Inner Life Challenge

Are you up to the challenge?

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Postby velvet » Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:07 pm

I thought I'd post some ideas for anyone who wants to know how to keep a commitment like giving up all technology and reading for 24 hours.

#1 Define exactly why you want to do this. This isnt anyone else's commitment, so you have to define for yourself why exactly you want to do this. Any vague motive like, "well tituba said to do it" will not likely get you through 24 hours. A clear and personal definition will give you a good foundation you can stand on. My goal for the 48 hours was to have peace and quiet without distractions during some very religious days. I knew I would need that quiet and time to unwind between services I attended. The reason you define your goal very clearly is so that there is no question of what you specifically are giving up and doing. When my friends and I talk about giving up things for Lent, some dont do anything, some have a vague idea (oh I'm going to exercise more), and some define exactly what they will do. (things i have done for lent: gave up shopping (except for food, of course, and any necessities only if I used up entirely all that I had of the item, ie, no getting more lotion until I am totally out of lotion, etc), gave up sugar (I did allow cheerios and fruit spreads). See how it is very clearly defined? I have another friend who gives up sweets on M, W, F, S. It's really clear on which days he can have desserts and which days he does not eat desserts. My friend who said she wanted to exercise more? I'm pretty sure she did not exercise at all during lent. It was too vague of a goal. And she actually cut out going for walks with me during Lent.

#2 Have a plan for handling temptation. During Lent when I gave up sugar, I made a plan. I cleared out all sweets in my home. I knew the house I work at did not have sweets, and I told them to not offer me any sweets during Lent. Since I knew that when I am working at my nanny job, I crave sweets right when I put the babies down for a nap (because I am exhausted), I planned to eat a bowl of cereal during the nap time. It helped me refuel in the afternoon, and it also prevented me from eating sugar when I was at my weakest. Often the best way for me to handle temptation is to remind myself of my big goal - when I gave up technology and reading, I would remind myself that my goal was to have more peace and quiet in my home and to rest. And then I would lie down and just enjoy hanging out with my cats. It was surprisingly wonderful and refueling for me.

#3 I think we learn how to do these kinds of retreats by practice and by giving into the process. I've gained confidence as I have completed goals so that now I know I am quite capable of a lot of things. But when you first start out to do something like give up technology, you dont even know if you can do it. That insecurity can make you derail. You can try doing small things at first, to build confidence and trust in yourself. Try for an hour, try for two. Try going out to a meadow and just sitting for awhile. You can set your own goals and practice them. I've learned with practice that in all of these challenges, there is a certain process. For a time, temptation will really bug you, so much so that you might want to give in just to make it shut up. Especially when you are a beginner. You'll think you cant do it, logic will kick in and you will argue a million reasons why this plan is futile and you should just give it up. If you dont know this is part of the process, it can be quite overwhelming for a bit, and you might think something is wrong, and you should thus stop. Heh. That's another creative temptation bugging you. Maybe it's so strong because we resist change. Because a process like this does change you. Usually for the better. When you can get out of the routine and connect with yourself and find that you dont need constant noise at all times because you dont need to run from yourself or run to keep up with others, there is freedom in that kind of realization and change. No matter what happens, you will be ok. When you know that, the temptation doesnt bug you so much. I view the temptation as a question asking me, "do you really mean to do this? are you serious?" and when I answer yes, when I answer with my goal in this process, then the temptation subsides and I just go on with my goal. I have definitely failed before. I have quit, I have succumbed to a thousand arguments of logic that said my goal was not good, that said my goal was not going to get me what I wanted. It was not the end of the world. I learned what I learned, and I went on. I considered it all to be information and insight in learning the process.


