day one: be without technology

It’s the first day of the 31 Day Challenge!!

I’ve got 30 minutes to get this post in before the day ends…

Today I want to share with you a video featuring Spoken Word artist, Propaganda. He talks about what it means to be fully present, in a perfectly poetic way. His words are a great way to kick off the next month. (Side note: I actually heard him perform this piece live at a Dare2Share conference this spring.) View the video above or follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5y2GKk6sOI.

Time. Our lover. Our friend. Our enemy.

Technology. Our lover. Our friend. Our enemy.

We choose how to use both. Both are precious. Both require wisdom.

I’ve found that I’ve become reliant on my technology, namely my iPhone. Want to avoid eye contact? Look down at my phone. Bored in lecture? Check the time and see if I have any new notifications. Waiting for someone or something? Scroll social media. Missing a friend? Look at old pictures.

Technology has become a tool that sucks me in and then spits me out – empty and wanting more. Technology has become an addiction. Very rarely do I just take time to breathe and observe anymore.

Then yesterday happened. I accidentally left my phone in my math class. My professor emailed me to let me know he left it in the department. I rode my bike all the way back to the building, only to discover that the offices had already closed. I was irritated, tired, and angry. For a while I remained that way, brooding over the fact that I wouldn’t have my phone until the next morning. 15 hours without my phone? Could I survive?

As it turns out, my forgetfulness was a blessing in disguise. I had to go out of my way to reach friends I needed to contact that night. They were sympathetic and helpful. During a late group project, I didn’t “escape” through my phone. Instead, I soaked up every minute, engaging in conversation and observing the people around me. Another girl offered to walk home with me and then made sure that I let her known when I safely arrived in my room. Because I lost my phone, I was reminded of the caring community around me.

Awkward moments were awkward moments. I had to be patient when others were on their phones. I had to wait. I had to “be.” Without social media. Without text messages. Without checking the weather. Without setting an alarm. I had to rely on people, not on technology.

My 15-hour hiatus from the mobile world was a reminder that I do not need technology. I don’t need to be constantly connected to a virtual world. Instead, I can take the time to fully exist in the world right in front of me.

I’m going to observe again. Breathe again. Make eye contact and smile on walks to and from classes. Speak to people rather than avoiding conversation. Yes, it will take work to undo old habits. But that’s what these 31 days are all about—new challenges.

– – Phebe

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