April 10, 2009

Might As Well Face It, You’re Addicted to Technology

I awoke on my 52nd birthday to a community in chaos.

All landlines and cell phones were dead. No Internet. People couldn’t get cash from their banks because ATM and bank networks were down. Pharmacies couldn’t fill new prescriptions because central databases were unreachable. Emergency systems overloaded. Businesses lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

People panicked. Those few who had working telephones swamped the 911 system with calls. “When will cell phones be working again?”

All of this because a vandal severed a few hair-thin strands of glass.

Life is precarious. It has always been so.

Anxiety and panic are reactions to events either real or imagined. People who suffer from anxiety attacks often don’t realize they those “attacks” are optional states. The day you realize you have a choice about anxiety is the day healing begins.

Technology is an important part of our lives. Yet when we hang our peace and happiness on its presence — or on anything outside of ourselves — we give up a large part of what it means to be healthy humans.

I often give my coaching clients the assignment of going without television for a few days. Discomfort is often their first reaction. “I don’t think I can do that.”

What happens when they try it, though, is interesting to observe. Some report edginess during the first day. But what ultimately happens is their lives slow down. Their minds stop racing. They notice a decrease in negative thinking. They rediscover simple things like reading or having a cup of tea or coffee.

I’m not suggesting we return to the “halcyon days of yore.” I use technology every day and I’m glad it’s there.

But I enjoyed a peaceful birthday with no phones ringing, no Internet, and a quiet office.

Take a bit of time this weekend to cut the cable that ties you to the electronic universe. Spend a few hours without your cell phone.

Enjoy a little quiet. Find the happiness that awaits you in the Creative Now.

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