Are You Too Distracted From Fully Experiencing Your Life?
Recently my family had the opportunity to visit family that we had not seen in a long time. As with any trip I was packing all that we needed including my cell phone charger. I had placed it in a pocket that would be convenient and handy as we would be driving a long distance and may need our phones charged and ready if our GPS didn’t work in the rural areas that we would be traveling through.
We were fortunate to drive through the Great Smoky Mountains, take a cable car to the top and take some great pictures of our experience.
Although I am linked to many different social media accounts, both professionally and personally, I put the intention out that during the trip I would only use my smart phone when necessary. Pictures, phone calls to our family that we were heading to and nothing else.
During the second day of our trip I had noticed that the charger was missing. Although a little frustrated that I couldn’t find it, I knew that we were close to our destination and we had enough battery between both my husband’s and my phone if needed.
We arrived to our family’s home and like many families we started engaging one another in conversation, taking small trips around town, assisting each other in meal preparation, and all around enjoying the moment that we were in.
Although I usually find myself not wanting to engage in the lure of the social media “time suck” I did catch my self wanting to take a peek at my phone when there was a lull to the activities just to “check in” and get “updated”. However, I did remind myself that that was not what I was there to do.
I have observed many people in my life over the past few years, clients and non-clients alike in a state of addiction to something that appears to fulfill them momentarily as it takes their mind off of other things. This would include more pressing matters, and the sheer enjoyment of the moment, free of extra mind clutter, which many time we don’t allow ourselves to experience.
Don’t get me wrong using social media, the Internet, and other modes of entertainment, as a break is not bad. And I’m certainly not saying that I have not spent some time on Facebook, or watching movies.
However, when we get in the habit to replace most of our waking moments on checking out what everyone else is doing, essentially we ourselves check out. That’s right. We check out of our own life experiences. We check out of the time that we can spend with loved ones giving them our undivided attention, which we ourselves want from others that we are engaged with. We check out of fully experiencing what is going on around us. And for some people that might end up with them and others in dangerous situations. Cue in the multiple times I’ve seen people on the freeway beside me texting while driving.
So why do we find more time for certain things like social media and not other things? Simply put, there is an intrinsic value that we place on whatever we are devoting our time to. So if I sit down and watch a movie marathon all day, or If I place my attention on everyone else’s drama, it distracts me so I don’t have to deal with my own business, at least not when I’m distracted in the other things. The value may be that I don’t have to face what I dislike, whatever that might be at the moment.
The sheer fascination with other peoples lives or what’s currently happening everywhere else keeps us from living our own life fully present. As we are constantly looking forward to other’s updates, travel pics, and rants on what ails them at the moment.
When I choose to slow down and live fully in the present moment it gives me time to enjoy and savor that which I am doing, whether spending time with my family, reading a good book, or actually listening to the birds sing while I am taking a walk as apposed to ruminating on the tasks that need to be done when my walk is over.
As I am fully present in the moment that I am living in I can take much more value out of it. And if that moment happens to be filled with something unpleasant I am able to come up with a solution to it, by directing my attention to improving it instead of zoning out.
When we prioritize what really matters to us, things begin to fall into place without all of the pushing and forcing that we usually attribute to being successful and getting things done. By balancing our time well we become a role model for our children and others who learn from our positive example. And most importantly we can be more fulfilled by being Mindful, not “Mind Full”.
Wishing you well on your journey,
Tabby Sapene MSW, LISW-S
Please feel free to share with those that may benefit.