Nurture Meaningful Connections
For many life is feeling very hurried these days. It feels like we have less time than ever as we move from one item on our “to-do” list to the next. The internet and social networking bring an onslaught of information to our door – more than we could possibly take in deeply, so we flit about, distracted by the next new thing.
Technology: Connecting or disconnecting? Technology celebrates connectedness, but does it in fact encourage retreat? Unlike our surface-level interactions on Facebook, face-to-face can sometimes be awkward – boredom or discomfort may arise. When we retreat into social media, we avoid the vulnerability of opening ourselves up to other people. We have then, however, also lost the meaningful connections that make life worth living.
Living a meaningful life means being present – showing up and paying attention. A rich life with meaningful connections means daring to be vulnerable – to be there for yourself and to be there for your partner, your children, your friends. It can be difficult, but worthwhile to stop what we are doing -to really see them. We can practice deep listening to hear their stories, to hear what is being said and to listen to the emotions behind their words. You and your loved ones will reap the rewards of a deeper connection – of feeling seen, heard, and valued.
Some ways to let go of distraction (remember, progress, not perfection!) Our daily habits make us into the kind of person we are. Right now, our technology habits may be shaping us to be more distracted, more likely to forget others, but we can take easy steps to change that:
Turn off for 1 hour. We don’t need to cut technology out of our lives altogether, but instead take an hour off before bedtime to maximize your body’s readiness for sleep and have time for your spouse or a book.
Turn off your phone. When you go out to lunch, or go for a walk, turn off your phone or even leave it behind. Make sure that the ringer and alerts are turned off.
Be aware of when you are using technology to escape an uncomfortable emotion like loneliness. Try a gentle yoga practice to tune into your body rather than tune out.
Practice deep listening. Use your whole body to listen – look with full attention, hear what is being said, hear what is not being said, and listen for the emotion behind the words. Rather than jumping in with your reaction, pause for a breath to respond from the heart.
I am working on this myself. One of my best tools is that my laptop looses power and shuts down by itself (ha!) – a sort of built in time limit! Has the distraction of technology crept up on you? How are you dealing (or not) with it? The discussion can begin below!
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