Turn Off Your Electronics and Be Present in The Moment

by Katy on May 27, 2014 · 10 comments

Although we are two weeks past the completion of Screen Free Week, I am still trying to be mindful about how much time I spend in front of a screen, be it television, computer or my soul time-sucking smart phone. As a blogger and administrator of the blog’s Facebook Group, it’s easy to get sucked in approving new members, addressing needless controversy or scrolling through my Facebook feed in a way that can easily eat up a couple of hours per day.

It’s not how I want to spend my time on planet earth.

It would be hard to not notice the cultural shift towards staring down at our mobile devices instead of being present in our surroundings. The scenery, the people in front of us and the experiences that are happening right in front of our eyes is better (and more personally relevant) than anything onYoutube. And before you start blaming the millennials, this is an issue for every generation. There’s always interesting stuff to click on, but there’s no reason why we need to see every clever video, funny photo or inspiring Pinterest-baiting e-card.

I’m not proposing a world where we don’t take advantage of all the great TV programming on TV (Mad Men, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Call The Midwife, Star Trek, Star Trek, Star Trek!) or the incredible resources that the internet affords; but I am suggesting that we do so with a mindfulness of purpose.

I recently came across this online photo:

No we don't have wi-fi

Yes, I see the irony of coming across it online, but it’s a good reminder that we do not need to live a plugged-in life. And yes, I also see the irony of a blogger who advocates for people to turn off their devices in order to experience their own lives.

So next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through the internet while at the dinner table, or channel surfing instead of arranging a face-to-face get together, try instead to be present in the moment and an observer of real life with real interactions.

It’s the next big thing.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan May 27, 2014 at 10:32 am

I seldom bring my phone anywhere with me. My son is the same. Sometimes when we go out together, we seem to be the only people in the bus/train/café/walking that are actually having a conversation with one another rather than engrossed in phones. Then again, I think we are more unusual than the norm.


Jennifer N May 27, 2014 at 10:37 am

I accidentally left my phone at work Friday evening and there is stayed until I got to work this morning. I didn’t want to waste the gas to go get it, and I did not miss anything important. Saturday I turned off the TV, turned on Pandora, and had my 5-year old help me clean up downstairs. It’s amazing how much more you can get done with music, rather than tv, on in the background.


Tna May 27, 2014 at 10:50 am

Ten years ago I loved the internet and computers and spent HOURS gaming and talking to people I met on forums. Then we all seemed to grow up and move on to other things like jobs and life. Now my internet time is less social and more information based. My latest info jewel is that I now live near a monastery that sells different natural foods through a local food coop! The food coop includes a local mushroom farm, orchard, and vegetable farmers. So I spend a fraction of time online now and get totally different results. I enjoyed the wild west atmosphere of earlier internet, now its more like an encyclopedia.


Linda in Mass May 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

I agree totally! I worked for a library company and was on the internet when you could not do commerce on it. (About 20 years ago) Loved it back then, now I think of it as work.


Diane May 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm

I think there is a happy medium like with anything in life. Some people are so obsessed with work, for example, that they pay little attention to anything non work related.

A balanced life is the best kind of life.


Trish May 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I still have a flip phone, so I don’t find myself tempted to surf the internet when socializing. But I was recently visiting a family member whom I don’t see all that often, and as we were talking over a meal out, she was doing something on her phone the entire time. Later that evening, we were once again talking, and she was again doing something on her phone. I finally asked, and she said she plays games as stress relief. I cannot find this anything but rude, to do this WHILE you are talking to someone? I just can’t accept this behavior. Maybe she finds me really stressful company?

oh, and I don’t think it is necessarily ironic for a blogger to advocate for ppl to turn off their devices and experience their own life, I think it is really cool!


Lynda D. May 28, 2014 at 5:44 am

It seems to me that the issue of Net Neutrality would kind of fit into this discussion.
I love the internet. I love that I can find the one photo of an organic garden that someone from Sri Lanka posted or the make-your-own-bicycle video posted by someone in Montana. I love that I found this blog. I also agree we should keep balance in our lives, lift up our heads, talk to people….but, when we want to go on-line to read our favorite bloggers, research how to cut costs in our lives, have access to important information such as hotlines (run by non-profits), it is important that we still have equal access.
Unfortunately, unless we (the “little people” of the internet) make ourselves known VERY LOUDLY, the FCC/government will kick us to the curb to make room for the mongo-companies who can pay to jump to the head of the internet highway. And, of course, those companies won’t be promoting reduce/reuse/recycle.
The internet is one of the few truly equitable experiences in our lives – one person with a computer can get his/her information onto the internet and visible to the universe just as easily as a mega-corporation. That is going to stop in 2 months UNLESS we do something about it.
For more information and a way to take action, here is a link to the ACLU page on Net Neutrality – https://www.aclu.org/net-neutrality

(If the ACLU rubs you the wrong way, believe me, there are tons of other organizations with a wide variety of politics/ethos who are ALL working on this….just Google “Net Neutrality”. )


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary May 28, 2014 at 9:41 am

I’m right with you on this one, Lynda. I don’t know how to get folks to understand what this means to them, or get them to do something to make a difference (re-posting on FB doesn’t actually equal taking action), but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax.


Kim May 28, 2014 at 7:49 am

Most importantly, not behind the wheel!


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary May 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

I’ve recently decided that Facebook takes up far too much of my time. I have developed a bad habit of reading Facebook on my iPad while I’m still in bed in the morning. I like seeing what my friends are up to, and I like reading the interesting articles that are posted, and I like the jokes and humor that are shared as well. But more than that, I like *doing* things in real life. I haven’t quite come up with an overall plan, but I’ve started keeping my iPad downstairs rather than next to the bed as a starting point.


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