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 are 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.

  • Erin Skinner Smith

    Erin Skinner Smith wants every­one to slow down, eat real food, move their bod­ies, go out­side, and hit the pil­low a lit­tle ear­li­er for a more pur­pose­ful exis­tence. She is a pub­lished writer, yoga teacher, and mind­ful­ness coach. When she’s not stand­ing on her head or typ­ing on her trusty lap­top, you’ll find her read­ing, play­ing gui­tar, enjoy­ing a glass of bour­bon, or snug­gling on the couch with her peo­ple and pets. Send her a dig­i­tal high five at erintheomplace.net.