#4 In the end, for me, the benefits outweighed the costs. I love pseudo-scientific experiments, thus taking on such challenges. I am always curious how it will change me and how I will grow as a result of my hard work toward my goal. When I gave up shopping, and also took the time to journal about money, spending, and how I felt about shopping itself, it was really transformative, both financially, and emotionally. I really delved into the emotions and feelings behind my attitudes about money and really worked to heal them. Now, whenever I notice that all my free time is spent shopping again, I start making plans to get out in nature and to go to museums and such to balance out my sight seeing habits. When I gave up sugar, I wanted to get out of the habit of constantly craving and eating sweet things all day long. Since Easter, I havent really wanted much sweets. On occasion I have a little, but it's not every day, and it's not at every meal at all. I am not in the habit of sweets, so now even if I eat some, it's generally too sweet and I dont enjoy it as much.

When I gave up technology, my goal was to have more peace and quiet in my home, and to my surprise, I found that I got some long-neglected goals in my home finished. I also have since preferred to turn the noise machines off a lot more. I've been enjoying driving in silence, singing to myself. I've been allowing myself to sit and write at my computer without having the tv blaring next to me, something I thought I *had* to do. When news reports get to be too much, I just turn them off. It's given me a lot more freedom, actually. And when I am tired, I dont have to make myself do something at all times, I let myself feel tired and just rest for awhile. That is a challenge for me, one I still work on. I wouldnt have learned these things without taking on the challenges. And it was invaluable to my growth and happiness. Hope this helps to inspire your own ideas. velvet
I see that they are happy, not because they got luckier than all the rest of us when they found each other, but because they passionately desire and believe in their happiness.- Susan Page Destination, Determination, Deliberation! - Twycross, HP&TH-BP
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Postby Fastalaskan » Sat Aug 20, 2005 12:32 am

bump. I didn't make it through Tituba's challenge, but found the challenge useful anyway. For example, tv is so irritating to me now. I mean why should I see people that are paid to read a script? Silly, silly, silly. I think I'll try it again after my classes are over. My classes keep me online a lot since they're taught on-line and the labs are all on-line. But the hardest part for me was the computers and no-reading aspect. I speed read and read a book a day. But I did make it through half a day. And it stopped me from turning on the tv. I hope to make it through the next time around. Actually, that's weak language. I will make it through the next time around.
"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." -- John Lubbock
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Postby Tituba » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:19 am

Monday, August 29, there is a free tele-gathering on the subject of silence and spirituality. I'm going to post this in another forum as well 9-10pm EST - Join Cheryl and special guest, Jerry Thomas, for a discussion about grace, balancing silence with activity, and the mystical teachings of the five major traditions. To join us, call (646) 519-5883 and punch in PIN 2346# (be sure to include the "#" key when punching in the code).
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Re: Inner Life Challenge

Postby WaitingForPCH » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:03 pm

Oooh, how did I miss this thread? I could easily do no phone at all. Since I have no cell phone and only a land line/dial-up, as soon as I close my Ebay sales I'm planning on cancelling my ISP, phone hookup, and long distance service altogether. I really only have 2 family members that I need to keep in contact with, but since they live in other states I can do that via snail mail. Even if I needed to call them it wouldn't be more than once a week max. I went all weekend without being on the computer. Since these boards are the only place I frequent, and y'all can easily live without me ( :wink: ), I don't need the Internet. The only other thing I would use the computer for would be for offline work, like to update a file on my hard drive, which can wait 24 hrs. I don't have an ipod, so no prob there. CD player/music listening wouldn't be that difficult to give up, except I use the clock radio to wake up to on weekday mornings. I could use a portable alarm clock though with just an alarm only. And lately I more often than not drive to/from work/errands in total silence, just because I haven't wanted to listen to ANY music. TV would be difficult to give up on Thursday during Survivor, or Saturdays and PBS. :wink: Any other time I usually have it turned off anyway if there's nothing on that interests me (and not much else does). Reading would be my other one that is hardest to give up. Now that I'm on meds to help me concentrate again, I've really enjoyed getting back into reading for pleasure. Being able to read keeps me entertained and mentally active in the absence of TV, in fact. And since I consider books low-tech, one of my dreams actually is to take my entire collection to a deserted island where I have time and silence to read them all. Back to the real world though, I could probably go without reading, and TV, for 24 hrs, but since lately those are my only pleasures or forms of relaxation, I'm not inclined to, at least anytime soon. Do I have to talk to people? While sometimes it's nice to get feedback for ideas from a few trusted souls, I find that I feel safer verbalizing my own thoughts just to myself, and to my pets.
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Postby Tituba » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:34 pm

