Logging Off: The Power of Disconnection

snowy sceneMy thesis: The great English writer E.M. Forster may have valued connection above all else, but for us 21st-century folks—with our jam-packed contact lists, e-mail from intimates and strangers, texts and phone messages left by friends, colleagues, passing acquaintances, and the occasional deranged stalker—disconnection is as necessary as connection for creating a healthy, happy life. When we force ourselves to connect against our heart’s desires, we create false, resentful relationships; when we disconnect from the people who deplete us, we set them free to find their tribes while we find ours. I planned to illustrate these thoughts with snippets of Greek philosophy, and perhaps even the poetry of Robert Frost. 

But it has just occurred to me that this refined approach is not how I actually disconnect—and I need to disconnect a lot. Overconnection is my major occupational hazard. My job is all about soulfully linking with others, and this is truly as much fun as I’ve ever had with my clothes on, but after doing this with many people for many hours, I often feel as if I’ve watched ten great movies back-to-back: dazed, frazzled, longing for silent solitude. I’m not up to gracious separation; I need quick-and-dirty ways to save my sanity, right now.

So I’ve listed some of my favorite disconnection strategies below, in the hope that you might find them useful. Please remember that this advice is not for the E.M. Forsters of the world but for those of us who are already connected up the wazoo.

Martha Beck’s Favorite Disconnection Techniques

1. Hide. I’m sitting in my room at a beautiful wilderness retreat where intelligent, sensitive, wonderful people come to renew their spirits. I’ve been running a workshop meant to stir the deepest reaches of the participants’ fears and dreams. I’ve also been living on tap water and protein bars because the thought of going to the dining hall, where I would end up connecting for another hour with those intelligent, sensitive, wonderful people, makes me want to shoot myself.

I packed for this trip with disconnection aforethought, tossing in 20 protein bars with the express intention of hiding out. Blame my high school English teacher—I’ll call her Mrs. Jensen—who married at 17, bore her first child at 19, and was a farmwife and mother of four by age 22. When she felt overwhelmed, she’d retreat into a field of tall corn near her house and hide there, listening to her children search for her, until she heard a cry of genuine pain or felt ready to reconnect, whichever came first.

“Martha,” Mrs. Jensen told me, “every woman needs a cornfield. No matter what’s happening in your life, find yourself a cornfield and hide there whenever you need to.”

All these years later, this advice still gives me permission to sit here by myself contemplating whether I should eat the nondairy creamer from my in-room coffee setup, just for variety. I’ve used hundreds of other “cornfields” over the years: cars, forests, hotels, bathrooms. I’ve been known to hide for days, but even a few minutes can calm my strung-out nerves—or yours. If you don’t already have a cornfield, find one now. 

2. Go primitive. We all know that technological advances have made connection easier than ever before. They’ve also led some people to think that breaking away is a violation of the social order. Friends call to chastise each other (well, anyway, my friends call to chastise me) for being slow to return text messages or e-mail, as though the ability to communicate in half a dozen newfangled ways makes constant attention to every one of them morally imperative. 

At such times, I become downright Amish, religiously committed to avoiding all modern communication technology. I unplug phones, computers, intercoms, and fax machines, risking opprobrium because I know that if I don’t lose touch with some of the people who are trying to reach me, I’ll lose touch with myself. The overconnected me is a cranky, tired fussbudget. Silence is golden if it keeps me from broadcasting that fretful self into my network of treasured relationships.

3. Play favorites. Your ability to connect is a resource much more precious than money, so manage it well. Make a list of everyone to whom you feel bonded, then consider what kind of return you’re getting on your investment. Which relationships make you feel robbed or depleted? Which ones enrich you? Notice that there are many ways for “connection investments” to pay off. One person may be good at helping you solve relationship problems, while another can fix your home computer and another makes you laugh. A baby’s trust may be the only return you get on a massive investment of time and energy, but it can feel like winning the lottery.

