Rule #34: Be present
We live in a world where we rarely experience anything while its happening. Through the miracles of technology we can multitask virtually every moment of our lives. We have the ability through i phones, i pads, net-books and notebooks to be in two places (at least mentally) at the same time. We don’t have to choose between answering office emails and watching our daughter’s soccer game, we can do both!
When I was a kid I didn’t have much of this technology, but do remember getting our first color television when I was 9 and the distraction it was to our lives. We now could sit as a family and watch TV, interacting first with what we were watching and second with the people in the room. Watching Hogan’s Heros in color may not sound cool, but it was way cool to a 9 year old in 1969.
I’m not saying my generation was any better, we embraced every new technology from the remote controls to the microwaves with the same passion as today’s latest i phone release. Technology is sexy. And its hard for any of us not to want the next better thing in the market. Cool is sexy.
I can tell you I have googled the new apple watch a dozen times, and stopped just short of pushing the buy button.
The problem isn’t the technology the problem is lack of focus.
The technology is addictive and it is easy fall into its trap. I had to struggle to think about when I really focus.
I enjoy riding motorcycles because it requires complete attention to the task at hand. You can’t text and drive ( although I’m sure some idiot has done it) , eat a quarter pounder or argue with your kids – the function of riding a motorcycle is almost hypnotic in its intensity of focus. 1-2-3 and your focusing on the experience to the exclusion of all else, or you die.
I think we need to find those hypnotic moments in our lives to really focus on what we are doing and who we are with at the moment. Rarely do we have someone saying “1-2-3 taking you deeper, deeper…focus only on me”. But if we did wouldn’t be wonderful to be present completely with the person you are with…not worrying about what is happening with someone else, somewhere else but to experience that moment with with that one person.
As I have gotten older I have realized that when I am hypnotically focused on the moment I am in I have the best memories and experience. When Abby came home the other day after making the talent show at school ( go Abby!) and I took here upstairs, turned off the TV, put down the i pad and just looked at her as I asked her to tell me the whole story…I was entranced in the moment. The whole experience was important…her tone, her expressions, her word choices, her joy. I wasn’t experiencing a Facebook post, I was experiencing Abby. She was my hypnotist and I was her willing subject…it was wonderful.
I think the superficial interaction of Facebook posts and texts have given us the impression that we can check off interactions through these surface interactions and never really need to become fully engaged in anything. My 12 year old hypnotist Abby has taught me different. There is something better out there, something worth spending time understanding and experiencing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not burning my ipad or iphone…they are fixtures of my being and I am far too addicted to give them up completely.
But I think we all need to be aware of the opportunity to be hypnotized by the moments we are living , entranced by the absolute attention given to another person.