33 Comments
Apr 18·edited Apr 18Liked by Ruth Gaskovski

Thank you for your writing! I'd like to share my experience of deleting my Instagram for those that may want to but are having trouble doing it. I was very active on Instagram for over a decade and had around 300 posts, many of which were thoughtfully taken photos with longer stories and reflections in the captions. I felt that I needed to delete Instagram completely, but was having a hard time with the idea of deleting all of the photos I'd taken and words I had written. But I did it around 2 months ago and I'm so relieved. There is a way on Instagram, in your account settings, to download all of your data. It's everything: photos, captions, dates of posts, stories you posted, messages from the message folder, etc. I did that and then began making a photo book of all my posts (photos, captions, dates). It's a big photo book! But I think it will be nice to have a physical book of my photos and words and it helped me feel like I could delete it without regret.

I have found myself reading a lot more! I've been cruising through Wendell Berry's Port William books. Playing Dutch Blitz with my husband when we're bored. Walking. Reading my Bible more.

I asked my husband if there's anything he's noticed in me since I deleted Instagram and he said that when I had it I was more irritable. For instance, he said when he would interrupt me to talk to me while I was scrolling I would be irritable with him, but now when he comes to talk with me I'm, "less sharp/harsh." Specifically, he said that when he interrupts me when I'm reading or doing another pastime I'm more interruptable than I was when my pastime was Instagram.

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Thanks for sharing your experience Jordan! Downloading content into a tangible book seem like a great solution. We have also enjoyed photobooks and albums with annotated quotes as a wonderful memory device, flipping through the pages together and retelling stories. So glad to hear that this decision has led to positive changes (observable) changes for you :)

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Apr 16Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

This was wonderful to read, thank you! The success and failures of my fellow travelers gives me a sense of community in fighting this necessary battle. When I read these posts, I always find a new strategy that I want to try out in my own life. I'm still far from my goal of putting the machine in its proper place but I'm closer than I was a year ago. I feel hopeful.

I've been pretty vocal with friends and family (and even the odd person in the check-out line at the grocery store) about de-machining and have been pleasantly surprised by their reactions. I've realized that so many people are longing for this type of conversation or even confession and are looking for a way out. It's like we have discovered a map that shows one how to get back to this beautiful land called REALITY. Onwards and Upwards!

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Glad you enjoyed the post Amy! Yes, I also find that people are often very receptive and respond along the lines "Oh I wish I could go back to living without my phone" but feel too tied up to make a change. Thank you for contributing your experience of the fast and hope that you continue to find encouragement to carry into real life :)

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Apr 18Liked by Ruth Gaskovski

I noticed while "feasting on the real" by having long chats with neighbors and others that everyone wants to talk about podcasts, youtube videos, and bloggers. People are consuming this content in isolation and just bursting to share it with someone, but then the conversation is full of them exhorting you to watch or read the thing they refer to. That's another weird way that the internet invades my life even if I avoid it. It's as if so many people experience life via the web that they have little else to talk about! A terrible loss, and it makes it harder to really get to know people.

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That is a really good observation (and notice this similarly even with discussing Substack articles). An important reminder that we indeed become what we consume. While your experience may feel somewhat disheartening, the interest and time you share with your neighbours will have an effect on them as well. And while it may require a lot more patience and time, at the core people still yearn to be known. Thanks again for sharing!

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Apr 17Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

A very good read!

My Lenten fast from electronic entertainment was nowhere near as good as I'd hoped it would be. I was sick for a significant portion of Lent and it was difficult to get back into the swing of things once I was better.

But, it wasn't a total disaster or totally fruitless. I learned a lot about myself. Also, it was helpful to hear from Fr. Stephen De Young, an Orthodox priest and a biblical scholar, that Lent, when practiced at its fullest, is set up for you to fail so that you learn viscerally how futile your own efforts are and to rely all the more on God and His work in your life.

I am continuing my Digital Fasting by observing my Lenten rules around electronics/digital tools for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. That means the TV and game console goes up, no Substack or online articles (I got rid of all my social media last August), no more than 10 minutes to check email, no podcasts, no using my phone for entertainment, and keeping all use of my phone to the barest possible minimum, so only necessary reference, work, and communication: no googling idle curiosities, no unnecessary calls/texts, etc.

I've added more reading time and more time outside and exercising; I'm more active in keeping the house clean and functional, running necessary errands, and getting necessary projects done. I'm starting a vegetable garden for the first time. Most importantly, I spend more time in prayer: I try, and have been surprisingly successful, at praying at the monastic hours, minus the midnight vigil (I've trouble enough sleeping).

I hope, by next year, to be able to get that up to 4 days a week. We'll see.

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Great examples of getting back to the basics. You’re way more disciplined than most people I know, including myself!

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Well, don't give me too much credit. I'm not at all consistent. Right now, I hit everything about 33% to 40% of the time. Just focusing on not quitting and building up that endurance.

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Oh, and for the first time in my life, I'm actually cooking the majority of my meals, and from scratch, which is a good feeling!