It may sound cold-blooded to say you must divest yourself of the relationships that give you consistent losses, but unless you do this, you’ll soon run out of capital, and you’ll have no connection energy left to invest in anybody. So please, decide now to deliberately limit the time and attention you spend on “low yield” relationships. Above all…

4. Get rid of squid. Squid is my word for people who seem to be missing their backbones but possess myriad sucking tentacles of emotional need. Like many invertebrates, squid appear limp and squishy—but once they get a grip on you, they’re incredibly powerful. Masters at catalyzing guilt and obligation, they operate by squeezing pity from everyone they meet. They can make you feel entwined to the point of rage, desperate to escape their clutches, unable to see a means to extricate yourself.

Getting a squid out of your life is never pretty. (Excuses don’t work—tell a squid you’re on your way to a colonoscopy, and they’ll come along to sit beside you, complaining, while your doctor performs the procedure.) Since you can’t make a graceful exit, don’t try. Scrape off squid any way you can. Tell them straightforwardly that you want them, yes them, to leave now, yes, now. This will be unpleasant. There will be lasting hurt feelings. Don’t worry. Squid love hurt feelings. They hoard them, trading them in for pity points when they find another victim—er, friend. Let them go, their coffers bulging.

5. Be insensitive. A friend I’ll call Zoe once went to a world-famous psychologist to discuss her recurring nightmares. After months of waiting for an appointment, she finally met the therapist, who asked why she had come.

“I’m having terrible dreams,” Zoe explained.

“Yeah?” grunted the famous psychologist. “So what?”

Zoe blinked, then stammered, “Well, they keep me awake.”

“Uh-huh. So?”

“Well…,” stammered Zoe, “I guess I never thought of it that way.” And her nightmares went away, never to return. Once she stopped treating bad dreams like the end of the world, her mind had no reason to replay them.

I’m not suggesting that you say “So what?” every time someone turns to you for help, but I like to think that therapist was famous for a reason. I suspect he could feel the difference between something that required deep discussion and something that didn’t. He was willing to be insensitive, alerting Zoe to her own hypersensitivity. 

This is a very compassionate way to use your own psychological instincts. Instead of connecting with every person’s problems, let yourself feel whether someone really needs your attention, or whether the best gift you can give might be a little abruptness.

6. Rehearse escape lines. When I’m overextended, I paradoxically become worse at setting boundaries. I end up resorting to rehearsed exit lines. “Oh, there’s my doorbell!” I might say to end a client call that’s run 20 minutes over (this is technically true: My doorbell is, in fact, there). When someone collars me in an airport, eager to share personal problems and ask for solutions, I may point behind them and say, “Oh, my gosh! Is that Dr. Phil?” Then, when their head snaps around, owl-like, I sprint for the nearest restroom. 

I’m sure you can come up with better getaway lines than these, but do take the time to rehearse several reliable alternatives. Because when you’re exhausted, a practiced excuse can keep you from wading deeper into relationships you don’t need and can’t handle.

7. Be shallow. Even staying in touch with a reasonably small number of high-quality people can be overwhelming if you tend toward emotional intensity. In such cases, shallowness can be a delightful alternative. So instead of discussing Schopenhauer with your beloved in meaningful, calligraphed epistles, e-mail a stupid joke or a silly Youtube video (my own favorite past time). Gather your friends to watch TV shows in which strangers paint one another’s rooms the color of phlegm and then feign mutual delight. Once you know you can swim in the deep end of human connection, it’s fun to splash around in the shallows.

I hope you find these disconnection strategies as useful as I do. By striking a balance between the imperative to “only connect” and the need for individuation, you really will relax your psyche and your relationships, making your life as a whole more joyful, more loving. Maybe someday we’ll meet to compare notes, to share disconnection experiences as well as time, space, and perhaps a protein bar. But right now, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that I’d like to eat this one all by myself.

85 replies
  1. Tamika
    Tamika says:

    I absolutely loved this article! Thank you sooo much for your candor & honesty! I always love the tone & humor that you use in your writings! It seems you know exactly what to say to me, at the exact moment I need to hear it! WOW!!

