We must STEP AWAY from the phone. Light and love await.After a long day at work, I often collapse onto the couch and fall into the warm embrace of my Facebook feed. My kids dance around me, begging for a nugget of my attention, even chastising me, “Your phone is not important, mommy!” Shamefully, my seven-year-old even branded me “Phone Face.” As this moniker began to sink in, I realized it’s time to STEP AWAY from the phone.
According to a study released by app maker, Locket http://www.getlocket.com, the average person checks their phone 110 times per day. At the peak hours of usage from 5pm to 8pm (aka prime family time), this amounts to being a Phone Face every 6-7 seconds.
Famed for being a notorious time suck, social media and its fly-by-night lover, the cell phone, are also spirituality sucks. We are so wired for connections with others but find ourselves instead burying our faces in our wireless devices. Worse yet, we’re missing out on much-needed time to connect with ourselves and just let our minds be still. Why can’t we just sit quietly without the buzz of the TV or the hum of social media?
I myself am so guilty of this one. Once the kids are snug in their beds, I plant myself on the couch, turn on the TV, and commence the constant checking of Facebook. I am so zoned out, I’m practically drooling. If my phone isn’t nearby, I literally feel uncomfortable. I crave the feeling of the phone in my hand, my thumb smoothly swishing through the news of the day.
My friend, Solange, recently recognized she too was on autopilot, checking her Facebook and Instagram accounts several times a day. She describes that groggy, autopilot feeling as being “asleep at the wheel” and further cautions that often darkness resides in that unconscious stupor. To wake up and become more mindful, she took on the challenge of a social media fast, quitting social media, television, and even (gasp) blogs for a solid 25 days.
She admits she immediately felt very lonely, especially at night, surrounded by the echo of so much time and space. She diagnosed her immediate withdrawal from social media as FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”), anxious she might miss out on some excitement from her friends’ lives. Ultimately, though, she sat squarely in the loneliness and filled that space with quality time with her husband, books, and a new habit, meditation. After about two weeks, she felt more relaxed, focused, and centered.
Her buzzword in her media fast became “space.” She explains, “By eliminating things in your life that aren’t serving you 100%, it opens up a space, an emotional, psychological, and even physical space to do the inner work and be present…and that’s where the magic is, in that space.” She likens that inner work to “clean thinking,” a play on the popular “clean eating” concept. The less noise and clutter we ingest, the more we create space for self-awareness and more wholesome, simple thoughts.
Now that her media fast is over, she has a healthier relationship with social media, saying she “controls it rather than it controlling me.” The greatest benefit has been her new commitment to meditation which allows her to internalize all the “inner work” she is doing.
Importantly, Solange credits her social media fast as her “awakening” that started her on a journey of conscious living. Nipping this habit gave her the courage to question other things in her life, especially areas where she felt she wasn’t being mindful. She feels a new “lightness” and freedom to examine her life and make sure her choices and behavior are truly serving her.
What better gift can we give ourselves than to wake up, disconnect from the screens, and create some extra space in our lives? Solange says that extra space is where the magic happens, where the light and love can freely spill in. I for one could use that space to connect with my family, read a book, or just sit quietly and bask in the blessings of the day.
Phone Faces, we must STEP AWAY from the phone. Light and love await.
I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.