These days we have to disconnect before we can connect. We are connected to everything and everyone constantly, but not ourselves or even God…
During the past few weeks I spent 4 days on a farm in Namibia with no cell phone or internet connection. No phone, no internet, no emails, no WhatsApp. I couldn’t reach out for my phone quickly to scroll the latest news feed, couldn’t post anything on any platform. I was totally disconnected. All I could do was to witness the sunset and sunrise, look up at the stars at night, sit at the fire and share experiences with the people around me…in person…not on zoom! What a relief, to not anxiously await a message, or an alert of something I need to do, or attend to. Just to be there…and open to what is emerging from the moment.
I had to disconnect to be able to connect to myself and to God. My kids had to look for stuff to do in nature, learn to just sit and chat, pick up wood for the fire or play board games.
And we connected.
One night in Namibia I walked away from the house to just watch the stars – my 10 year old boy walked with me and we witnessed a sky full of stars, an unbelievable sight. “Daddy why are there so many stars tonight?”, he suddenly asked me. I told him that the stars are always there we just don’t see it because of all the (artificial) light. Because sometimes we need the darkness to witness the light, don’t we? We disconnected from the artificial light that night to connect to the stars and the light.
Sometimes we have to disconnect before we can connect. Years ago Nokia made an advert with the same title – you are welcome to watch this short video as it is a powerful depiction of this notion.
Last week I spoke to a business leader while on his 3-month sabbatical. We started planning his sabbatical last year, focusing specifically on how to be deliberate in disconnecting from his office. We talked about the value of sometimes looking at your business from a distance, to look from the outside and taking an intentional step to plug out before you plug in again.
At the end of our conversation he said:
“While disconnecting I get a renewed perspective and then I become small…and my problems even smaller – I remind myself just to breathe.”
We find ourselves in the middle of this year and it might be healthy to think of where you need to disconnect to be able to connect to God, yourself and others again.
Make one small decision about this – take one small step.
To deliberately disconnect for short periods – you don’t have to be out on a farm, or be disconnected for days to experience this – just take a short walk and leave your phone at home or at the office, and see what emerges for you.
Go and deliberately disconnect, so you can soulfully connect again.