This weekend I found that I was having a very difficult time relaxing. I couldn't understand why, I didn't have any deadlines, I had painted a reasonable amount (which is something I often feel guilty about not doing enough of), I didn't have anywhere to go, and by all means had enough time for whatever I may have wanted to do. Perfect weekend conditions, but still, I could not relax.
I tried many different things, I watched a movie, painted, read a book, tried to take a nap, and went on my smart phone. Went on my smart phone again. And again. It was almost like I was checking it repeatedly hoping there would be some sort of epiphany or text message waiting for me, telling me I could finally relax. No such thing ever happened.
So as I went back to reading The Fellowship of the Ring (because it's that time of year) and came across this paragraph in which Bilbo debates leaving the Ring behind;
"...And yet it would be a relief in a way not to be bothered with it anymore. It has been so growing on my mind lately. Sometimes I have felt it was an eye looking at me. And I am always wanting to put it on and disappear, don't you know; or wondering if it is safe, and pulling it out to make sure. I tried locking it up, but I found I couldn't rest without it in my pocket."
I couldn't help but immediately draw connections with the way I was, and often find myself, feeling about my cell phone. Always checking it, even when it hasn't notified me of anything, feeling uneasy and bothered when I find myself without it.
Recently my best friend went on a tour of the Disney Animation Studio, and they would not allow cell phones. So they took them away at the beginning of their tour. She later said she found herself always reaching to check it, only to discover every time that it was not there, and that she felt uneasy and uncomfortable without it.
In this way, our "One Ring" is our cell phones. It isn't news that people develop an unhealthy relationship with their smart phones, and the battle to "just turn them off" is ever waging, but this snuck up on me. In the past I would have said that I was not unhealthily attached to my phone, but I do not think that is still the case. So immediately after seeing this dialogue in The Fellowship of the Ring, I turned my phone on silent and put it in another room across the apartment.
I "threw it into the fire" and was finally able to relax. I am going to try to do this more often now.