Disconnect: Straying from Dependence to FreedomPC: Pexels

Disconnect. We hear that word frequently, and we probably feel it, too; a disconnect between how we’re actually living at the moment and the values we want to be living and prioritizing. There are also the popular phrases that people like to float around such as: “Unplug to recharge” and “disconnect your phone, recharge your soul.” These statements are almost always referencing social media, and while we could all absolutely use a little more reality and way less social media, if we are truly going to live unplugged lives, we need to disconnect ourselves from so much more than just Instagram.

Disconnect from Celebrities

How often do you think you heard someone bring up the infamous slap from the Oscars? What about opinion videos about Johnny Depp’s recent defamation trial, how many of those do you think have been circulated around the net (and are still being published)? There is nothing wrong with a guilty-pleasure TV show, or taking a minute to do some mindless Facebook scrolling or reality TV watching while you fold laundry. But today (and, really, since the beginning of Hollywood) we’ve been so plugged into celebrities and the Hollywood juggernaut of nonstop entertainment, that sometimes it seems we care more about who Will Smith slapped than we do about our neighbors who live next door. And we’ve seen the poison that can ooze from the ego-bloated institutions that claim to be backbones of American arts, culture, and entertainment. Hopefully we need not mention the hypocrisy of maskless celebrities at award shows followed around by masked up underlings who adjust their skirts and hold their waters, either.

All of this, while not inherently corrosive, inevitably eats into the more important things and devours our time and energy that would best serve other areas of our lives. We need to disconnect from the people, places, and things that disconnect us from our values, pull our attention away from those immediately around us, and invalidate our small town lives, disrespect blue collar workers, and label the very people who help build and maintain this country as unsophisticated, uneducated, and deplorable.

Our connection to celebrities is too tight (to the point where companies think that just because so-and-so celebrity endorses their product the rest of America will be dying to get their hands on it – and, sadly, they usually aren’t wrong). In the grand scheme of everything, the lives of celebrities should have no sway on our own lives. They should have no power over our decisions, opinions, or votes. To disconnect from celebrities is to find the freedom of uninfluenced thought, time well spent, and valuable time spent on valuable experiences.

We need to connect to the wholesome family entertainment that reflects our values. Play board games, read, explore the great outdoors, and reserve celebrity praise for public figures that share your beliefs and values. Shut off the TV and focus your time, energy, and love on those who will feel, remember, appreciate, and return it.

Disconnect from Big Healthcare

Don’t panic. We are not suggesting never, ever seeing a doctor again. And we recognize that some do not have the luxury of avoiding the doctor’s office and the miracle of modern medicines. However, we, as a nation, are connected to a healthcare system that again and again prioritizes profit over people. The pandemic taught us many things, not the least of which being exactly what the FDA, CDC, NIH, and other supposedly health-focused institutions actually prioritize and care about. Hint: nine times out of ten, it’s not the patient. Instead of patient-first care, we have a drug-reliant system that seems to often focus on treating the symptoms, not the deeper disease, if you will. The U.S. is the leading country when it comes to pharmaceutical spending. Again, this is partly because we are lucky enough to have access to leading medications that work, but it also indicates a dependence on a healthcare system that makes enormous amounts of money and depends on you being sick (and plans to continue to do so in any way possible).

Additionally, in 2020 and 2021 we saw a blind allegiance to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries sweep the nation. This allegiance was used and abused as the hysteria for vaccines reached a fever pitch with mandates, governors banning certain medications, employers firing unvaxed workers, and the overt subjugation of critical information.

We need to disconnect from the practices and organizations that disconnect us from natural healing, the power and genius of our God-made bodies, patient values, and patient consent and terms of treatment. There are thousands of ways to take better care of your body that follow a completely natural course of action. Connect to naturopaths, natural wellness, home treatments, and clean, low tox living/eating.

Disconnect from Grocery Stores

We are connected to big box stores and grocery stores as our food source. While this isn’t the worst sin in the world, the pain of this dependence is sorely felt when there are shortages, panics, and rampant inflation. Additionally, grocery store foods are not always the most wholesome in terms of ingredients. This will probably be one of the hardest disconnects for the average American. But every little bit helps. Becoming independent from these stores means relying more on your own skills, some real dedication to a DIY lifestyle, and dietary sacrifices of some of the more “guilty pleasure” foods.

One phenomenon that is little talked about is the Victory Gardens of WWI, WWII and Great Depression fame. Americans (and those in many other countries) used every bit of land they could to build a garden. They planted and grew whatever vegetables they could in order to feed their families and lighten the load on commercial farms. This self-reliance acted as a morale boost, gave people something to do, and lessened the sting of food shortages. Today, this concept can be used to provide healthier food for your family, save some money, and learn a vital skill that might just be absolutely essential some day.

We need to disconnect from a system that disconnects us from healthful, whole foods and instead connect to the self-reliance created in growing our own food, sourcing food from local farms, and learning to cook, hunt, fish, and forage.

Disconnect from School

We need to disconnect from the one-size-fits-all educational system. Our children are enmeshed in a system that seems to have forgotten its main purpose: education. Highly politicized policies and practices have taken over and rooted themselves into the curriculum, clubs, extra-curriculars, and social fabric of schools. These things have served to disconnect parents from their children, and create a system that produces a class of graduates with less of an education than the previous generation.

Additionally, while we know that outside of the home education is the only option for most families, this form of education has often removed the parent from the learning process. This damaging mind-set has given some teachers the idea that they own your children and deserve to talk to them about anything. Reclaim your children, get involved, and be in-the-know whenever possible.

We need to abandon this idea that schools, school boards, and teachers always have our children’s best interest at heart. People are flawed, the things they do will also, sometimes, be flawed. Paying attention and pulling your kids from these situations are the best courses of action for parents who want their children to receive the best education possible.

We need to homeschool, unschool, or private school. We need to find (or create) a student-first, value-led course of education that caters to individual learning styles, embraces the hands-on, and encourages competition, curiosity, and exploration. We need to discard the idea that all students are created equal. Parents with children in public schools need to make more of an effort to be involved – especially since homeschooling is not an option for everyone. Do not be left out of what is happening at your child’s school; join the PTA, volunteer to chaperone field trips, go to school board meetings (or, better yet, run for school board yourself!), talk to your children, participate in events, and communicate with the administration when there is something happening that you don’t like.

This is a difficult road we travel. We are very plugged into the world and it always seems hopeless to disconnect ourselves from everything we’ve ever known. But don’t make the mistake of underestimating yourself and what you’re capable of. It’s not always easy, but providing for yourself, leaving the world behind you, seeking what is meaningful and fulfilling, and embracing a slow, less plugged-in life is possible. And you are very capable.

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20