Im scared for humanity. All of us, including myself. You would think it has to do with our so called leader, but it doesn't. It has to do with what i noticed today on the subway. I looked around at all the people, but nobody else was looking around. Everyone was looking down.
They weren't looking down in reverent gesture, they were looking down at their phones. I am totally guilty of this as well. But it's when I looked up today, that I noticed how sad it really is.
After i took this picture, I made a very conscious effort, on my travels throughout the city today, to not take out my phone. And what i noticed was... EVERYTHING. I noticed how hard some people's lives are and the deep sighs they take. The strange looking food that the little asian man was eating. The dark, deep, dusty creases in the elderly mans face. The neon sneakers on the teens feet. The self proclaimed gospel singer who sang for us on the train, softly and completely out of tune. A middle aged man looking at a younger woman, and the woman not liking it all. Friends sitting next to each other, looking at their phones, not talking. A women who looked like she had just cried for hours. How nobody was making eye contact with me.
I think on some level, we don't want to look up, in case we don't like what we see. What if we see someone cry, or hurt or homeless- what it if makes us FEEL their pain? What if we have compassion, empathy or pity for them and it hurts. What if we make eye contact with a stranger and it's uncomfortable or scary?
And on another level, we don't want to look up because we are afraid of what we may miss if we don't look down. The email, the text, the Facebook post, the tweet. I have noticed many people staring at their home screen on their phone, just waiting for something to pop up. Waiting for their next fix. The dopamine release that comes along with the little red notification "you have 1 new message".
Yes, indeed, we are an addicted world. We are addicted to information and stimuli yet we are craving connection. We find connection online safer and easier than personal human connection, because it is easier. But easier hardly means better.
Im frustrated because I do it too. This frustration is good, because it is waking me up. And what i realized, is that judging the disconnect won't help. What will help is being conscious, being aware and recognizing that we are a digital world that still needs human connection--probably more than ever. For me, I need to create boundaries with my phone, computer and social media world. *No phone when walking on the street. *Mindful mornings of meditation, movement and gratitude. *No emails after 8pm. *Disconnect from social media for whole days at a time. * Leave phone at home when going out to dinner *Try not looking down in awkward situations- elevators, waiting on lines, shared car rides. Instead try to chit chat or even find meaningful conversation. The other day, I had the most beautiful conversation about happiness with my Via driver- i wish my ride had been longer.
As always, it all comes back to balance- falling off and getting back on is part of it. Being kind to yourself when you notice you have gone too deep into the world of disconnect and being grateful for the awareness to bring yourself back.