March 4, 2011 at 11:38 AM ET
From sundown on March 4 — yes, that is today — until sundown on March 5, people around the country are putting down their cellphones and shutting off their computers in order to celebrate the second annual National Day of Unplugging.
The holiday was dreamed up by the artists behind Sabbath Manifesto, a "creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world," and at its core is based on the concept of the Jewish Sabbath (essentially a day of rest).
The basic idea is that we all need to take a break, unplug, and recharge our metaphorical batteries by stepping away from one of the things that makes life so hectic: Technology.
In order to help you step away from all the modern crazes and to help you discover how to celebrate the National Day of Unplugging, the folks behind Sabbath Manifesto have devised a list of ten principles to follow:
- Avoid technology.
- Connect with loved ones.
- Nurture your health.
- Get outside.
- Avoid commerce.
- Light candles.
- Drink wine.
- Eat bread.
- Find silence.
- Give back.
"Hang on just a minute! Those principles sound like they're definitely borrowing directly from Jewish insights," you might shout right now. And you wouldn't be wrong. A site called MyJewishLearning.com has even taken the time to outline just how each principle is related to Jewish practices and traditions.
But you don't have to be Jewish —or any particular religion — to celebrate the National Day of Unplugging or follow the ten principles of the Sabbath Manifesto.
As explained in the FAQs and description of the project, the core idea isn't to follow a particular religious practice — or even to follow the ten principles to the dot. It's to use all the guidelines and information provided to find what works — or doesn't work— for you when it comes to unplugging:
To some, “avoid technology” means not sending text messages. To others, it means not using a stove or riding in an elevator. To some, “be healthy” means running the next NYC marathon. For others, it means chewing each mouthful of food you eat real slow – 18 chews a bite.
You get the picture. Find the balance that works for you.
Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's a bit obsessed with Twitter, loves to be liked on Facebook, and will probably fail to properly observe the National Day of Unplugging.