Sunday, February 23, 2014

once upon a time...

...we didn't have the technology to communicate and connect with others like we do now.  if you're my age you probably think about that now and then.  if you're younger probably not so much.  i remember still the days when you not only took the time, but had the time to sit down and write a lengthy letter to a friend or relative.  today we text or call or message via facebook, etc.  we know what our friends are eating, drinking, doing, did, where they're at, going to or have been, what they bought, how they feel on a moment to moment basis, what games they play and the list goes on.  it seems we simply can't be without our cell phones and our aps.

i'll say this, i am grateful for the ability to communicate easily with my family and friends at any given time, yes.  and oh how i love the internet for searching out information, whether it's researching a particular subject or looking for a new recipe.

now i sometimes hardly believe in the concept of good vs. bad in some of cases.  technology is one of them.  it's what you make it.  it has such great benefit in our lives.  at times.  the point i'm trying to make here is that we all complain at one time or another about how busy and stressful our lives are.  yet we can't seem to put our phones or computers aside long enough to give ourselves a break.  just look around at what's happening.  i watch children walking home from school every day.  are they talking or laughing amongst themselves?  rarely.  they're all too busy with their attention on the phones in their hands. adults?  the same.  if they're jogging or walking they have their earbuds in or are busy looking at their phones.  i can't tell you how many times i have had pedestrians walk out in front of my car because their mind was on their phone, not on their surroundings.  (i promise i won't even get into drivers on phones.)

and, what's really oxymoronic is that while we're in constant communication with others we've forgotten how to actually be social in our immediate surroundings.  i'm sure i'm not the only one who has had friends over and had the time together interrupted repeatedly by someone's cell phone.  well, (sigh) there goes any chance of a deep or meaningful conversation.  we just don't often seem to get far enough in face to face communication to actually get to the heart of a matter before we need to answer a call or a text, or wait until after our friend does.  as technology has enabled us to broaden our social network we have actually become less and less capable or willing to participate in face to face communication.  i think that is a very sad thing.

do you know how to simply sit with yourself?  do you take time to listen to you?  can we stop scrolling or texting long enough to really connect to each other and ourselves?  commit to it!  yep, that's right.  why not commit to a routine of turning off your device for an decent amount of time each day?  spend some time getting to know yourself.  take a walk, sit in the park, be creative, meditate.  or meet a friend for coffee and actually spend that time with them, really talk, make eye contact, phone turned off and in your purse or pocket.  don't you even look at it.  better yet, be brave enough to leave it at home if you're not going far.  just think, in the days before cell phone we had no choice.  seriously, it's not such a big deal.

my point is this.  we clutter our lives every day with so much that's not only unnecessary but actually takes away from our peace of mind and quality of life.  all this unnecessary information and time spent sharing needless data adds to our mental overload and takes away from our being present enough to enjoy life in the moment.  too much input, too little time, freedom and actual awareness of the moment=STRESS.  i don't know about you, but daily events are often stressful enough without my adding to it needlessly.  turn your phone or tv or computer OFF.  relish some down time. find out what your breathing sounds like, hear the sounds of nature, smell the air, feel the creative experience, experience what's real; the life and beauty within and around us. it's what helps us recharge and be better able to deal with all the other commotion our day may present.   get yourself some peace!  it's available if you want it.  and it's free!

just a few ideas on real socializing

  • designate a technology free day for yourself.  you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
  • or if that sounds like too much to handle, begin with a technology free hour each day.
  • if a group is going out to dinner, have everyone put their cell phones in a pile in the center of the table with the agreement that whoever reaches for their phone before actually leaving has to foot the bill.  
  • actually have sit down dinners at home with the family.  all phones off and away from the table.  take this time to really communicate, listen and reconnect face to face.  if you can't do it every day, try to at least once or twice a week. 
  • have a family game night.  no tv, no phones, no computers, no playstation.  how about a card game, a board game or some story telling?  or even a popcorn fight!  :)  
  • get together with friends.  take turns hosting get togethers (dinner, picnic, potluck, game night for example).  no phones allowed!  

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