[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ately I have been observing more and more. I look around me a lot and watch people and notice how distracted everyone is. People are driving distracted. Most people walk down the street looking down at their phones opposed to with their heads up looking around. I sit in business meetings all day and people are either on their phones or on their computers, rarely are they paying their full attention to what is going on. Mostly we can thank technology for this. It is truly a blessing and a curse. In certain situations this distraction can be unsafe (especially behind the wheel) but it’s not only that – how much of your life is passing you by?
It recently really hit home to me when my husband and I were running errands. We stopped at the gas station, he got out to pump the gas and immediately came back to the car. He forgot his phone. He forgot his phone and needed it to pump gas? I looked at him and asked what he was doing. He looked at me like I was crazy and replied “getting my phone, I have to stand here and wait”. It really set it then. As a society do not know how to wait, how to be bored, how to sit and be in silence anymore. The SECOND we have down time (I am generalizing now) we reach for our phone to stimulate ourselves. How often are you at a traffic light and grab your phone? What do you do if a commercial comes on TV? What is the first thing you do in the morning or the last thing before you go to bed? I am sure in your mind you answered “check my phone” to some if not ALL of the scenarios. Honestly, I am just as guilty of it.
We recently took a nice long vacation. It was truly an opportunity for us to shut off in most senses. When we are away we make a serious effort to be present, be in the moment, take everything in. We limit our uses on the phone and try to only go on them if we need directions, a suggestion for dinner, or need to check something. I try not to post much on social media on vacation. First off you shouldn’t advertise to people that you are out of town on Facebook for obvious reasons. Secondly I want to enjoy my OWN vacation instead of sharing it with the world, they can see it when I get back, IF I let them see it at all! I would rather spend the last few moments soaking in a gorgeous sunset or sharing laughs with my friends than worry about what my Instagram or Facebook “friends” see.
In America we have this go fast mentality. We work harder and work more to have more. While we are so busy working hard we forget to stop and look around. It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life to stop and sit back and take it all in. We rush from one thing to the next, half paying attention through it all. Sometimes by the time we get to the next place we don’t even remember getting there. Every time I come back from a trip abroad it makes me sad. In other countries the priorities are different, often family, friends, religion…. then work. Here we tend to say “I put my career first”. There is nothing wrong with that of course, it’s just a different mentality. Sometimes you need to take that step back and realize what is truly important and what moments we miss by rushing around.
In yoga we talk about being present, being in the moment. We talk about really FEELING. When we rush around from place to place and distract ourselves we don’t have time to realize how we might be feeling about things. We might not have time to notice sadness and frustration or even the true happiness we feel. Instead we suppress our emotions for another day. This often times causes us to hold on to things that we don’t get a chance to deal with until they have been buried deep down and build up and often times rise to the surface as an explosion. All because we are “too busy” to deal with things as they come up.
I am not perfect and am just as guilty of this as the next person. I have I have a husband, I teach yoga on the side, I write a food blog and maintain a successful career. My yoga practice has become my time for me to take an hour and just BE. However, I give myself those gut checks from time to time. I take a step back and realize all the things I am missing. I am constantly trying to make small changes to really enjoy life. We don’t use our phones on vacation. My husband and I NEVER have our phones out while we eat dinner especially at restaurants. We actually sit and (gasp!) have a conversation and enjoy each other’s company. Instead of always taking pictures of things I take a mental picture and enjoy the moment.
There is a saying I have wrote about before – collect moments not things. This does not mean stop buying things. It is simply a reiteration to make memories, however you want to do that, traveling, through food, simple laughter with your friends and truly be PRESENT and enjoy those moments. When you are looking down at your phone, when you are too busy working your life away, it’s the little things you miss that you learn to appreciate. When you feel sad, let yourself feel sad. If you want to cry, cry. If you want to laugh, laugh. Whatever moment you are in, live it to the fullest.