Unplug & Reconnect
Traveling around the globe occasionally puts me in the position where my phone and email connections just aren’t possible. At first, it’s not always comfortable, but after a time I become accustomed to being “unplugged.” In fact, I settle in to a renewed way of being.
When I was with the Ishwar people in the rainforest of Ecuador, the connection they had with one another––and with us, their visitors––was palpable. They weren’t distracted by text message pings, checking emails, or even phone calls. The togetherness can best be described as sacred. They were fully present in the moment––with themselves, with us, and with whatever we were doing at the time, even if “nothing” at all.
This may be sacrilegious for a former IT executive to say, but I believe that our dependence on technology forces us into an unhealthy independence. We’ve lost our ability not only to connect with one another, but to rely on one another for support and collaboration.
Richard Louv, author of The Nature Principle: Reconnecting with Life in a Virtual Age says, “In an age of environmental, economic, and societal transformation, the future will belong to the nature-smart––those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real.”
I believe that when we look back at our own lives, what has made us great––at any stage in our lives––is because we had a support team around us. We were connected. We had people that could see in us what we couldn’t see in ourselves at that particular moment. Because they voiced our talents or a suggestion to move into a certain role, we likely had the courage to step forward.
On the flip side, when we’re grateful and appreciative of others and see people bigger, we actually feel better about ourselves. We also start to notice where we are limiting ourselves. Anytime we give a gift, we are actually the one that benefits even beyond what we’re giving to other people.
We cannot do that if there is a barrier between us and the people who cross our path or who hold space in our daily lives.
It’s important to have those times when we disconnect with our devices, and we look people square in the eye and have meaningful conversations––or merely observe the interactions of the people around us. We’ll learn a lot about them––and ourselves that way.
So choose a time when you can take a technology break––be it an afternoon, a day, or maybe even an entire weekend. Have a conversation with someone close to you. Let me know what you notice.
P.S. If you’d like to hear me speak about Jungle: A Journey to Peace, Purpose, and Freedom, join me at The Carlsbad City Library, located at 1775 Dove Lane on Sunday, September 9 at 2:00 p.m. I’ll be joined with other Adventures by the Book authors, Lisa K. Shapiro, author of No Forgotten Fronts: From Classrooms to Combat, and Marlene Wagman-Geller, author of Women Who Launch. To reserve your seat and to pre-order signed copies of the books, http://bit.ly/jungleadventuresbythebook
Or if you can’t make the event, remember you can get an excerpt from Jungle at: http://bit.ly/jungleexcerpt
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