Techno crazed and lacking connection

I walked into my doctors busy waiting room and was amazed at how many  people were sitting glued to their smart phones. No one even looked up to see who had entered. I probably could have been naked and they still wouldn’t have noticed. Although it probably would have cleared the room.I had the feeling I had walked into an episode of the Twilight Zone. It could have been about a group of people who were taken hostage by a giant computer conglomerate that had found a way to take over people’s minds through their cell phones and turned them into Zombies!

There was a time when people who were perfect strangers would interact when they were in a train station, airport, line, waiting room, etc. Not today! More often than not , you are left to witness individuals talking or texting on their phone. It’s really creepy when they’re talking out loud and you think they’re saying something to you. Then you notice the ear buds. I first witnessed this in an airport. I was standing next to a woman who seemed confused and kept saying ” Do you understand me?” I must have said “No, I don’t”, a bunch of times. Every time I responded she gave me a disgusted look as if there was something wrong with me. She finally blurted out “I’m on the phone”! Since I didn’t see the phone or her ear piece I surmised she was hallucinating and quickly moved far away.

I realize the era of technology is here to stay, but I’m hoping that we can become more pragmatic about how to use it. My fear is that we are losing sight of how to connect with each other unless we are dialoging through a gadget. I also worry that young teens are losing themselves in lieu of emulating so-called celebrities like the Kardashians, Justin Bieber and the like. Tweets have become analogous to self-worth. Getting lots of tweets or likes means you just might be attaining some digital fame. Posting everything and everything that might get a response has overtaken the need to embrace privacy. Real communication is being sidelined in deference to shorthand and pictures.

Whenever I mention any of the above in a workshop as one of the reasons we see more stress today, someone will always say “Well, what can you do?” One of the ways we can create better ways to connect is to demand it. Tell your friends and family that a quick text is fine but you would rather a phone call than going back and forth as if you’re co-authoring a biography. Don’t give up having face to face conversations. Your body/mind and spirit will thank you.

 

 

 

The many ways to contribute…They all connect us to each other

For most of us, the most powerful sense of meaning comes from doing something that makes us feel as if we’re making a contribution to the world. Making a contribution connects us to our community and our society as a whole, in a way that makes us feel better when we know that there’s something we’ve done to help someone else, particularly when that person is in need. There’s a reason that charity is an integral part of every world religion and most decent societies help other people  because it is very clearly, a vital component of life. There are so many ways to make a difference. Last week I was privileged to witness firsthand individuals who give their time and loving kindness to those who have served our country and have returned wounded. The facility for wounded warriors is staffed by extraordinary people who seem to have limitless energy and copious amounts of compassion. So often we get caught up in our own physical or mental pains that our world become incredibly insular. I have been struggling with joint pain that will necessitate two knee replacements. There are times when I rail against the universe as to “why me”? When I heard the stories of men and women, some of whom have suffered incredible trauma, it gave me new perspective on my own issues. My mother’s favorite quote was “ I cried when I had no shoes, till I saw the man with no feet”. Unfortunately, it is easy to forget how lucky we our since it is quite human to be involved with our own pain. One of the ways to sustain feeling fortunate about what life hands us is to find meaning and purpose. When we attach meaning to whatever we do or whatever fate befalls us, life seems to become more spiritual. Many of us become aggravated at the slightest inconveniences, taking time and energy to try to find whose fault it was or why we are always the one the proverbial bird finds to eliminate on. Perhaps taking a moment to stop your internal patter to think about one thing you appreciate about your life will help you reframe the situation. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes  by Barbara WInter“ When you are on the edge of all the light you know, and are about to step off into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly”.