light inside me.
I would love to hear your feedback, challenges, and experience with finding ways to unplug and connect with your inner self and the world around you! Email me or Post your thoughts below.