The Power of the Pause: Letting Go to Move Forward May 30, 2024 12:28

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We have lived in our current home for over twenty-five years. When we first moved in, we added a second phone line to have internet service as well as a landline phone. At that time, and because of our location, that was our only option to be connected.

I grew up in the 70s, so having a landline phone was familiar and reliable for me. Over the years, as cell phones became more ubiquitous and essential for everyday tasks, having a landline phone has become obsolete.

We’d hung onto our landline for several years, but the final straw for us came this past winter and spring. It wasn’t unusual for us to have to call a technician at least once a year to replace external wiring that had been chewed by squirrels or mice—or that had become corroded by spring rains.

New houses have been cropping up in our area, and our utility box, which had once been in an abandoned field near railroad tracks, is now an eyesore in some lucky winner’s backyard.

In February, the resident of this new home decided to cut the large wire at the top of our utility box, which resulted in the complete loss of our phone and internet connections. We didn’t have service for a couple of weeks until techs could rig up a temporary solution.

We had relatively stable service for a while—until heavy rains in March did a number on the external wires again.

Over the years, the phone company has changed ownership several times, and each change brought a decline in reliable service as well as creeping increases in service prices.

Honestly, the only phone calls we have been receiving lately have been junk calls from telemarketers, scammers, fraudsters, and opportunists phishing for personal data. It was time—long overdue, actually, for a change and an upgrade.

We already have cable, so we opted to migrate to a cable modem and router and to ditch the landline altogether.

The process took a little time. It began in the Xfinity store lobby while I waited with my husband and son-in-law for over an hour before a young, hip associate helped us upgrade our account and scheduled a technician to come to our home for the installation.

Our son-in-law gave us his modem and router to use, but the tech who came to the house to add the extra line couldn’t connect it. So, I made a trip to Best Buy, and, thankfully, a very helpful and knowledgeable associate helped me select a single modem/router unit.

I went back to the Xfinity store and waited another hour until the manager, who had to contend with an extremely loud and disgruntled customer minutes before me, helped me register this new unit to our account.

I’m not going to lie—this disgruntled customer was over-the-top angry. He was yelling and screaming at the manager, and we all watched and held our breath as he stormed out to his truck and drove away. I was not the only one who wondered if he was going to come back in with a gun. I really thought we were going to be on the evening news.

Thankfully, we all survived, and a few days later, my daughter and son-in-law stopped by to help us set up and connect the modem/router along with a laptop that I had purchased a few weeks prior.

Whew! This whole process of disconnecting from an inefficient, outdated, and unreliable service to connecting to one that is more reliable and convenient required time, patience, and the expertise of others.

I’m so grateful I have my Buddhist practice to rely on. It really comes in handy, even in mundane situations like this. If not, I’d be more like the disgruntled customer ranting and raving in the Xfinity store.


While this technology pause was unsettling; it was also necessary. Honestly, it was the most important part of the journey. It was the quiet gap between old and new, outdated and updated.

This was an important time of reflection and introspection for me. I had more quality time to sit in silence and let go of the usual distractions, obligations, and uncertainties. It was a time of literal and metaphorical clearing away. I deep cleaned several rooms in the house, I let go of other things I didn’t need, and I rediscovered and appreciated the things that I did have. This was an important time to be present and to slow down, and it was the perfect time for an emotional and energetic reset.

Not having access to home internet for those transitional weeks enabled me to practice patience and gratitude.

I thought about all the people who made this access to technology possible—all the minds that had to work together to create and sustain this essential conduit to information. Sometimes interconnection is invisible—but it exists, nonetheless. Interconnection can be very easy to take for granted, too—usually, we realize this when something no longer functions properly. However, realizing and appreciating how much we rely on the skills and knowledge of others is an important practice and habit of mind to develop.

I was grateful to have the ability to write and read emails, to check my bank balance, or to purchase supplies for my business. I wouldn’t be able to do these things without the assistance of thousands of others.

I’m grateful to have the help of my daughter and son-in-law. Not only did they offer encouragement throughout this process, but they also helped me set up my laptop.

I’m grateful to be able to have access to technology anywhere in the house. For years, I worked from a stand-alone computer. I didn’t mind working from my study room, but now that I have a laptop as well, it’s nice to be able to practice a Feldenkrais lesson upstairs or to listen to a Dharma talk in the kitchen while I’m washing dishes. Having agency and choice is incredibly liberating.

Our home is no longer tethered to a landline. Although, I still catch myself glancing at the spot on the kitchen counter where we had kept our main house phone—checking for a blinking red light that signaled messages.

I do miss being able to pick up a line upstairs while Jim picks up a downstairs line so that we can both chat with Elise.

I also miss being able to check the time on the house phone when I have something cooking in the oven.

Even though these are small things that I miss, there are alternative options for all these situations. That’s another bonus for navigating long-overdue changes—exploring options and practicing a flexible mindset.

Releasing the obsolete has been an interesting experiment for me, but it’s also allowed me to practice and appreciate traits that won’t ever go out of style. Additionally, it’s given me yet another reason to protect and develop Bodhicitta, the altruistic mindset of compassion.

I love that opportunities to practice Dharma are everywhere. Even with something as mundane as changing a service provider.

Currently, our landline phones are waiting in a paper bag from Fresh Thyme in the hallway. I plan to take them to a local recycling center where they will serve a new purpose and benefit others in a new way.


What have you had to let go of recently?

How did letting go reveal new facets of your everyday life?

What bumps and obstacles did you have to endure or overcome while navigating your own journey?

These could be questions to ponder in your next analytical meditation session.


What I love about malas is they are a simple form of technology—they don’t require electricity, contracts, or upgrades. They are powered by our own dedication, intention, and practice.

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I hope the month of May has treated you well. I’m looking forward to seeing what the month of June has in store for us.

Until then--