We hear a lot of talk these days about mindfulness. Basically, mindfulness means being there, right where you are, in body, mind, and spirit. But there is something that often prevents people from actually being mindful and it's time to get real about it. That something is technology, more specifically, smartphones.
I can't tell you the number of events I've been to, professional and personal, at which the majority of attendees were glued to those tiny screens. I've seen it happen at weddings, high school proms, family reunions, and even funerals. Yes, really. Between selfies and social media, people are nothing short of addicted.
Let's start with the selfie craze. People take these foolish photos EVERYWHERE, from places most appropriate, such as the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls, to completely inappropriate, such as the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. Thank goodness for Israeli artist Shahak Shapira and his inspired “Yolocaust” images, which aim to shame those who stoop to taking silly selfies where the lives of thousands were lost.
The need for so many to be so attached to their screens saddens me, and it's not just today's youth that do it. I've seen everyone from tots to octogenarians so absorbed in their phones they've checked out of what's happening around them.
It's time to put the phones down and step away, if even for a short while. Instead of feeling the need to snap six thousand selfies of yourself and your friends doing just about everything (no one ever needs to see anyone in the bathroom, people), turn your devices off and your connections with others on.
In other words, BE THERE. Be present for your prom, your friend's wedding, your graduation, your day at the beach. Watch the sun rise or set through the magnificent lenses of your two eyes instead of through your phone screen. Tuck your phone away during that wedding, knowing the pros have it under control, and no matter what, don't ever snap a selfie at a funeral. That's just not cool.
You might think that by putting away your phone you'll miss something important. Actually, the opposite is true. When you put away the phone and the need to post yet another fish-faced photo to your feed, you'll end up experiencing far more than you ever will through that tiny screen.
Life is awesome, even away from technology. Give it a try. I promise you won't be sorry.