I don’t know if you agree, but lately it seems to me that as a society, we have given up speaking face to face. We text, we email, then we try the phone, but speaking to another human in front of us, feeling their breath on our face, having them look us in the eye as words exchange and mingle? Heaven forbid!!!
We watch television on our tablets, leave voice messages on our cell phones, read books on our Kindles, write letters on our computers in email, figure out calculations on our calculators/in spreadsheets and spend more time searching for apps than it takes to do the chore manually. Games are now hand-held or on an X-box or something… I have no idea what the latest game box craze is… the last time I played a game on a computer or hand-held device it was either pong or space invaders or Tetris!
Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my technology, I really really do! I travel nowhere without my gadgets and plug-ins and extension cords. I love the convenience of texting and emailing as I juggle my work, clients, friends, social engagements and life in general. If it wasn’t for online college learning I would have more than a difficult time getting my degree. Frankly, I’d probably be lost without my techno-helpers. However…
In the deep recesses of my heart and spirit, I confess that I long for a quieter, less frenetic lifestyle when people took the time to come over and see you for a chat and a visit over a cup of tea. How lovely (and rare) is the gift of a handwritten note/card delivered via old-fashioned snail mail. I remember how much fun board games used to be – Monopoly, Scrabble and others played with laughter and friendly competition on rainy summer days. To this day there is nothing in the world like the fragrant perfume of a newly-opened book and "a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils" (thank you, Tom Hanks for that line from “You’ve Got Mail”)… and the pleasure of handwriting notes in the margins. When was the last time you even wrote in cursive outside your own signature? There is a mind-body connection that occurs when you take pen in hand to paper that you just don’t experience with fingers clicking away on the keyboard. To walk or run with nothing more in your ears than the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees and your own sweat rather than music blaring through your earphones.
It’s time to exercise your “step back” muscles this week. Pick a day and give up as much technology as you possible can – that’s right, stop looking at this screen in horror. Go cold turkey and step away from the electricity. Go read a real book on a park bench… write a letter to someone… play a board game… goodness, can we even remember cards-in-hand Solitaire anymore? Turn off the TV and radio… drive in your car with only silence as you companion. Talk face-to-face, heart-to-heart. But be forewarned of the potential side effects… a sense of peacefulness, the over washing of relaxation into your spirit… a deeper connection to those with whom you take the time to seek out and truly connect on a physical level through being in one another’s presence.
The appeal can become addictive!