Starry eyes

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson,

I wonder what Emerson would think today if he could look into our homes at night. He would see televisions on and people sitting on couches with a phone in their hands. They’d be half watching TV and half watching their phone. They’d look kind of comatose. Do we appreciate what we have?

Galactic knowledge is the palm of our hands, and the beauty of nature is all around us. What a radical time to be alive. The challenge is to appreciate and harness the power of technology and channel it into a force for good, while also being grounded and humbled by the awesomeness of the night sky and our remarkable planet.  I think being grounded and humble will help us harness the power of all this innovation that’s happening at light speed right in front of us.

Exercising the flow muscle

Have you found that you can hardly get through a long news article these days? Reading a multipage document or an op-ed probably means skimming through the highlights before you click on a link, switch tabs in the browser or context shifting to another app. Reading a legal document is even more challenging. We’ve started to browse and snack through information versus sitting with it and digesting the message. It’s like fast food vs. a home-cooked meal. The home cooked meal takes longer, is more work and washing up, but it’s better for you and you understand the ingredients. Fast food with a quick bite and probably followed by a sugar high.

Concentrating takes practice. It’s a muscle. Fight the urge to context shift. Notifications on your phone are probably the most significant culprits. How many times have you been deep into something and are yanked out of the flow by a text message or a phone call? Start using Airplane mode and the Do Not Disturb function on your phone.

The stronger the muscle tissue becomes, the longer you can concentrate. This means getting more out of activities you enjoy, but it also means you can spend more time on things that don’t interest you but are essential like a tedious legal contract, safety manuals, assembly instructions.

Carve out the time and get into the flow.

Sunward I’ve climbed

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of …”

– John Gillespie Magee’s “High Flight”

yt?

Turn off notifications and alerts on your phone and control when you interact with people. This includes all text messages and social media. Take back control your schedule and don’t let other people control your day.

Imagine if people felt it was okay to bang on your door at any time of the day or night with the expectation that you answer and be present with them. That’s not sustainable. Why should it be acceptable on your phone?