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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking Pause; The First Step to Moving Forward

In the fast paced world we live in, we often don't take time to "smell the roses." I am often guilty of running from one task/event to another and sometimes not even giving myself the proper amount of time to get there. One result is that we either rush so much to get there that our brain is on over-dive. Then it takes a bit to settle into the moment, but we don't always have the time to do so. Another worse result is we end up arriving late.

Neither of these results are good. We know how it can affect a business meeting that requires our expertise and punctuality. But it can also affect our mindfulness during activities with family and friends as well.

Another side effect of a busy lifestyle is that we can often be at one place physically yet another place mentally. This is what helped coin the phrase "crack berry". I know if I ever leave the office early for an event at my kids school, I catch myself constantly checking my phone to see if a client is trying to reach me about a pending project. We are truly addicted to technology.

I like to say that technology doesn't just give us a broarder reach, is gives us a longer leash. When I started my own business, the mobile phone and laptop allowed me to not have to sit at a desk waiting for clients to call. I also didn't need to hire a receptionist. I could answer my own calls because the phone traveled with me. This gave me a certain amount of freedom. Now we've all became so dependent on these devices, that they've become that longer leash which keeps us working no matter where we are.

It became so bad years ago that restaurants banned cell phone use in the dining area, golf course forbid the use while playing and later lawmakers had to enact laws about mobile device use while operating motor vehicles. We have become so addicted that we need others to tell us what is appropriate and what is not.

So what do we do when there is nothing to power these devices? Most everyone on the East Coast was affected by the recent hurricane (Irene). After 3 days of repairs there were still several hundred thousand electric customers without power in Connecticut alone. Our office was without power for about 36 hours and as I am typing this, my house is still in the dark (Approaching 72 hours now).

When we experience interruptions in our lives, it tends to be a great inconvenience. My kids had no choice when forced NOT to play with their computers or video games and to NOT watch TV. They actually had it good. We were able to get a partial charge here and there. I was also able to plug my phone into the car for charging. But for most of the time we've been deviceless... if that's not a word it should be!

I think we need to pause at times like these and embrace these moments of being deviceless. I had to remind my kids (more than once) that the human race survived for thousands of years with out electricity, we are only asking them to go a few days at most.

Last night, I was driving the darkened streets on my way home. 90% of the houses I passed were still powerless. I took the time to look up. I realized the night sky was even more brilliant than when I view it at the lake we go to in Maine. This powerless neighborhood was even less contaminated by city lights than a heavily wooded Maine lake front. Visible were many stars that aren't typically view-able with-in city limits. For me there is not much more inspiring that a brilliantly speckled night sky. These are the same stars that inspired Galileo and guided Columbus.

Even though technology gives us many advances, we can become so dependent on it that we forget how things were done prior. So at times like these when life gives you pause, try to take the time to find some good that you can enjoy and if that's not noticeable in your hectic lives, at least take a moment from time to time to enjoy the silence. It will help energize us all for the weeks and months ahead.

Is that my phone? I need to close my laptop and take this call... Oops, gotta go!

What recent moments have you noticed, that normally slip by during your typically hectic life?

What inspires you and/or helps you rejuvenate?

What stories do you have about the recent hurricane?

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