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Yes, the experience of preparing delicious food is indeed a wonderful feeling!

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Apr 17Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

'Our' geece are now in Iceland and the like, but here this morning is a small synchronicity from the 'bookshelf' of the internet. Ewan Craig is an engraver and the illustrator for Paul Kingsnorth's series on wild saints. 'Rhythm is key to composition, and in rhythm there is harmony.' And there is brass rubbing and iconography and a bird in the hand.😊

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Apr 17Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

This reminded me how much I miss the Sunday newspaper and I would always do the crossword as a teenager and then young adult. I would like to get back to doing those again!

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Apr 17Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

Thank you for compiling such valuable insight, always. Grateful to be included!

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Thanks for contributing your experiences about the fast Kristine!

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Apr 16Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

Worthwhile thoughts everybody!

Synchronous harmony can be a direct physical experience for participants. I love geese. I once watched a flight on their way north on the spring migration and the leader avoid and take advantage of an oncoming storm. The outer edge of the rotating system approaching from the west lifted them higher and higher catapulting them north across an estuary and away. Knowledge and timing was critical.

Humans are highly social animals so it is helpful that harmony can reward and propel our activities. Song and dance are worth cultivation. There is a painting by Jack Butler Yeats that gives us an idea, not just for the young, or for summer: 'Summer evening at Rosses Point in Sligo'

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Thanks for adding your reflections Philip! Living in Ontario, geese frequently fly over our home with their raucous yet lovely honking. They are most impressive when they gather into massive swaths for their yearly migration - mesmerizing. Thanks also for pointing out this fitting painting, which certainly captures the harmony of togetherness :)

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Apr 16Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

Lovely as always, Hopeful and Helpful.

Thank you ☦️🕯️📿 ⛪ ❤️ ⛲🕊️ ⚜️ 📖

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Thanks for reading Robert - glad to you found it hopeful and helpful :)

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Thank you both so much for this, I’m just catching up, in a period where finding a way to manage exactly this has been especially difficult, while needing to be online more for a new job, seeking more balance and to create more a more structured flow at home, and to fly in formation with our family meal times, rest times - such a good image from Peco of your namesake geese! Ruth, I so resonate with what you say about wanting to allot times around online reading, and then finding myself (happily, joyfully, gratefully) distracted by something, and I need to work on this. Trying to address the distraction of going on my phone to access a daily Bible reading/reflection, I even bought a paperback daily lectionary so I could check the assigned scriptures for that morning and look them up without going into an app or podcast, but I’m not good at it! This is so inspiring, and lots of wonderful pooled community ideas to inspire and encourage, too! Thank you both.

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Jenni, thanks for adding your reflections and glad to hear that you found some inspiring ideas here:) I too need to continually work on online distraction, even if the articles and content are wonderful, the people and things around me are what need tending...

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Yes! This. Exactly. Wishing you a wonderful, well-balanced (preaching to myself here!!) weekend! :) XX

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Thanks, Jenni!

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Apr 30Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

I loved the idea of developing Synchrony! It involves discipline (at least initially), but is something I believe will be good for me. I have experienced many Lents where I fasted food or something digital, then returned to my old ways (as Peco wrote). The fasting was successful in deepening my faith; however, I now see that I must continue some of those "fasts" (especially the digital ones) if I am to live the better life.

I also enjoyed reading about many others' experience of the digital fast. It gave me ideas to try and hope (always a good thing to have).

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Apr 27Liked by Peco, Ruth Gaskovski

I accepted an in person part time job working with horses one day a week a few momths ago. And will start a new job with horses next month, a 40 hour work week completely outside (or in the barn). After 3.6 years of remote work (and 5 months of unemployment) in the knowledge fields, I love using my hands again, working with folks in person, and using my physical body again all day. Plus, no screens!

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I *love* that you wrote out all those comments by hand, Ruth. How completely brilliant! I often struggle engaging in online conversation, despite being a fairly prolific writer by hand. In my pre-digital scrutiny days, I would succumb to the impulse to engage more shallowly, but I just can't do that anymore. If I'm going to spend time online, it *must* add value to my life, small talk won't cut it. Now I have a new strategy for taking my long-distance internet-based relationships into the analog, rather than going more deeply into the internet. Thank you!

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So happy to hear that this method inspired you :)

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Apr 19Liked by Ruth Gaskovski

Ruth I always appreciate your writing but I really loved the art you chose for this one! So many beautiful pieces I’ve never seen before and now want to bookmark.

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Thanks Kerri (most of the writing here was Peco's, while I compiled reader's responses:) Yes, I also loved the artwork for this piece. I even had several more that I would have loved to include, but then it might have ended up being an art post. Paul Signac is definitely worth exploring, as well as Caillebotte and Childe Hassam. We once saw a Caillbotte at the Louvre; it was stunningly massive and beautiful :)

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So many incredible resources here. Wow!

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Thanks for contributing Bohdanna's knitting project as inspiration to others!

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Thanks Ruth. Our pleasure. Thank you for sharing it.

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