Have you ever been walking down the street or down a hallway and you see someone walking towards you and the thought of saying hi to someone you don't know makes you uncomfortable? So you instantly pull out your cell phone and pretend to be writing a text or making a call. Admit it, you've done that. And the person walks by and you close the phone and put it in your pocket, relieved that you just avoided having to connect with another human being.
I admit I have done that before. In fact, I have done it many times. I am a human being. I crave interaction and connection with other human beings, but when the opportunity comes along to say hello or give a friendly smile, I pretend to be distracted with something else.
We live in a society full of distracted people. We have cell phones, televisions, ipods, laptops and other devices that distract us from what we want most: connection. Our distractions keep us disconnected. One day I was pretty upset with myself when I realized that I had gone an ENTIRE DAY texting, chatting on facebook and sending out emails and NEVER ONCE opening my mouth and speaking to someone in person or on the phone. How crazy is that?
You can be anyone you want to be when you are texting or talking online, but only your true self can be heard when you actually look another person in the eyes and open your mouth and speak. So many of us have lost the ability to speak face to face. To be 100% in a conversation. To make ourselves vulnerable. When you speak to someone do you look them in the eyes? Do they look you in the eyes? A person's eyes are a window to their soul. I truly believe that. Our eyes express so much of who we are and how we feel. But we are all so busy looking away that we do not see the joy, the pain, the fear, the hope, the call for help and the excitement in the eyes of those around us.
I have been working on being more present in my relationships. I am working on putting the cell phone away when I am talking to somebody. I have noticed that I spend a lot of time on my laptop (or cell phone) and when I am around other people I get distracted with what I am doing online (usually useless facebook roaming) that I miss out on the conversation and have to ask people to repeat themselves. So I am learning to close the laptop. To really listen. To give support. To make myself vulnerable. To be a better friend. To connect. To let myself be present and to pay attention to what's most important.
I am even learning to get rid of the noise and the distractions when I am alone so that I can be more in tune with myself. Sometimes I will look at myself in the mirror and take a few minutes to really look myself in the eyes. When I search my own eyes I see who I really am. I feel a greater love for myself. I feel a stronger connection with God. When I look into my own eyes I see into my soul and remember who I truly am. And that is something my cell phone, my laptop or my ipod will never be able to do.
I am here. I am here 100%. When I catch myself turning to distractions to avoid human connection I am going to remember that human connection is what I really want. It is what we all want. When we all take the time to be 100% present in our lives we will be happier, more satisfied and more connected as a human family. When we get rid of the distractions we will find ourselves...and we will find that we are all fascinating human beings with incredible stories to tell each other - face to face, eye to eye and heart to heart.