Michele Greco CPC

mindfulness-based life & business coaching

Happy "Unplugged" Thanksgiving -'Fancy' Food For Thought.

This year I’ve been inspired, by a recent read, to celebrate Thanksgiving and give thanks the old-fashioned way like we did in the 90’s. I'm imagining everyone sitting around the table in the dim light of candles, instead of the dim light of cell phones, looking into each other’s eye as we say “please pass the potatoes” instead of glancing sideways at our handy devices.  

Hmmm, this could be challenging since they are also our cameras and time pieces.

According to Orianna Fielding's recently released book, “Unplugged -How To Live Mindfully In A Digital World",  “The act of using a smartphone while in the company of someone in a social setting has reached such epidemic proportions that it now has it’s own term, ‘phubbing’.”  

Now, I don’t consider myself to be too out of line with regard to my smart phone usage or my time ‘plugged in’ in general, but this book was definitely eye opening and has challenged me to go 'smart phone free' for the holiday.  

It’s just one day, I can do it! 

Yet, according to statistics yielded by a Time Magazine study done in 2012, shared in "Unplugged", 84% of the 5000 people surveyed admitted that "they would not be able to get through a single day without their mobil device".

Ten or so years ago, we didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves in to.  We did not yet have the experience of living the reality of the 24/7 life of being digitally accessible.  Yes, we knew we’d be able to ‘communicate’ more often.  But did we know that ‘more often’ would mean sharing virtually everything, every minute of everyday? -the way we live, work, play, look and even eat.  Yes eat, we no longer even eat our food without first showing it off to the world, who is amazingly interested! 

Shoot, I guess I’ll miss out on all the virtual feasting this Turkey Day!

So, as it goes, we share our fancy food pics and we share our fancy ‘profile pics’ all enhanced by our fancy filters of choice.     Well heck, maybe all this fanciness makes us happy?

Unfortunately not entirely, according to Fielding.  In her chapter entitled “selfie Improvement” she reveals how our enhanced ‘selfie’ photos are causing us to feel depressed and disenchanted with with our actual selves, that is, when we can’t live up to those manipulated images in the flesh.  Does this then lead to feeling like we aren’t loveable just as we are?  This can be particularly dangerous for teens who are at a time in life of starting to grow their identities and self esteem, she notes.

Then there is the constant opportunity to compare ourselves and our lives to the lives of others.  Does this cause us to feel that we aren’t enough?  Or that we aren’t doing enough, because we aren’t out and about on all the adventures we see our ‘friends’ on?  Is knowing what everyone one is doing, all of the time some great coming together as ‘one’ that humanity has longed for?  Or, as we work to keep up with all of the outside knowing, have we lost touch with the idea that our answers lie within?  Instead of saying “hello in there", have we become distracted in a frantic way, looking to the external digital world to fulfill an internal yearning?

Are we truely lonelier than ever, in our more ‘connected’ than ever lives?   

These are just a sampling of the themes and ideas presented in the book “Unplugged” by Orianna Fielding.  It is filled with thought provoking statistics and evocative quotes. It also includes a simple check list to determine if you may be effected by “digital overload” and some good options for digital detoxing.

The book's approachable chapters are graphically displayed and filled with sound-bites as well as broken out statistics and photos.  Ironically, it apprears to have been written and designed for the snappy short attention span of the very audience it is calling out.  And, I must admit this is one of the things I like about this book.  Along with the amusing information it contains, like the bit on the Brazilian bar in Sao Paolo that designed a beer glass they call the "offline glass" which has a section cut out of the bottom, just the size of a smart phone, so that in order for the glass to sit on the table without tipping it must sit on top or your cell phone!  They share that they have created this glass to "rescue people from the online world and bring them back to the real one".

So, lots of interesting information about our digitally dominated lives in this book, it definitely gets you thinking.  And yes, I'd have to agree, as we consider that technology is here to stay, deciding how to best to fit it into our lives, instead of vice-versa, certainly seems like a good idea.

 So, if you have been contemplating a digital detox, or even just curious to reflect on your relationship with your digital devices, I recommend "Unplugged -How To Live Mindfully In A Digital World".

If you want to explore the ways in which you are allowing your outside world to distract you from what really matters most to you, or to get reacquainted to the answers you have within you, give me a call or send an email for a complimentary consultation.  I’d love to talk with you.

Perhaps this Thanksgiving I’ll give our guests the option of seating their phones at a special ‘phone table’ with mine, where they too can sit and bask in the glow of each others 'faces'.  

And to all my out of town family and friends I’d like to say, please use my land line this holiday : )