Putting Down My Electronics
I remember being called in for jury duty here in Clearwater, Florida a few years ago.
Much to my surprise, it turned out to be one of the best days ever—I know that sounds crazy, but stay with me…
I made a conscious effort to put my phone away that day and honestly, found myself wishing more people had done the same.
Lucky For Me There Was Ruth…
Lucky for me there was one other person, Ruth, who was “unplugged” and gracious enough to chat with me…
Ruth and I struck up a conversation that carried us through hours upon hours of our judicial systems less than riveting jury selection processes.
Ruth had been married for 51 years and was the proud grandmother to 13 grandchildren.
She gave me something to look forward to when she dropped this tidbit: “Just wait, living later in life is so much fun!”, and shared all kinds of adventures with me…
Bears, Phantom Cobras & Love Stories…
I learned of her surprise encounter with a bear (we’re talking less than 2 feet away from her), and her run in with over 50 phantom cobras.
She told me about her son’s involvement with 9/11 as a police officer in NYC, how she’d adopted her three older girls.
She shared the loss of her brother after a tragic car accident, and how her daughter-in-law had to have one of her hands amputated.
The icing on the cake though was when she shared some of her favorite memories with her husband.
It’s Been Forever And A Day…
Listen, I know…it’s been FOREVER and a day since you’ve last heard from me.
I won’t sit here and make excuses, but I will say how amazing it is that life can get so busy… and before you know it months, or even years, have passed you by.
I’ve thought of writing to you often, but I struggled to find a way to connect after being MIA for so long.
Have you ever felt like that? Like you want to reach out but you’re just not sure what to say? That’s been me!!!
Whenever I did write it often felt salesy, inauthentic, and although I was trying, I wasn’t really letting you see the real me…
And that’s a shame because I know that true connection can only be established once the walls we build come down and we willingly step into a bit of vulnerability.
We Can Connect On A Realer Level
I know that we likely won’t have a “come over for coffee”, or “let’s grab dinner” kind of relationship, but I do believe we can connect on a much realer level than we have been.
We live in a day and age where we are more available to each other, yet more disconnected from each other than ever, and I believe that needs to change.
It saddens me that social media is the only way that some people know how to connect these days (especially the younger generation)…
And quite frankly I want to be different and practice the lost art of human connection.
There’s No Substitute For Human Interaction…
When we were excused from jury duty, I didn’t want to go and I knew Ruth didn’t either.
I would have missed out on all of Ruth’s stories and wisdom had I not decided to unplug…
It made me realize there really is no substitute for human interaction—not our phones, and definitely not social media.
Connection and relationship are about striking up a conversation with someone you know or with a complete stranger.
It’s About The Stories & The Lessons…
It’s about listening to their stories and understanding the lessons that often come from them.
This, my friend, is where the magic happens.
Harriet Lemer is famously quoted as saying:
“Only through our connectedness can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.”
How About You…When Was The Last Time You Unplugged?
Have you had a close encounter of the human kind lately that’s made you realize how disconnected we are these days?
When’s the last time you put your phone away or on silent and were just present in the moment?
This is something I’ll be working on cultivating more of myself, and I would love to hear any tips and tricks you may have, or even a quick reply in the comments letting me know I’m not alone in this.