Untangle Me

baby in wiresMy desire to untangle runs deep right now.

In savasana last night, I imagined myself going “technology free” suddenly. Saying goodbye to the phones and the televisions, the blogs, Twitter and Facebook accounts that hang on me like screeching monkeys.

I imagined what an evening would look like– the savanna of night time from washing dishes time until bedtime. I would be alone with my hands and just paper and pen. Maybe my typewriter or knitting. I compose long letters to friends, and send them into the night, like smoke signals.

I imagine mornings without the constant stop-and-check-stop-and-check. You know what I mean.

I have invested myself in the practice of stuff love. It is a part of who I am– a part of the American way. It makes our economy sing. At least our nervous, chattering newcasters and those who feed them believe this.

Local economies disagree. They visit the gardens, trade items at tag sales, and sit in circles with friends. They make just what is needed, from what is available– without excluding the possibility of primitive beauty.

Remember that this country was founded, settled, and broken on the idea of intrusion. On the desire to need more. On gimme gimme. On being quite sure that what is just beyond that western river or hill is better than whatever paradise I hold in my hand.

Those concepts have become woven into the circuitry of our lives. And because we are America, they have become woven in the global pattern of  nearly all life.

Which has become unfortunate for the horse nomads of Tibet, and any small farmer. And ultimately, ourselves.

Untangle me: break me of this instinctively American tradition. Stop me from looking forward always to the newer, the better, the brighter.

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.

–Buddha

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Elizabeth Howard

Elizabeth writes literary non-fiction, haiku, cultural rants, and Demand Poetry in order to forward the cause of beautiful writing. She teaches and speaks about the rhetorical impact of beautiful writing. A recent transplant to Connecticut, she calls London, Kansas City, and Iowa home.

 

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  10 comments for “Untangle Me

  1. August 17, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I just tweeted about this post.

    My wife & I went to Africa to live, in part to attempt to cure ourselves of that.

    Didn’t work. Sigh.

    • August 17, 2010 at 8:10 am

      I rose out of bed and wrote that this morning, without much thought. Now I am going to weed the garden. Who cares? It’s all between me and the dirt.

  2. Colin
    August 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I like the idea of being “untangled”, but since I make a living in technology it doesn’t seem realistic … at least for me, right now. Goat farming and snail mail, here I come. Oh .. and a pickup with a carburetor … so that I can do my own engine maintenance.

  3. August 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Any job you will do, Colin, you will do amazingly well! It doesn’t need to be connected to coding!

  4. Suzannah
    August 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

    I sometimes feel the same way….but I did get my iPhone 4 yesterday!!! (unfortunately I got it because I LOST my other phone….how did this happen to me????)
    Miss you!

    • August 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

      Oh, COME ON, Suzannah. You know your subconscious lost that other iPhone on purpose… after you saw and fell in love with my iPhone 4 and its camera. really.

  5. karen
    August 24, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I wrote a long thoughtful comment and apparently lost it…I really hate how technology wastes…time…emotions…all sorts of things

  6. karen
    August 24, 2010 at 7:33 am

    rewritten- and frustrated…

    I often wonder what it would be like to have grown up before 1940 like my mom and many of my clients did…when people worked physically harder and technology was not an issue…kids were outside more and on their own more yet not isolated at all…

    I think it was better but I was not there.

    I don’t like technology…

    more than 20 minutes on the computer and I am tense and unhappy…feeling depleted and wasteful.

    That said, I check and write e-mails FAR too often.

    I do not tweet or twitter or text or watch television…and everytime I go on Facebook I feel as though I have wasted time…and isolated and lonely as well. My phone does not have a computer (it could if I paid more) but has a nice camera to take pictures of clouds.

    I let the kids play Wii but after 30 minutes scoot them outside as it drives me nuts- although it is a good outlet for Michael’s energy.

    I don’t like when they watch tv and sometimes eliminate it entirely. (Right now they like WordGirl).

    I don’t like thing clutter yet I drown in it.

    I am happiest riding bikes with the kids…or watchin water.

    I am reading a mindfulness book- “Where ever you go, there you are”…even reading one page calms me for almost a day

    • August 24, 2010 at 8:31 am

      Karen, I am reading that book too. I was supposed to have finished it for book club, but I didn’t. I thought “no problem! This little thing!” but I found I could only read a bit of it at a time and then wanted to stop and think about it for awhile. I could power through it, haha, big surprise!

      I love that you said that your camera has “a nice camera to take pictures of clouds.” So much built into that!

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