For National Unplug Day, we asked our friend Jess Davis from Folk Rebellion, a lifestyle brand and movement that seeks to bring attention to the offline world in a “screened-in world” to share a bit about how she came to the discover the more mindful use of technology and the art of recharging. Turning her “scramble eggs for brains” into a call to come back to real life.
Scrambled Eggs For Breakfast Brains
By Jess Davis
The day before I couldn’t have told you what I’d had for breakfast. My brains were scrambled eggs.
But today, on this morning, in this bed, I could feel the satin sheets rolling like sultry waves under my skin. Today, I could smell the sea outside and the salt was stinging awake the inside of my nose. Today, I could hear the neighborhood rooster welcoming in the arrival of the Hawaiian sun. Today, I could tell you that I hadn’t felt this alive, alert, and aware since, well, I can’t remember when…because my brains were scrambled eggs.
And it was all technology’s fault.
I don’t mean to give tech a bad rap. There were other variables, which led to my memory loss, brain fog, malaise, dissociation, and receding creativity and attention (both of which were really important for my profession). Looking back, the 24/7 lifestyle of work, work, work, party, crash, work, work, work, repeat, probably didn’t help. Neither did stuffing my lunch in my face while hailing a cab in between appointments, forsaking yoga, hiking, writing class, or any sort of rest, leisure, or stress relief for Just. One. More. Email. It was a mixed bag, which led me to this current place. A place where I no longer recognized who I was or remembered what I’d had for breakfast.
Giving no context whatsoever to my sleeping husband, Glenn, I spat out “I feel like my old self.” He stretched a warm arm around me and whispered, “I didn’t know there was an old self and a new self.” That was the statement that changed my life forever. The proverbial light bulb went off and all but exploded. I leapt out of bed, grabbed my journal, dusty from being forgotten, and curled up on the lanai and began writing again for the first time in forever.
What was different? What was new? How do I so suddenly feel better? Why is there a “new self”? And what the hell happened to my old one? My heart already knew the answer, but I allowed my pen to explore the insides of my cobwebbed and confused mind.
Six months before our trip to Hawaii, I had been visiting doctors about all of my mysterious issues, which seemed to come on suddenly but compound with time: Western medicine, Eastern Medicine, Holistic, Psychotherapy, hell, I even visited an energy doctor. They all had different ideas about what was happening to me and no matter the diagnosis and treatment plan I followed the doctor’s orders to the T.
Gluten intolerant? Bye pizza. Vitamin Deficient? Bring on the supplements, juice cleanses, and nutrient-dense whole food eating plan. Leaky gut? Enter escapades of spilled bone broth and elimination diets. Stress? My yoga mat became my third arm, and I often lamented, “Don’t stress me out, man!” But it seemed all the lifestyle changes in the world could not change my brain back to its former self.
As I sat cross-legged, journaling in the papasan listening to the Kauai rain hitting the tin roof, I wrote the following sentence:
The only thing that’s different than my current view is the lack of technology I’ve had on our vacation.
It was so simple and so obvious. And also, so terrifying.
I’d like to tell you that this life-changing digital detox was my idea. Instead, I will tell you the truth; that this was a family-imposed intervention that was sprung on me as I was getting the flower lei at the Honolulu airport.
And so, their ultimatum led me to rediscover myself. Though, I went on that journey kicking and screaming. No, like literally, crying in the corner of the airport.
Back then I would’ve probably told you my greatest accomplishments were things like the brand video that went viral and garnered millions of views or my 40 Under 40 award or how I had perfected the multitask better than anyone I knew.
I am proud and grateful to have had the experience; hell it’s what got me to here.
But my idea of accomplished looks much closer to unanswered text messages, a bedside table with a teetering tower of half-read books, out of office hours, and pillow forts with my son. In our crazy-busy world, I have accomplished the enormous task of becoming a human being…. not a human doing. I’ve managed to acquire less and in return gain more freedom. My relationship with technology is a much healthier one now, though ever evolving.
And when no one else could, I healed myself.
By powering down, I have plugged back into life.