If it’s not recorded in some form of social media communication, it didn’t happen right?
I’m all for capturing moments, emotion and atmospheres through footage and photos, but there comes a point where you just need to put down your phone/camera and just breathe it in. These moments in our life are fleeting, they come and they go. But it’s our responsibility to be present in those moments, to really be there. We’ll never have those moments again.
While I was living in Vanuatu one of my ‘mottos’ (if you want to call it that) was “live the moment you are in to it’s fullest.” I didn’t want to spend the entire 6 months looking forward to December, when I would return home and see all my family and friends. I really wanted to make sure I was focussing all my energy, all my attention, and investing that into the people that were around me. As a result of doing that, I created deep bonds with the Ni-Van people around me; they became my family. If I had spent hours on the phone to my family back in New Zealand every night, I would have missed out on the bonding with my Ni-Van family playing cards, making each other laugh, and just doing life together.
There have been a countless number of times I've been hanging out with friends and looked around the room only to suddenly realise that we are all on our phones. Here we are communicating to people outside these four walls through technology, when we could talk to the people around us, face-to-face. When we stop focussing on ourselves and our own wee bubble, and start focussing on those around us we are able to invest into those peoples’ lives - forming connections, friendships and just doing life together.
Being present doesn’t just include putting down technology, but it’s also about putting aside our thoughts, and listening to our friends. Instead of thinking about everything I need to buy at the supermarket after this coffee, I should be giving my full attention to my friend that is pouring her heart out to me and needs some support. When we do this, not only does the other person benefit from our attention, we do too. We get to support someone, learn something knew about that person, and to really love them.
“When you love someone, the best thing you can offer them is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Put your phone on silent. Turn it over so you can’t see it light up. Or even better, leave it in your bag (or pockets for you boys…unless you own a man bag…which is totally fine…). Mentally focus on the person/people/situation/event in front of you. Give your full attention. You might be surprised at the people you find yourself meeting, and the details you’d never noticed or known about someone before.