Lately I’ve become increasingly attached to my phone. Something that’s hard to admit because
1) I don’t want to believe that to be true
2) it’s such a slippery slope, it’s hard to step outside yourself and realize you’re doing it
3) it’s so easy to justify it as a tool that it’s difficult to admit to it being anything else.
But it’s started to feel like an addiction lately. The more I use it the more I want it. The gravitational pull of the need to have my phone in hand feeling stronger and stronger everyday. And if not in my hand, at least on my person. If not on me, WHERE IS IT?
The technology in our lives is doing a fine job of serving our monkey brain. We can thoughtlessly swing from distraction to distraction, all while justifying those distractions as work or a much-needed break from the stress of life. So our monkey brains are happy…what about our body and our soul? We’re keeping our brains occupied (not always productively) all while starving our body and soul of so many of life’s great pleasures. Like true connection with nature, others and ourselves.
For Mark & I, living on the road means sometimes staying at campgrounds and other times seeking solitude in the wilderness. Last night we found one of those quiet, wild places to call home for a few nights. We’ve camped hundreds of places and this one was quickly climbing the ranks to becoming an all-time favorite. It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever camped. At sunset we climbed the boulders behind our camp and watched the sunset. To the West the sun was setting behind layer upon layer of mountain ranges while lighting up the sky. To the East the rugged mountains, that felt close enough to reach out and touch, were turning magnificent shades of orange and yellow. The storm clouds overhead, a deep, dark blue. Everything looked fake, like a movie set or a photoshopped photo. But it wasn’t, it was real, and I was a part of it. I wasn’t seeing it thru a screen, I was living it. My soul bursting with gratitude, feeling as though it had been starved and at this moment I was finally feeding it. My body felt firmly planted to the ground, senses awakened and invited to enjoy the show. I breathed in the smell of the oncoming storm, felt the cool breeze thru my hair, the course texture of the boulders on my hands as I continued to climb higher and higher to take it all in.
All reminding me what true connection is. It’s our living, breathing selves finding harmony with the living, breathing planet around us.
As I stood on those boulders, feeling more alive than I had in months, I thought of all the hours I’d been spending on my phone. Surfing the web, surfing social media, looking up this thing and that thing thinking I’m being productive but really just being distracted, effectively removing myself from the world around me.
With my phone in my hand, I am not a part of this world, I am an online persona. I’m not a wild being living in a wild world, I’m a node in the network. But what if I want to exist somewhere in between?
I enjoy technologies conveniences, hell, I rely them to run my business remotely. But striking a balance between feeding my brain AND my soul, feels more important now than ever. Developing healthy boundaries a necessity. If we don’t, we’re going to miss out on actually being a part of this world. And that is one hell of an opportunity wasted. Because as I was reminded last night, no movie or photo or game can compete with the real thing. Technology, anything that exists behind a screen…will never be the wild, beautiful world in which we actually exist.