  2. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    A brilliant article! Seven years ago I developed a chronic illness and, although I tried to manage life as I had before, it got to the point where I was constantly canceling plans with friends because I couldn’t muster up the energy to see them. This often resulted in hurt feelings and confusion on my friends’ part, and guilt on my part. Finally I came to the conclusion that I needed to conserve every ounce of my energy for my husband and two young daughters. I had to let my friendships fizzle. It was the best thing I could have done for myself and my family. (And yes, thank goodness for protein bars! They sustain me while I hide out in my cornfield bedroom.)

    • Linda
      Linda says:

      Dear Maureen, I do feel the same way and… in a way the chronic illness has become a useful tool to me to show me what things/persons are a waste of my energy, simply because I don’t have that eneryg. So that makes clear that they are also a waste of my time. Good idea of Martha to rehearse some escape-lines and save time, and therefor energy.

      • Laurel
        Laurel says:

        Ditto to the chronic illness experience….happened 8 years ago and took a great deal of adjustment from my previous overloaded life…it has been a blessing in many ways….

        Love this article!! and will use parts of it over and over….Martha, you and your cornfield rock!

  3. kerry macLeod
    kerry macLeod says:

    Wow, just what I needed to read right now. A couple points really rang true to me. I realized how my body actually forces me to hide out at times when I need it with extreme exhaustion or sickness and I am going to make a choice not to let the “squid-ish” parts of my life to let me get to that point.
    I also thought a lot about the nightmares and the “so what” approach. I have been having terrible dreams this past week and I had some anxiety about them trying to tell me something…tonight I am going to give them a nice kick in the butt.

    thanks Martha, brilliantly wise and witty as usual,


  4. Angie
    Angie says:

    This is so true. It resounds so deeply inside of me as I have often thought of becoming a hermit and hiding in the woods in order to get away from the squids in my life. Thank you for letting us know that we are not selfish or unfeeling.

  5. @kaneshabaynard
    @kaneshabaynard says:

    “So please, decide now to deliberately limit the time and attention you spend on “low yield” relationships.”

    This is such real talk. At the start of 2011, I decided to get rid of squid – 3 in fact. I’ve been skipping along happily and haven’t looked back. Can’t believe I waited so long. Thanks, Martha!

  6. Diana
    Diana says:

    I love this. It gives me permission to give myself needed solitude for “recharging”. Being an introvert makes connecting with people exhausting for me, but I have many friends and family that I love and am genuinely concerned about- I find myself fielding many calls from people who need an ear and feel selfish if I cannot be there 100%. Now I realize that I am not alone in feeling “over-touched” and I will be more mindful of disconnecting. Thanks Martha!

  7. Christa
    Christa says:

    Oh, Martha, thank you!

    A cornfield is so much better than the desert island I had been retreating to – much better hidden, far less sunburn!

    Seriously, this is such an important post. As we are more and more connected, the need for disconnection grows. Thanks for giving us all permission.

    PS – I have added bags of nuts and dried fruit and cacao nibs to my protein bars. It helps.

  8. Ivanna
    Ivanna says:

    Just found this site…Read the article, read the previous comments…I am afraid to sound out of tune, but the need of being connected to people pushes me to type this. probably I am about to sound like one of those who you guys suppose to disconnect from LOL!:)
    I am an immigrant in this country (U.S.)and so desparately disconnected with the others around me that it scraes me. I am even deeply disconnected with my husband of 11 years, and all my american “friends” seems to not wanting or not knowing how to connect at all. Swim in shallows? That is exactly what I am doing left and right discussing in a jolly tone anything but Schopenhauer or likes, or putting in another words do the boring talking – sometimes, but more often don’t do the talking at all, and don;t listen ether. But I hear you Martha, being a deeply spiritual person yet whose life is so busy meeting tons and tons of people disconnection with those who you are connected in a “strange” ill way is a must I think. There is probably no connection at all, in its genuine meaning?
    See you in a cornfield sometimes:))

    • Annie
      Annie says:

      Ivanna, I don’t want to presume anything and I may be way off, but it almost sounds like it’s not so much that people don’t want to connect with you but maybe you are trying to connect with the wrong people. They don’t sound like people who have common interests with you, things that you really enjoy, things that you could discuss deeper or at least have a genuine interest in so you would feel like you could contribute more. Think about the things you used to love doing before you moved here. Can you find groups who enjoy the same thing? If you are having problems finding those type of groups, maybe that would be one thing you could ask one of your “disconnected” friends to help you with (maybe the one or two you feel the closest connection with). Maybe they could recommend a place to look for that information.

