I've been hearing the news about UNICEF and Giorgio Armani's campaign, the one that rewards you for not touching your phone for 10 minutes in exchange for giving a day of water to a child in need. Wow. I knew that our society has turned into device addicts, but this really sends the message that we are indeed living in desperate times.
I gave up my phone 6 months ago and was without WiFi for a week last December. I remember the initial adjustment as a shocking realization of my attachment to being online. The first few days offline were challenging and filled me with anxiety as I worried and wondered what I was missing out on.
That was the thing. I had been missing out on everything else that was happening around me, so I began paying attention to the present moment of sounds, smells, sights, details, people, life, and most of all, my emotional, mental, and physical state of being. Slowly, there was a noticeable shift and desire to tune into the present moment instead of tune out. It made me think of the times when I would habitually check my phone, which was usually when waiting (for a friend, the train, a coffee order) or when I needed my own downtime. I also began to notice when and why people were using their phones—to take a photo, text, update a status, read the news... ANYTHING that was turning that moment, whether it was by yourself, or with another person or group into not enough. It is not enough that you are having lunch with a friend. It is not enough that you are spending time with your child. It is not enough that it's Christmas. It is not enough that you are on a beautiful tropical island. It is not enough to let go of ego because you're fast forwarding a moment into how many shares, likes and comments you'll get. It is not enough that ___________.
That is a big, ginormous problem.
You see, whatever you are doing and wherever you are, it is enough. Yes, even if it's awkward, or boring, or amazing, it is what it is. By taking yourself away from that present moment and going on your phone, you create an instant out, a ready-made distraction that effectively diminishes the situation. Don't get me wrong; I do find a lot of joy and value in sharing news, interacting on Facebook, taking photos for the memories, and having conveniences with the click of a button. But I've learned that less is more.
The next time you reach for your phone, PAUSE. Ask yourself, Is this present moment enough? With this question, you can mindfully choose to use social media and devices. What's the outcome? Living in the present moment means greater awareness, the ability to focus, calmness, and contentment. And that is enough.
Tammy is a location independent yogi.