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Tune Out to Tune In

Posted in: Blog by admin on April 9, 2011

I was just watching The Daily Show, and Jon Stewart and Billy Crystal were joking about the infiltration of technology into our daily lives. They were teasing that people are constantly on their Blackberries and are texting each other while making love and tweeting while out for dinner.  Stewart joked that it shows that we are in a period of time in which people simply don’t like the people they are with.  It was funny, but, of course, as with most things humorous, there was much truth to their banter.

I don’t think there’s truth to the statement that we don’t like those we are with, but I do believe that oftentimes we do not see those who are right next to us.  The romantic scene in a movie where a couple gazes into one another’s eyes over candlelight dinner is going to be a foreign image, as the candles are replaced by our phones.  And rather than gazing into each other’s eyes, we’re checking our most current game of Words on our iPhones to see if we can compile a word that is worth triple points.

There’s so much good that comes of all this technology.  But, are we aware and even seeing all that we are missing?  Do we miss the candles’ flames? Do we miss that feeling of looking deeply at someone and feeling like you are the only two people in the room or on the planet?  Do we even attempt to go there anymore?  And what about reading books and newspapers?  Do we miss the feel of the pages?  Do we even notice that we aren’t reading as much because we are playing and responding and emailing and tweeting and Facebooking instead?

So many TV shows appropriately mock these new disconnections to people and our growing connections to gadgets.  A recent episode of Calfifornication had a man in bed with a woman he just met: In the middle of the act, she flipped over and started looking through her emails on her phone.  He asked if he could do anything to please her, and she stated that she was busy and had to really get through the ever-growing pile of emails, and that he can just keep going and finish up!  It was hysterical but also, at the same time,  so sad and such a true statement about people’s disconnect from one another today.

The scary part is that we are just accepting this as the way things now are.  It’s what we know.  I should say it’s what many of us know.  There are many of us, however, who are still hurt and disappointed when our partner prefers his iPad over pillow talk.  There are those of us who hate seeing the red blinking light on our date’s phone, beckoning him to divert his attention from our thoughts and our eyes.  There are those who cringe when their guy’s buddy calls and talks to them during our car ride home, preventing us from listening to music and one another.

It’s time to step back and look at these modern patterns.  What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?  Do you check your cell phone?  Emails?  And, what is it about that blinking light or that alert sound that so compels us to immediately see who is trying to tell us something.  So often, it is simply junk mail.  Yet, even though we know that, we still bestow importance and urgency upon those notifications.

Most people and emails and texts can wait.  They can wait until we finish getting lost in one of our favorite songs.  They can wait until we enjoy our dinner with our partner.   They can wait until we have consumed our morning cup of coffee.  The problem is, we don’t believe they should wait.  Or, maybe, we simply don’t want to wait.  We don’t want to wonder who could be sending us an interesting link or an important message or a funny joke or a big move in our competitive game of Words.  Everything is instant.  Everything is urgent.  Everything is immediately addressed.

But, it’s all turning upside down.  It’s all backwards.  We have taken our priorities and stirred them together in a pot, giving them all an equal place of importance.  An alert is an alert.  Period.  Whether it’s our daughter trying to reach us or an acquaintance sharing a silly joke, it grabs our attention and sustains it long enough to deter us from wherever we had been before the interruption.

As with everything else in life, let’s consciously try to be more aware of the roles that we give to our electronics.  Let’s remember that there are so many moments in life that, unlike our emails, will not be there on our screens tomorrow.  They are moments to be had right now.  There are eyes deserving full, intense gazes.  There are arms wanting to be wrapped around another’s … not around their laptops.  There are stories to be told face-to-face.  There are laughs to be shared.  There are songs to be heard.  And there are those few hazy, half-asleep moments in the morning to be enjoyed under the covers …. without grabbing your phone to see what emails compiled while you slept.

Enjoy those moments.  The rest of the day is full of obligation and texts and emails and meetings and errands.  Breathe.  Be.  Take the time to tune out the noise so that you can tune in to being.  And, then, you can tweet about how present and aware and fully conscious you are!

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One Response to “Tune Out to Tune In”

  1. Clark says:

    much truth. but at least the email cuts back on all the phone calls, thus not requiring me to pause the music always playing!

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