      And it doesn’t have to be something you do with your husband. My husband and I share common values and opinions but not a whole lot in terms of what we like to do together, LOL. I’ve had to find ways of connecting with people who enjoy the things I like to do and I do those things with them, not him. For the most part, it gives him some relief (although sometimes I think he feels a little jealous that I’m doing something fun)and it frees him up to do something he enjoys doing.

  9. Kyla
    Kyla says:

    Hallelujah! I love this article and resonate so much with the stories and need to disconnect. I have had so many cornfields too – since I was in elementary school, I’m now realizing! Here are just a few: tucked in a bedroll in my closet, reading by nightlight (one of my grade school getaways); wedged between a wall and a bookshelf in the high school library (a strange quirk of architecture made a nook that couldn’t be seen by anyone who wasn’t browsing the ancient novels, so I was pretty safe in my solitude); the top of a steep hill in our backyard (I went up there the first time when my grandmother had issued one to many directives, and she would joke about me running to the hills thereafter); my car during lunch breaks at work; the bathtub; various bathrooms in various restaurants and parties; the streets (running is a reliable way for me to enjoy disconnecting, even if I’m connected to music) . . . and many more.

    I relate to feeling depleted if I don’t get enough time alone to recharge – and at the same time I’m someone who starts to feel isolated if too much time passes without connection. It’s finding the balance that’s a challenge. Sometimes I find myself over-disconnecting because of the challenge of setting up boundaries within an outing – I almost crawled out of my skin one night when I was the passenger on a road trip I didn’t want to be on. Control issues? Anyway, thank you for the article and, as always, your humor and insight. Kyla

  10. Becky
    Becky says:

    My husband has a squid at work and I just read Number 4 to him – he cannot stop laughing – or maybe he’s crying – over the accuracy of this personality type! And perhaps the implied permission to let the squid GO!

    To Ivanna – I hope you will find connection with folks of quality, not always easy to find – but definitely worth trying for. I find that some of my best moments of a day are on an elevator with someone and I’m amazed that if I speak to them in a friendly manner, they almost always perk up – and always tell me to ‘have a good one’. Some days that is just good enough!

  11. Isabella Wagner
    Isabella Wagner says:

    Thankyou, I have yet a long way to go ………………..
    My brother thought I needed to start living again and called me one morning with your name. he said… find this woman. He said that he had prayed for me and this was his answer.I found your name on the web..in August 2011..Thankyou. Many days your words have been a crutch, a light, a warning even a beacon.It has given me hope.I so wish I could attend one of your workshops. This specific one ‘Disconnection……’ today has even given me answers, explanation of why my trauma bucket seems to be over full and why i battle to empty it. I dont have a disease, I’m suffering from a broken heart. My husband, my soulmate and friend. Partner in business, father of my two teenager daughters died in an freak accident, leaving me.Alone..With many squids..

    • Deb911
      Deb911 says:

      To Isabella- I do understand you because I also have been on that same road.Those saddest days when you needed real friends, but they never turn out. Try to disconnect it is the only way and find your cornfields whenever you needed to calm yourself and stay good.These days, I am not afraid of squids because I leave them cold- yes, because remember it is your life you have to take care of yourself,no onelse will do it safe and good.

    • Chaka
      Chaka says:

      ALONE: You have your answer right there. THAT is your ‘medicine’. I too lost 3 very close family members withing 6 months. It’s not easy nor does one ever really get ‘over'(the loss)but in time, you will see the beauty in a drop of dew, a morning sunrise and a smile from one of your daughters. Get rid of those squids like your life depends on it (it does!) and allow yourself to just be here now. We all know too well how short this life is, and our loved ones have not left us but have just changed form: Matter to Energy, Energy to Matter… E=Mc2 etc…Look up at the stars, lights that are reaching us from billions of light years away long extinguished but we still see their light. But first get those lil’ suckers out of your life now: They FEED on Trauma and will keep you in that bucket with them. Run, fly, skip away…do whatever it takes.

