Friday, June 28, 2013


    In the old days, mental-health professionals and parents worried about how much time Americans spent plunked on couches in front of television screens. Today, screens are inescapable—pads, netbooks, laptops and smartphones are ubiquitous at work and at home.
    But we’re still worrying, and rightly so.
    Computer technology and the Internet have driven the exchange of communications, the ability to access information and the ability to lose ourselves in online gaming to what feels like light speeds. The jury is still out—and will be for some time to come—on how all this connectedness is affecting individuals and society.
    What we do know is that time spent on vacation in the Sun Valley area should be an opportunity to shut off the screens and the flow of electrons and to listen to the sounds of wind, water and wildlife. Vacations in this area can and should be opportunities to revitalize our inner lives and to connect with mysteries beyond the pixels that sit a foot from our noses.
    Viewing a garter snake on the ground, a butterfly on a flower or a bird on a limb offers a chance to savor subtleties that are unnoticeable in a video recording of the same. Watching a video is like looking at chocolate instead of eating it; there’s no pleasure or discovery in it. Seeing a photograph of the Milky Way isn’t like experiencing it from a mountaintop.
    In 2010, researchers in the Netherlands found that vacations don’t have an appreciable halo effect after people return home, but it’s impossible to measure the long-term pleasure that people derive from the memories they bring home with them.
    If your vacation is one day or one month, grab the chance to disconnect from the electronic tether and connect with the higher spiritual voltage and deeper insights that nature can provide.

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