Primal Experiment: Intentional Power Outage
Mark’s Daily Apple
by Mark Sisson: 10
Innovative Uses for Salt
A few months
back, I linked to an article
about a guy who experienced an unexpected benefit after Hurricane
Irene knocked out his power for several days: he started sleeping
much, much better. Instead of staying up late on the computer or
with the TV blaring and going to bed at the usual 11:30 or midnight,
he found himself yawning around 9 PM and getting to bed at 10. It
was the best sleep of his life, and even better the effects
persisted even after the power returned. He had effectively entrained
his circadian rhythm to the natural cycle of light and dark.
This is basic stuff to you guys, but bear with me.
Just last week,
a reader named Melissa emailed me with a similar story. She lost
power for three and a half days after a Connecticut snowstorm took
out power all across the state. Instead of panicking, she rolled
with it. Instead of freaking out over the fact that there were sub-freezing
temperatures, no heat, and no water (it froze), she made a fun snowball
fight out of a snowstorm. She took it as an opportunity to get unexpectedly
extra-Primal. I like it. I remember those New England winters,
and I cant imagine a better way to deal with them than to
accept the challenge and make the best of it.
That gave me
an idea why wait for the grid to fail to have all that fun?
Why not willingly experience all that good stuff without the threat
of cannibal hordes and Xbox-live starved teens beating down your
So, now, heres
what I want you to do. I want you to spend a weekend two
full nights, minimum living under a self-imposed intentional
power outage. Even if you live in a sunny climate and even if youve
got a generator hooked up for worst-case scenarios, I want you to
completely disconnect from electricity. Were going to find
out what it really feels like to turn
off and drop out.
- No computers,
smartphones, or Internet.
- No e-book
- No TV or
- No lightbulbs
- Thus, you
up on candles.
wood for the fireplace (if you have one and its cold enough
to warrant it).
some good books (no Nooks or Kindles, though).
out the board games.
To give you
an idea of what to expect, check out exactly how Melissa got more
Primal (in her own words) going without power:
- No hot
water, so I was a little more natural smelling than
- I mostly
lived off of the rest of my salad greens, tuna with olive oil
and dried tomatoes. Also a filling little mixture of coconut milk
and whey powder. A bit of beef jerky and almonds, too.
- With very
limited artificial light, my sleep rhythms seem more natural.
Sleep around 8:30 or 9 pm (instead of my usual midnight), wake
up when it starts to get light.
- A mile+
each way trek through the snow to get to a Target I heard was
open so I could stock up on tuna and the like. Haul it all home
in a bag over my shoulder.
- During the
day, when it was nice and sunny, spent more time outdoors to take
- Nice leisure
time spent with the cat, knitting and reading (what else but The
All that in
a little over three days.
To those I
would add a few other things itll allow (force) you to do:
Completely and Utterly
thing to tell yourself, Dont check your email after
7 PM and have your laptop staring at you all night, power
light winking seductively. You can still hop on and log in. Theres
nothing stopping you but your own will. Its another thing
to be physically unable to check your email. When the power is out,
you cant use electricity. You physically cannot access email
(until the battery dies, at least), and this makes a huge difference.
Ive promised myself that I wouldnt go online after dark
only to just sneak one last peek before bed. Sometimes
its good to remove temptation entirely so that you have no
choice but to unwind. Removing electricity will remove temptation.
Time with Loved Ones
I mean really
spend quality time with loved ones. Not sitting on the couch watching
TV with the gang. Not Skype-ing each other from separate rooms in
the same house. Im talking look each other in the eye and
exchanging words, telling jokes, playing board or card games, telling
stories, laughing about old times, as well as engaging in more intimate
pastimes characterized by unintelligible vocalizations. Face time,
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November 12, 2011
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