THE JOMO STORY
The process of communication involves exchange, back and forth. It’s what much of our current communication is lacking: why calling someone and getting their voicemail or posting updates online without an exchange of ideas can feel flat.
I was feeling this flatness in 2012.
I had just watched a documentary in which there was a scene of a priest conducting a blessing service for smart phones. Here was a person, dressed in holy vestments, calling on the God of the Universe to bless a Blackberry. Blessing blackberries - actual harvested food - to our bodies’ use, would have been one thing, but blessing a Blackberry - a piece of glass, metal, and plastic designed to speed our lives to the brink of exhaustion - was quite another. There was something wrong with this picture.
I had already grown tired of the web mediating my relationships: like missing a friend visiting Toronto because she’d posted to my Facebook wall and I hadn’t checked it in time.
As a student of communication and a media professional, I was keyed into noticing how I was guilty of the same kinds of passive behaviour and how I felt like the Internet was making me lazy as a thinker, writer, and friend.
I decided to fast from the Internet for 31 days.
It was here I discovered an abundance of time I never thought I had. I experienced peace, a quietness of mind, I had been hungering for. I found connection with neighbours, strangers and friends, because I was forced to turn to people (Like the day I locked my baby and my keys inside the house. Yup, that happened.) rather than Google for help.
I was figuring out how to flourish in a smartphone world.
I decluttered my inbox, implemented a weekly tech sabbath and culled the list of people I follow.
I treated the Internet as a tool.
I began asking better questions, like: what in my day was most life-giving and what in my day was most life-taking?
I deepened my relationships.
I reclaimed time and space.
I got things done.
I presented a TEDx talk and I wrote a book about it.
Now, I am on a mission to help serve people just like you who want to live life with intentionality and joy.
You love the work that you do but you want to set boundaries so you can live your life.
You want to create your best work without comparing it online.
You love your family and friends and want to give your best to your relationships.
You want to stop numbing and start showing up in life.
Here’s why seeking joy matters so much to me:
I will never forget the day during my Internet fast that I chose to call my grandma. My grandma helped raised me. In the years when my mom was single, she'd drop my brother James and I off at her parents' house before school. I can still remember the smell of Grandma's double-buttered french toast. Calling her during my digital detox was like a fresh splash of colour on my white-walled heart. She passed away later that year.
I will never regret calling my grandma. Never.
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives," writes Annie Dillard. Friends, let's spend our time well.
You can reclaim time and space to live your life.
You can reduce stress and overwhelm, beginning today.
You can increase focus and accelerate productivity, leaving you more time for hobbies, relationships and passion projects.
You can deepen your spiritual life as you embrace silence and solitude.
You can live with clarity and purpose.
Daily JOMO is about intentionality, health, mindfulness and play. Sheer good fun. It's about what it means to be fully alive.
Author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World