Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Forgot My Phone

We're hardwired for connection. There's no arguing with the bioscience. But we can want it so badly we're trying to hot-wire it. Brene Brown

Have you ever run out of the house, late for a meeting or to pick up a child, and suddenly remembered you forgot your phone?

How did you feel at that very instant?

I've done it more than once and my reaction is always the same: Surprised: How did I manage to leave the house without an appendage? Concerned: What if someone really needs me? Free: From that moment to however long it takes us to be reunited, my 24/7 on-call duty is suspended.

Our primal need for connection fuels our interconnected, technology-driven culture, and I'm afraid most of us (including yours truly) are verging on the obsessive. From the palm of your hand, you are connected to anyone at anytime. We track and are tracked via social media. We self-report and document everything from major life events to walks with the dog.

Don't get me wrong. I love technology. I love the immediacy of texting my children and (usually) getting a response. I could write an ode to the GPS app on my phone, which has saved me from my old habit of constantly losing my way whenever I ventured out anywhere new.

But, along with the good comes the not so great. With immediacy comes greater expectations, which lead to fear when someone can't be reached. And, just because we can Google something right now doesn't mean we should. Is it really that important to stop a conversation in its tracks to find out how many Columbo episodes were made? (Answer: 69!)  

The truth is that there is hot-wired connection and there is real connection, which Brene Brown defines as:

. . . the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. 

I spend a lot of time staring at my phone, checking my email, Facebook, Instagram and whatever else grabs my attention. It makes me feel connected, but it's an illusion and I'm going to try to be more aware of that fact. It's not going to be easy (because of the obsession) but I think I can do it if I focus on being mindfully present to that energy and letting it fill me up.

Maybe I'll forget my phone more often.



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