I’m not kidding. Stop reading, go outside or peek through the window, take a deep breath and…
Look at the sky. Is it gray or blue? Is there a bird flying by? Leaves wiggling in the wind? Notice the slight changes in light as a cloud passes over. Allow yourself to be filled with the wondrous possibilities that exist in the “up,” be they spiritual possibilities of a guiding light or scientific possibilities of 7 new planets. Be open to inspiration…
Recently I was taking my son to school, and while at a red light, I noticed something kind of sad about human focus. Most of us spend all of our time only considering the “down.” As people drove past me in the opposite lane, I took note that the first driver was still looking at his phone as he drove. “I wonder how many in a row will be looking down?” I asked myself. So, I counted. 1… 2… 3… 4… 5! I seriously got to the 6th consecutive car before I saw someone who had his/her attention completely on the road, who was looking “up.”
Now, this is not going to be lecture about texting while driving (though we shouldn’t) or about the dangers of technology. I love my iPhone, and I’m as guilty as the next guy or gal of squeezing in a text at a red light. My concern is about focus.
Our vision is narrowing. Our news, communication, work, interests, and social lives increasingly exist within the borders of a teeny, tiny screen (yes an iPhone 6s is still too small). Too often our joy and anger are released into that rectangle. Our opinions are formed there, our disappointments are aired there, and all of this digital interaction keeps our heads pointing down.
Again, I’m not saying there isn’t a place for those energies moving toward the “down,” but there is also a big, wide world out there that we cannot forget exists. Information being packed in a minute package does not have to mean that how we perceive humanity, how we connect to nature, and how we view the world also has to be contained in such a tight space. Our perspectives need to be way out there too, with the stars and the distant mountain, or we will lose our ability to think big and to think outside the box. And if we don’t think big and outside the box, how are we ever going to get ourselves out of the messes we are in? We need to think simultaneous large and small.
It is not only healthy, but absolutely necessary to take a break from the constant information feed and find time to recharge and look up. In fact, in the workshop we had a Cool Shul last week about processing anxiety in trying times, Dr. Feldmann emphasized that it is absolutely NECESSARY for our long term health and well-being to take a break… to do something purely fun and frivolous… to forget about our worries and fears for a moment. That is how we survive stressful periods in our lives without burning out. In other words, we need to put away those phones and tablets and allow ourselves, just for a few hours, not to know what was just tweeted or posted. We need to give ourselves permission not to engage and instead to
get our nails done,
or go for a cell-free walk on the beach,
or watch a silly movie (on a big screen please!),
PLAY BOARD GAMES!
This Saturday, in association with the organization Reboot, Cool Shul will be hosting an unplugged Shabbat afternoon. From 12-5pm, we will have board games everywhere, and phones will be left at the door. We will have pizza for all. Unplug with us for a few hours, and please invite your friends. This is not a religious event, so invite anyone who might be interested! I promise we won’t try to turn them into Jews. 😉
Click here to register. We ask for a $20 donation per person to cover food and table rentals. But if you can’t swing that, just leave a smaller donation when you come. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you are planning to join us. The flyer is below.
We all need this. We all need a little time to Reboot.