Some days, we are running so hard and so fast that it gets hard to connect to the source. Things start to feel glitchy and slow. Disconnected. Disorienting, even. Perhaps we’re so in it. Or carrying so much we don’t know how to unload. Holding things tightly (again!). Too much happening. Pulled in multiple directions. So much seemingly at stake.
In those times, it becomes critical to notice. And, then, restart.
As leaders, as loved ones, as friends, we need a fully-functioning operating system. A strong, solid base. Because a lot of people are depending on us. And, perhaps more importantly, we need it for us. We don’t make our best decisions, do our best work, show up as our best selves or live our best lives when our pages and apps won’t load or our connections break down.
I remember the first time I learned about the restart function on my phone. I was lamenting that nothing was working right, everything was slow and sticky. Connecting to Wi-Fi was impossible, even though everyone else in the room had full bars. Everything loading sluggishly, if at all. That dreaded thinking circle spinning and spinning on the page, defying the idea that it was thinking at all.
My partner asked if I’d tried restarting my phone. I moaned, “Yessss. I turned it off and turned it back on again. And, it’s still doing this!” He took my phone from my hand and explored with curiosity. Then shock. “You have over 100 pages open!?! And, how many apps is this?? It’s a miracle you have any functionality at all!” He encouraged me to close out of everything and then showed me how to initiate a true restart, explaining how it was different.
Turns out, although you may manually close things down, they are not completely closed out. Turning the phone on and off doesn’t change that. Technological residue and remnants remain, filling up the RAM and leaving less and less room for the functionality you might be searching for.
Restarting, on the other hand, clears everything out. Fragments and baggage from all that had been running, all that’s still open and trying in vain to run, all flushed away. And we begin anew. Fresh start. Clean slate.
After a true restart, there’s space. Freedom and energy to begin again. Make all new connections. No lingering pages or app debris means each new thing we choose to explore feels lighter. Fast. Nimble.
For a lot of my life, I sought to restart in busyness. Opening more and more pages and apps. A week full of challenge would mean a weekend full of activities and distractions.
Except…distraction only works for so long. Eventually, it clogs up what’s left of the RAM. By the time we realize what we’ve done, we’ve used up the precious little room we had. And, we feel robbed as we begrudgingly turn back to whatever it was that we were distracting ourselves from.
Now, I try to cultivate spaciousness. Find what space I can and expand it. Slow down time. Free up RAM. This tends to mean less rather than more. Simplify. Reduce. Retreat. Remember the most important thing.
It is said that our phones have more power in them than the computers that sent the first rocket ships to the moon. How wild to think we hold that much power in the palm of our hands. And, to think what we could do with it in its fully-optimized state. And, then, considering that someone made that! So, think what we can do in our fully-optimized state…
To get the most out of any system, including the human one, we must reboot every so often. Intentionally go in and shut down the pages and apps. Even if we know we’ll open them again at some point. It’s the conscious act of disconnecting that is important. Cleansing. Breaking the chain on the spinning wheel. Lessening the energetic load. Recognizing, we don’t need this right now. We can step away and let it rest. Come back to it if and when the time is right.
Restarting doesn’t just happen, though. It must be initiated. It requires action on our part. We must recognize that the operating system is never going to do it on its own. Or tell us outright to do it. But, it does tell us. It’s subtle. (Sometimes not so subtle…) The key is in the noticing. Learning that language and hearing that voice that tells us it’s time.