Reflecting on when the last time I truly took time out just for me was, not a holiday, not with family or friends, nor exploring whilst travelling with work. But an actual retreat... This answer is never, and after going away on the weekend to an Ashram in the hills of the NSW Central Coast, I have decided that not only myself but everyone needs to do this!
The time taken to switch off from the noise of the world, media, work, city, all the options, ideas, wants and needs that can rally for our attention is not only healthy but needed.
I relished the moment the internet connection was gone, and I stepped back in time to a simpler life, a time where connections were formed and my mind could be quiet, free from the expectations of life, goals, dreams and planning for the future! I found it was also a time to be able to get those aspects of life clear and in focus, in saying that I still don't have a '5 year plan'.
It made me wonder if in my grandparents day they had it right. Today we are moving to diets of no sugar/paleo/primal/clean eating... Wasn't this simply how my grandparents lived? Harvesting food from the vege garden, meat from the farm and preserving fruit for later. I remember growing up and being given a swede to eat whilst on the farm, freshly pulled from the ground, and yes wiped 'clean' on our pants.
Looking at exercise, we now need to ensure we exercise daily, for my grandparents this would have been ensuring you managed to sit for a cup of tea or lunch, exercise was simply every day life, yet now everyday life is sitting for most of the day, researching we have a 'sitting epidemic', with on average 3 hours a day active.
We now create apps to help us to disconnect from our phones - which for some is their lives.. I remember a time when this problem was nonexistent and you would jump when the phone rang, only to find it was for the neighbour (I was on a party line... Google it if you have never had one).
Is there is a way to go back to a simpler and more connected life? Or are we destined to living our friendships and life connecting via the social networks?
On heading away last weekend, I saw a group of golfing ladies, lunching and celebrating their game together, laughing and enjoying life. I then saw families where the parents were so preoccupied, looking stressed and tired, that they couldn't connect with their children. I am sure that is not what they are wanting, but how do we get back to ensuring family and friends come first? Don't get me started on coming back to Sydney and observing the commuter lifestyle...
I again reflect back upon growing up and cannot remember feeling that my parents weren't there for me, and at the crazy times when Dad was out running his business, I would go with him. I remember days of community, neighbours kids 'running away' from home, to our place, a time when everyone knew everyone (not always good) and you knew you were safe, days of vanishing for hours only to come home when hungry. I wonder if that same reality will be available to the children of the future.
So, lets continue the movement back to being truly connected, mindful, available and healthy. Healthy not just in diet and exercise but in a holistic approach, mind/body/spirit. Lets look at how we empower the generations with the strength, knowledge and insights into changing this world for the better and although I love technology, this isn't always via technology.