April 15, 2016

Believing The Lies – Truly Being Present In A “Connected” World


I have a new adiction “The Heart of Dixie” on Netflix. I know it’s been out for a while but I just started watching a few months ago and I am hooked. I have managed to watch 3 full seasons (22 episodes a piece) in the past 3 months and now I am on season 4. What can I say, we had snow days here in the North Georgia Mountains, everything was closed, all my photo editing was complete and I had plenty of popcorn to last forever in our cabinets. So… I started a warm fire, curled up in the couch with a blanket and binge watched for an entire day whenever the snow kept us inside. Thank goodness I have an amazing husband who let me get away with it. I also had a few sick days too that allowed for some binge watching.

I digress, what drew me into the show was the relationships. People actually taking the time to get to know each other, care about each other, go out of their way to help each other, eat together, hang out and have fun – all without cellphones in their hands every waking moment.  It occurred to me that we will hardly ever watch a show or movie where the characters are nose deep in their phones on social media, spending the entire day on a computer or texting for hours; it would be the most boring thing to watch.

Then I asked myself… why do I barry my nose into social media + online connections?

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My initial response was to help our business grow, to connect with others, to answer important emails, to make sure I am on trend… the list goes on. But I stepped back and walked outside. As I took a slow deep breath I could smell the sent of fresh cut grass mixed with the beautiful aroma of spring jasmine blossoms, I could hear the birds chirping + a lawnmower going, I could feel the sun warming my face and my hair blowing in the warm breeze. After a few moments of taking it all in I walked back inside to start lunch for Brandon and I. Once lunch was complete Brandon joined me outside to eat on our porch. He too noticed the aromas dancing in the breeze accompanied by the sounds of spring and warm sunlight. As I took a moment to gaze into his eyes, he leaned over and gave me a gentle kiss.

At that moment I realized my initial response to why I barry my nose into social media + online connections was all wrong. I had become a believer of the lies.

The lies that say:
*If I’m not “connected” at all times I’m missing out on something.
*Being “connected” at all times builds better relationships.
*Important emails from clients might be missed if I’m not “connected”.
*The more “connected” relationships I have the more opportunities I have.
*My “connected” relationships are just as “real” as my face to face relationships.
*Staying “connected” at all times keeps me in style, in trend and in the know.

What I realized was this, there is a plethora of amazing connections I have made via social media + emails and they have been very very good.  And I am so thankful for those relationships. However, I need to make time to be present in my face to face relationships and in the tangible world that awakens all my senses instead of nose deep in a cell phone or computer.

The reality is… 
*I am  not going to be missing anything if I turn off the computer at 5pm each evening and close all my social media apps.
*Being “connected” all the time does not build better relationships – real quality time does.
*Our business hours are from 9-5 Tuesday – Saturday and super sweet adorable clients respect that.
*More relationships don’t create more opportunities – invested relationships bring true joy.
*My “connected” relationships are just not as “real” or deep as my face to face relationships. I do value my “connected” relationships, however, there are several of my social media friends who have never sat down to dinner with me in my home and I have never met their families. They are just not the same as my friends I see face to face.

Do we really want to spend hours building up large networks of shallow connections while at the same time possibly dampening our few deep cherished relationships. Is checking FB or Instagram every few seconds worth giving up time that could be spent taking in the beauty of the world around us and letting our senses experience life leading to more wonderful creativity.

For me the answer was simple, there is a time an place for being connected, that time being during my work day. I have decided that every day at 5pm the computer is going off, my social media apps are closed for the day, the email is offline and my phone is tucked away in my purse only to be brought out if a close family member or friend texts or actually calls me. To hear my phone ring these days is like hearing dial up modem;)

This post is incredibly long so I will end it with this. If you want to be truly free and lead a life full of rich experiences that will enlighten all your senses and sparks your creativity, get up from the computer, put down the phone and invest in the people and tangible world around you. You won’t regret it.

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