Humans sometimes need to reboot, too

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Some days, especially beautiful ones like today, I want to sit in the sun, look up at the clear blue sky, listen to the songs of the birds and let life be for a while. I call these “reboot” days and we all need them now and then.

Rebooting is something I learned from my computer. When it gets into what I describe as a loop, it sounds like its churning and grinding as it tries to process what to do to unloop itself. It’s not a good sound.

The best thing to do to fix the problem is to shut it down, turn it off and let it rest for a while. Perhaps that’s the tech version of sitting in the sun doing nothing.

On a gorgeous day, nature seems to reach out a hand and to say, “Come be with me for a while.” It’s an invitation that often gets lost in all the noise that surrounds us most of the time.

However, if I stop and say yes to that invitation, life comes into focus and the noise quiets when I hear chatter from a passing squirrel. I can feel my breath softening and my heart beating at a slower pace.

As I sat on my deck, I watched my cat rolling over in the sand and my dogs running around simply for the joy of running. I remembered being a kid and feeling that same kind of excitement about the smallest things.

Remember what it felt like to run with the breeze, to throw your head back, kick up your feet and take off with no destination in mind. I just ran for the exhilaration of the movement, for the freedom of flying with the wind.

And sometimes, I found that freedom in spinning around and around until I was so dizzy I had to lie down in the soft, new grass. I’d squint my eyes and watch the sky turning in circles overhead.

We don’t do that once we are “mature.” Maybe it is because all that spinning might lead to throwing up instead of sky gazing, but that’s not the real reason we stop. We stop because it is not what grownups do for fun.

Oh no, we require our fun to be much more serious, to have more of a purpose. Hopping, skipping and watching clouds are not purposeful enough for us anymore.

Unfortunately, the byproduct of our more serious living takes us to that same place my computer goes when it is trying to process too much information. We slide into a loop that keeps us churning and grinding through life instead of enjoying the moments.

That is why I need a day like today with the whole world full of the newness of spring. The trees are that first golden green and every bush in my yard seems to explode with life.

It’s as if the whole of existence is rebooting after a winter shutdown and a celebration of being is happening all around me. I want to join that celebration by simply sitting with it, letting it pull me along, take me where it wants me to go.

Yes, there is stuff I need to do — there will always be stuff we need to do. I’m betting every bit of it will be there waiting for me when I return from my time of sitting in the sun.

Maybe if we could get all of humanity to reboot itself, the process of living might run more smoothly. Perhaps, if we shut off the news, turn off the cell phones and tablets, let go of our insane need to know everything instantly, we might find space to see each other and all of nature again.

So yep, even if it’s only a short rebooting break, I’m taking time today to sit with life, to breathe with nature and to refill that part of myself that living in this hurried information age tries so hard to empty.


Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.