Genesis Whitlock, poet, farmer and student, takes monthly digital detoxes to expand their capacity for fostering relationships within their community.
For me, a digital detox is a period dedicated to limiting my phone and computer usage. In moments when I have the urge to scroll through my device, I challenge myself to reflect on my needs and indulge in finding earnest direct sources of joy. Here is a brief reflection of my experiences detoxing this month.
How does your body communicate with you when you are at your capacity? For me, when I begin to resist rest and instead cling to the possibilities of perfection, I sense the need for a reset. Our bodies are subtle reflections of Mother Earth’s abundant mysticism. By tuning into the sacred interconnectedness of our nervous systems with the planet’s systems, I recognize both as sources of knowledge. I believe that learning from an expanded definition of ‘self’ can give rise to informed regenerative practices of planet stewardship and community care.
During the first few days, I struggled to feel grounded and doubted my relationship to my inner authority. Perfectionist thinking emerged, persistent like the weeds in my personal garden. I felt confused with the conflicting narratives I told myself in efforts to control my thought patterns. I “knew” that I did not have to prove myself to feel worthy in my mind, but this message had not been redistributed throughout my body yet.
I brought awareness to my body through observation. In the garden, I remembered that “weeds” are like many of us – inherently sovereign beings that have been displaced and now do their best to survive within the limited conditions of our environment. For those of us who have ancestors that collaborated with ‘more-than-human beings’ to thrive, can we continue to imagine the sweetness of our solidarity?
Instead of trying to uproot parts of myself, I acknowledged perfectionism as a part of my internal ecosystem. Perfectionist modalities are remnants of capitalism and colonialism that distort my perception of both community and self. I then paused and reflected on the conditions of my environment; How has perfectionism kept me safe? What signals am I using to communicate with myself? How can I learn from these signals? As my approach shifted towards curiosity, this enabled me to honour the complex interactions within my inner and outer worlds. Curiosity is a vital component to environmental stewardship (also known as earth care) and community care (which is self-care)!
Curiosity helps me to facilitate the intimate process of experiencing sensations within my body and my response to Earth’s magic in the present. This is especially important to clarify as the term “detox” can imply that the goal is to achieve and sustain “purity”. When I spend time off-screen, I am learning to listen and engage my senses through various activities that encourage mindfulness and acceptance.
Some of my favourite activities include taking walks in parks and forests, cooking, foraging edible plants and mushrooms, singing, dancing within or near water and taking naps etc. My intention when I engage in these activities can shift depending on the circumstances.
For example, I developed a range of morning rituals to delay my urge to immediately check my socials. I got up and sometimes I made myself a cup of tea or took time to notice subtle birdsong. I challenged myself to move slowly and expressed gratitude to myself for taking time to be intentional.
When I did use my devices, I engaged with them as tools that can support me through building connections. I had phone calls with relatives who live far away, like my grandmother. I also joined zoom calls and Instagram lives centered around community care and nourishment. As my digital detox for this season comes to an end, I am now in the integration phase. For me, this looks like taking moments to slow down to notice those subtle sensations and sharing some of my thoughts within my community.
Digital detoxing can be an opportunity to challenge the comfort matrix of capitalism. As systemic environmental injustice continues to impact our communities, I intend to make sacrifices and rely on the collective strength of my community. As we expand our capacity for deeper connections, together we take risks to protect sacred relationships of reciprocity.
Stay connected with me @s8larfunk on Instagram.