Saturday, April 11, 2009

Entertainment Media Addiction

So the other week I went to this Catholic Spiritual Retreat Centre, called Marywood. I was there for a total of 24 hours. It was a great experience and I especially loved my times speaking with Sister Nina. But that is a different topic for a different time. One of the things that I noticed about myself while there was that I really didn't know what to do with myself in the midst of quiet reflection that is longer than 10 minutes.
My schedule at the beginning went something like this;
  1. I arrived at the centre at 1:00pm,
  2. got settled into my room
  3. had my first visit with sister Nina at 2:30pm
After that, supper was the only thing on my agenda. This was going to be great! I went to my room after my time with Nina and promptly fell
asleep reading in the recliner chair. I should note here for those who don't know, I should never nap during the day... ever! I am a wreck for the rest of the day. Anyways, I was then called for supper and up until this point I was feeling pretty good about my retreat.
At about 7:00pm it started to happen. I was really feeling the need to check some group status, or play some fun little game on the computer. Maybe I could find some sort of interesting thing to watch on a TV somewhere, or a witty radio program to listen to. It was a bit ridiculous how it was all happening in my head. I was there to read and rest and pray, and all I could think about was having at least my computer to twittle away some time. I felt really spiritual!
In an effort to combat my "need" I read. I read until I felt like I could not read any more. I read in my recliner. I read in a different room. I started reading in my bed and then I finally came to the conclusion that I should just lay down and go to sleep... it was 8:45pm.
It was kind of like the feeling I get when I have a really bad head ache, "if I just go to sleep I won't be in pain any more." It was so weird!
Because I had had an almost 2 hour nap in the late afternoon, my attempts to get to sleep went no where. I struggled for about an hour to fall asleep, and finally I remembered the words of my Bible Meditation instructor from Bible school. "If you are having trouble getting to sleep at night," she would say, "just read your Bible, you will be asleep in 10 minutes." It was something like that I am pretty sure. I read the Bible in bed until my neck was sore in any position, I could not fall asleep. I took the next logical step being that I was on a spiritual retreat, I started praying. This is what it sounded like, "God please help me fall asleep." Really spiritual I know.
During this whole process I could not shake the thought about wishing I had some sort of media device that would be able to help me become numb to the pain of my situation. I probably didn't end up falling asleep until about midnight. I also woke up every hour and a half. It was probably one of my worst sleeps that I can recall in years... and I have two kids.
It really was an eye opener to have had this experience. If I ever do it again I think I will start weaning myself weeks in advance, and not let myself nap in the afternoon. I have now started, I feel, to reduce the amount of time I am entertaining myself with technology. Not that I think it is bad or evil, it just needs to be reigned in. I don't know if there is a support group for this sort of disorder but I am sure it would be helpful, and well attended if there was.
All in all, I do feel that my retreat was fruitful and good for me. I would recommend it to anyone.

I would love to hear feed back on this, and invite you to share your own experiences with "digital withdrawal." please leave a comment.

Bye for now,


  1. what-no comment!
    I absolutely concur wiht you. My way of attempting to beat this is to be outside more. Camp more. Eat outside more.
    have you had enough of my incessant commenting yet.

  2. As I read this (on my iPod at work), I'm thinking, man,reading Aarons blog really cuts into my facebook and solitare time!