I have discovered THE SOLUTION to all of life’s questions!!
Being basically under house arrest due to this ice storm has given me an opportunity to go through some things and do a little cleaning and organizing around the house. A friend is making some scarves so I figured I’d go through Sharrie’s stash of yarn and pass it on to someone who could get some use out of it. A lot of it was a tangled mess so I started working through the twists and knots one by one to straighten it all out. It didn’t occur to me that it would take as much time as it did. For four hours I sat silently carefully tracing the lines of yarn one by one until I had everything neatly wound into yarn balls reminiscent of the ones my grandmothers always had in their yarn boxes.
During this four hours of peace and quiet my thoughts ran the gamut of possible topics. I thought about the weather, things I needed to get done around the house, new strategies for looking for a job, Jimmie’s college classes, how to maintain the monthly bills, when I needed to do what so I could ensure other things got done, what to cook over the next several days, what Christmas presents I needed to still pick up, what additional precautions I needed to take to make sure the house is safe and secure during this weather, whether or not I should get Dawg a new coat, what I wanted out of my future, possibly moving to other cities or states, things I wanted to write about, my friends, my family, etc., etc., etc. My head was spinning with different thoughts somehow moving from one topic to another although on the surface not appearing to be related at all. Sorting through my thoughts was much like navigating the tangled mess of yarn my fingers were unconsciously unraveling and making whole again. It was peaceful.
What was interesting to me was the realization that during this calm, quiet period I spent untangling the yarn I actually untangled so much more. I was able to have internal conversations with my head, my heart and my conscience which allowed me to understand or find solutions to several issues that have been burdening me lately. Soul searching. That’s what I had been doing… soul searching.
My thoughts turned to the idea of what I thought soul searching really meant. Then it occurred to me. Soul searching is THE SOLUTION. Actually, truth be told, it is more of a rediscovery than an actual discovery. I used to spend hours upon hours soul searching, but my life was simpler then and I had the time. Our grandparents and their parents and grandparents before them understood this one basic truth.
We as individuals and as a society have somehow strayed off track, and the current state of our society proves just how far off track we have strayed. Our ability to participate in valuable soul searching is getting buried deep beneath the time we spend focusing on the constant clutter of less important issues in our lives. There has always been clutter of some sort in our lives, but the introduction of interactive real time technologies have allowed our entire existence to be overtaken by the beeps and buzzes of numerous electronic devices either attached to us or always within arms reach. We have become slaves to the electronic impulses that were supposed to make our lives easier and more enjoyable.
Years ago when I would be reading my grandfather’s Popular Mechanics or my dad’s Popular Electronics or Popular Science magazines I would be amazed by article after article describing new technologies that we would one day get to experience and use to our benefit. These articles touted the freedom to enjoy life we would all have because technology was going to make our lives so much easier. That didn’t actually come to fruition – quite the opposite actually. The promised freedoms we were to gain didn’t come close to happening. New technology has taken our precious down time away from us. We are never out of earshot, or ‘unplugged’ from our Smartphones or our computers.
Employers have begun to expect us to review and respond immediately to every email or text message regardless of the time of day and regardless if we are on what we used to know as vacation time. It doesn’t matter if we are at a doctor’s visit, visiting family out of town, at a wedding, at a funeral or even at the hospital for the birth of our child or grandchild, we are expected to be plugged in and able to communicate with the rest of “The Borg” immediately following any beep or buzz. We are being unknowingly conditioned to remove ourselves from our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
Even more concerning is the fact that we are passing this same problem down to our children. They emulate our every move so they spend their time also being consumed by consumer electronics. (Part of my epiphany during my soul searching was the irony of the descriptive term consumer electronics. What an epic piece of foreshadowing.) The horrifying difference is that since consumer electronics and games have always been part of our children’s lives, they may never have been given the chance to experience the peaceful, productive art of soul searching. We must teach them. We must start unplugging ourselves from our electronics and plugging into our children.
As smart as they supposedly are, our Smartphones are leading us down the path to becoming a dumber society. THE SOLUTION can be called a number of things: silence, meditation, conscience, peace, reflection, introspection, prayer, spirit, soul searching, talking to God, etc. Whatever you chose to call it we need to add that internal conversation back into our lives. We need to unplug so we can really begin to tune in once again.