My yoga instructor asked us to think about the last time we looked someone in the eye throughout an entire conversation, and really connected. He spoke of a friend who teaches a twelve week course in which one of the assignments is to eliminate all forms of communication that deceptively detaches us from having meaningful relationships. Originally the assignment was no telephone, radio, or television for one week – today it covers computers, smart phones, iPods, iPads, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. as we become more and more disconnected from each other.
Before there were computers, cell phones, iPods and iPads
I was immediately engulfed in sadness as I reflected upon the luncheon I had just come from. I’m deliberately not mentioning names, because I do adore these people – they are friends I share a long history with, and they know through experience that I am far from perfect; but I do hope they see this post and think about what I am about to say. I say it, because they’ve each touched my heart, and I miss them dearly – even when they are sitting right next to me.
Remembering friends that I can’t share a meal with today
Out of a table of nine of us, some came on time – others came late without an apology or apparently understanding that it’s disrespectful to others (including the poor waitress that nearly had a nervous breakdown just trying to keep up with the orders shouted at her randomly as a result). Some left early without a thought or thanks for the rest of us being left with their bill. I felt like I was on an acid trip as conversations were routinely interrupted, and most of my companions were incapable of finishing a sentence without incessantly checking their “smart” phones for some communication they obviously felt more important than our own. There had been precious little eye contact or any real human connection. Just a superficial void that rears it’s ugly head every year as the Oscars draw near.
Sometimes I want social not networking
I’m writing this right after accepting an invitation to one of “those parties”, so I’m no better than the next. I’m well versed at dressing up, turning on the public me, and schmoozing with an impenetrable wall around me too; but when I sit down to lunch with a small group of friends, some of whom I’ve not seen for years, I want social not networking. I’m not asking for a whole week or even a full day of eye contact and meaningful conversation – just one intimate lunch amongst friends where we turn off our cell phones, computers, and egos. Not because I’m trying to judge anyone… because you mean so much more than all that to me!
Compassion: CNN’s Hero of the Year Awards
I’m curious, how many of you out there would be willing to give up modern technology in favor of reconnecting to the human experience? How long could you, or would you be willing to give it up for? A meal, a day, a weekend, or more?