The idea behind not having input (including reading) for 24 hours, is to finally hear your own counsel. We fill our space with distractions. It is an interesting experiment to see what happens when you quiet the noise.
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Postby gabriellavlad » Mon Aug 29, 2005 6:02 pm

um, no. Why no stereo? I couldn't do that; I mean I don't see why I would want to. Music pretty much keeps me alive... it might be interesting to try the rest, though... only for a day Anyway, people mix like living and interactions with the other stuff when they want to rest. So I think it's ok but I don't know; I guess it could be surprising. even though i'm sure i know all of *my* thoughts already.. i guess it could get a person to interact more. :/ did u do it, Tituba?
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My next 3 days off

Postby coachholli » Sat Sep 10, 2005 5:38 am

Hmmmm.. Sounds like a good idea for my minivacation in October. I may go up north and stay at a north country lodge to hike and take in the wilderness. I'm a bit burned out and feel like I need what you mention. Thanks for your post.
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Postby maisie » Sat Sep 10, 2005 7:21 am

Tituba, Have you ever done a Vipassana meditation course?
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Postby Tituba » Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:08 am

Good Heavens! I don't know if I can do this. I have a hard time turning down a challenge, but it sounds so hard!!
24 hours of no input (tv, computer, reading) from anyone is like detox. You get rid of the static and diversions. This clears the mind. Barbara says all resistance is really fear.
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Postby Tituba » Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:38 pm

I'm going to do this again on New Year's Day. Anyone up for the challenge?
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Postby NancyHill » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:42 pm

Dear Tituba.... I'm up for it! How about starting a new thread about it? Might get more participants who haven't seen this older thread. Good idea! Nancy http://www.undieting.com
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Postby Tituba » Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:35 am

I'll change the title. It is a harder challenge than you might guess on the surface. Many people are so use to static (background sound) that they never just be with their own thoughts (even reading). Many don't even try the challenge. However, I have found that when you do, they have a similar experience to velvet.
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Postby RIGEL M » Thu Dec 22, 2005 5:42 pm

I can't take the challenge for a couple of months since I have 21 days to finish packing up everything, get rid of 2 vehicles, travel 2800 miles to my new home with 4 dogs and the cat in a rented RV, buy a new vehicle in VA and get unpacked. But then there is going to be some serious quiet time. I agree with Urban Pioneer, it is like camping, or better yet backpacking. In my opinion nothing beats spending 5 - 7 days on the trail, carrying just the bare essentials, water, food, shelter, some clothes and being in an incredibly beautiful place on the planet that you can only get to by walking for miles and miles. At the end of the journey my mind is decluttered and most of my problems have diminished in size or become mere tasks to be done, no longer overwhelming. I feel alive in a very intense way. The effect seems to last for a month or more for me. Then the luxuries of civilization - a hot shower and some Ben & Jerry's - are so wonderful and I really appreciate them once again instead of taking them for granted. Thanks Tituba - just thinking about a trip helped me realize that this current state of affairs will have an end, I will get my life back and be done with real estate agents, buyers, loan agents, moving companies, storage facilites etc.
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Postby Tituba » Mon Dec 26, 2005 6:55 pm

Interesting article about information overload and stress http://www.claire-marie.net/technology_and_stress.htm
Last edited by Tituba on Sun Aug 06, 2006 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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24 hr Challenge

Postby Dee46551 » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:37 pm

Hi Tituba, I wanted to view the article on CNN but it's no longer there ... I think I'll need to try the 24 hr Challenge and NOT use the computer or watch TV because I feel like I'm starting to get the effects of computer radiation. I've looked at the list of physical complaints and and seriously thinking I need to change my computer habits... http://www.emf-bioshield.com/arecrt.html And my husband still suffers from RSI ... So yes .... this 24 hr challenge would be VERY helpful to both of us. Thanks. :)
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