Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Pull the Plug

Listen...can you hear it?  It is there.  It is everywhere. We are surrounded by it every day.  It is woven into the silence around us.  It is so subtle that we are not really aware of it, that is, until load shedding reveals its sudden absence.  It is the constant humming of ambient noise that envelops us daily.  Mechanical noise pollution it is called.  Without realizing it, we are actually addicted to its presence.  When power cuts leave us in silence, most people find the sudden absence of sound unsettling at first.  It suddenly feels as if we can hear our own hearts beating, and we feel the urge to whisper reverently.  Yet, soon we are filled with a sense of relief, a feeling of release as if we can now breathe freely and more deeply.

Without us being aware of it, this background noise actually hinders our concentration, and as it gets louder it has an increasing effect on our stress levels.  It can even cause us to feel irritable or aggressive.  Some individuals may suffer headaches or migraines from this low level droning.  People suffering from high blood pressure could experience a worsening of their symptoms.  In today's modern and fast paced world we seem to be unable to escape it, as our livelihood depends on the electronics all around us - computers, cell phones, television, security cameras, lights and power supplies, refrigerators, coffee machines and power tools to name a few.

So what should we do?
Sell everything and head for the mountains, maybe?  Quite a romantic idea, but not very practical.  I, for one, will soon miss the comfort of my ambient noise when the shrill chattering of those furry flying night creatures pierces the night!  However, I do suggest we all try to spend one day each month totally unplugged!  Yes - UNPLUGGED!

Switch off the computers, unplug the television sets and put your cell phone(s) on silent, hidden in your drawer for the day.  Make sure your gas cooker is ready and get out the candles.  Make it an adventure for the whole family, it can be a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with your children.  Teach them the art of board games and hopscotch.  Organize an Easter egg hunt by candle light. Tell stories at dinner time, watch the play of shadows thrown against the kitchen walls by the flickering oil lamps.  If we start this month, then we will have had ten unplugged days for this year.  Invite your friends or family over to share in this new tradition with you.  This might be the perfect opportunity to strengthen friendships and create memories.
Going wireless can bring us back in touch with a slower pace and with each other, maybe even with nature itself.

Share your thoughts about this idea with me, and if you have tried this, please let me know how you experienced it.

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