I love podcasts! The topics are endless and I feel like I’m learning when I listen to them, even though I’m not seated in a traditional classroom. Name any topic and I’ve listened to it, be it the latest report on the neuroplasticity of the brain, hormone balancing with Gwyneth Paltrow, mindfulness in the workplace, the conception of fonts, and the history of classical music; count me in because I’m willing to listen with open ears.
Being that I don’t own a car, I spend a lot of time walking or riding on public transport, which equates to countless hours of podcast fun. Little did I realise I was just as addicted to my phone as those you hear about in the news that spend the majority of their waking hours on social media. I had always prided myself on not being ‘addicted’ to my smartphone nor social media since I don’t use it to keep up with friends and I thought that by not scrolling through Facebook feeds and Instagram photos that I didn’t need a digital detox. Even the phrase digital detox sounds silly to me, it’s like a juice cleanse, liver cleanse, a 30-day dairy free challenge or Dry July. I’ve always thought that moderation is a more sensible choice than abstinence. Since I put effort into things like meditation, yoga, exercise and trying to eat well, I thought I was doing all the right things.
That all changed last week when I went on a solo trip to Fiji. On the first day I went for a walk on the beach and purposely didn’t listen to a podcast simply for the vain reason that I thought I would look silly strolling up and down paradise with earbuds. My desire to look the part of a blissful, barefoot tourist without a care in the world on the sandy beaches of Fiji turned out to be the cure to the constant chatter in my mind. Buddhist meditators refer to that inner chatter as the monkey mind. Imagine a monkey swinging from branch to branch; that’s how our brains jump from one thought to the next in our heads all day long. The Buddhists tame this monkey through meditation.
Prior to Fiji, I had spent the past year with podcast voices pumping through the earbuds as well as the jibber-jabber of my inner dialogue and was never experiencing quiet (minus meditation time). I was constantly receiving information which means my brain was constantly filtering and digesting that information. I never gave myself time to think as that monkey jumped from branch to branch as they whooped and chattered.
It has now been 13 days since my last podcast session and it’s been hard. Now that I’m back in Sydney and back to my routine my ears are itching for something to do. My routine each time I walk out the door is to put on my coat, then my backpack, a mental check for housekeys, sunnies, phone….and my next gut reaction is to put in the earbuds. Step away from the earbuds, Betsy!
Here’s to my self-inflicted 30 days podcast-free challenge. Even though it may be cliché to do a 30 day challenge I can already tell that my brain is better for it…..and on day 31 I’ll grab my earbuds faster than you can say goop podcast!