by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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Have you ever noticed just how much clutter and noise there is in your head? Let me ask you this question:
When was the last time you were waiting for something, even for a few moments, and you didn’t pull your phone out and start scrolling?
Having the world at your fingertips in the form of a smartphone can be a great thing, but like anything else, when not used in moderation it has its downsides. I watched a docu-film last night on Prime about a guy who did a 60 day hike through Utah and AZ. He did most of this alone; at the very beginning he had some friends that did the first leg of the trip but then broke off and allowed him to continue on alone. Towards the end of the trip, he reconnected with a friend and the two of them finished the trek together.
Throughout the film he would comment on the parallels between hiking in the wilderness and life itself. That most problems are simple, and the answers are too. We overthink and complicate things, blow problems out of proportion, and give way to much energy to things that don’t really matter. His conclusion after spending this much time alone in the wild: we need to spend more alone time, and we need to get our minds quiet.
As one of my favorite sayings goes, “If you don’t deal with your demons, they move into the basement and start working out.” If you try to ignore the things that the voice in your head is nagging you about, those issues will never go away. You NEED quiet time, to let that voice in your head run rampant, and you need to take note of what it is saying. You and that inner voice need to be on the best of terms, otherwise you will hold yourself back. Life is an uphill climb to begin with, the last thing you should do is tie your baggage around your waist and drag it behind you up the hill.
If you have read any of my other stuff, you know that fly fishing is my biggest passion in life. One of the things I love most about it is the stillness of mind that it provides. There is nothing in my life that provides that much quiet time for my brain as fly fishing does. For me, it is the ultimate “Be. Here. Now.” activity. My senses have to be dialed in to what I am doing, and the concentration on the indicator at the end of my line is laser-like, or I miss the chance to set the hook and catch the fish. Hours can pass before I feel “awake” again, and start to notice the world around me. The more I fish, the easier it is to achieve this state of mind. I am fortunate that writing is also a good resource of this state of mind as well. I am able to go to Starbucks, put my noise-cancelling headphones on, and lose myself in writing. If I have a hard stop, I have to set an alarm on my phone or risk losing track of time.
I think most people would really benefit from this placid state of mind. You need to hear what that voice in your head is telling you, you need to sort through the things your mind worries about, resolve them, and put them to rest. Instead of constantly occupying your mind and ignoring the thoughts that reside there, go on a social media diet for a 24 hour period. The world will not miss you, I promise. If the thought of this scares you, then you of all people REALLY need to do this. Cut the proverbial cord to your device, and go live. Go for a leisurely hike in nature for a change. You don’t need the selfie to prove you did it, just hike. Read a book without any noises or music in the background. Maybe just sit somewhere, without staring at your phone, for a change. Pay attention to your thoughts; they will be a cluttered mess at first, but clarity will come with time.
Work this into your lifestyle. You will be so much better off when you can quiet your mind and listen, and organize things in your head. Your decision-making will be better, your anxiety level will drop, and you will feel different. Social media should be viewed as entertainment only, it is not something you NEED. It is something you want, and choose to participate in. And just like taking a vacation from work to recharge your batteries, you need to give your brain a vacation from the constant stimulation that your phone provides. Twenty-four hours….give it a try. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the idea of anything having enough of a hold on me that I can’t go 24 hours without it. Hhmmm, that description makes it sound like a drug habit…..
Dopamine is a dangerous drug, and that brain chemical is just as addictive as any other. Social Media causes dopamine release in your brain, so you need to monitor that. Get control of it, your thoughts, and eventually your life in general.
You will be better for it, I promise you. Let me know if I can assist.

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