  12. Nadine De Lisle
    Nadine De Lisle says:

    Perfect. Excellent. And thank you Martha Beck.
    I’m wide away in the “middle of the night” with worries about what I have failed to do this holiday season. In fact, what I need is to do much less. Thank you. Thank you.

  13. Carina
    Carina says:

    Thank you so much Martha for sharing this piece on disconnect. It is a sure reminder, a need to “ground” myself in meditation.

    Having read “Expecting Adam”– a beautifully written story…you were my friend talking with me…and now, I find myself in that same living room discussing “cornstalks” and their value.

    Lo and behold, we’ve found common ground–Having lived in Eindhoven, The Netherlands for three and a half years, I encountered many a cornfield during my hour-plus jog in “het bos” the woods–with accompanying cornfields. I loved losing myself a midst the huge cornstalks–an immediate disconnect emerged as I lapsed into my own thoughts. I remember writing in the mud “I MUST GIVE UP SUGAR”.


  14. Brad Moore
    Brad Moore says:

    Great article! About a year ago, I went on a SILENT RETREAT. I had always wanted to do that….about 200 men coming together for 3 nights…and not saying a word the entire time.

    But it was really cool not feeling compelled to talk. There was no compulsion to get to know folks or make friends. Just that person and God and about 100 acres along the Mississippi River to contemplate.

  15. Jean
    Jean says:

    You go, Martha! You have been more than generous with your books and blog and videos. Hide Out to your heart’s content! We can connect with you via all that you have shared with us. I have a horrible picture in my mind of wonderful sensitive people inadvertently feasting on your organs. We can’t have that! And could someone please make her some healthy food, better than a protein bar, put it outside the door, knock and then run away. 🙂 Namaste!

  16. Natalie Nichols
    Natalie Nichols says:

    Thank you. You will never know how much I needed these words, on this day.

    If you answer, and I don’t respond, it is because I’ve thrown this damn computer in the nearest pond


  17. Anita
    Anita says:

    Thank you for this post. It comes at a time when I am returning to work after the Xmas break and so much of it resonates with me. I’m based in London and desperate to get your new book. Any idea of the UK release date??

  18. Toni
    Toni says:

    Some years back a prolonged economic crisis turned my normally anxious husband into a full-blown squid. After some months of me complaining about the drain on my emotional energy it was for him to need instant access to emotional support 24/7, all the while not setting clear boundaries, I finaly made a sign for my bedroom door that said: “Growly woman within, Knock at your own risk!” and locked the door. I used the sign as needed after that.–Though my family initially had a huge problem accepting that when the sign was up, I was unavailable, they did ajust, and the drama over the issue was fairly short-lived. It helped that they disovered how much more pleasant I was when I came out to be with them again. That sign was the beginning of a whole new phase of my ife, one where I no longer need to fight tooth and nail to get the solitude I sometimes need in my home. My current sign merely says, “Quiet time needed, knock for emergencies only”, reflecting how much less distressed I am in general these days than when I first put a sign on my door. It’s remarkable how easy it was, and makes me wonder why I waited so many years to learn to make my boundaries clear. Phew.

  19. Adele Pillay
    Adele Pillay says:

    Dear Martha

    Your work is so powerful, thank you for sharing your experiences.

    I am finding that the more I retreat into myself the greater I can connect or extend myself when I do socialise/communicate.

    At first could not imagine being by myself but so love it now. If I am out too long my body starts to ache until I get home to my sacred space.

    Much Love

  20. Heather
    Heather says:

    Thank you for these pearls of wisdom. I am a full time single mom, part time college student, part time employee in customer service, and constantly bombarded with people. I needed the permission to check out and the choices of how, when, and where. Thank you so much for sharing this

  21. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    O, wow. Wow. As someone in the healing profession, I frequently find myself needing to disconnect but having a hard time giving myself permission. This makes complete and total sense, and thank you for your candor and for sharing your perspective and experiences.

