Thursday, March 10, 2011

Personal Calls

One hundred and thirty five years ago, on this very day, the first ever telephone message was sent.  Today seemingly everyone not only has a phone, but a personal phone.  Before I get an eye roll and a not-another-one-of-those, I am not suggesting we should be shocked about this.  The phone has become so normal in our lives and it's progression so natural, that it would be ridiculous of me to sit here and say 'how absurd!'  Nor am I suggesting we should do any with it and shun technology.  So, if you were about to make an assumption…stop.

We created technology to connect us, to bring us closer in communication, and to make every part of the world more accessible.  That idea is flippin' amazing.  In so many ways, we've accomplished that; its our reality that we can communicate with China instantaneously.  Further, one of the greatest technological creations of this generation is Facebook, a network based on our desire to be closer to other people.  How beautiful in theory, but how many of us are using this technology to really connect with those that we love?  When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation talking on the phone?

Forget text messaging, facebooking, emailing, whatever else our phones can do now; just think about the last time you called up a friend and simply talked.  If you are anything like me, this conversation took place while you were driving (shhh), cooking, walking, internet surfing, or watching TV.  I would then argue that’s not truly a meaningful conversation because you are not giving that person your whole being.  How can I fully laugh at your joke when I am trying to cut onions without crying?  What about the friend who calls you while she is walking through her college campus; do you feel like you are having a quality conversation with her?  Or perhaps do you hang up in frustration?  We seem willing to only give half of ourselves to the person and the other half is free to do as we please.  Our problem is not the technology itself, it’s our inability to focus on one thing and be okay with just that.  Maybe problem is too strong of a word; perhaps I should just say that our generation is focus-challenged.

In yoga, the only way to stay balance in a pose is to focus on one thing—yourself.  You cannot be worried about all those around you because then you are destined to fall.  In the military in order to complete the job you must focus solely on its success.  During a race, a game, a fight, the same thing applies.  This concept of focus is nothing new, but we’ve lost its importance somewhere between our iPhones and Droids. 

When we call someone, remember that we are calling upon that relationship.  It’s not about the means in which we are communicating, but simply that we are communicating.  This is what we wanted all along, to communicate better.  So give that person your all, and do nothing else except be on the phone—together.

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