Can We Reconnect?

Separation Anxiety

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Facebook Logo(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Get on Facebook.  Are you on Twitter? Oh you must get LinkedIn!” These seem like wonderful opportunities to connect with others, but are they, and other similar avenues, really helping us to connect with each other?

When was the last time someone smiled at you when you walked down the street?  When was the last time someone looked at you when you passed them on the street?

Person using cell phone while driving.

Person using cell phone while driving. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The newest form of non-verbal non-communication is to walk around pretending you are busy checking your email or texting a response to someone obviously more important than the human beings you are pointedly ignoring.   Please don’t even get me started with the texting or talking on the phone at the dinner table, or while driving a car.  A two-handed texter almost took me out one night when his car started to change lanes because both of his hands were on his keypad, and not the wheel of his car, which was exceeding the 55 MPH speed limit as it did so.  Thank you, traffic angels for the ‘save’.  If I were a cat, I would have lost at least two of my nine lives on that highway. Oh, and he let me know what he thought of my horn-honking which happened to be what brought his eyes off his lap and back to the road.  You know the gesture I am speaking about.  It’s the one-fingered wave.

GROCERY STORE IN LA FAYETTE - NARA - 552529

GROCERY STORE (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Try this experiment:  Make eye contact, or at least try to, with everyone you can today.  The checker at the gas station who hands you your change.  The barista at the coffee shop where you get your morning jolt.  The cashier at the grocery store or other place you may go shopping today.  I want you to mentally make note of how many times even these members of what used to be service-oriented industries don’t – or won’t – take even a second to look you in the eye as they hand over your change and receipt.

Student texting during class

Students texting during class (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This does not bode well for us.   This continued separation trend, parsing the separation that already exists even more, makes me anxious.  If we’re no longer even aware of the people around us, how can we care about them?

The other interesting trend to note here is not one that I would have thought was possible. As a famous model  says (Heidi Klum, I’m not going to make you guess) on her television show every week (yes, I ADMIT it! I watch Project Runway!) “One day you’re in, the next day you’re out.”

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum.

Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always get an interesting response when I tell people that no, I am not on Facebbook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or Google+ or any other incarnation of a social networking site. I guess that means I’m “out”. But I have found a comfortable niche right here in the world of blogging.  The people who stop by here are, for the most part, interested in what it is I am taking the time to write about.  Some of them even make thoughtful comments which often results in – dare I say it – an exchange of ideas.

But even this is not true connection.  There is something about being in the actual presence of another human being, especially if that human being is someone you love and respect, or admire in some way. There is something to be said for real human contact.  When you are breathing the same air, sitting at the same table, looking into the eyes of another human being and listening with all of your heart to what it is they are saying, there is a level of connection that cannot be found through even the finest  that technology has to offer us.

I am going to visit my daughter in September, and an am looking forward to being in her energy again.  It has been too long.  Do we get on each others’ nerves from time to time? Of course.  That’s what mothers and daughters do.  But there is something so sweet about being able to see the twinkle in her eye when she laughs, to feel her fall into my heart as she gives me that first “I haven’t seen you in so long, Mom” hug that cannot be replicated long distance.

We need each other to be truly ourselves. We need to be connected to each other in authentic ways. If we cannot find a way to reverse this trend, I fear for our future as a species.

In the days before the digital age, even before the age of vacuum tubes and radio, we connected with each other in a profound way.  We sat around the camp fire at night, and listened to the storytellers.  Maybe it is time for the new storytellers to step forward.  Parents, turn off the gadgets and take 15 minutes to read to your young children.  If they are older, then choose a classic book you enjoyed when you were their age, buy two copies of it, and read it at the same time they do so you can talk with them about it.  Person to person.  No texting allowed.

Find creative ways, little ways, to connect with the other human beings you encounter throughout your day.  Look someone in the eye.  Just for an instant, with your gaze, acknowledge their presence.  Even if it’s the homeless guy on the freeway entrance with the sign.

We must reconnect with each other.  While we still can.

You who have the Light, what are you doing with it? ~ Paul Claudee

All original material posted to this site is (c) 2012, Julie Marie. All rights reserved.

I apologize for the length of this post. I violated my “rule of 600” tonight.  I didn’t want to break this train of thought into two separate pieces, so I left it as it came through me.

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6 thoughts on “Can We Reconnect?

  1. I was in a checkout lineup at the local drug store recently. The man ahead of me got on his cell phone as the checkout person was about to serve him, so she carefully put his items to one side and started checking mine. He asked her what she was doing, to which she replied that obviously he was busy with something at that moment, and that she’d be glad to help him when he was ready. I think she was tired of being treated as a servant, and I don’t blame her. The guy looked pretty mad but didn’t say anything; I think he was too embarrassed.

    • This is a perfect example of what I mean. Good for her for so tactfully telling the man he was being more than just a little rude. There is so much talk about being present, and yet how UN’present’ can you get if for 30 seconds you cannot complete a simple transaction? Great story. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I am the kind of person that likes to connect by written word or in person, its so much more real than to text or talk on the cell phone. We need this more in our world today.

  3. i so so so agree! I’m not on facebook, twitter, etc…i don’t even have a cell phone—or microwave, for that matter. I’ve adopted the ‘looking into another’s eyes’ when they are talking, even though ‘those’ times are precious and few as i live in the country…it’s pure heart to heart for me…..
    and…reading blogs like yours. I thank you. I don’t blog either, but certainly appreciate those who do that i read from time to time.

    and ‘eye for an eye’ takes on a whole new meaning, eh?

    • I am honored to be on your reading list. I do have a cell phone. My daughter insists because I travel so much. But I haven’t owned a microwave (aka nuk-a-lator in my house) for over a decade.I didn’t even know what a ‘blog’ was until last December. Guess I have one foot on either side of the fence.

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