Duly Noted!

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Putting this one in my back pocket as I begin my 2014 wish list…:)

 

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Sending Out an SOS: Information/Connection Overload

Recently, my phone is driving me batty. It’s been building for awhile now and is only getting worse/more embarrassing with time. I think I’ve officially reached a point where an intervention (+ some action) is needed. Stat. I realize that it’s not my iPhone per se that’s gradually pushing me closer to the looney bin, but rather my dependence upon/addiction to it. (For the record, this was always my biggest fear as I held out on getting a smartphone far longer than the average Joe).

On certain days, my phone now has the tendency to make me feel anxious and sometimes completely, unjustifiably unhappy. This sounds so silly, I know. I also know that this is hardly a novel complaint–so many of us are suffering from social media overload and the overwhelm that comes along with being forever connected. I love that my phone allows me to feel closer to friends and family who are so far away. But I hate that it sometimes feels as though I’m light-years removed from the present…from the here and now. I fear it’s making me miss out on life.

So, how to remedy this situation? What changes can I realistically make (and more importantly keep) to break these pesky habits?

Yesterday, I conducted a little experiment in which I made myself keep my phone turned off throughout the duration of my 15-minute walk home from yoga. These are a few of the things I saw, sites that I realized I would’ve missed entirely, had I had my eyes turned downward and my head buried in my teeny-tiny scrolling screen:

~a kid’s charmingly scribbly, handmade Valentine’s sign hanging in the Italian cafe’s window

~a minuscule hummingbird buzzing about in the bushes

~a school playground (that I had never even noticed, despite walking this street on a near-daily basis) that was filled with entertaining kiddos like a wiggly, dancing ham of a kid in a Where’s Waldo tee and a youngster with the biggest fro I’ve seen in ages

~a landscaping van that read “Garden of Weedin'”

**This makes me think: what else have I been oblivious to in my path? What other opportunities might I be letting pass me by?

It’s time for action.

If you have any tips for me on how to effectively disconnect from time to time, I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, I’m thinking that these words of wisdom from the  zen habits blog (see below) are a great place to start. Have a wonderful weekend, friends. Here’s hoping we can all tune in to the magic right in front of our eyes.

“Single-task. I’ve written numerous times in the past about single-tasking vs. multitasking, but I think people multitask now more than ever. People text while on the train, while walking, while driving. They tweet and post to Facebook and Instagram, they email and read blogs and news, they watch videos while getting things done, they watch TV while eating, they plan their day while doing chores. This is a great way to cause a level of anxiety that runs through everything you do, because you’re always worried you should be doing more, doing something else. What if, instead, you just did one thing, and learned to trust that you shouldn’t be doing anything else? It takes practice: just eat. Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else.”

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{Spotted on today’s walk, taped to a drain pipe, in honor of yesterday’s holiday}

Surf, sun & sand (sprinkled with doses of other stuff)

My weekend snapshots provide glimpses of attempts to soak up every second of this glorious season. (And not to boast too much, but these past days, I’d say I’ve been doing a pretty darn good job of it:))

You will see water (and more water! Pisces heaven), city skyline views, reunions with friends, lazy park sits, exquisite sunsets and sensational scenes that suggest that ALL is right in the world. I belly-laughed with an old friend as we caught up over a picnic on my favorite Seattle mound. (We got goosebumps as we witnessed a petal-strewn marriage proposal under a fire-streaked sky.) I rode my bike, carefree, down the canal trail; I wandered the Sunday market; I heard music from guitars and a violin and the nostalgic drone of bagpipes.

*Pause: I do think it is sometimes important, however, to acknowledge that these snapshots only tell part of the story. There is some danger in this odd existence where social media and the vetted-for-public versions of our daily lives prevail. Clearly, these pictures don’t capture a few weekend lowlights, like terrible Sunday morning listlessness and a serious WHAT-THE-EFF-Universe moment Friday afternoon that had my emotions running rampant and my mind/heart feeling lightyears away from Zen. Although these moments were brief in the grand scheme, they were real, and they stung…..Like Susannah cleverly confesses, we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that others’ lives are always “all rainbows and unicorns over here” (despite what highlight-reel-recaps or colorful slideshows tend to suggest).

But the main point, I suppose, is that there WAS (and remains to be) so much amazingness, and this is where we must focus the lens. Sometimes it is too easy to get hung up on the hurt or the scared or the sad, or whatever threatens to plague. But, as always, I practice (and practice some more) shifting the emphasis. On bringing to light what is really, really great–on the billions of small (and big) ways I continue to be blessed.

On Saturday morning, I went paddle boarding (so fun!), where four of us drank in surreal mountain and lighthouse views. We spotted a regal blue heron, bobbing, iridescent jelly fish and a playful seal splashing his way across the sound. We saw a rainbow arch its way around the midday sun (so in this case, in that moment, it actually was all rainbows).

On the journey back to the shore, I really got in the groove-pushing meters ahead of my fellow paddlers-feeling steady and strong as I slid along atop the water. For a wee while there, I lost myself in the rhythm of my strokes, the repetitive swoosh of the oar, visions of hypnotic, dancing light beams below. Afterward, kissed with sun, plastered with seaweed and sprinkled with sand, we rewarded ourselves with JUICY Paseo Cuban pork sandwiches on picnic tables next to the bustling surf shop. Bliss. Like a child just in from a day at the beach, I felt tired and sore and joyful and alive. In moments like this: LIFE. IS. GOOD.