I recently had a disturbing revelation. One that I’m kiiiiinda embarrassed and annoyed to admit. Yet, I have a sneaky suspicion, it’s one that miiiiight ring true for you, too. It’s a realization that I’m feeling pretty miffed about now that I sit back and think about it. I honestly feel quite jilted! Until recently it didn’t even register with me that:
My iPhone regularly takes center stage in my life. Like, when I’m out having coffee with a friend, my iPhone is constantly alerting me that it’s time to check my social media updates. So, of course, I reach for my iPhone (nonchalantly?) mid-conversation. Or, like, when I’m driving down the coastal highway with the windows down and the music blaring, my iPhone’s camera app is calling my name, ‘you gotta get the Insta-worthy snapshot in a moment like this!’
I mean, the nerve of this lil guy!
It all came to a head on my recent camping trip. My sister was in town from America and we decided to hit the open road, drive down south and spend some time in nature. Once we got out of the main town and onto the dirt track, my phone service quickly diminished. This subsequently meant the power off button finally got some action. And with that, things really got REAL.
My new awakening all began with a possum. Well, a momma and baby possum duo, actually. We were all sitting around the campfire, roasting marshmallows when we started to hear a scurry. A few seconds of searching with the flashlight illuminated the cutest little site—a baby possum straddled on its mother’s furry back. They were obviously looking for food. So, as all swooning individuals do, we indulged them. Now, don’t go rat us out to the Ranger; it was only fresh, healthy carrots. They even ate them from our hands!
So, there we all were: taking turns holding up bite-size pieces of carrot near the tree trunk waiting for the momma possum to crawl down with baby on back and gentle take them from our fingers. She’d then nibble and pass some of the orange treasure off to her lil bub. She did this about half a dozen times ’til, I’m assuming, her tummy was full.
My first reaction during this ethereal experience is as follows: Ah, I need to go grab my iPhone. I gotta get this on video. I need to show this to everyone (eg: my social media gang). I gotta see everyone else’s reaction to this awesome experience. (aka: my life in the PRESENT MOMENT!)
But, my iPhone was powered off and locked in the car. I’d have to take off my shoes, go in the tent, grab the keys, put back on my shoes, unlock the car, get my phone, turn on my phone. . . and well, it would have been a lot of work, you see. Plus, I’d be disturbing the rest of the crew (who were rightfully in the moment and captivated by the possum soiree). So, I decided to stay put and experience the moment as is—-in my body, fully aware and totally present.
That is when the disturbing revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. My iPhone gets to experience more of my life’s joys than I do! The memories flooded my mind like a somber slideshow. How many times I’ve chosen to ‘document’ or ‘snapshot’ an experience so I can remember it for later or show someone else rather than simply immerse myself in living that beautiful moment.
As humans, we do this all the time. Just recently, my 6th graders performed a presentation at the school assembly. Casually looking around, I noticed several parent spectators positioned behind a camera lens or iPad screen recording the entire thing.
// Who wants to live the precious moments of their life from behind a video screen?
// Why does a mobile device get a better view of your life than you do?
// When will your iPhones stop stealing your attention during your once-in-a-lifetime experiences? (‘Cause doesn’t every moment only happen once?)
Needless to say, I’ve become more aware of my habitual response to grab for my phone when something interesting or cool is happening. Yes, I still like to take pretty pictures of my food at cafes or a beautiful sunset to post on Instagram. Yes, I still check Facebook a few times a day and catch up on all the goss. But, I’m aware. I’m thinking before reaching and, more times than before, I’m choosing to stay present and immerse myself in the Now.
// ACTION: What’s one thing you can do this week to become more present in your here and now? If it involves placing some boundaries around your phone usage, I’m all for it!
Love + Light,