  22. sandie
    sandie says:

    Thanks for the insite. I did try to divest myself of the bad relationships in my life and am now paying for it dearly. One decided she hated me is spreading false lies about me and si my next door neighbour( when she moved in asked me to do everything for her had a hunch said no as my back was killing me probably why,) now she is out for blood. Divesested myself of my sister who is a religious zealott and doesnt approve of my “eveil life” and now they all are chattering behind my back and trying to start lies too. What has gone wrong with people or is me now i feel like the “squid” you have up there when i’m usually the one listening to them. Got to find a corn field just when i thought my apt was my hideing place.

  23. janet
    janet says:

    Great insight, Martha! The more you share your ‘depth’, the more you need down time. Figure out how to get better grub into the room during the hide-out time!!

  24. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I am a true believer in fate. I believe things are presented to you just when you need them most. I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

  25. Shelly
    Shelly says:

    Promise never to recognize you should our paths ever cross. Ask the same of you.
    But seriously, thanks for adding “squid free” to my lexicon. I feel more free already.

  26. billy
    billy says:

    What if you’re the squid? I never seem to be able to get it together and am always frightened and in need. I don’t know if i get off on self-pity – i came from a very abusive and intensely homophobic family. Scary and sad to think my friends might be thinking of me in this way. Cold-blooded and simplistic, in my view.

      • Billy
        Billy says:

        Thanks, bro. I would say that her therapy worked. What’s helpful in the article, the main point, is concealed. She’s making it seem as though she suddenly had a light bulb moment. “After years of therapy and trying everything, voila…” The news is SHE DID YEARS OF THERAPY. It’s not that she had a sudden realization. It’s that she worked hard enough in therapy to finally change her operating dynamic. These articles are a little dangerous. They suggest there’s a snap-out-of-it or read-an-article-have-an-epiphany. but insisting someone pull themselves up by the bootstraps can be hurtful because the person simply might not be able to. You have to do the work. CAlling someone a squid or emotional vampire is nasty.

  27. Jan
    Jan says:

    As a helping professional this idea goes counter to everything we are rewarded for at work and play. My gosh am I glad I got this in my inbox today! This explains the feeling I have been attempting to manage and feeling badly/guilty about – the need for air! Letting people go back to their tribe was perhaps the most helpful thing I heard in this article. I am so sharing this on Facebook!!!!

  28. Bob
    Bob says:

    Energy vampires abound. We all want to be nice and helpfull but quite frankly some of these people never give back and I’m tired of being obligated to them. Great article. Thanks, I needed this right now.

  29. Billy
    Billy says:

    I don’t know, calling someone a squid or energy vampire seems pretty cruel and nasty. After all, it takes two to tango. If i’m a squid, it seems my friends are the flip side of that. (whatever the flip side of a squid is) this is more about narcissism. but martha’s simplistic view isn’t really that helpful. it’s harsh and judgmental. beneath the narcissism is a waste land of pain and suffering. what’s one to do with that? tell the person to buzz off. maybe, but it doesn’t get at the root or answer the question of what you were doing with a squid in the first place.

  30. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Hahaha Martha you had me in hysterics! You are so brilliant at making the words come to life. I thoroughly enjoyed your article and fully feel what you mean with the necessity for us to disconnect. There is so much stimuli nowadays and we are in dire need of some serious “me downtime”, our mind & bodies just crave it I think!

    My mind often has other ideas and has me do all sort of additional things until I sink down into a yoga pose or enjoy some alone time and realise: this feels sooooooo good…..I really need to do this more often….!

    Connecting to our self is essential. It creates clarity in chaos and makes way for love. Disconnect to connect. My new mantra. I wish you beautiful grounding time and soul connection.

    P.S. Swap the protein bar for a deliciously rich chocolate cake. I hear chocolate is good for body & mind. Who needs an excuse anyway? 😉


  31. Mali
    Mali says:

    that’s fucking awesome
    nice one martha
    so appropriate for autumn turning, metal element, letting go of overextending. Cultivating refinement/discretion/acceptance of loss…

  32. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    OH my goodness….I need this! I am in awe of my husband who can detach like nobody’s business..but I always thought it was just because he doesn’t go that deep..I’m someone who makes a connection and would truly like to keep it for life…and I know, after many disconnections this is just not a possibility and I the internal conflict it causes me when this doesn’t happen is just pure torture! I am slowly learning about healthy detachment and friends who come and GO…hard for me for some weird reason..but I’m learning..even though I wish it was not the lesson I need to learn.

