And darling, it was good
Never looking down
And right there where we stood
Was holy ground
~Taylor Swift, Holy Ground
So Moses is out tending his sheep when he sees a bush on fire. This isn’t so miraculous, as fires in the desert are a pretty common occurrence. But as he goes over to tend to it, he notices that the bush isn’t burning up. Then, God starts speaking (the call is coming from inside the bush!) and tells Moses to remove his sandals, for he is standing on holy ground.
Moses looks away, hiding his face.
Let’s recap. This common sheep herder, who we might assume has led a fairly simple life, witnesses two straight-up miracles. First, a bush that is afire without burning up and then a call from the divine telling him to take his shoes off. Yet Moses isn’t awed. He turns away.
God keeps going, telling Moses to go to Egypt and free the Israelites from slavery. And still Moses is all Nah, I don’t want to. I am not great at public speaking and this sounds scary and I’m too old and choose someone else and also, I am very busy with my sheep.
There’s some additional miracles. God turns Moses’ rod into a snake and then back into a rod, imbuing it with magical powers. He smites Moses’ hand with pox, and then removes any trace of disease. The bush burns, the ground is sacred. Yet Moses remains unmoved and unconvinced.
We are all Moses. We swear that we have faith, that we believe in miracles. Yet when they appear, we turn away, too busy with our tik tok videos and mundanity to notice. Moses never looks down, and we never look up. We exist on holy ground and are too distracted to notice.
Recently, I broke up with my phone (it’s not you, it’s me). I wanted to see what it was like to look up instead of vacantly staring into what Izzie calls the bad news flashlight.
It feels like freedom, like I am once again the master of my own time. It feels like a miracle.
Getting offline – while keeping my small business afloat – actually took a plan. I have some trusted friends helping curate the internet so that I don’t have to.
Mark sends me all things related to LGBTQ and pro-reproductive rights, gardens, and musical theater.
Casey is in charge of sharing things about Italy and heartwarming animal videos, especially reels of dogs falling over.
Lauren shares local information I need to know, which, for me, is mostly food-related (The cheesecake place has salted caramel today! Double FF is almost out of lamb sandwiches at the Farmer’s Market, should I grab one for you?).
Erin shares great content about neuroscience and social justice. Also Mary Oliver quotes.
Annie shares body positivity and anti-fat bias content.
And Jim sends me astronomy-related news and relevant articles from the New York Times.
Checking my DMs to skim this content takes about 10 minutes each day. Now and then, I check on @cincinnatizoo to see how Rozi the baby cheetah is getting along with Daisy, her new dog companion. Also @tinyhouse, because it soothes my nervous system to see a life so organized (it’s so clever how the staircase treads lift up so you can store stuff under the steps). Also @neilhimself and @johngreenwritesbooks because writers inspire me. As we all know, if you never post, the algorithm pushes you further and further into obsolescence. So I share those posts and occasionally add info about classes, workshops, and trainings at the studio.
And if my reports can be trusted, my online absence hasn’t negatively affected the financial bottom line of my business. What a surprise, totally flying in the face of what we’ve been told.
The result has been enormous swaths of time to spend on my terms.
Instead of online shopping, I stare at the trees on my back porch.
Instead of falling down a rabbit hole of Instagram reels, I read book after book after book, real books that make me think and laugh and cry.
Instead of engaging in online political arguments, I play my guitar and eat fresh peaches and take early morning hikes. I text the people I love and I listen to audiobooks and then I leave my phone in a whole different room for hours on end.
I feel an inch to delete my social accounts entirely, a quiet humming calling me to a more connected life. Because, darling, it was good, never looking down. Finding out, that all along, I’ve been standing on holy ground.