Tag Archives: work

I Am Not A Damn Smart Phone; I Am A Body!

10 Aug

Today, in an act of defiance, I left the house for a hike and purposely left my cell phone at home. I typically take it with me even though I have a no-talking-on-the-trail rule. I like to have it in case I want to photograph something and because the hills are remote, it’s not a bad idea to carry it. Today however, I couldn’t bear to take the damn thing with me.

I debated at first. During the ten minutes it takes me to walk through the neighborhood to the mountain, I thought to call a friend I needed to get in touch with today. I also contemplated listening to a podcast. I could make use of the time and multi-task, right?

I’m so sick of multi-tasking! We reply to texts while our cars idle at traffic lights, we answer emails while we’re standing in line at the grocery store, and we talk on the phone while washing the dishes and cleaning the house. While all of this makes us extremely efficient, I am so tired of constant device time. I want to hear silence in my head for once and to look at something that is not virtual.

I never want my smart phone to become an appendage. If you look at people walking around these days, phones look like an extension of individuals’ bodies. I want my body to remain what it is – flesh and blood! I don’t want it to grow a selfie-stick or I-Phone.

On my hike, I started to feel a peace descend on me that I haven’t felt in awhile. I smelled sage, saw a butterfly cross my path as opposed to my screen, and felt myself sweating profusely in the Southern California sun. It reminded me of surfing because you can’t take your gadget out into the ocean, nor would you want to if you could. Your life depends on paying attention to what you’re doing – watching the tides and sensing the momentum of the waves.

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Our bodies too are like waves. Each inhalation and exhalation is a cycle. We need to be attune to them if we are to live in an embodied state.

For an hour and a half I was free- blessedly free. When I returned, I made breakfast and felt completely in the moment. I didn’t resent my work or my computer when I had to eventually get down to business. My body and mind had needed a break and they got one. I felt refreshed.

Seth Godin recently wrote in a blog post, “Every time I see a toddler in a stroller with an internet device in hand, I shudder.” Me too. Will that kid grow up knowing how to sense his or her body? Or how to access his or her imagination? The other day a friend and I noticed that little kids these days hold picture books and try to swipe the page or press a button. This breaks my heart. Will there come a time when books can’t hold a child’s interest because there aren’t any whistles or bells to stimulate the nervous system? Are we there already?

Technology robs us of boundaries and privacy, if we don’t set limits and reclaim quiet corners of our lives. For instance, when I was writing my book, I refused to answer non-emergency email except for during certain times of the day. I’m trying to get back to that personal protocol. I also have started to power down my devices by 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. unless I’m working on something special. I value my sleep way too much and am not a night person anyway. When I stay away from screens a few hours before bed, I sleep a full eight hours. This is something that matters to me. I am a body; not a machine.

We do everything in front of a computer. We work on-line, we pay bills on-line, date on-line, read on-line, make travel arrangements on-line, etc, etc. etc. Modernity isn’t going away. It’s here to stay. But I can carve out time for my body. I can power down, look around, and sense my surroundings. Because I am not my damn smart phone! I am a body in a human form and that is something that I never want to take for granted.

Sacred Ground

17 Oct

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So often sacred ground is thought of as somewhere geographically and spiritually extraordinary. And indeed, I have been to some of those places where a vortex of energy seems to exude dimensions of heaven here on earth.

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And yet sacred ground can be found in ordinary places as well. Our kitchens, our writing desks, our workplace.

Lately I’ve been thinking I’m on sacred ground most when I’m engaged in work I truly love. When heaven and earth seem to meet in one single point in time that suddenly transcends all notions of physical space and geography. I can think of nothing better than kicking off my shoes and realizing I am here, where the shore meets the sand and God graces us.

Cruise Control

7 Jul

The man I bought my car from kindly showed me how to operate all of the vehicle’s features. When he started talking about the cruise control I found myself checking out. While I learned how to drive on a stick so know how to coordinate my feet with a clutch and my hand with a gear shift, I didn’t want to hear about this car’s fancy cruise control. It sounded hopelessly confusing to me. Hit this button, then click this if you want to get out of cruise control, blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

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But lately I’ve been thinking about cruise control. A car is still operating when it is in this function. It’s not like the vehicle is flying at half mast or anything. So why do I always insist that I have to go peddle to the meddle on high alert in every frick’n thing I do?

I was advised recently to put some of my life into cruise control. I was informed that this is not a cop out or being lazy. It’s simply a good way to preserve energy and take advantage of a system that works.

Hmmm. Okay. Maybe I’ll give it a try. I thought I had cured myself of my perfectionist tendencies but I clearly see that haven’t. Maybe it is time to let some things take care of themselves and to rely on the mechanics of this model.

Confessions of a Homebody

15 Jun

The fact that I’d rather be at home on a Friday or Saturday night reading a book is probably one of the many contributing factors to why I’m still single. Why battle the bar scene when one can be safely ensconced in the comforts of one’s own abode?

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I have always been a homebody. Not much has changed since I was little. When I was a girl visiting my grandparents in Wisconsin my grandma would suggest I play with the neighborhood kids and I typically elected not to. I preferred to just hang out at the house instead. My grandma and I would bake cookies and she would help me on knitting and sewing projects. When she was busy, I’d play in the yard, explore in the basement and attic and spend hours reading.

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Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-social or agoraphobic. But underneath the deceptive exterior, I am a true introvert.

By some miracle, for the most part I work from home (when I’m not teaching a class somewhere). I also have an office where I see clients but it feels like an extension of home. There are chairs and a sofa and a lovely view. And most important, it’s quiet.

Some people like suiting up each day where they can collaborate with others and sit around a table. Yet the days when I had to work a 9-5 pm job forty hours a week at a cubicle were torturous. I would fantasize about eating lunch at home and doing work from my own desk with a cat on my lap. I day-dreamt that one day I would hear the sound of birds chirping outside my window while my fingers tapped on my personal key board. And I would feel a gentle breeze coming in through my screen door during the middle of a week day.

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When they give people career aptitude tests they should also ask questions about what kind of environment best suits a person because it is quite important. We spend a lot of hours working. Best to make the time magical.

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