Earlier this year I was called to jury duty. I had a lot of projects going on and hoped I would not be picked. After six hours of selection I was chosen, and for three days had to report back to court. I decided to be positive about this and brainstormed how to maximize my time during breaks to check emails and work on things using apps on my phone.
We were given information about what time to report and what to expect. The bailiff also emphasized that we would need to leave our phones in the car. If we brought our phone in, we would be asked to take it back to our car. We had access to a phone in their office for emergencies but that was it. Of course, everyone in the group groaned and complained. My mind was scrambling. Three days without my phone? That meant no texting, emailing, checking social media or anything like that. After a few minutes of denial, I had no choice but to embrace reality.
For three days I did not have access to my phone for most of the day. It turned out to be a refreshing experience. I did some reading and had great conversations with other jury members during breaks. Being present to the process, I also learned a lot about what works and what goes awry in our justice system. I found myself very reflective about the experience and life in general.
Surprisingly the world didn’t stop or end because I was unplugged. Everyone, including my husband, my daughter’s daycare provider and my clients adjusted. This was my civic duty and I had to adhere to the rules and people respected that.
This experience taught me that unplugging is a choice that I can make. Taking time to get quiet is a powerful act of kindness that I can give myself. I can embrace stillness and slow down, even in the midst of chaos. People will be okay and they will respect that space if I am secure in my decision.
I found myself needing to do this last week. It felt like everything was spinning out of control in my life and that I was being pulled in too many directions. I sent a message to my colleagues and told them that I would not be working on a project until later in the day. I decided to take the time to eat some breakfast, shower and take a nap. That afternoon I got back on my computer refreshed and ready to go. It was a hectic week but that was precisely the time that I needed to find my calm space. You know what? Everyone was okay. The world was able to adjust and I was actually more productive that week.
Let’s take more time to get still. Let’s find calm in the midst of chaos. Let’s respect and honor ourselves which shows others how to not only treat us, but also how to treat themselves.