  33. Seychelles
    Seychelles says:

    Martha, thank you so much. I super appreciate your honesty and ability to put light and humor on such icky matters. You also have a knack for posting things on Facebook with perfect timing! I’m so glad I read this today. Thanks again.

  34. Pearl Garff
    Pearl Garff says:

    YOU, my Beloved have identified with your beautiful talents EXACTLY WHAT I AM EXPERIENCING NOW…Thank you for the permission and suggestions on how to DIS-CONNECT !!! I love it and now can stop feeling guilty about my distain for blood suckers who latch on and never pay up !!!

    Lovingly I let you go to my e-mail notes that I can open and read if I want to.

  35. Rose
    Rose says:

    Thank you Martha! You put into words perfectly how I have felt most of my life. While reading this memories flashed into my mind of the many ways I developed to avoid contact overload. You have given me permission to disconnect without guilt. Free! I am free at last!

  36. Jacqui
    Jacqui says:

    Martha, Brilliant. Women are often programmed to never say no and that alone depletes us. I have so much squid that I need to get rid of–but guilt always pulls me back. I recently escaped from one of them and it has been such a joy to not have to think about the person. Your article makes me feel empowered to put myself and my needs first and be free of guilt. Thank you!

  37. Marie
    Marie says:

    Love it. So much. Having spent hours and hours hiding in the bathroom in different social situations reading this is like finding a kindred spirit who wants to spend time together by staying in the same house but in different rooms. The relief of not having to talk, connect deeply and communicate. all. the. time.

  38. Janet
    Janet says:

    Thank you so much for this Martha> I’m in the process of disconnecting and letting go of relatives and friends that have sucked my energy for years because of their own lonliness and life problems. I’ve felt guilty for not returning phone calls or accepting invites. However, I found that now I’ve let go I’m able to really focus on my own dreams, inspiration, and intuition without getting derailed by wasted energy. And now I’m also creating healthy friendships that support me instead of drain me. Your article validated my experience and has given me permission to keep it up!!! Thank you!!

  39. Janine
    Janine says:

    Great article Martha. I work with people daily teaching them how to communicate n emotionally connect. And, I ‘bunker down’ on regular occassions – I call it SMS – Save My Sanity 😉

  40. Ariane
    Ariane says:

    Fantastic advice! My son and I are on the reclusive introverted side. I never knew if I should encourage him to be more social or not. I never was able to discern if more people in his, or my, life were good for us or not. Now I know. Thank you dearest, wonderful, smart smart Lady!

  41. Leslie
    Leslie says:

    A few days ago I traded my MINI Cooper for a Honda Element. I did it on instinct, mostly. I now know there was a good reason for this. I just purchased my own Corn Field.


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  1. […] Logging Off: The Power of Disconnection, Martha Beck […]

  2. […] finish projects on the side while still somehow maintaining true to yourself? In her article “Logging Off The Power of Disconnection,” Beck gives 7 tips for relaxing your psyche and your relationships – making your life […]

  3. […] Nature – It was an incredible experience getting to immerse ourselves totally in a Mayan jungle, especially after coming from THE concrete jungle of New York City. A reminder about how powerful it is to be outside, play outside and rest outside. Go for walks, lay in the grass, sit on a bench and people watch. See also: Martha Beck’s Logging Off: The Power of Disconnection […]

  4. […] This article highlights a few disconnection strategies I plan to put into practice this year. […]

  5. […] thought about that moment in the shower this morning. Martha Beck says, “every woman needs a cornfield. No matter what’s happening in your life, find yourself a […]

  6. […] in honor of my momentary disconnection I thought it would be a great idea to REPLAY and HIGHLIGHT some of our FRESH WORDS from 2011. What […]

  7. […] Martha Beck on The Power of Disconnection, says, “Disconnection is as necessary as connection for creating a healthy, happy life.” […]

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