summer rhythm & mental clarity
My summer days tend to follow a different rhythm. Morning swims. Evening rides. Abbreviated daytime trips to avoid the air that feels like being stuck in a convection oven, or avoiding the heat-induced thunderstorms.
Daytime hours have been filled with books, reading, and the other (often ignored) exercises in creativity. While I miss long daytime rides, the wandering and exploring, I feel good about the time I’ve spent on these other things, the expanded productivity … all while waiting for cooler, dryer weather to return, and resuming my more rambling ways.
And – as evidenced by my lack of posts lately – I have enjoyed taking some time to unplug and disconnect. I’ve been reading a fascinating book, Fast Media, Media Fast, by Dr. Thomas Cooper, professor of visual and media arts at Emerson College in Boston. It’s about making a conscious choice to disengage – to fast – from the barrage of always-on mass-media, the distractions of the e-world, and the devices that we are increasingly becoming dependent and even addicted to.
I appreciate that he does not take an “anti-” or negative approach; he does not want eliminate media any more than someone fasting from food wants to eliminate food. Rather, he wants to use the break – the diet or full-blown fast – to re-evaluate and examine how we approach and use media. The goal behind the experience is to examine our thinking and opinion-forming process without the influence of 24-7 breaking news and 1,000 channels of cable television; to take stock of our lives outside of e-mail, text messaging, twitter, facebook, instagram, youtube and blogging – and to physically experiencing the world directly rather than thru secondhand sources and without an electronic screen in front of us. Which for me, would eliminate the use of not only my television, radio, and iDevices but also my camera. My bike stays.
While I have not yet started a full-blown fast, I have gone on some degree of a media diet, and plan to attempt a full, fasting, disconnection – if only for a week or two – within the next month. I just want the experience, even briefly or temporarily.
I want to hear myself think again. I want to re-evaluate the “ratio, quality, enjoyment and originality of what I ingest (as a consumer) versus what I express (as a creator)”. I want to lose some “unneccessary mental weight”. And I guess I want the challenge of finding “a Walden in my own mind.” I want my daily off-bike routine to have more moments like those I experience while on my bike – the direct experience, the mental clarity, the sensory balance, the perspective.
Wish me luck…