Not all of us, but many, are busy. We live according to calendars that are overflowing with commitments.
Thanks to technologies like email, Facebook, texting, tweeting, and voicemail, we also lead lives that are constantly in contact. I actually like being in touch in these various ways, but I do get frustrated when trying to figure out how much is enough.
In the olden days, when actual letters were written, it was pretty simple. I would write you a letter, and at some point, if you remembered your manners, you would answer it.
Now, we have perpetual communication. My email message might end with, “Give me a call” or “Let’s get together,” and you might respond with your own “Give me a call” or “Any suggestions for a good day to have lunch?”
It never ends. In this tangle of busyness, this web of incompleteness, this thick soup of interaction, it becomes nearly impossible to remain in touch with the most important things, those things that run deepest in life.
In those rare moments when we are able to be still and quiet, what do we do? Do we have the good sense to re-center ourselves and reconnect with our creator? Or do we feel the vibration of our cell phone and give in to the temptation to see who’s calling?
Remember how Barbara Walters used to say, “We’re in touch, so you be in touch”? I am a people-person to the core, but I have come to realize that I am in touch too much via electronic devices and not in touch enough with the ground of my being, and with my own soul.
Maybe we should learn how to simply live more in harmony with the rhythm of our hearts? Have you noticed lately how your heart beats, and then it stops? Beats, then stops.
Action-contemplation, engagement-disengagement: this means remembering to pause regularly so that our inner power can be restored.
If it’s good for our cell phones, don’t you think it might be good for us as well?
During these troubling and anxious times, we cannot be the wise, strong, well-grounded people we need to be if we run around all over the place and respond to every input that comes our way.
The late great Atlantan Ralph McGill recounted a conversation he had on a leisurely summer afternoon with the poet, Carl Sandburg, near Sandburg’s home in the North Carolina mountains.
“I often come here alone,” Sandburg said to McGill. “I sit and look at these silent hills and I ask myself, ‘Who are you, Carl? Where are you going?’ Time is the coin of life. Spend it yourself. Do not let others spend it for you.”
One has to get offline to think like that. I will if you will, before summer is over.
– Joanna M. Adams