Put the Phone Down

by Jill Sockman

I grew up in a home where the phone was considered a tool – or an appliance maybe. Not unlike an oven or a drill, it had a purpose, generally work-related, and otherwise one should leave it alone. Time chatting on the phone was limited, and even as a teenager I was not permitted to have a phone in my bedroom.  In fact, I clearly remember my disciplinarian father telling me (in no uncertain terms) that the phone was NOT a toy.  My, how times have changed.

Fast forward to the present. During training last week, I was staying in a cabin, on a ranch about halfway up the mountain from Carbondale to Redstone, Colo.  I had no cell service.  And unless near the main lodge, no Internet either.  Heaven.  In every way.  And it got me to thinking.

put the phone downBetween the (forced) opportunity to be technology-free and topics of the lectures I was attending, now more than ever I am making a conscious decision to PUT THE PHONE DOWN.  I sat in the airport and watched couples, friends, families not speaking to each other, heads dropped into the world of Angry Birds and Facebook. Is this productive, helpful or healthy?  It would seem a lot of yogis aren’t even doing their practice without Phone In Hand.  Seriously? Is that actually yoga? How many times a day do you check your e-mail?  Yeah, I thought so.

For me, connecting online is, many times, a decision (conscious or unconscious) to NOT connect – whether that is with another person, with the internal landscape of my mind and body, the external landscape around me or simply the moment at hand. We don’t have enough time and aren’t experiencing spaciousness because we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to have it.

Repeat after me: PUT THE PHONE DOWN. There will be a period of withdrawal. But you can do it.  Take a deep breath.  Look up at the sky.  Feel fully 100% of the moment you are in.  We’re here for a very short time.  Don’t miss it.