Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Live in Real Life

After a particularly unsettling few weeks I scheduled an appointment for a massage. I ventured out on a frigid Saturday when I could have easily stayed bundled up on my couch or swinging from my hammock so a professional could work out the two knots in my back and the knots of worry taking up residence in my mind. As I shed myself of the layers of clothing that February in Michigan demands, I slid my cell phone into the pocket of my plush robe.

I walked over to the relaxation lounge, took a few sips of refreshingly cold water, and sat down. As I waited for the masseuse, I pulled out my phone to virtually check in to the salon. Before I could type anything I thought about the ridiculousness of the scene. I came to the spa to relax, to free myself and there I was, being captive to a small electronic device. It wasn't necessary for me to check in via my phone, I needed to check in by being present, in that moment. I slid my phone back in my pocket and took another sip of water. This time I noticed that the water had a faint strawberry flavor, something that hadn't previously registered because I was too busy fiddling with my phone.

I am the first to admit that I love the benefits offered by technology. I love that in seconds I can let someone know I am thinking of him/her by sending a quick text message. It is wonderful that I can snap a photo of an amazing sunset, beach scene, humorous sign, or fabulous meal and share it instantly. It is reassuring to know that if I need to call someone instantly I can. However, convenience has turned into unhealthy dependence.

Many times we are unable to disconnect, even if it's for limited amounts of time and this causes us to miss what is taking place right in front of our faces. We aren't fully receptive to the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and tastes we could experience firsthand. We aren't fully engaged with those who are in our presence. We are so busy checking in via our phones that we have checked out of living. The same devices that were intended to help us increase contact and be more social have led us to be less personal and superficially social. We have become so fearful of missing something that we are missing everything.

Experience your life in real life. Fully engage in the presence of others. Appreciate the sensations of your senses as you go through your day. Imagine actually being social instead of feigning it through social media! Life is meant to be lived out loud and in full color, not muted through a screen.

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