Try Disconnecting to really connect

Karl Teel

Sitting around a table on a boat with friends and loved ones playing cards at night, laughing hysterically with a few cocktails flowing. That is the memory that prompts this note.

Of course, when an evening of laughter occurs, the vibe is quite positive. In fact, it’s a memory that just might occupy that reflective spot in the brain where people seek refuge during their final days. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have these types of experiences every day? If not that often, perhaps every week, or at least every month.

Sadly, so many don’t get these moments even once a year — or even less often. Why? Haven’t we evolved far enough since the days of cavemen that we can pursue more fulfilling tasks than procuring the basics of survival like food and shelter? What happened? The pursuit of personal fulfillment has been hijacked by the false prophet of consumerism.

We’ve been told by the commercials we’re bombarded with every day that satisfaction comes from purchasing a variety of products: cars, fancy homes and furnishings, or jewelry. We see images of happy people in their McMansions or high-end cars, bedecked in jewels, surrounded by nice furnishings. The subliminal message is that they are happy, and to be like them, we should surround ourselves with these items, too. So, we set off on this quest for consumer goods that we believe will lead to happiness and provide it for our loved ones.

But being in a capitalist society, one doesn’t typically attain this status without working, and working hard. Time is a zero-sum game, so time consumed for one thing (work) is time unavailable for other things (pleasure). We become lemmings in this pursuit. And nobody has been known to reflect on their death bed the joy of owning numerous possessions they can’t take with them.

How do you break this chain? Heck, if I knew the formula I’d share it. But even if I can’t fix it, I can’t least mitigate its impact. That part is simple. In a word, it’s vacation. And the truest form of a relaxing, refreshing, or soul-recharging getaway involves one key element: You must disconnect. You must disconnect from work, from obligations, from household chores.

Remember Maslow’s hierarchy. Survival has been covered; most of your other efforts are for higher-level needs. Avoid putting so much effort into a nicer car, an outdoor kitchen that will almost never get used, jewelry that will spend the vast majority of its time in a box unseen. Instead, invest that time. Be disconnected from that pursuit, because in the zero sum game of time, you must not use your time to be connected to work if you instead wish to use it to be reconnected to what’s important, such as relationships and soulful pursuits.

We must disconnect to reconnect. Try it. It works!




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