My friend, Rebecca Hamilton wrote a blog post that inspired me to process just a tad. Rebecca posed the question: Why are so many of us unable to stay home, even for one day? (excellently written btw as are all of her posts). She expressed her frustrations about Black Friday extending into Thanksgiving Day and infringing upon our family time. Our society is moving at such a tremendous speed that vegging out is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Quieting ourselves is… well.. merely a waste of time. Meditating is virtually extinct because for most of us it’s next to impossible to sit for that long to make for a successful practice.
My daughter, who is now 25 can’t watch a home movie with us without texting, facebooking, instagramming, tweeting, pinteresting, & emailing all at the same time (I’m probably exaggerating, but you get the picture). Not to mention, she’s always on the go. On Thanksgiving Day, it was all she had to lounge around the house with mom & dad (kinda boring) even though she said the time was wonderful and restful, she was chomping at the bit by evening to go DO something. So, the 2 of us went out and delivered food to a friend who spent the day alone and then went out on the town (’twas fun, but I would have rather gone back home to watch a Hallmark Christmas movie). No fault of my daughter’s… she is adorable and so much fun to be around. She is, however, a product of her generation of Apples, & Androids, & Tablets oh my!
More and more our society is becoming ultra fast-paced. It appears nearly impossible for some to sit still. I hate to blame the technology… seems so cliche to do so, but I do believe we have adopted the fast-food mentality. We opt for the “drive through” selections and then pull up to the window expecting an immediate solution/result. Patience is definitely a thing of the past and heaven forbid we should have to wait for anything… fast food, fast cash, fast cars, fast answers (cha cha), fast & the furious! We can’t even watch the news anymore without having a dozen different scrolling headline options to appease our need for constant chaos.
And, can anyone tell me why a 6 year old needs a cell phone, iPad, & an xBox 360 for heaven’s sake?!
I teach special education and firmly believe one of the most destructive patterns our society has embraced is the high speed lifestyle. We don’t all process that quickly and hence disabilities have skyrocketed! Those who can’t keep up are left in our dust and that’s where I come in to provide them modifications and accommodations to give them even half a chance.
I believe much of the ADD we are seeing is the result of too much stimuli bombarding the brain all at once. The brain is literally being wired to take in an overabundance of information all at the same time that it can’t focus on one thing at a time. When this happens, we can say goodbye to sitting in on a college class, reading a novel, sitting on grandpa’s lap to glean from his wisdom, & a wealth of other valuable learning experiences because focusing is next to impossible with all the other stimuli we’re exposed to… it’s not that we pay attention to nothing, but rather we pay attention to everything and we are unable to give our undivided attention to only one thing at a time.
What do we do in an effort to eradicate this problem and make it all better? We MEDICATE! People, I hate to break it to you, but this is not getting to the root of this problem and trust me, I teach those with special needs and I am a parent of a young adult with special needs. No one would love to see all of this corrected more than I do, but pumping our children with harsh medications is only masking the symptoms for a time until more is needed, and more, and more, and so on… (viscous cycle). There is no easy fix! We’ve created a monster I’m afraid… as the speed at which we live continues to escalate and our expectations of others become higher and higher, so too will the number of disabilities be on the rise.
Is it necessary everything happen instantly? We have instant coffee, gratification, pudding, mashed potatoes, & expectations. We have drive-thru food/beverage, dry-cleaning, & divorce.
There are very few things we have to wait for. Even many invasive medical procedures that used to require a several day hospital recovery now can be done as an outpatient procedure… who knows, one might even be able to get a mani & pedi at the same time (out with the gallbladder, on with the solar nails… why not multitask?!)
By the end of the day, we’re pumped with so much caffeine, adrenalin, & stimuli that the heebie jeebies will get the best of us if we don’t head for the night clubs to exert some of that excess energy, drink away our woes, and work away at some semblance of relationship (if we have time and can focus!). Staying home and playing family games or watching a movie with popcorn is WORK people! We’ll do it at times, but the effort nearly kills us.
Yoga is all the go these days because I really think people want to slow down in hopes of finding peace… peace in the valley, in a sign on a tie dyed t-shirt, in the downward facing dog. Yoga & meditation is one of the most challenging practices… I would say even more so than running a marathon, or even completing the Tough Mudder because it requires us to still ourselves in the midst of extreme inward chaos & our brains just simply won’t slow down enough to bring calm to our bodies! That’s like asking a race car to take a leisure model t approach (uh uh… It ain’t gonna happen!). So, all of our efforts to slow down are fruitless and we start the vicious cycle all over again (sigh).
I’m going to close with a story my brother shared about his Northern Minnesota hunting experience with our extended family. He has ran marathons & has fasted for several weeks and he said that his experience up in that hunting stand was one of the most difficult tasks he has ever put himself through. Each member of the group had their own stand. They started out early in the morning (before the break of day), sat on a little stool for hours and hours in very frigid temps and couldn’t move. He couldn’t listen to music with headphones as this would spook the deer. He had to quiet and entertain himself with his own thoughts & meditations. Understand, our family up in that neck of the woods love this outing and look forward to it with much anticipation, but for most of us… the experience would be a nightmare.
Putting ourselves in positions to exercise discipline and working at quieting ourselves is one of the best favors we can give back to society. Laying aside our cell phones, laptops, & TVs every now and then and focusing on one stimulus at a time will help us to rewire our brains to respond more appropriately to the life around us instead of being a prisoner of the electromagnetic chaos we’ve allowed to control every minute of every day.
Technology & advancement is good, but when it takes the place of relationships & quality time with others, excludes people from realizing their dreams, or leaves others behind… it’s gone way too far. Let’s work together to bring more balance to an out-of-sync and broken society… let’s use technology to enhance & build instead of hinder & destroy.
Let’s breathe in and hold breath for the count of 6…… now release (ahh that’s better!)
Here’s to a more peaceful, replenishing life!